On her way to attend the 30-year reunion of her Batesville High School 1989 class, Jennifer Jones “JJ” Davis reminisces about her life as a student, and how her time at the University of Arkansas laid the foundation for her public affairs and communications career.
JJ always knew she wanted to attend the University of Arkansas. “Most of my family went to school here. My Aunt Susie was a cheerleader in the 1970s at the U of A, and we went to all the Razorback games! The University was such a big part of all my experiences when I was growing up.”
Continuing her family legacy and longstanding tradition, JJ started school at the U of A and followed in her mother and aunt’s footsteps pledging Tri-Delta where she later helped fundraise for the new sorority house. One of her favorite classes was a marketing course where she formed a group to come up with a marketing plan for an ice-cream shop. That was an up-close peek into the realm of real-life experiences – outside the classroom – for a 19-year-old JJ.
She took all this learning along with her vivacious personality and a strong sense of activism to Washington, D.C. right after completing her bachelor’s degree in Communications in 1993. In D.C., JJ interned for Senator David Pryor. “It was a great time to be an active student Democrat and be involved in politics with President Bill Clinton in the White House.” This internship was the commencement of her government affairs and public relations career.
Her enthusiasm and passion for bettering the world led her to take her first full-time job in Little Rock working in state government. The excited 22-year-old became the correspondence secretary for Governor Jim Guy Tucker. Her responsibilities included responding to constituents, writing and getting letters and press releases to the public and even traveling with him to a county fair. JJ’s next role was to run the volunteer effort for his re-election campaign. “Managing 800 volunteers was intimidating, but it was great experience.”
To excel at the art of public relations and how it relates to government affairs and public policy, JJ started work at Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods (CRJW). She soon learned that one can drive a lot of good in the world while doing the same for a company’s bottom line. This has been JJ’s focus and philosophy throughout her career. She took this wisdom with her to Dell in 2000 and worked there for 17 years in a variety of communication jobs.
In 2018, JJ briefly worked at Tyson Foods as Vice President, Corporate Communications. “Tyson is a great company with a commitment to family, diversity and inclusion I so admire.” Fate ultimately took her back to Austin to serve as Dell Technologies’ Senior Vice President of Global Communications. “I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to let my kids go back home to Austin.”
While she may live back in the heart of Texas, this U of A alumna continues to come home for football games and wears Razorback red quite frequently. All the people she works with the know how to Call the Hogs! That is just a glimpse into how much she carries and cherishes her Home on The Hill.
JJ and her husband David have three wonderful boys – 15, 13 and 10 years old. Apart from being a loving mom and wife, she is also a terrific sister. She camped out all day in the early 90s when Nolan Richardson was the head basketball coach to get her then 14-year-old brother’s basketball signed by all the Razorback players. Since Todd Day had already left practice, “Big O” (Oliver Miller) jumped in her Black Honda Prelude (with his head sticking out of her sunroof because he is so tall) to drive up the hill so she could have Todd’s signature on the ball as well!
We hope to see JJ in her Razorback attire this game season! Go Hogs!