Born in North Carolina but known as a global citizen, Dr. Davis-DeFoe has made her presence felt in many areas of the world where people feel disenfranchised. Whether she's in Nigeria teaching the ladies to make and sell things so they can become independent, working in India, speaking at a conference in Egypt, being a humanitarian in Zimbabwe, teaching in the USVI, or taking a trip to Italy, the world is her home. I met Dr. DeFoe while serving as a member of the Greater Sunrise Kiwanis Club about five years ago. Her humble spirit drew me to her. I also noticed how passionate she was about helping the less fortunate and that her second home was the United States Virgin Island, where I had lived for eight years and where my son AJ was born.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Antioch University, Dr. DeFoe achieved her doctorate in management, focusing on Organization and Human Development. She is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and subscribes to their motto, "Service To All Mankind," which has always resonated in her heart and spirit. She was never content with the status quo, so she packed up her degrees and moved to the USVI in her early twenties with one of her sorority sisters. While there, she taught at Charlotte Amalie High School, but her main focus was on helping kids discarded by the school system. Realizing that she still needed direction and education to help her students, she moved back to the US. She worked in Community development alongside her late father, a city councilman, in helping low-income families. In 2007-2009 she returned to the USVI. She had to do what is in her heart, and she knew that more work was needed. Nothing could keep her away from her second home. She directed an alternative education and job training program for suspended students throughout the territory upon her return. Dr. DeFoe was instrumental in starting the first YMCA in the USVI, one of the many projects she has successfully initiated while finding time to write and speak at conferences and seminars.
One of the many accolades bestowed on her was the first Woman Chief by the ITAM CLAN in Abu Ibom State, Nigeria. She described the celebration as one which mirrored a scene from the movie coming to America. She is a widely recognized author and has authored such books as Soulful One: For Girls on the Pathway to Greatness, a rite of passage manual for girls; A Woman's Guide to Soulful Living: Seven Keys to Life and Work Success; Tropical Escapes, a novel; Kwabena and the Baobab Tree, a children's book, and Follow Her Lead: Leadership Lessons for Women as They Journey from the Backroom to the Boardroom. She has also contributed to many magazine articles empowering women and the disenfranchised. She was a part of the USVI Delegation who in 2011 traveled to Zurich, Switzerland, so that the YWCA USVI could become a fully affiliated YWCA with the World Council based in Geneva, Switzerland. She served as the General Secretary for the YWCA for five years and with Donnie Cabey Edwards, who started the Y Teens, leadership, and career development group for girls.
She's Currently doing program development consultancy projects with the Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections and the Wheatley Skills Center. At present, she's planning to return to the USVI to conduct Grant writing Training for Government, Grant writing for Nonprofits and Faith-Based Organizations, and Grant Management starting this month. Dr. DeFoe served as President of the Women's Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry - US Virgin Island Council, launched in December 2020. She's also creating a travel collection for women by women with the women's economic bank.
She lost both her parents a year apart, but they left her a legacy of service to others, which she continues to build on. Her humble spirit and passion for helping the less fortunate attract others to her. She remains most proud of her work to help girls become productive and independent women. She is also delighted that different organizations obtained many successful grants to improve the neediest world citizens' quality of life with her help. Anita speaks globally at conferences, retreats, seminars, and special events, spreading her inspirational messages, human development, social enterprise, and personal life solutions designed to transform people, processes, programs, and places.
Written by: Janet Young
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