Finding my Voice

Janice Evans-Davis
4 min readMay 23, 2017


by Janice Evans-Davis

Janice is a public affairs/public relations strategist. Her most recent position was as chief policy officer/director of communications for the mayor’s office in Houston, Texas.

For 14 years, four months, just about everything I wrote or said was on behalf of others. The words were chosen to reflect their way of speaking and the message was framed to advance their agendas. Over the years this body of work grew to include hundreds of news releases, quotes, talking points, speeches, op/eds, monthly newspaper and magazine articles, memos, greeting letters, proclamations and letters of recommendation. Even on social media, I parroted what my bosses had to say and was careful not to retweet or share other posts that were in conflict with those positions.

You name it, I wrote it, but it was always written for someone else. Now, I have the opportunity to write for myself. I can use my own words and advance my own agenda, which is currently focused on finding a new challenge that will utilize all the experience and wisdom gained in my previous positions.

Friends and professional colleagues have rightly noted that putting pen to paper, or, in this instance, fingers to keyboard, would provide potential future employers with a better understanding of who I am and help solidify my brand as a public affairs/public relations strategist with more than 30 years of experience. They are correct, but talking or writing about oneself is not an easy proposition for someone who has always worked to promote and protect others. My job was to remain behind the scenes; it was never to be the person out in front. Sure, I had personal opinions and thoughts, but these were expressed privately during discussions about policy and the framing of messaging. I could not fathom there would be anything I could write about myself that others would find interesting. What do I have to say that people would care about? These are the thoughts that ran through my head as I stared repeatedly at the blank page in front of me trying to take the advice of my friends to heart.

It was during one of those middle-of-the-night moments when thoughts often seem to crystalize easier than during waking hours that I realized this first piece had to be about the internal struggle between the person who spent more than a decade promoting others and the person who now needs to promote herself. It is through my explanation about this struggle that others will be able to get a glimpse of the person I am. I do want to write about my approach to my former job and the difficulties and stress that accompanied it, but those are subjects for later.

Truth be told, I am progressive in my political leanings and share most of the positions of my former bosses. This is likely surprising to those who know I am a product of rural Illinois where conservative politics is served up with your morning coffee at the donut shop that was the Starbucks of the time in my little hometown. I’m not exactly sure how I wound up far left of center, but I suspect it was due to a combination of influences that, of course, included my parents — or at least my mother — who I am pretty certain, landed more toward the middle of the political spectrum. At least this was the impression she left with me, my two older sisters and younger brother.

As a reporter, I always said that if I jumped to what the media refer to as the “dark side” it would have to be for someone whose beliefs I shared and respected. Being part of a political organization and the formulation of public policy does force compromises that are often difficult to swallow, but for the most part, I was supportive of the positions I had to write about during my tenure at Houston City Hall.

Since the vast majority of my work was written for public consumption, most of it is easily available online. Nonetheless, it was important to me that I be able to take the original files when I left. I have repeatedly asked myself why I care so much about hundreds of documents I wrote on behalf of others. The thought process that led to completion of this first piece of personal writing has led me to the answer: That work is important to me because my voice is in there and I don’t want it to be lost.



Janice Evans-Davis

Janice Evans-Davis is a public affairs/public relations strategist in Houston, TX.