A minister, motivational speaker, writer and family genealogist passionate about healing and building lives and community through the sacred art of storytelling.
My writing and storytelling roots run deep in the sacred soil of my family history and African American heritage. This is where the seeds of my curiosity, poetic murmurings and genesis as a seeker, healer and family historian were were first sown.
My parents, Arthur and Thelma Davenport, a devoted, pioneering Black couple, were steeped in the love,values, traditions and the coming- of-age stories from growing up in the same, strong close-knit southern community during the Great Depression and Jim Crow era. I received their stories and ancestral memories as sacred gifts.
The stories my parents and other elders shared with us children anchored me during my formative years as my father's military career upended our lives and constantly moved us to different regions of our racially divided country and Europe during the racially turbulent fifties and sixties. Ancestral stories nurtured and sustained me through the many identity crises and feelings of not belonging which haunted me well into my adulthood.
My love of reading, stories, Black history and later writing. proved to be powerful pathways for deep spiritual healing and growth. In the eighties, I struggled through divorce, single-motherhood, trauma and a host of other challenges, including the tragic death of my older brother. Writing not only sustained me, it put food on the table. Somehow, God caused the Universe to conspire on behalf of my pen, my lifelong passion and purpose and opened doors for me in the predominately white, white-male dominated newspaper industry.
I embraced my calling, and as well as its burden: To provide a voice and informed perspectives on Black and Brown lives, our communities and issues in environments where little was known or understood about our history or our lives. I saw myself as a creative and social disruptor
Becoming a journalist was a dream come true for me. After almost 20 years of reporting, editing and later opining the daily news, I received new marching orders from the Divine. My season in newspapers was fruitful but temporal. I had broken a glass ceiling, establishing myself as the first Black and first Black woman editorial page editor at my hometown newspaper in Springfield, Mass. Then, as an innovator and award-winning journalist at The Hartford Courant where, as a writer and member of the editorial board. I originated commentary series exposing Connecticut's slave history.
I packed my pen and media toolbox and carried them into the 21st century world of nonprofits in philanthropy, public policy and higher education to champion good causes as a senior leader and executive in marketing and communications.
These, and many more, are the experiences, wisdom and tools, I bring to my business and ministry. I founded Davenport Coaching Solutions in 2014 to help mission-driven leaders and enterprises connect with the deep purpose and passion of their lives and work. This is the source of true power.
Today, I am answering the call to public ministry in the African American Methodist Episcopal Zion Church when many of my peers are retiring. Each step along this new territory feels like grace as well as a riotous act of resistance in a society with limited notions of life for women, Black people, and people over the age of 50. I celebrate fitting the description of all three.
Each step of this journey, in this season is a praise hymn of gratitude to the God who liberates, heals and sustains me. My greatest spiritual awakenings in the theology of love and wisdom training have come through the Ministry of Motherhood. I studied at Hartford Seminary, where I graduated from the Women's Leadership Institute and was a cohort in the 2018-2019 Yale Clergy Scholar Program at Yale Divinity School.
I started my paper chase at Boston University back in the day, and earned a B.S. degree in social work
from the University of Wisconsin.
I am grateful for all the colors woven in my life. Faith, family and stories are the silver threads running throughout the eclectic experiences of my life. They sparkle and shine in testimony to the redeeming power of God's love and grace. When I lose my way, they are the sacred threads that show me the way home.
― Janet Davenport, DIVINEPORT
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