The Board of Directors of Harvesters—The Community Food Network is pleased to announce it has selected current Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Davis, as the organization’s new President and CEO. Davis becomes the fifth person to lead Harvesters and will assume his new role officially on July 1
Davis has had a passion for hunger-relief for many years. The passion to care for those in the community was instilled as a child, in part stemming from a childhood where his family had times of struggle to make ends meet. It has been a career goal of his to one day become the CEO of a food bank.
“Harvesters has served the Kansas City area for more than 42 years and has expanded into more than two dozen other Kansas and Missouri communities to serve those in need,” said Harvesters’ Board Chair, Kimberly Svaty. “This is a critical juncture for Harvesters as we continue to work to end hunger tomorrow by providing nutritious and culturally relevant food, responding to the needs of a historic number of food-insecure individuals and families brought on by the pandemic while managing a volatile food supply chain and changing transportation logistics.
Svaty believes there is great value in stability and consistency of leadership in times of uncertainty and change.
“Stephen brings deep institutional knowledge and a full understanding of the challenges that lie ahead. He is a forward-thinker who has demonstrated repeatedly an ability to advance innovative ideas for the benefit of the organization and our partner agencies. Stephen will drive the organization to discover new ways of operating and serving our communities. He leads with dedication to the mission, the staff, and the communities and people Harvesters works so hard to serve. After a nationwide search for a new CEO, we are so lucky our search led us back home to our own Stephen Davis.”
“It is a tremendous honor and humbling experience to accept this position,” said Davis. “My time at Harvesters has been very rewarding, and we’ve been able to accomplish great work for those neighbors who are food insecure across our service area. This has occurred in large part due to our
fantastic staff and amazing network of partners and supporters, who we collaborate with as we carry out our mission. We don’t do this work alone. We are a network working in collaboration on this important work. Valerie Nicholson-Watson’s shoes will be big ones to fill, but I look forward to leading Harvesters’ network into the future and building upon the great foundation Valerie and previous leaders created.”
Davis joined Harvesters as COO in 2015. Previously he worked nearly 11 years with the Blue Valley School District in Overland Park. He was the Director of Budget and Business Operations. Prior to that, he served more than eight years in the school food service industry as Director of Food and Nutrition Services and then later as Area Manager for Sodexho Management Services at school districts in Oregon, Nevada and California.
Davis also brings extensive knowledge of and experience working with the Feeding America national network. He’s served on committees including Annual Leadership Conference Planning, Member Engagement (Better Together) Committee, Connect (IT) Council, Contract Task Force Sub-Group, Food Packing Task Force, Disaster Response Advisory Council, Mid-West Regional Disaster Response Cohort, USDA/TEFAP Task Force, and the Operations Technology Consortium.
Davis earned his MBA at Mid-America Nazarene University and a bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Washington State University.
A search will begin for a new Chief Operating Officer shortly. From July 1 until a replacement is named, Davis will fulfill both roles.