Creating a Legacy: Demetra Davis’ Story of Resilience and Leadership

Demetra Davis
Dr.Demetra Davis

Owner and CEO of Gordavi, LLC, Demetra Davis, is an honorably discharged United States Air Force veteran. Her journey from serving the nation in the Air Force to entrepreneurship is a testament to her resilience and dedication to excellence. Her commitment to personal and professional growth was further fueled by the birth of her daughter at the age of 23, a moment that inspired her to strive for success.

Despite initial challenges, including being told she may never have children, Demetra found herself blessed with a daughter, motivating her to excel in her nursing career and serve as a role model for her child. Her rapid advancement in the nursing field, from ICU to home health management, underscored her dedication to continuous improvement.

Furthering her education, Demetra initially earned a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas, Health Science Center, San Antonio. She continued moving forward in her mastery as she moved up in her career. A Masters of Science in Health Care Administration from Columbia Southern University, Alabama became the next achievement which equipped her with the skills for leadership roles in the healthcare industry. Her career path led her to work in health underwriting and case management at a major insurance company, where she continued to hone her management and leadership abilities.

Returning to the acute care hospital setting as a Director of Case Management, Demetra’s department played a crucial role in assisting patients and their families during challenging times, navigating the complexities of the healthcare system with compassion and expertise. It was as a Director of Case Management where Dr. Demetra learned the skills related to managing a multimillion-dollar budget, managing a team of greater than 45-50 employees, coaching, mentoring, hiring, policy development, and time management. Critical to this role was communication development and employee development. Crafting tools in this area and forming messages that were relatable to teams were the leadership skills that certainly came to her last, she states, as she was always mission minded. This is one regret but one area that she now highlights to new business owners as a priority – people are the priority.

Recognizing the inherent humanity in every individual, she emphasizes compassion, communication, and authenticity in her leadership approach. By fostering a work environment where people feel valued and understood, Dr. Demetra believes that loyalty, energy, and happiness naturally follow, ultimately contributing to the collective success of the organization and its community.

The establishment of Gordavi, LLC, holds special significance for Dr. Demetra, as it reflects her commitment to building a legacy for her family. The company’s name, a combination of her grandson’s last name, Gorham, and her own, Davis, embodies her desire to create a legacy for future generations. With the recent addition of a granddaughter, Demetra’s work is driven by the desire to create a security for her descendants.

Dr. Demetra’s personal journey has profoundly influenced her leadership philosophy. Suffering the loss of vision beginning in her 30’s, her career, being on a fast-track, took a quick halt. She found work to be exhausting, her normally long and fulfilling days to be painful with her eyes hurting most of the day and begging to close by the time she got home.

Dr. Davis realized that her time in the acute care setting was coming to an end and thus, started another degree plan for teaching. Her goal was to teach nursing since she would not be able to perform it in the settings that she was accustomed to being in. Teaching on-line would, in her mind, provide for continued contact with nursing and yet provide for time of respite for her eyes during the day. By the time she completed her preceptorship, she had left the acute care setting. Working in the hospital was no longer an option. Additionally, her Ophthalmologist (eye physician) had also taken her car keys (not literally) and said, “no more driving”.

Seeking employment following obtaining another master’s in nursing education proved difficult. Most employers required that their new instructor hires work in the physical classroom setting prior to working on-line. After completing the preceptorship and having taught master’s level nursing classes, size 55 students and the lighting the same as that of the hospital; Dr. Demetra knew how taxing in-classroom would be on her eyes. In all the changes and career transitions, the disappointments and unknowns that Dr. Demetra was now facing, she found solace in her faith knowing that her paths are directed by the Lord.

The Company

Gordavi, LLC specializes in business consulting and coaching, guiding both businesses and individuals towards their goals and success. Drawing an analogy to a horse and buggy, Demetra explains how coaching serves as a vehicle to propel people, processes, and programs forward. The overarching aim of Gordavi, LLC is to facilitate forward movement and progress for its clients.

Looking ahead, Demetra envisions an expansion of this positive forward momentum over the next five years. In addition to its core consulting and coaching services, Gordavi, LLC has also integrated technology solutions through its subsidiary, Gordavi Tech. This strategic move allows the company to address technology needs and process interruptions identified during consulting engagements. By leveraging existing client relationships and established trust, Gordavi Tech aims to become a preferred technology provider for government agencies, public corporations, and non-profits at the federal, state, and local levels.

