Remembering Judy Davis

Columbia loses a great philanthropist, executive and role model


I’ve worked with lots of senior executives through the years, but without any doubt, the most amazing executive I’ve ever worked with was Judy Davis.

She passed away on Thursday.

Corporate communications at BlueCross was under Judy for most of my eight-year tenure. People often asked why our team reported to the chief legal counsel, but we didn’t mind. Judy was awesome to work for.

My most fond memory of Judy was when she approached me to help with a presentation for Enginuity SC Ignite, a Pecha Kucha style event here in Columbia. She was a masterful presenter*, but I had no idea what to expect. Most executive Powerpoints are dreadfully boring, and I wasn’t sure what she wanted.

She came to my office and we discussed pacing and style. She wanted all images and no words. She scripted a clean, easy to understand presentation. She wanted to take a complex business model and make it easy for anyone to understand. And I built exactly what she asked for. 

I couldn’t make it to the presentation, but everyone told me she hit a home run. She later thanked me for building her presentation, but the truth was that I learned more from her about presenting than I contributed to the project.

I’ve told many people that Judy Davis was my executive role model. She was intelligent, savvy, thoughtful, supportive and kind. Judy influenced the way I think about business, management and the role of design in a large organization.

She’ll be missed.

UPDATE: Cathy Monetti over at Riggs Partners wrote an amazing post that summarizes everything I wish I had written. Go read it now...

* She was a lawyer, after all.

Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. Follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram.