Release Date: 
Thursday, April 22, 2021

HFC welcomes Assistant Director of Performance, Development, and Engagement Tracye Y. Davis

Headshot of Tracye Davis

HFC welcomes its newest member of the HR team, Tracye Y. Davis, the Assistant Director of Performance, Development, and Engagement.

“HFC is iconic as one of the oldest, most reputable, and most popular educational institutions in Michigan, so I have always considered the College as one of my goals in terms of places to work. When I began looking for my next role, I made a conscious decision to apply only to positions in organizations where I could feel a sense of purpose, contribution, and value,” explained Davis, of Wayne.

Davis began in late March. She currently reports to Dr. Lori Gonko, HFC Vice President of Strategy and Human Resources. She confessed the title of the position intrigued her.

“I felt that any organization having the insight to understand how all three components must be integrated together was worth taking a closer look,” said Davis. “When I read the position description summary, I really liked the idea that this wasn’t a job focusing solely on training, but how finding the right talent, developing current talent, and ensuring a culture where that talent feels engaged is what creates an environment for high performance.”

Educational background

Born in Westland, Davis is a graduate of the former Inkster High School. She began her undergraduate career at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and transferred to Spring Arbor University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in education. Davis earned her master’s degree in education with a focus in curriculum design and adult learning from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., which she first joined at UM-Dearborn.

Currently, Davis is working on her doctoral degree in higher education administration at the University of Phoenix, which is headquartered in Phoenix, AZ. She expects to complete her dissertation and defend it this August. Davis is also working on her Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion certification at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY through its eCornell online education program. This is the latest on her long list of certifications that include DiSC, MBTI & Keirsey, Senn-Delaney, 10 Lenses, and Association for Talent Development (ATD) certified trainer, et al.

Hooked on non-traditional education for non-traditional students

Davis has more than 15 years in the education field. She has also worked as a radio DJ, managed a chain of music stores, and created programs for the gaming industry, museums, municipalities, and community-based and faith-based organizations.

She began her career in education with grant for a program through the State of Michigan called Project EDGE (Education Designed for Gainful Employment).

“This is where I became hooked on non-traditional education for non-traditional students. From there I became an Employment, Training, and Placement Director, then the Executive Director of Operations, Training, and Organization Development for a small consulting firm. I was offered the opportunity to become a principal/superintendent of an alternative high school with a new approach to education specifically aimed at graduating students who were significantly at risk of dropping out,” said Davis.

Afterward, Davis moved into higher education, holding a number of positions with responsibilities for more than 16 schools across Detroit and Grand Rapids, as well as across the United States and Canada, including:

  • Campus Vice President
  • Acting President of Schools
  • Regional Director of Operations, Finance, and Admissions
  • National CSC Default Prevention Manager
  • National CSC Campus Relations Manager

Desire to change the perception of HR

Eventually, Davis returned to training and development as a Curriculum Assessment Center Manager for Development Dimensions International. In this position, she did training for Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Toyota in plants across the U.S.

Before coming to HFC, Davis’ was Senior Manager, Training and Organization, Certification, and Quality Assurance – Digital Services at an allied health college in Houston, TX.

“Although I have worked with HR departments in some capacity over the years, this is the first position where I have been ‘officially’ a member of the HR team,” said Davis.

In her new position at HFC, Davis will be responsible for the design, development, implementation, administration, and facilitation of the talent acquisition, performance management, training, and engagement processes. She will also develop initiatives and strategies that aid in fostering a high-performance culture. She hopes to continue changing the perception of HR.

“I analogize it to being a high school principal where people thought coming to my office meant some sort of punishment,” said Davis. “I want people to see the department as a resource – their ‘go to’ for more than just forms or paperwork.”

Impressed by HFC’s mission statement

“I am thrilled to welcome Tracye to the HR team,” said Gonko. “She brings extensive experience in the areas of talent acquisition and employee development, both of which are areas we would like to enhance at HFC. Tracye also brings an infectious energy and an excitement for her work that resonated with me from our first conversation. I am confident she will be an asset to the HR team as we continue to build a positive, collaborative partnership with our stakeholders College-wide.”

For Davis, education can be the difference between promise or peril. She quoted former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“'Those who receive a quality education can overcome and lift themselves up, and those who receive a poor education may find significant limitations in employment, earnings, quality of life, and even life expectancy,'” she said. “I LOVE that in the first line of the mission statement is ‘Henry Ford College transforms lives and builds better futures.’ I love that the mission includes empowerment, development, diversity, success, and exceeding expectations. Working in education with the opportunity to assist individuals grow, achieve, and succeed is a privilege I don’t take lightly. My ultimate goal is for everyone at HFC, regardless of title, to understand how significant and influential they are in the student experience – an experience that affects not just the individual but their families, our communities, and our nation.”