The Illinois Manufacturer Association Magazine
Thirty-three years ago, Steve Davis turned his admiration for his father, William Edward “Will” Davis, and his drive for success into a Chicago-based business that is not only a leader in the lighting and electrical industry, but a business that is built on serving others. Steve started The Will Group with a vision of a business that would honor his father and would promote the core values of integrity, pride and hard work he was well known for. Today, Steve’s daughter Jessica is following the same path of servant-leadership and is leading others to successful positions of leadership as well. Jessica is the Chief Operating Officer at The Will Group and President of Industrial Electric Supply. She also serves as a member of the IMA Board of Directors. “You can’t be a leader without also being a follower,” Jessica said. “How you serve others is how you lead as well. My grand-father was a butler. Nowadays most people wouldn’t be proud to be a butler and to serve others, but my grandfather had so much pride in his job. His dedication to working hard and serving others is what this company is founded on.”
Jessica has taken her family’s tradition of servant-leadership and applied it to her position as the COO of The Will Group. Jessica graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois. She also received her law degree from the John Marshall Law School. She practiced business law at a law firm in Chicago and in Dallas so that she could bring a new set of skills to the table at her father’s company. Her goal has always been to further the family business and generate wealth in her community, but also to make her father proud.
“I remember growing up and seeing my dad tinkering with light fixtures around the house. He wanted to know everything about them – what made a fixture brighter and what made it last longer. I always remember him working very hard, and I always wanted to be just like him. I still do,” Jessica said.
Jessica’s father is a vibrant source of inspiration and motivation, just as his father was for him. Now, Jessica makes sure to be a role model for those that she hires, and to inspire them to achieve at their highest potential. One of these employees is LaDonna Adams.
Like Jessica, LaDonna also graduated from the University of Illinois. Though her position as Logistics Manager for The WillGroup is not her first job in the manufacturing industry, it has been a position that has allowed her to grow into herself and her confidence as a woman in manufacturing.
“If there’s a will, there’s a way,” LaDonna said with a smile, referencing the company’s motto. “I have a degree in mathematics and statistics, and experience with shipping and receiving, customer service, data analysis and inventory. I knew I had the skills for the job, and that’s why I applied for it. I’ve been the Logistics Manager at The Will Group since June of last year, and I just love the Davises. They run the business with open arms, and I feel like a part of the family. I can see myself growing with them.”
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