Renee Davis is the founder of Spark Change, a mentorship organization that seeks to empower, educate, and elevate young women navigating through adolescence. Though the organization was officially launched in 2015, Renee was first inspired with the vision ten years earlier as a freshman in college. Throughout the years in between Renee pursued an education in the field of psychology while attending Howard University. She is now a doctoral candidate in the final stage of her PhD program where she will graduate in the summer of 2018 following the completion of her doctoral clinical internship.
Never forgetting the vision planted so many years prior; Renee continued to cultivate ideas for the program she hoped to one-day start. In August 2015, Renee was met with an opportunity to provide mentorship to a teen girl in need. Little did she know how that particular opportunity would blossom into what is now Spark Change. From that point on, Renee has had the privilege of hosting workshops and cultural outings with high school girls on a monthly basis.
As Renee has pursued her own life goals, she has become inspired to help youth navigate the road towards their own God-given purposes. In addition to working with teen girls within the Wilmington, DE community, Renee also desires to reach others through her YouTube channel (@shesparkschange). She believes that through God’s help she can spark a change in the mindsets of others that will then spark a change in their lives.
What was your inspiration to start such an awesome organization?
As a teenager, I was fortunate to participate in many programs created with the purpose of inspiring and uniting young women. Because of the tremendous impact those programs had on me, I was inspired to find a way to bring that same life-changing influence to others. I specifically started Spark Change because I wanted to offer a resource inspired by my Christian faith that could educate, empower, and elevate those young ladies that are often overlooked or ignored.
Where did the name of your organization come from?
The name actually came to me one day while I was in my dorm room as an undergraduate student. Honestly, I am not a person that has always embraced change so initially it felt like such a contradiction. I now realize that when God gave me that name He was calling me to leave my comfort zone and experience change in my own life so that I could eventually spark change in the lives of others.
What is one characteristic you believe every leader should possess?
I believe every leader should possess humility. I think humility helps you to remain teachable while being held accountable to others. I also think humility allows you to keep the right perspective. My goal is to stay focused on who I serve and not necessarily on how much my organization can serve me (definitely a work in progress).
What is one of the biggest challenges you believe women in leadership face?
I think one challenge that many women in leadership face is just overcoming insecurities. I think our greatest opposition doesn't necessarily come from trying to meet the standards of the outside world, but that it comes from trying to meet the unrealistic standards that we set for ourselves. I know that when I have confidence in the gifts God has placed within me, I become so much more secure in the fact that I already have what it takes.
Can you share a defining moment in your role as the founder of your organization?
A defining moment for me came in November 2016 when I was privileged to partner in hosting a community-wide event in Wilmington, Delaware. My role was to host a conference for high school girls. I literally started by typing out a couple of thoughts in a Microsoft Word document with no idea of who would help, who would participate, and how it would be funded. Some how God took those simple ideas and transformed it into an event that reached girls I didn't even know existed. I had an AMAZING team that supported me along the way and confirmed why I needed to start Spark Change. It was definitely something I will never forget.
Where can we find more information about your organization?
Currently information for Spark Change can be found on Facebook/YouTube/Instagram/Twitter all using @shesparkschange. We are actually in the midst of transition with a goal of launching a website and expanding our outreach in the near future. People can follow social media for updates.