Michellene Davis, Esq
Executive Vice President
West Orange, N.J.
When Michellene Davis, Esq., was an assistant public defender, she saw first-hand how often justice could be biased and sought to right as many wrongs as she could. Her arguments, largely based on public policy, helped her to successfully defend her clients and brought attention to the weaknesses in her state’s public policies. This passion for equality for communities of color led her to a career in health, starting as senior policy advisor in the New Jersey Department of Health. Today, Davis continues to focus on health equality as executive vice president for Barnabas Health, New Jersey’s largest healthcare system. She serves as the policy advisor to the system’s president and CEO on the development and implementation of the organization’s strategic policy direction, as well as engagement strategy with federal, state and local elected officials, regulatory agencies and key policymakers.
Prior to joining Barnabas Health, Davis was chief policy counsel to a New Jersey governor, the first African-American to hold this position. She oversaw the strategic development and execution of the governor’s statewide policy agenda. Davis was also the first African-American woman to hold the New Jersey Cabinet position of acting state treasurer, during which she administered a state budget of $30.4 billion and established the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Supplier Diversity and Division of Minority and Women-owned Businesses, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs. Davis has also served as the executive director and CEO of the 2.4 billion dollar New Jersey Lottery.
Despite her many awards and professional appointments, Davis remains humble. “I am a vessel and God is working through me,” she explains. “I try to keep a sense of humor and treat people well regardless of their desk or door.” Davis earned her juris doctorate and bachelor’s degree in English from Seton Hall Law and University.