Sarah Davidson will give you extra.
“You know how some people wear one statement necklace? I’ll stack three on top of each other.”
Does that say something about her personality?
“Oh, it’s super-fitting. I go big. I go a million miles an hour. I’m a direct person, but a kind and caring person. I just like to be competitive and successful while wearing many necklaces.”
She has given extra as far back as when she worked three jobs on campus. She eventually became the Student Employee of the Year.
Now, she’s human resources director at one of the fastest-growing companies in St. Louis.
Making her contribution at a thriving company
Davidson is part of Roeslein & Associates, an engineering, manufacturing and construction business.
Roeslein’s major focus is designing, creating and installing the systems that make cans for beverages. They also have segments that deal in energy, oil and renewable gas.
They have offices in other states and countries, and manufacture and install for clients around the nation and world.
For years, they have been named to St. Louis Business Journal’s Top 150 Privately Held Companies list. In 2017, that publication named them one of St. Louis’ 50 fastest-growing companies.
And in 2018, Roeslein was among the journal’s Best Places to Work.
“That’s something I am really proud of,” Davidson said. “We’ve received that title twice in the company history, both times since I’ve been here.”
Davidson’s main focus is strategic HR. That means she manages HR functions such as recruitment, compliance, development and mentorship in a way that supports the company’s long-term business goals.
She reports to President and COO Brian Sneed, also a Missouri State alumnus. Sneed, ’96, sees the “extra” in Davidson at the office: “Her work ethic is tireless. She has proven to be absolutely pivotal as we have achieved astounding growth. Since she started, we’ve gone from 250 employees to more than 700. She has helped as we have gone through mergers and acquisitions in different states, even in different countries.”
He sees some common traits in himself and Davidson that he traces back to being Bears.
“MSU has a culture of hard work and earning your way. Sarah and I are both self-made people. I feel like we owe a lot to Missouri State — not only the education we got, but the ideals we found and the people we met.”
Learning real-world skills at MSU phone campaign
Davidson credits Missouri State for her career path.
Student callers who work for the phone campaign, part of the Missouri State University Foundation, reach out to alumni, families and friends to raise money for important needs on campus.
Davidson thrived there, thanks to her competitive side: “I wanted to earn every prize at the end of the night. I wanted that $10 Taco Bell gift card!”
She became a team leader.
“It taught me things I still use: interviewing, hiring, training and developing people. It taught me how to negotiate and build rapport, not only on the phone, but also in person.”
As for the Career Center, Davidson went there on her own initiative to find an internship.
“Margie Stewart (the center’s assistant director of employer relations) helped me with my resume. She helped me do mock interviews. I credit her for helping me get my first internship. It was supposed to be a summer internship. They asked if I would stay on, and I ended up working 30 to 35 hours a week. That experience led to an HR internship, which led to my first job. She absolutely helped me catapult my career.”
Stewart keeps in touch with Davidson.
“She was one of those students who followed through and was eager to learn,” Stewart said. “From her level of motivation, I knew she would do well for herself.”
Now, Davidson comes back to Missouri State to recruit students.
“It’s so exciting to see her at career fairs!” Stewart said. “It’s really neat to see that relationship come full-circle. She was once a mentee, now she’s a mentor.”
Davidson also keeps in touch with instructors, including Dr. Wes Scroggins in the management department. She serves on the technology and construction management department’s advisory board that is led by Dr. Richard J. Gebken, an associate professor in TCM.
She feeds both of them info about internships and jobs with Roeslein, and participates in meetings and speaking engagements at MSU.
“Dr. Scroggins recently connected me with one of the brightest HR interns I’ve ever worked with.”
Appreciating all of life’s experiences, big and small
Her relationship with Missouri State goes beyond her office. She attends the MarooNation Ball and other St. Louis events.
She brings her two daughters, Hannah, 7, and Charlotte, 5, back for Homecoming almost every year.
“They are both little Bears. Last time we went, they hung out with Boomer and the cheerleaders. That was the highlight of the year for Hannah.”
In her role as a parent, she is sure to bring the extra. Her children do gymnastics and soccer, and they have an annual summer bucket list: “Each of my girls picks five things she wants to do.” It can be as big as fly on an airplane, or as small as eat corn on the cob. They have walked to the local coffee shop for desserts, paddled boats at Forest Park, gone to farmers’ markets, spent the night with the grandparents and gone to baseball games.
Davidson, an avid traveler, has her own bucket list. “Every year, I try to explore a new place.”
She has been to Cuba, France and England, and recently crossed off the Turks and Caicos.
“I’m really big on experiences, especially with my girls. I want them to see that there’s an amazing world out there.”
Davidson still gives back to the phone campaign when they call, and probably always will.
“There are so many students out there who rely on scholarships. I was one of them. Because of scholarships, I was able to focus on school and get a great internship, which led me to a successful career. And now I get to give back. That’s a great feeling.”