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Crafting a Career Story

January 19, 2024 Erica Hulse

“Eileen not only cared about my academic success but also cared greatly for my well-being outside of school…[she] helped me expand on some business plans of my own and…put me in contact with other colleagues to help give me more specific guidance in that industry,” shared Innovation MBA graduate Keyera Jones, when reflecting on the impact former Ulmer Career Management Center Director Eileen Davis made on her graduate experience. With a passion for people and the unique stories they share, Davis made it her professional mission to aid those College of Business students and alums she advised to look at themselves, the work they were doing, and their professional dreams and goals through a new lens. “I want people to empower themselves by understanding themselves better,” she explained. “They don’t see how good they are, and my job is to find whatever they can contribute that’s different from what other people contribute.”

Having decided to retire from the College in January 2024, Davis leaves behind a 20-year legacy she built from the ground up with the launch of the College’s dedicated career center, named after a generous donation by Helen and Dan Ulmer. Today, the Center provides lifetime career coaching to all degree-earning graduates of the College, resume services, mentorship, and interview preparation, and it hosts career fairs geared toward business students and graduates. Senior Executive Director Vernon Foster spoke of the importance of the positive changes that Davis made not only in the development of the Center but also in the individuals she assisted along the way. “For the people around her and those who sought her counsel…she was highly impactful in their lives. Empathetic and caring, she gave a little piece of herself to each person she worked with. We will always cherish her influence on the UCMC.”

As she steps into the next phase of her life, Davis spoke to the strength of the Center’s staff, who she noted are well-prepared to navigate the landscape of career coaching as it grows and evolves, continually and successfully serving students and alums of the College. “I feel very comfortable that the Ulmer Career Management Center will evolve and continue to produce the results we’ve been producing because I know I can leave it to Paige Erhart, Greg Priester, Chester Delph, and Colin Gatenbee. I mean, these people are all very good at what they do, and it’s nice to know that I can retire because there’s a great team here.”

From Counselor to Counseling

Davis’ fascination with learning the stories of people, cultures, and events began early in her life, eventually leading her to earn her bachelor’s degree in history. Upon graduating and recognizing the need for a versatile advanced degree, Davis decided to pursue her Juris Doctor. While she opted to work outside law upon graduation, she noted, “I think I learned to think differently – to unpack problems differently. It was a whole different way of looking at issues and problems.”

Through this newfound perspective, Davis used her knowledge to move into the field of human resources, taking on both specialist and more general HR roles before coming to the University of Louisville. She explained, “I was running a career center for LG&E employees…and Frank McKinney…he’d heard that I was running this career center, and it was going well, so he called me up and said, ‘Would you like to help us out?’ I came in as a consultant, and I ran a few workshops. The Ulmer Center was going to open in 2006. So, they created a full-time role, and I interviewed for it, [and it] worked out well.” 

The Power of People

Reflecting on her most impactful experiences within the College, Davis noted the impact faculty bring to the practical educational experiences of students. “I think…[our] faculty understand the connection between education and work more than you might see at some other colleges…and [understand] there are outcomes that are beyond just having knowledge.” Going on to share more about the professional and personal relationships she has built with staff members, she highlighted the commitment to education shown by staff on both an individual and collective level. “That’s inspired me – to [be able to] work with so many very smart people with really good ideas. Many people are focused on the outcome here – helping students with whatever they need so they can have productive [and] successful lives and careers in however they define success. It’s [been] pretty cool to work in a place that cares about human development as a goal and an outcome.”

Weaving a Future Path

Davis also elaborated on the future of career consulting with advisees as artificial intelligence (AI) software continues to be used to create and enhance resumes. “It’s going to give us a lot of great tools that we can use to train students in using the best of AI and avoid the pitfalls and the things that are not serving them well.” Looking ahead to the rapid growth of online learning, Davis also explained that aiding the online student and alum population will most likely continue to be an area of focus and development. “I’m sure there are going to be more ways to engage with online students because we’re going to continue to grow the online population. We always have new things coming up.”

Passionate about continuing to learn the stories of others and her self-development, Davis noted that while she may be retiring from the College, she is not yet ready to leave work behind. “I plan to keep working for a while. I’m going to continue career coaching because it’s a mission for me to do that,” she shared. Elaborating on one of her favorite hobbies, she noted, “I’m a knitter. So, I’m going to continue doing that…because I think making things with your hands is a very important activity for people, and they don’t always realize it. I think you use different brain connections, but I like it because you get to talk to people and interact.”

You can reach the Ulmer Career Management Center at or 502.852.7756.

About the UofL College of Business:

Founded in 1953, The UofL College of Business fosters intellectual and economic vitality in our city, region, and the global business landscape. Our academic programs, research, community outreach initiatives, and commitment to student success inspire lives and businesses to flourish through entrepreneurship, innovation, critical thinking, diversity, and the power of people.

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