Jo-Alice Davis is green and gold to her core. She’s been a UAB student. She met her husband when he was a student at UAB. And both of her children were born here.
“I bleed green,” she says.
Davis also has been an exemplary employee for 26-plus years — working in research, recruiting new employees, providing compensation analyses and being the Oracle and BrassRing guru in her most recent position. As manager of Human Resources Administrative Systems, Davis is a respected colleague to the many whom she provided support — qualities that have made Davis November’s Employee of the Month.
As the Oracle and BrassRing specialist — systems she says others love to hate — Davis has fielded many a query from all parts of campus.
What do I do now? What does this mean? How did I get here? Where do I go? Can you help me, please? Why is this happening to me?
From conception to implementation, Davis has tested, documented, trained and counseled countless employees regarding the appropriate and most effective use of the two systems.
“She has been and is — for all intents and purposes — the calm voice,” says Anita Clemon, director of Human Resources Compliance. “Whenever anyone across campus, including me or my staff, has questions about functionality or requests for clarification of programming intent or expectation, we call Jo-Alice. She is the person we trust to give us a methodical and experienced answer to all of our whys.”
Clemon is one of many co-workers who refer to Davis’ calm demeanor in times of confusion as one of her greatest strengths. It’s a role Davis has gladly accepted and embraced.
“I’m so glad people saw I was calm,” Davis says. “A lot of times people get so frustrated they don’t see the solution right in front of them or the little icon right over to the side that they have to click. And sometimes it’s just as simple as taking a good deep breath, looking at the screen again and saying, ‘Let’s try this.’”
Davis also helps in other ways.
As director of fiscal affairs for the College of Arts & Sciences, Terry Allen essentially is the workflow officer for 55 different newly created organizations within the college. Before the Workflow Approval Maintenance system was updated to its present user-friendly status, Allen had the laborious and time-consuming task of updating the workflow in the old and new organizations. Davis offered to go into Oracle from a programming standpoint and make numerous changes for Allen to help him out.
“She literally saved me weeks of time that I desperately needed for other projects with the inception of the College of Arts & Sciences,” Allen says. “Her pleasant and professional demeanor always made it a pleasure to discuss problems with her and to make requests of her. She accepted every request with a smile in her voice, and her expeditious results were incredible.”
Joan Davis, director of administrative and fiscal affairs in Development, Alumni and External Relations, says Davis’ technical, professional and personable skills are unmatched and a tremendous asset to the university.
“Jo-Alice is the one who can help when nobody else can,” Davis says. “She is the one who is still on campus when everyone else has gone home. She is as concerned about the problem as the person seeking help, and she knows how to solve your problem. And even though she handles many challenges throughout the day, you feel like you have her complete attention when she is helping you. She has a way of lifting people up and seeing the positive side of any problem. She brings the joy back into work.”
Every hurdle she helped fellow employees jump with her patience, endurance, resolve and laughter will have to be cleared by others now. Jo-Alice retired at the end of November, ready for new challenges outside of her green and gold roots. But then you never know — you just may see her around.
“Many of the best parts of my life have occurred here,” she says. “I told everyone at my reception that I’m going to have to reinvent myself. One of the roles I have yet to play is that of a volunteer; I’m looking forward to assuming that role next.”