Debra T. Davis, Ph.D., is serving the Louisiana Conference as the new Disaster Response Director. In this critical role, Davis is responsible for coordination of the overall response to the spring floods and the August 2016 floods that devastated Louisiana.
Davis will develop a structure within the conference for responding to disasters, building a model for this event that can be used, (with modification) for future events. In this role of Disaster Response Director, Davis will strive to maximize both human capital and financial resources, being sure that methods are in place to insure accountability at every level.
The conference disaster response efforts fall under Connectional Ministries and the Center for Congregational Vitality, which is led by Rev. Bernadine Johnson, director of connectional ministries and the center.
“I am delighted to be serving in this role. My husband and I have been beyond blessed in our lives,” said Davis. “With a breaking heart in the early days of this disaster, I was trying to plug in someplace to give back. When I received the call from Bishop Harvey asking me if I would help with this, I jumped on it. It was an answer to my prayer. I hope that my experience in organizational development, coaching, leadership and supervision will be useful as we coordinate the Conference’s efforts in both the relief and the recovery stages of this event.”
After 35 years of service, Davis recently retired as Department Head and professor in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation in the LSU AgCenter and the College of Agriculture. She currently holds professor emeritus status at LSU.
Davis is a private consultant in the field of organizational development and evaluation. Specializing in helping individuals, groups, teams and organizations be more effective, she has assisted groups from five-2,000 to achieve and evaluate their desired results.
Debra is also well-versed in LOGIC modeling as a tool for program planning and outcome evaluation. Clients seeking Davis’ unique skill combination have come from the fields of higher education and religion, non-profit agencies, government agencies and private business. Most recently, Debra has been working through the Louisiana United Methodist Foundation to help mid-size churches establish a vision for the future and a plan to mobilize that vision.
“We are thrilled that Dr. Davis said ‘yes’ at such a critical time. Her organizational genius will serve us well. She also has a marvelous non-anxious presence which is desperately needed at times like these. Her ministry is a gift!,” said Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, episcopal leader for the Louisiana Conference.
A native of Louisiana, Davis has a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University. She and her husband Bill, members of St. Francisville United Methodist Church, have four adult children, nine grandchildren, four horses, thousands of bird friends and numerous cats.