When your passion and drive are bigger

Viola Davis
When your passion and drive are bigger
Viola Davis: “When your passion and drive are bigger than your fears, you just dive.”
Image credit: Gage SkidmoreCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This week, our leadership quote of the week comes from Viola Davis, an actress, producer, and civil rights advocate. Davis' inspirational leadership in the performing arts was highlighted by Nhlanzeko Khanyile, one of the Women in Business Scholars from London Business School.

Viola Davis (1965-) is an American actress, producer and civil rights advocate. Davis was born in South Caroline but grew up in Rhode Island, where she moved at a young age. She completed her higher education at Rhode Island College and The Juilliard School.

She has received many accolades throughout her career, including a Tony Award in 2010 for her performance in the Broadway play Fences and a Primetime Emmy Award in 2015 for her portrayal of the lead character in the series How to Get Away with Murder. She is the first African American black actress to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. In 2016, she was awarded an Academy Award for her performance in the film adaptation of Fences. With this, she became the first African American to receive all three major acting accolades in her lifetime. 

Outside acting, she is a persistent advocate for eradicating child hunger, donating to and supporting this cause. Davis has collaborated with the Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation to implement the Hunger Is initiative, to help eradicate childhood hunger in the United States. As a child who grew up in abject poverty, this cause is close to Davis' heart. She has also been active in giving back to Central Falls, Rhode Island, the community where she grew up and to which she contributes her passion for acting. Davis supported a project to open a free community health centre in Central Falls and donated funds to her old high school for their theatre programme. Since 2019, she is also a L'Oréal Paris ambassador.

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