ALBANY — Activist, mentor and leader are just a few words CSEA President Mary E. Sullivan used to describe Capital Region Executive Vice President Shana Davis before presenting her with our union’s Danny Donohue Leadership Award for State Government.

“Few leaders are as humble as Shana is while providing the knowledge, wisdom and guidance she does on a regular basis,” said Sullivan.

Davis received the award at the 112th Annual Delegates Meeting in New York City in October.

Davis played a key role in our union’s state contract negotiating team for the last three contracts. In addition to working with other team members and CSEA staff on the agreement, which was ratified last year, Davis met with members both online and in person to discuss the contract details.

A state Department of Taxation & Finance employee, Davis became active in our union in 1989. 

Capital Region Executive Vice President Shana Davis makes a point on the convention floor with great support from CSEA officers and delegates at the 2022 AFSCME International Convention.

She quickly became involved in union efforts that set her on a leadership path that today finds her active on numerous committees, both statewide and in the Capital Region as well as board seats, including serving as an AFSCME delegate and as state Department of Taxation & Finance Local Secretary. Davis also serves as president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists’ (CBTU) Capital District Chapter.

With so many avenues of activism, Davis is guided by a core set of leadership principles.

“You have to follow in order to lead,” said Davis. “Knowing you are not in this alone and there is always a level of accountability, I urge leaders to be susceptible to it and be intentional in your leadership.” 

Sullivan praised Davis’ approach to leadership.

“She’s not afraid to speak up and let you know exactly what she thinks while still being respectful,” said Sullivan. “She has risen through the ranks by listening, really understanding what the issues and challenges are, and using her powerful voice to make positive changes that make a difference.” 

— Therese Assalian


About Author

Therese has been working as the Capital Region Communications Specialist since 2002 handling all facets of internal and external communications for the region. Therese started her career at a Madison Avenue Public Relations firm and held several positions in public relations, marketing and event planning in corporate and non-profit roles in New York and Pittsburgh prior to moving to the Capital Region in 1999. Therese holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Communication Studies and is also a published freelance writer on travel, food and the arts.

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