Building upon partnerships with industry leaders like Dell, Verizon, Cisco, Microsoft, TD Synnex, and HP, Gordavi Tech seeks to broaden its network of collaborators in the technology sector. This expansion not only enhances the company’s service offerings but also contributes to its role as a community supporter. By growing its clientele in the technology space, Gordavi, LLC also aims to further its mission of aiding non-profits and other community organizations, thereby fostering positive impact and growth within the community.

Community, Communication, and Authenticity

Dr. Demetra’s ethos revolves around three fundamental values: community, communication, and authenticity. Within Gordavi, LLC, it is ingrained that giving back to the community is not just a duty but a core principle guiding their actions. This commitment is evident in the creation and support of several non-profit initiatives.

Take20ForLife, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit, stands as a beacon of hope in the realm of suicide intervention and prevention. With a motto of “Every minute matters…and YOU matter every minute,” the organization strives to educate individuals about suicide, emphasizing the importance of pausing to reflect on one’s thoughts. The ultimate goal is clear: if Take20ForLife, Inc. can save even one life, it considers its mission fulfilled.

Tennessee Urban Outdoors, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit, addresses a pressing need within the black and brown communities by promoting outdoor activities. Recognizing the health disparities prevalent in these communities, the organization seeks to mitigate risks associated with conditions like high blood pressure and mental health issues through outdoor engagement. By encouraging individuals to step outside, breathe fresh air, and connect with nature, Tennessee Urban Outdoors aims to enhance the overall well-being of Tennesseans.

Incarcerated Lives Matter, Inc., a 501 (c)3 non-profit, advocates for individuals who have been incarcerated, offering support and resources to facilitate their reintegration into society. Incarcerated Lives Matter, Inc. aims to provide alternatives for juvenile incarceration and prevent the initial pipeline into prison as then it becomes a way of life beginning with youth. This organization wants to instill education, first into them who that people are, the self-esteem and confidence that will hopefully make them know that prison is not for them. The goals are to incorporate transitional coaching before going in – to change their frame of mind and transitional coaching when the formally incarcerated are released, to support them and assist them into going back to their families, gaining employment, and initiating referrals to mental health as needed. These transitions are important, especially if prisoners have been in isolation. How does one know how to go from isolation into a full societal spectrum to employment? That is an important question especially when employment is an expectation. How are these members of society supported? Incarcerated Lives Matter is building a program inclusive of these products, art, education, coaching, and a podcast, so that space can be given to allow for the telling of their story. This marginalized population has a story also and speaking of it, it will work towards building their self-esteem. Dr. Davis states, “To the formally incarcerated, they have paid their price to society. For society, the price has to be paid for the rest of their lives. This is why there are questions on applications about having been incarcerated – so they can be weeded out. This is why there are background checks – so they can be weeded out. I’m not saying I don’t support knowing who is in the room – of course I do, but when does the sentence actually end as some of the offender’s offenses do not justify the life sentence that society gives them?”

Trusting Divine Guidance 

Dr. Demetra humbly acknowledges the divine source of her ingenuity, attributing her entrepreneurial ventures to the blessings and guidance bestowed upon her by the Lord. With a smile, she reflects on the continuous stream of ideas that seem to flow effortlessly, sometimes overwhelming her with their abundance. Despite being labeled as a serial entrepreneur, she sees each endeavor not as her own but as a manifestation of God’s work in her life, stating that “The Lord utilizes me, and we ‘co-create’ what is necessary to fulfill gaps that exist in this world that we live in. If I don’t do it, He will find someone else to do it because these organizations are necessary.”

Recognizing the importance of balance, Demetra prioritizes Gordavi, LLC as the foundation of her endeavors. Gordavi, LLC is the basis of all operations. Of course, there is no mixing of profit and non-profit; however, Gordavi, LLC does donate to the non-profits so that they can fulfill their missions.

