Kiki Davis heads 11th largest Black-owned bank in the US.

Kiko Davis, trustee of the Donald Davis Living Trust, majority stockholder of First Independence Bank. (Photo credit: Breanne White

Kiko Davis, trustee of the Donald Davis Living Trust, majority stockholder of First Independence Bank. (Photo credit: Breanne White

By Munson Steed 

Kiko Davis is one of the few Black women in the nation who can say they hold part ownership of a minority-owned bank. Davis is now the majority stockholder of First Independence Bank headquartered in Detroit. First Independence Bank is the 11th largest Black-owned bank in the United States, as reported in Black Enterprise magazine in 2015, and Davis has been holding her own since coming into her new role with the bank in 2014.

Davis is also the founder and president of the Don Davis Legacy Foundation. Established in 2016 with the goal to perpetuate the legacy building efforts and initiatives envisioned and developed by her late husband, Davis has avowed that the work begun by her late husband Don Davis will continue under the umbrella of his namesake legacy foundation.

Don Davis became chairman and CEO of First Independence Bank in 1970 and held that role until his untimely death in 2014. In honor of and tribute to her late husband, Davis has dedicated her efforts toward ensuring that families and organizations in need of scholarships, grants and key services will not go unmet — a vision that she and her late husband were both passionate about and often discussed.

Rolling out caught up with Davis to discuss her role with First Independence Bank, her newly established foundation and also to find out what makes her a female success factor.

What are the three most important factors of being a successful woman?
Having a relationship with God. Not being afraid of failure. Surrounding yourself with like-minded, successful women and mentors (male/female).

Who or what motivates you and why?
Without a doubt, my children motivate me and they both are my source of inspiration. I believe that at this stage, I am their role model, so I feel that it is my responsibility to model excellence for them. Children are always watching and I always want to do right by them. I feel that I owe it to them to be the best version of myself – and I would like for them to do the same as they grow older.

How did you determine your career path?
I always knew that I would be working in multiple capacities because I hold many interests. But I feel like the path that I am on right now chose me — I am blessed to have so many opportunities that have arisen.

What inspires you to show up at work every day?
I truly believe that living in the purpose that God has for you helps to continuously inspire you and motivates you to show up at work each day. That’s what he has done for me.

Describe goal setting methods you use and how you evaluate your success.
In terms of goal setting, I usually write them down in my journal and give each goal I set a specific timeframe to complete it. After I reach those dates/timeframes, I assess which goals I need to refocus on in order to improve and get back on track. So my methods are simple: I write them down, provide a specific timeframe to achieve them, and then I do a reassessment to learn more about where the strengths and weaknesses lie within these goals I’ve set. I’m all about constantly improving oneself.

Describe the future skill sets that are essential to business leaders and innovators?
You must be driven, passionate and willing to take risks.

Describe why lifelong learning is important to you.
Lifelong learning is so important to me because you can never have enough knowledge. I believe as long as you are here on this earth, you are a student. I embrace that wholeheartedly — being open to learning more and being open to discovering new things.

Technology plays what role in your daily life?
Technology is the foundation of information exchange nowadays. You need technology to be able to efficiently communicate with clients, employees, vendors, etc.  Almost everything you do has some form of technology that can be used to assist us.

What social media or digital tool has made the biggest difference in your life and why?
My iPhone allows me to work, plan my schedule, socialize, keep in touch with associates, customers, family and friends in many different ways all from this one device.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
I would like to see the world have more love and kindness towards one another.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to become better at finding the time to relax more often. Also, I could do better at delegating more responsibilities to others more often. Making those changes would help balance an oftentimes heavy workload.