After 20 years as CEO, Floyd Davis is retiring from Community Link, a Charlotte nonprofit that helps individuals and families find and retain affordable housing.
Davis will step down at the end of December. Tameka Gunn, the agency’s vice president and chief operating officer, will succeed him as president and CEO on Jan. 1.
In an interview with QCity Metro, Davis said the time has come for new leadership.
Davis said he spent years planning for succession and will make himself available to Gunn as she transitions into her new role.
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“I’m not riding off into the sunset,” he said.
In his exit interview with QCity Metro, Davis reflects on his time at Community Link and what comes next for him.
Answers are edited for brevity and clarity.
What’s next for you?
I’m on the board of directors of the Better Business Bureau. I’m on the board of directors and treasurer of Traveler’s Aid International and a member of the Charlotte Rotary Club. I’m also an officer at First Presbyterian Church., so I will have things to entertain me. I will still be active and available to my successor when she feels she wants to consult with me.
I know it’s lonely at the top. There are issues that you have to wrestle with that you can’t talk to your board about yet. I want to be there to be a sounding board for her and those types of situations.
What are you most proud of?
I learned back in 2000 that there was $6 million of unclaimed Earned Income Tax Credit here in Mecklenburg County, and primarily in two zip codes, 28208 and 28206. And that lit a fire under me. I had some conversations with the IRS, which led to us starting what we call today VTA, volunteer income tax assistance.
We realize that a lot of people that we deal with only have earned income. They don’t have any investments and so forth. When they go to a for-profit tax preparer, they’re charged $250 or $300 to do the simple tax return. They need that money to help with housing for themselves and their families.
What do you want to see Community Link do next?
Hopefully, the organization is positioned to live out its mission, enabling individuals and families to obtain and sustain safe, decent, and affordable housing. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do over the last 20 years but there’s a lot more work to be done in this area and for this region. We can’t only look at the city of Charlotte or Cabarrus County. We’ve also got to look at the surrounding counties where the opportunity for affordable housing development is available.
Is there anything you would have done differently or that you would have liked to happen?
I wish we, as a region, and as a city in the county, could have done a better job of forecasting the headwinds that we will be facing in terms of housing. [I wish we] had some strategies to deal with it before we found ourselves in a crisis situation like we are in today.
I realized that there’s a balance between being open to developers’ and investors’ wishes and what things need to be in place to have a healthy, thriving community.
I think we’ve gotten to a place here in Charlotte where we realize that we need to have that balance. From my perspective, it would have been much better if we had realized that 10 years ago and prepared.