Agnes C. Davis is a renaissance woman with a mission to inspire, empower and inform. She is a unique individual who has lived through the seasons of life and weathered a few harsh winters along the way, both personally and professionally. Now in her mid-50's, Ms. Davis has reinvented herself and is reveling in the spring of her rebirth. She has successfully launched a swim company, now in its 9th year, and is enjoying her role as a health and wellness advocate.
Davis is the CEO of swim swim swim I SAY, a successful sports and recreational business with several dedicated staffers, servicing over 100 clients. As a cardiovascular perfusionist at a top New York City hospital, she has worked alongside some of New York’s top surgeons including Dr. Mehmet Oz, managing the heart/lung machine during open heart surgery.
“Having a full-time job on a cardiac surgical team, I know the importance of putting one's self as a priority. I have dedicated myself to total health and fitness by staying active, swimming, working out, eating healthy and getting my mind right. My gift is teaching wellness and courage. A great accomplishment is when I see a student who had a fear of water jump into the pool; or an adult, who once complained of achy joints, now in the pool getting fit and active. That’s good stuff,” says Agnes.
Davis’ passion as an advocate for health, wellness and swimming, has been lauded and featured in national platforms, such as: Associated Press, USA Today, WBLS-FM Steve Harvey Morning Show, NBC Weekend Today, ABC News, Yahoo Parenting, Miami Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, Jones.com, The Network Journal, Washington Post, as well as Black Enterprise, Crain's New York Stories, and Sirius XM Radio.
Becoming an Entrepreneur
In 2008, Davis abruptly lost her job as a cardiovascular perfusionist. As a result, she decided to tap into her entrepreneurial spirit and launch a swim company. “My parents were successful entrepreneurs and the ultimate inspiration. When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade with brown sugar. Always do what you love naturally, and the rest will happen organically. I’ve been swimming since the age of two, and the water is my super power,” laughs Agnes. Being the only female and minority-owned swim company in New York, swim swim swim I SAY, is dedicated to student learning, exemplary communication between parents and instructors, fostering a safe environment and celebrating individual success.
The CDC, Centers for Disease Control, writes, "The best means to prevent water-related injuries is to learn how to swim." Davis’ business was motivated by the disparity of blacks and Hispanics drowning three times more than any other ethnic group. In addition, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children. Needless to say, swim swim swim I SAY, was conceived and birthed. Agnes says, “My company has become a leader and force in instructional swimming. We have a unique approach in teaching students with a fear of water. sssIS has the only copyrighted and trademarked Fear of Water to Loving the Water Swimming Curriculum™©.
Challenges of the Job
Davis is a master juggler. As an entrepreneur with a full-time career, she works tirelessly to build her business, exceed client expectations and empower students and families to get active and stave off chronic disease. “I’ve learned that nothing is personal and a thick skin is a prerequisite for the job. Knowing how to take rejection, when you know you got something really good to offer is imperative. The lane you may want to navigate, may not be the lane people want you in. Life happens in stages. Eventually, you will get to the destination,” shares Agnes.
Health & Wellness Advocate
Life can be stressful, chaotic and unhappy. People are so busy trying to get through life, they forget to enjoy their journey and incorporate wellness. “When I started my swimming company in 2009, I learned through research that childhood obesity was going to reach 50% in New York City. That single factor was alarming and kick started my desire to educate and advocate for health and wellness. I believe you can workout daily for 25 minutes at home; implement portion control and change your life over a period of time,” says Davis.
Davis has maintained exercise and a proper diet can nourish the soul, body and mind. With that dedication she created a plan of action for better eating and living called P.O.W.E.R. and it has proven successful for her clients. The acronym stands for:
P. Portion control
O. Omit what you don’t need
W. Water and more water
E. Educate and read labels before opening mouth
R. Reset your mind and body for optimal health
Motivating by Example
Agnes Davis has become a highly sought after motivational speaker. Her easy going and honest approach to fitness makes her a natural on the speaker’s circuit. She preaches about the importance of creating the vision, planning for success, having the commitment to rise above challenges, incorporating exercise daily and never forgetting to press reset. Recently, Davis spoke on the main stage at Circle of Sisters in New York, the largest conference and trade show for women of color. Her candid storytelling about rebuilding, losing her job and using fitness to stay inspired garnered the most applause and feedback. “You can be loud, expressive and have all the bells and whistles money can offer, however, when you speak from the heart, share the dark moments, the audience will find their own inspiration to press on,” cries Davis.
Living Your Best Life
Agnes Davis enjoys life and treats every milestone as a new adventure. She spent her 50th birthday in Bali; hiking, bike riding, exploring and meeting new friends. Now she is gearing up for a sojourn to South Africa with friends. Agnes firmly believes that you must have people around you who love you unconditionally and allow you to be vulnerable. Davis says, “Never be afraid to let someone else be in charge of you for a few hours while you recharge. Get to know your magic from within, know that failure is just a word and not the destination. Always get back up and give life your best shot.”