In 2010, President Barack Obama proclaimed November National Entrepreneurship Month, a time when “we celebrate the remarkable and everyday successes of our entrepreneurs and innovators.”
Tiffany D. Davis, president of Hansbury Hayes International and chief executive officer of Refuel, Inc. embodies all that inspired Obama to issue such a proclamation.
Hansbury Hayes was created by Davis to fill the void of women-owned and- operated clinical medical suppliers throughout the world.
An international trading company that specializes in delivering quality medical devices to clients in the global market place, Hansbury Hayes negotiates partnership agreements with medical device developers to assist with getting their ideas manufactured.
Refuel provides eco-friendly fuel alternatives, advanced biofuel solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company also supplies biofuel products made in the United States to foreign markets.
“Our passion is to help people bring life to their ideas,” Davis said during a recent interview.
The Philadelphia native made her vision a reality after earning a bachelor of arts in speech communication from Morgan State University and a master of arts in management from the College of Notre Dame in Maryland.
While at Morgan State, Davis had a chance encounter with the founder of Black Enterprise, Earl Graves, Sr., who “gave me my first briefcase and told me that I would be successful.”
It was also at Morgan State that Davis met her future partner and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. sister, New Jersey native Nicole Johnson.
“I told Coley (Johnson) that once I had the opportunity to create a business, I would bring her on board,” she said.
After working as national director for the NAACP Reginald F. Lewis Youth Entrepreneurs Institute in Baltimore, Davis transitioned from the nonprofit sector into international business as a global account manager for WorldSpace Satellite Radio.
She later went onto work with the National Institutes of Health and earned an executive degree from the Harvard School of Government in Dubai.
“As a female in a male-dominated industry, my education and professional experiences have served as a solid foundation throughout my career,” she said. “In particular, my experience at Morgan State prepared me to deal with anything and everything.”
Davis and Johnson formed their alliance just over two years ago and have not looked back. Between the two companies, the entrepreneurs project conducting $75 million in business for the 2012 fiscal year.
“The hardest thing is being noticed as women; there are very few in this game,” Davis said. “We do business with companies in countries including France, Canada, the Philippines, Russia and Nigeria. Once we are at the table and present our business services and products, things change in our favor. Initially it was getting in the door to get to the table that was challenging.”
As working mothers, both have had to learn how to balance work and home life. Davis is mom to five-year-old daughter Toni, and three-year-old son Alexander; Nicole is mom to eight-year-old son Amir.
“You want to dedicate all of your time to your dream, but you have to dedicate it to your child at the same time,” Johnson said. “Working with Tiffany and being there to support one another has been a great help to both of us. When you have a dream that’s outside the box, it can be hard.”
With Hansbury Hayes and Refuel based in Delaware, the pair are active members of the Delaware World Trade Center, as well as the National Association of Professional Women.
“Don’t give up especially if you have a big idea, believe in you,” Davis said. “Trust your gut and follow God.”