Kelly Davis, 37

0 Posted by - October 15, 2015 - 2015, Lee-Collier

Attorney, partner, Quarles & Brady

Crazy hours and moving from one market to a bigger one in search of promotion often defines a career in broadcast television.

In early 2003, news producer Kelly Davis decided she’d had enough of Southwest Florida television news and decided to enroll in law school. “At the time, it was clear to me that to advance was to continue moving around the country,” she says. “I didn’t want to leave.”

Besides, her dad gave her an ultimatum: “He wouldn’t pack up another U-Haul for me,” Davis laughs.

Now an attorney with Quarles & Brady in Naples, Davis became a partner in the firm while raising three children. “Many women think you have to make a decision between family and partnership,” Davis says.

But you can have both. “Our firm has been at the forefront of diversity,” Davis says.

Davis is the Naples chairwoman of the women’s forum committee, a group of Quarles women attorneys who gather regularly to discuss ways to take advantage of family policies and recommend new ones to the firm. It’s also a support group that identifies ways they can help each other out.

Retention of women attorneys is a challenge throughout the legal profession because many drop out to start families. “We’re not getting from start to finish,” Davis says.

A labor and employment attorney, Davis can work the hours she wants as long as she serves her clients’ needs. “We all work all kinds of different hours for different reasons,” says Davis, who coaches her son’s soccer team. “There’s not a face-time requirement.”

— Jean Gruss


Name: Kelly Davis

Age: 37

City of residence: Naples

Twitter handle: I don’t tweet

Employer: Quarles & Brady

Title: Attorney, partner

Birthplace: West Chester, Penn.

Years on the Gulf Coast: 14

Marital status/children: Married with three boys: Cody is in first grade, Ryan just started kindergarten and Kyle is in pre-school.

Alma mater: The Pennsylvania State University (B.A. in journalism, B.A. in women’s studies, with Highest Distinction); University of Florida Levin College of Law (J.D., magna cum laude).

Best place to network: Sidelines at my sons’ soccer games.

Coolest business experience: Quail hunt on a plantation in southern Georgia with the governor of Georgia when I worked as a producer for a local television news station in Albany, Ga.

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Own up to your mistakes. Everyone makes them. Trying to hide from a mistake only makes things worse. You’ll earn respect by admitting a mistake, finding a solution, and moving things forward instead of backward.

One website that makes your job easier: Any online news source because knowing how the law and proposed changes affect business and industry is key for employment lawyers. I partner with my clients to help them comply with the various applicable laws and prepare for upcoming changes in the law in a way that makes sense for their business and industry.

One community group you’re most involved with: St. Matthew’s House.

Favorite off-hours activity: Playing soccer, football, paddleball, or any other sport of choice with my boys on the beach. We also really enjoy watching the sunset from some of the best beaches in the world right here at home.

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: My maternal grandfather who passed away soon after my 18th birthday. I had a lot more to learn from him. Neil Patrick Harris: I want to find out if he’s as awesome as the characters he plays on television. I think we would definitely have the best time ever, together!

What you would be doing if you could pick another career: I’d love to own a small business. When I grow up, perhaps I’ll figure out what that small business would sell or provide! I think small business owners are among the most hard-working, dedicated, creative and brave workers.

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: In Alaska, we took a helicopter up onto the Mendenhall Glacier and hiked for several hours. What an experience!

What’s at the top of your bucket list: Finding time to make a real bucket list!

What new skill would you like to learn: Kite surfing.

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Hopefully someone as fun as Ellen DeGeneres. If I can’t make you laugh or smile, then there might be something wrong with you. I like to find the fun in every situation, which for me usually means creating some kind of competition. Yes, we could dance, but why not up the ante and have a dance off?

If I had a magic wand I’d: Freeze time. I’m so happy with the life choices that have brought me to where I am today. I love being in the thick of things with my career, my busy schedule with our kids, my friends and this amazing place to live

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