How does all the work get performed? Dr. Demetra acknowledges the necessity of branching out and involving the boards of the non-profits in their initiatives. This shift reflects her realization of the limitations of trying to manage everything single-handedly, a trait she attributes to her past experiences of misplaced trust and harm. It’s hard to let go and allow others to help with things that one is so passionate about. Your businesses are extensions of yourself, and bringing people in to assist requires a great deal of trust. This is when “I have to lean on God and know that He has these non-profits in His hands and will ensure they are protected.” Dr. Demetra finds solace in the wisdom of Proverbs 3:5-6, trusting in the Lord’s guidance rather than relying solely on her own understanding. With the support of others and a steadfast reliance on divine guidance, she navigates her entrepreneurial journey with humility and determination.

Fostering a Culture of Communication, Trust, and Growth

Dr. Demetra emphasizes the value of open communication as a cornerstone of productivity and motivation within Gordavi, LLC. She believes in fostering an environment where every team member feels empowered to share their ideas and opinions, recognizing that collective contributions drive the progress of both Gordavi, LLC and its associated non-profits. Dr. Demetra ensures that everyone knows their voice is valued and encourages active participation from all members.

Confidentiality is another key principle upheld by Dr. Demetra in maintaining trust and fostering strong relationships within the team. She underscores the importance of creating a safe and confidential space where team members feel comfortable sharing their deepest thoughts and personal experiences without fear of judgment or breach of privacy.

As an advocate of continuous growth and development, Dr. Demetra advocates for mentorship and coaching as essential tools for personal and professional advancement. She recognizes the evolving nature of leadership styles and techniques and emphasizes the importance of seeking guidance from mentors and coaches to navigate these changes effectively. By investing in personalized growth and mentorship, Dr. Demetra ensures that both herself and her team are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in their respective roles.

Harnessing Technology for Growth and Impact

Technology plays a pivotal role in every facet of Gordavi, LLC’s operations. It has enabled the company to extend its coaching services to diverse populations, including those who are incarcerated and individuals with autism, across different states and even international borders. From its humble beginnings in a living room, technology has been instrumental in sustaining Gordavi, LLC’s growth and reaching countless lives over the span of five years.

As Gordavi, LLC continues to expand its reach and refine its services, technology remains a cornerstone of its portfolio. The incorporation of technology into Gordavi, LLC’s offerings has facilitated its evolution into a multifaceted business that spans hardware, software, artificial intelligence, and telecommunications. Through strategic partnerships and expert collaborations, Gordavi, LLC is positioned to meet the evolving needs of its clients and adapt to emerging technologies.

Looking ahead, Demetra envisions technology becoming an even more specialized and integral component of Gordavi, LLC’s services. With ongoing feedback from clients and insights gained from the market, the company aims to further enhance and tailor its technology solutions to meet the unique needs of its diverse clientele. By leveraging the power of technology, Gordavi, LLC is poised to excel in providing innovative and impactful services that drive positive outcomes for its customers.

Commitment to Social Responsibility

Dr. Demetra emphasizes Gordavi LLC’s deep commitment to social responsibility, aiming to make an indelible mark on the community through its philanthropic efforts. The company recognizes suicide as a pervasive issue and is dedicated to supporting initiatives aimed at combating multiple societal issues.

Dr. Demetra believes in destigmatizing conversations around suicide, ensuring individuals know they have access to support and resources, including the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. By promoting awareness and offering assistance, Dr. Demetra believes in the work that Take20ForLife, Inc. seeks to support aimed at suicide education, intervention, and prevention, as well as bereavement assistance, which are interventions that are critical and vital in eliminating the epidemic of suicide across the globe.

Moreover, as Demetra hails from Chattanooga, TN, she most certainly advocates for the promotion of health and well-being through the facilitation of outside activities in this state. With 57 states and 13 national parks, Tennessee is full of beauty with mountains, waterfalls, and ideal locations for hiking, fishing, biking, and more. profit, such as Tennessee Urban Outdoors, Inc. Why focus on the urban?  While all do indeed benefit from being outside, it has been researched that blacks and browns go outside less than their majority population counterparts. That said, understanding the reasons why, as well as the therapeutic benefits of spending time outdoors, becomes a priority. Not only does the government spend millions of dollars on parks and recreation each year that are not receiving their fair share of utilization by these communities, but the state of Tennessee, if incorporated properly, could potentially gain the benefit of less emergency department expenses as well as physician office visits requiring care for these conditions in the next few years as the index for outside utilization begins to climb higher. Admittedly, these are grand goals; however, if one does not set the goal, the goal can never be achieved.

