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Michigan State University

Shaniqua Davis is Finding Her Purpose

Shaniqua Davis

Shaniqua Davis is Finding Her Purpose

At her upstart, Chicago-based company, Noirefy, Davis brings together minority professionals and inclusive-minded companies.

Upon earning her degree in Media and Information Technology from MSU in 2013, Shaniqua Davis entered the professional world bright-eyed and energetic, eager to contribute and driven to succeed.

Quickly, though, Davis found herself dissatisfied and unfulfilled, struggling to find purpose while being shoehorned into different corporate roles.

“I was bored and felt like a number,” she said. “But more than anything, I felt I wasn’t living up to my potential.”

So, Davis decided to carve her own path. To do so, the Detroit native leaned heavily on her MSU experience, where she learned to balance schedules, access resources and capitalize on opportunities—undeniable assets for her plunge into entrepreneurial waters—as both a first-generation college student and a young mother with the help of the campus Student Parent Resource Center.

“As long as I’ve been an adult, I’ve been a parent, and the Student Parent Resource Center provided life-changing help for me,” Davis said.

In 2016, Davis jumped into the entrepreneurial life with the debut of  Noirefy, a digital platform designed to drive diversity and inclusion in the workplace. A of sorts, Noirefy connects employers actively seeking to cultivate a more diverse workplace in today’s multicultural world with professionals hungry to expand their career horizons at companies with a demonstrated interest in nurturing minority talent.

Four years after its launch, the new company now boasts a database of some 30,000 professionals, a swelling network of high-growth startups and Fortune 500 enterprises, and a burgeoning public profile that includes attention from major media outlets such as Forbes and Marie Claire.

“We’re providing a trusted, curated and transparent experience,” Davis said. “Candidates get direct access to companies actively looking for them, while companies get marketed as a diversity champion alongside exposure to minority talent they’re not necessarily finding through their existing channels.”

“My goal is to unlock opportunities for minority professionals and position them to be change-makers.” Davis cites one recent Washington, D.C.-based candidate who accepted a leadership position with a tech startup in Chicago that came with a $120,000 salary—double her previous earnings—and an equity stake in the upstart company.  

“I love her story because she struggled to find a position that recognized her value as an engineer and a firm that truly valued diversity,” Davis said.

Moving into 2021, Davis aims to make Noirefy the premier diversity partner for companies, particularly high-growth startups where minority leaders can actively shape an organization’s culture and values. While continuing to explore experiential events, Davis is also plotting a new project management tool that will focus on the ever-accelerating remote workforce.

Though Davis acknowledges diversity can be a “draining industry”—companies, she noted, have far too long “sat on the values they espouse”—and confesses the entrepreneurial journey has been a taxing adventure, she relishes living a life reflective of her potential and her purpose.

“My passion to cultivate a more diverse workplace has never waned,” she said. “I’m going to continue pushing through, because there’s much more to achieve.”

For video of Davis being interviewed on campus:

Contributing Writer(s): Daniel P. Smith

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