Trust is a key value of being a COSAM Champion for Mae Margaret Davis
Mae Margaret Davis is the office supervisor for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Her desire to help others goes beyond Parker Hall. Davis wanted to be a College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) Champion to help the entire college.
“I’ve always been someone who wanted to get involved in the company/organization I work for outside of my everyday role,” explained Davis. “I’m a really social person, so I like finding ways to get to know other people that I don’t normally get to work with, while also giving back. This seemed like a really good fit for me. My friends have always told me that I’m great at listening and giving advice or working through things, and to be able to do that in the workplace with issues that affect our entire college community was very rewarding.”
The group of dedicated professionals represents the entire college and helps any faculty, staff or student by listening to them.
“Communication is paramount to the success of any organization, and COSAM Champions is a great way to show that we want that to be one of our guiding characteristics, as well. One of the most important things I’ve learned in my career thus far is that people want to be seen and heard. When something goes wrong, a person’s frustration can often be diffused just by them having an outlet to communicate those frustrations. But I think the thing that sets COSAM Champions apart from other methods is that it’s not just a suggestion box or an anonymous reporting system, but a way in which people can really talk through their issues with someone else – be seen and heard – and come up with next steps that actually work to address the problem rather than just venting. It also relieves people of concerns about retaliation, which – justified or not – is something people are concerned about anytime they need to address an issue involving another person with whom they work. I think COSAM has done a great job of creating a system that can truly work for all of its constituents,” Davis said.
One of the most influential people in her childhood was Reverend Beth Thomason. This mentor helped her see the value in giving back to others.
“Aside from the fact that Rev. Thomason was a great spiritual leader in my life, she also guided all of us in her youth groups in a way that showed she saw us and valued us as individuals and that we all had things to contribute to the world in our own ways. I know that sounds cheesy, but she truly has a way of making everyone know that they are needed in this world. To be able to do that with teenagers who are going through some of the most pivotal and trying years of their lives is a true gift. I try to embody a lot of those wonderful characteristics that she has whenever I’m interacting with others, especially in a role like COSAM Champions. Even years after graduating high school, we’re still incredibly close, and I will always be grateful for the ways she has helped me become the person I am today,” Davis added.
With this passion to help instilled in her, Davis was excited to become a COSAM Champion.
“I knew as a Champion, I could offer active listening and empathy to this team,” Davis shared. “I always like to specify ‘active listening’ instead of saying ‘good listener,’ because active listening involves not just hearing what a person says, but really thinking about how what they’re telling you impacts them – even if it’s different from how you think that same issue might impact you. I think empathy is equally important because to be empathetic doesn’t mean you take on someone else’s problem, but that you’re capable of understanding how similar issues make you feel and how important it can be to sit with that person in the moment. I’m a ‘fixer’ by nature, but I’ve also learned that it can sometimes be equally – if not more – helpful to just be there for a person without creating a solution.”
She offers her advice to anyone in COSAM who could benefit from talking out a problem with a COSAM Champion.
“I would convey that we can be trusted. I think trust is one of the most important things about any kind of relationship, and I know that people often feel hesitant to share things with others for fear of not knowing if they can trust the person with their information. I would also want them to know that speaking with a COSAM Champion doesn’t have to feel formal and intimidating. It can be over coffee or at lunch, and it can be as formal or casual as the person is comfortable with. We ultimately just want our college to be the best it can be, and problem solving and constructive conflict resolution are huge parts of that,” she said.
Davis encourages employees or students to use the help available from the COSAM Champions.
“I’ve definitely had a couple of great experiences so far, and I’ve seen how the program can be successfully utilized. I really enjoyed being able to assist people during a trying time, and I was honored that someone would place their trust in me to help them. I don’t take that lightly, and I hope to be able to help others in similar ways,” Davis shared.
If you need help or have an issue that you want to talk to about, take a moment to contact a COSAM Champion.