Even as a child, Abby Davis knew that working with people of different cultures was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
A native of Dallas and the youngest of three children, Abby laughingly refers to herself as the “surprise baby”. When her dad passed away at age 8, her mother re-married a widower with two small girls.
“We basically became the Brady Bunch,” Abby jokes, “There were tons of people always around. I loved it.”
“I used to tell my mom I think I’m supposed to be from somewhere else—I’m not really American,” she says, giggling. “I wanted an international wedding. I wanted to work for the state department. I wanted to be an Ambassador… I wanted the most international life I could live!”
Growing up in Dallas fueled her love for Spanish and Latin culture. She spent her high school years playing sports, going on mission trips, and meeting with her Professora (Spanish teacher) outside of school hours to soak up this second language.
After graduating, Abby attended the University of Texas where she studied international relations and global studies—also majoring in Spanish, of course. But she didn’t wait to graduate before getting using her passion and education. In her “free time” she hosted cultural events and “happy hours” for newly settled immigrants, helping them find jobs and improve their English skills.
“I remember my friends being like, ‘What is Abby doing??’. I was totally involved, totally by myself. It was the best thing ever.” Her dedication and hard work earned her an internship, hosting international delegates who were visiting the area.
After this, Abby landed in a seemingly random career, having nothing to do with her passion for culture—she became a recruiter.
“This time grew my skill-sets… I loved really getting to know people and figuring out what their strengths and passions and dreams were, and finding them a good fit. [But] it felt like something was missing.”
After three years recruiting, Abby began a new adventure—marriage . This provided her the flexibility to slow down and return to the dreams she felt like God had placed within her. During this time she became involved in Gateway of Grace, one of Dallas’ numerous refugee outreaches, where her friend, Samira paired her with a refugee family—a single mother with five children who had fled from the atrocious wars in Iraq.
“I met her the next day, and the rest is history,” Abby shares, “Azraa and I immediately became sisters. She is close to my age. Her husband is in a mental institution in Switzerland due to war trauma, and she’s all by herself with five of the most incredible, smart, lovely kids you’ve ever met.”
Recently, Abby threw a big backyard bash to celebrate Azraa’s 31st birthday. “More people showed up who didn’t know her than who did… they even had gifts!” she exclaims, adding that this kind of warm friendliness and support are the norm in the area.
About this time, Abby began talking to a friend who owned a non-profit jewelry business. The company employed lower socioeconomic class women in west Dallas. Abby proposed the idea of expanding into the refugee community, giving them a way to provide for their families through making necklaces and other jewelry. Though the partnership never came to fruition, it sparked something even bigger within Abby.
“I began to realize—I have a recruiting background, and all of these refugees need jobs… surely there’s a way for these two things to be married!” she recalls. “I was on a walk with a friend one day [about this time], and telling her my idea of a recruiting firm for refugees. She stopped me almost immediately and said, ‘My friend is doing this in Atlanta, and wants to expand to Dallas!’”
Abby was connected to Chris Chancey, CEO of Amplio Recruiting, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The two immediately began plans to start connecting the abundant and hard-working Dallas refugee workforce with companies needing help.
While Abby has been with Amplio for just under a month, she is not deterred by her newness. She spends her days busy keeping up with refugee partners, including non-profits like Gateway of Grace and For the Nations, who connect her to refugees in need.
“They’re there, on the ground. They know who needs what kind of job, and they filter those through me,” she explains.
Another huge task is networking with companies in industries refugees can be successful in, such as manufacturing and hospitality. “I reach out and learn more about their business, and learn how we can best meet their needs,” she says.
Her collective experience, over the years, has made her resolute in her goal of connecting talented refugees with skill-sets to jobs that will utilize their fullest potential. She reiterates by sharing about a couple from Iran she met recently, who were job searching who told her, “It’s common that we would start in a bad job.” The couple’s response pained her. “Refugees are so humble to be okay with working [anywhere], but I think they could have so much more if their skills were fully utilized and they were challenged at their job,” she reiterates.
“Our economy is really incredible. There’s a spirit of entrepreneurship in the city. So many people are open to new ways of doing business. This is the friendliest place you could ever live, jam-packed with the most warm-spirited people who want to help,” Abby expresses.
She and the Amplio team are excited for the new branch, and how it will further the economy of the already advancing Dallas area.
Are you a part of an organization already working with refugees, in Dallas? We would love to partner with you to build relationships within the community.
Do you, or someone you know, own a company that could benefit from the talented and dependable refugee workforce? We would love to connect to share more about our services.
Visit our website or contact us today to learn more. Together, we can bring opportunity and hope to the thousands of refugees who call Dallas “home”.