You wouldn’t know it to talk to her now — a woman who is clearly confident and brimming with positive energy — but Sherry Davis (BMgt ’01) felt rather shy and intimidated at one point in her life.

She was a young mother on leave from her job as a bank teller, a position she loved in an industry she found incredibly interesting and full of promise in terms of where it could take her in her career. But at 26, Davis knew she would have to go back to university for a second degree and specialize in business in order to advance in the world of wealth management, and at the time, she wasn’t sure it was such a great idea.

“It seems silly now, but back then I felt too old to be a university student,” Davis says. “The whole thing was a daunting prospect. I was married, we had a mortgage, a baby to look after, we were struggling financially — going back to school didn’t just seem difficult, it almost seemed selfish. Of course, now I’m very glad I made the decision to go.”

Davis began her journey at the University of Lethbridge in the late 1990s, pursuing a Bachelor of Management while juggling the demands of school, motherhood and life. In 2001, she graduated and went on to reach her goal and become a senior financial advisor with ATB Securities Inc. After 15 successful and rewarding years consulting and educating clients on financial planning and philanthropic giving, Davis began to think about the sort of legacy she wanted to create.

“I have a great career, and it’s all because of the decision I made to return to university,” Davis says. “It was a real challenge, but one of the best choices I ever made. Thinking about that, it was clear to me that the way I should give back would be to support students who are in the same position I was in.”

The idea sparked inspiration, and Davis created the Sherry Davis Academic Award, an annual award for a full-time continuing undergraduate student at uLethbridge who is also a parent of at least one dependent child. The first award will be granted in Fall 2018.

“When you’re a mature student and a parent, every dollar counts,” Davis says. “If $1,000 can help cover someone’s bills, pay for groceries for the term, or even make it possible for parents to take their kids out for dinner and a movie once a week, that’s fantastic to me.”

Davis’s son, Nicholas, is now following in in his mom’s footsteps and currently attends the Dhillon School of Business at uLethbridge. “He is certainly a motivator behind the gift as well,” she says.

Both Davis and her husband, Bruce Thurber, are involved in the community as Rotarians, and Davis is a member of the University Senate.

“I believe in service,” Davis says. “When we help others, we help our community at large. It’s a win for everyone. I challenge anyone who’s in a position to give back to really consider what you can do and what causes are important to you. Most importantly, I encourage you to do it now, so you can see the benefit as it happens.”