I was really a handful as a young child. At age three or four, my mother and grandmother took me to Woolworth’s. The store was playing Motown hits, and, while they were busy shopping, I started dancing. When my mother turned around, she saw a crowd. People were even offering me money. My mother and grandmother were both embarrassed and tickled and quickly hustled me out of the store before I collected my tips.
Davida Nelums was not always able to dance so enthusiastically, because, when she entered high school, she was recovering from surgery on both feet and had to use a walker.
"I spent half of my freshman year in casts and wooden shoes," she recalls. "The athletic coaches were unsure of my ability to compete after being incapacitated by major surgery and recovery downtime. I had to work extraordinarily hard to overcome their perceptions and first impressions." But struggling on her own to literally and figuratively get herself back on her feet and into competition, Nelums was able to make the varsity basketball and softball teams – even as a freshman. Then, she went on to be the captain on every team she joined, winning numerous varsity letters and athletic-league accolades. "The lesson I learned was to never let others define you or to determine your path in life and to never give up," says Nelums.
Today, she expresses that leadership and can-do attitude in her role as program director for High Volume Installation at ADT Security Services. Nelums is responsible for all programs of the $139 million Residential & Small Business Installation division and the $1.7 billion recurring revenue business channel of ADT North America.
"The teams under her leadership have been repeatedly recognized for their tireless work ethic, personal integrity, and never-quit attitudes," says her Eagle Award nominator Jeff Ward, vice president of Residential and Small Business Installation for ADT Security Services.
"My parents inspired me to be the best I could be and to endeavor to be the best at whatever I chose to do. They role modeled a strong work ethic and integrity by example. My mother always advocated for being a leader in life." That motivated Nelums to become an officer in the Navy, where she was one of the few women in leadership positions.
"I have been blessed with the ability to motivate and mobilize people around a common goal. A strong team always accomplishes much more than people would individually. Empower them to make decisions and believe in positive intentions. Allow them the freedom to grow and learn by experience. People make the difference in anything one determines to undertake."
Nelums is also passionate about her community-service work to lend support to those around her. As a member of the leadership team for Green Initiatives at ADT/Tyco, for example, she helps to raise consciousness regarding daily activities that can improve the environment and reduce our overall carbon footprint.
CareerFOCUS Magazine and the National Eagle Leadership Institute® salute 2010 Eagle Award winner Davida Nelums.