If Miriam D. Davis had the chance to live her life over, she wouldn’t change a thing. Everything she went through in her younger years led her to social work, her true calling. She genuinely loved her career, and is proud to have helped so many people. Ms. Davis began her journey wanting to pursue religion, but felt unfilled after two years in the field. She wasn’t sure what to do until a chance encounter with her sister’s friend led her to social work. At the time, all that was required was a college degree and a desire to better the lives of others, and Ms. Davis definitely qualified. She proceeded to apply for and obtain a position as a child welfare worker in the Stanly County Social Service Department in North Carolina in 1961, and the rest was history.
Ms. Davis’s tenacity and passion attracted the notice of her peers and superiors, and she found herself quickly moving up the ranks. In 1965, she accepted a job as the supervisor of children’s services at the Catawba County Department of Public Welfare, and 18 months later, a colleague recommended her to the North Carolina State Office. Her responsibilities with the latter included assisting the eight counties assigned to her with difficult cases, training, and state manuals. Ms. Davis found that, in between her monthly visits, the counties had a serious lack of communication and guidance. To fix the issue, she formed a group of supervisors that met quarterly for an entire day to share problems and solutions. Additionally, she took them and some higher-ups from the state department on a week-long retreat once a year. The others got to know each other better, and when Ms. Davis wasn’t available, they began to go to each other for help. This networking really bolstered the productivity of the agencies.
After nearly two decades in children’s services, however, Ms. Davis was offered a position as a field consultant for adult services. She decided to make the leap, and spent the next 10 years in that capacity. She retired in 1997, thrilled with all the places her career took her. Ms. Davis was able to offer direct services to clients ranging from infants to the elderly, help improve inter-state relations among her peers, and make a difference in the lives of so many. In recognition of her efforts, she was honored with the Opal L. Moretz Alumni Service Award from Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2016. She was also featured in Who’s Who of American Women and Who’s Who Among Human Services Professionals.
To prepare for her endeavors, Ms. Davis obtained a Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina in 1969 and a Bachelor of Art in religious education from Lenoir-Rhyne University in 1959. She was certified by the National Association of Social Workers.