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Saint Leo University Features Notable Alumna at Free, Public Event on Mission-Driven Leadership

Conversations on Purpose on February 22 will be an interactive, interview-style talk with Memphis Police Department Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis, who will share how she strives to make a difference in her community.

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7 February 2022 - By Mary McCoy
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn C.J. Davis

Saint Leo University will welcome alumna and Memphis Police Department Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis to its residential campus in Pasco County, FL, on Tuesday, February 22, for an engaging conversation on mission-driven leadership. The Mission-Driven Leaders: Conversations on Purpose program will take place from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in the university’s Greenfelder-Denlinger Boardrooms and online via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public.

Davis, who was named the first female police chief for the Memphis Police Department in 2021, is a past president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and recently testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the matter of police reform in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. She has since been featured on “Good Morning America,” CNN, and other networks as a subject matter expert on this important topic.

The Mission-Driven Leaders: Conversations on Purpose program will feature an interactive, interview-style conversation with Davis, who will share her experience in leading with purpose and making a difference in her profession and society at large. Saint Leo University students who are studying criminal justice will attend the event and also have the opportunity to engage with her in small group conversations. 

“Mission-driven leadership is about working to achieve goals that make an impact and serve a greater good,” said Saint Leo University Vice President of Community Engagement & Innovation Mark Gesner. “Mission-driven leadership is not about position or title, rather, it’s focused on aligning your actions with your values to influence others to realize meaningful and positive outcomes.”

Davis graduated from Saint Leo University’s center at Fort McPherson in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice. Her career in law enforcement spans more than 35 years and includes several leadership positions while working for the Atlanta Police Department and serving as the chief of police for the City of Durham (NC). In 2008, Davis was selected by Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine, as one of 80 women for the O White House Leadership Project, Women Rule! The group, dubbed “Tomorrow’s Leaders,” benefited from meeting with some of the country’s trailblazers, which helped prepare Davis for her future.

Registration is required to attend the event at Saint Leo University (33701 County Road 52, St. Leo, FL 33574) or via Zoom at

COVID-19 protocols: Masks will be required by all individuals while indoors. This guidance is required regardless of whether the individual is vaccinated.

About Mission-Driven Leaders: Conversations on Purpose

As a values-based institution, Saint Leo University seeks to inspire and engage its students, faculty, staff, and the greater community in conversations about the significance of mission-driven leadership. The Mission-Driven Leaders: Conversations on Purpose program will feature four to five diverse guest leaders each year who have experience in leading with purpose and making a difference in their professions and society at large.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation, offering 62 degree programs to more than 15,800 students each year. Founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks and sisters, the private, nonprofit university is known for providing a values-based education to learners of all backgrounds and ages in the liberal arts tradition. Saint Leo is regionally accredited and offers a residential campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, 16 education centers in five states, and an online program for students anywhere. The university is home to more than 100,000 alumni. Learn more at

Media Contact: Mary McCoy, University Writer & Media Relations,, (352) 588-7118 or cell (813) 610-8416