Lastly, there is the continued influx and release of people from prison who may or may not receive any type of reconditioning, mental health services, or preparation for reentry into society. With the growth in the pipeline from the school system leading directly into the prison system; many people are not sure of the resources to prevent incarceration, if there are any, or if there can be any other means for a second chance. What about assistance while in the system? What happens regarding mental health check-ups, intermittent mindfulness, and communication with the incarcerated as they progress through (sometimes for many years) the system? Are we doing anything to make people better? To get them to change behavior, or are we locking them away in years, potentially creating anger and elevating the negative behaviors, and then releasing men and women into society without any form of assistance? Do we aim to train those who are incarcerated with usable life skills so that when they are released, they can find viable employment? Do we have employment or labor assistance come into the prisons to assist with referrals and have companies that are willing to hire formally incarcerated members? Are there programs to reunite the families? Did the family connection survive prison? Is anyone asking any questions?

Demetra feels strongly about people receiving services to help them when they need them. Should it be before, during, and/or after incarceration, then we need to figure out a way. Why wait until, as some say, “trouble comes knocking again?”  Instead of waiting, let’s teach life skills, find support systems, make healthy connections, and decrease recidivism. Behind the infraction and the reason for incarceration, there is still a person. “Yes, not all people can be rehabilitated, but reflecting on all as if they cannot is a crime in and of itself. When did we stop looking at people like they are not people?” This is why Dr. Demetra Davis is President of the non-profit Incarcerated Lives Matter, Inc.

Culture of Continuous Learning and Growth

Demetra underscores Gordavi, LLC’s commitment to continuous learning and personal development through its comprehensive training and master classes. These resources are not only extended to clients but also made readily available to the company’s own team members. With certifications from Wiley in DiSC personality assessment and the 5 Behaviors of a Successful Team, Gordavi, LLC equips its team and leadership with valuable insights into individual and team dynamics. Demetra emphasizes that participation in these certification courses offers not only professional growth but also personal enlightenment, allowing individuals to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their teammates.

Furthermore, mentorship opportunities and coaching recommendations are provided to team members, fostering a culture of support and growth within the organization. Gordavi, LLC also facilitates idea generation and collaboration through a shared task list, which includes space for new initiatives and projects. Dr. Demetra encourages team members to actively contribute their ideas and suggestions, ensuring that everyone has a voice and an opportunity to showcase their creativity and excellence.

In meetings, Dr. Demetra strives to maintain a collaborative atmosphere where team members feel empowered to share their thoughts and ideas. By providing a platform for individuals to express themselves and recognizing their contributions, Gordavi, LLC fosters a culture of inclusivity and collective growth. Demetra envisions Gordavi, LLC as a place where every team member can thrive and contribute to the company’s success.

Leadership Evolution

Dr. Demetra reflects on her evolution as a leader, acknowledging that her perspective on leadership has undergone significant transformation over time. In the past, she prioritized maintaining order and achieving results, viewing interpersonal relationships as secondary to productivity. This approach, while effective in smaller departments, proved alienating and unrelatable in larger settings, ultimately hindering her ability to inspire loyalty and connect with her team members.

Through introspection and learning experiences, Dr. Demetra recognized the importance of building meaningful relationships in leadership. She candidly acknowledges instances where, during her growth as a leader, she fell short of responding appropriately to the needs of her team members. These realizations prompted her to seek guidance from coaches, mentors, and educational pursuits, including obtaining her master’s in nursing education.

Dr. Demetra emphasizes the invaluable lessons she learned about the significance of investing in relational leadership. She acknowledges the pivotal role that mentors and coaches played in guiding her away from a more rigid and militant leadership style towards one characterized by empathy, mentorship, and genuine care for her team members. Reflecting on the influence of her Master Sergeant from the military, she appreciates the lasting impact of his leadership example and how he was able to balance giving instruction with giving care, concern, and compassion. This is an example from which she continues to draw inspiration. Thankfully, Dr. Demetra expresses with a smile that she has maintained several relationships throughout the 30 years in which she has grown up as a leader and maintains their respect, happily receives their questions still, and calls them friends. “Learning is a journey.”

Journey from Setbacks to Success

Dr. Demetra sees setbacks as opportunities for growth and redirection towards success. While Gordavi, LLC’s initial quest was to launch a mobile app and provide this as a business aimed at simplifying wedding planning, she encountered obstacles that prevented the app from reaching her vision. Despite the disappointment of this setback, Demetra recognized it as a turning point and began exploring government contracting opportunities.

She then pushed for certifications, and Gordavi, LLC is now certified as a woman-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, and minority business enterprise business entity. Dr. Demetra shifted her focus towards government contracts and business consulting, which she was very familiar with having started consulting in 2009. Ending the app development, she swiftly transitioned to applying for government contracts through the System for Award Management ( This decision marked the beginning of Gordavi, LLC’s journey as a government provider, opening doors to new opportunities and avenues for success.

In retrospect, Dr. Demetra views the transition from mobile app development to government contracting not as a setback but as a setup for success. The shift in trajectory enabled Gordavi, LLC to establish itself as a government provider and paved the way for its subsequent achievements in other areas, including nonprofit work and community involvement. By embracing change and seizing opportunities that may have presented themselves as failures, Dr. Demetra propelled Gordavi, LLC towards greater success and impact.

Overcoming Adversity with Faith and Resilience

Dr. Demetra faced significant trials in her early 30s when she began to experience vision loss due to a diagnosis of glaucoma. This seemed to be the beginning of physical issues for her. She has since been diagnosed with multiple chronic issues that may have made others simply stop and give up. Not her. The loss of vision did create a two year time frame where (here she laughs, she says to herself) Dr. Demetra went into a depression period and simply wondered what happened. She indicates that she thought, “Lord, you gave me the ability to obtain three degrees, to lead several people, to make a substantial salary, and to believe that I was on the track to having an extremely great career—what happened?” And it was with this question that she grappled for 2 long years. Then, she said, the Lord tapped her on the shoulder one day and asked, “Are you finished?” She laughs again. He asked me if I had finished feeling sorry for myself. I guess if he was asking, that meant I was. I got up and started Gordavi, LLC in 2018.

Despite being legally blind, Demetra found the courage and determination to launch her own business. Like caring for a newborn, building Gordavi, LLC required her full dedication and attention. Demetra embraced the newness of this journey, relying on her multitasking abilities, rapid learning, and persistence to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship.

Today, over five years later, Demetra reflects on the journey and the destination thus far, with gratitude for God’s favor and guidance. Despite the initial setbacks and uncertainties, Gordavi, LLC has flourished under her leadership, demonstrating the power of faith, resilience, and determination in overcoming adversity. Demetra’s story serves as a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the transformative power of faith in navigating life’s challenges.

Empowering Female Entrepreneurs

Dr. Demetra recognizes the remarkable growth of women-owned businesses over the past two decades, yet she remains steadfast in her aspiration for further progress. With women’s ownership hovering around 42%, Demetra encourages aspiring female entrepreneurs to persist in their endeavors while maintaining self-compassion. She acknowledges the challenges inherent in entrepreneurship, emphasizing the importance of resilience and the understanding that worthwhile achievements often require perseverance through difficulties.

In navigating the complexities of the business world, Demetra advises seeking mentorship and coaching. She emphasizes the value of having a trusted guide to offer perspective and support during moments of uncertainty or doubt. Recognizing that there will inevitably be challenging days, she underscores the significance of having someone to confide in and receive guidance from.

Above all, Demetra imparts her most cherished piece of advice: to lean on one’s faith. Drawing strength from Exodus 14:14, she finds solace in the belief that God is always fighting on her behalf, even in the midst of uncertainty and adversity. Through holding onto this faith, she encourages others to find their own source of strength and lean on it during times of struggle.

Success, Well-being, and Community Impact

Demetra envisions success for Gordavi, LLC as having a depth of technological knowledge for future clients who will be even more tech-savvy than they are today. We will provide the best compliance and start-up business services to meet our new entrepreneurs’ needs. We will provide life and business coaching to assist people in their quest for success in non-profit and for-profit businesses. Demetra encourages “following your dreams,

Also, Gordavi, LLC recognizes its responsibility to address societal challenges and seeks to be a catalyst to reinforce positive movement within communities nationwide. Through active involvement in community initiatives and philanthropic endeavors, Gordavi, LLC tries to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others and contribute to the greater good.