This week we are releasing a background and Q&A about the three candidates running for Alumni-Elected Regent. Credentials for voting will be provided to all degree-holding alumni of the University by mail and/or email in advance of the voting period. The election will be conducted by an independent third party from April 29 through May 9.
Lindsey Davis Stover, BA ’99, MPP ’02, of McLean, Va
Lindsey Davis Stover is a partner with Edwards, Davis Stover and Associates LLC, a strategic consulting firm in the Washington, DC, area and hosts a local television show on public policy. In addition to her Baylor degrees, she holds a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University. She previously served as director at Ryan LLC, senior executive and White House liaison in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, chief of staff to U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards, developed a science and technology program for girls in Houston-area high schools and was a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) at the Texas Center for Service Learning at the University of Texas at Austin.
Davis Stover has served as a Board member of the Alzheimer’s Association. She is a member of the Board for the Baylor Line Foundation, a graduate of Emerge Virginia, and a member of the Executive Board for Trinity United Methodist Church.
AWARDS AND HONORS
While at Baylor, Davis Stover received the Stormie Schott Outstanding Graduate Student Award for academics and Christian commitment. She received the Donald K. Price Award for Academics and Leadership from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She served as co-chair of the Veterans Affairs Strategic Communications Council, received the Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs Highest Commendation for outstanding leadership and service to our nation’s Veterans, and served on Secretary Clinton’s Campaign Veterans Policy Team.
Davis Stover has contributed to the College of Arts and Sciences Excellence Fund. She was a member of Baylor Ambassadors and continues to mentor Baylor interns in Washington, DC, and serves on the Baylor Line Foundation Board.
CHURCH/CHRISTIAN MISSION AFFILIATIONS
Davis Stover is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church where she teaches Youth Sunday School, serves on the Executive Board and chairs the Stewardship Committee and Campaign.
How did your experience at Baylor shape you?
My experience at Baylor set a strong academic and faith foundation that continues to encourage my love of learning, my commitment to service and my dedication to spiritual growth. Baylor means so much to me personally as it provided the academic and leadership opportunities that have shaped my career and my future. I am proud to serve on the Baylor Line Foundation Board and work closely with Baylor interns in Washington, DC to help them expand their experiences and opportunities in public policy and government service.
On a personal note, my grandfather grew up on a cotton farm in Bellmead, TX just up the road from Baylor University. He was the youngest of ten kids and the first in his family to graduate from high school. He wasn’t able to afford college so he joined the Army and was stationed at Ft. Hood. Growing up I can remember my grandfather always saying to me that if I could go to Baylor, I could really make something of myself. Baylor University means a lot to my family-it has served as a symbol of opportunity, a place to grow in faith and a foundation for success. I would be honored to serve on the Baylor Board of Regents and have the opportunity to give back to a University that has given so much to me.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received, and from who?
The best advice I have ever received was given to me by my grandmother. She would always say to me, “You know the right thing to do, just trust yourself”. I was fortunate to have loving grandparents and parents who passed on to me a strong tradition of faith. Their love continues to give me confidence, and my faith helps give me direction and meaning. I have learned being true to yourself and being grounded in love and faith are among the greatest gifts I can give to my two daughters. My hope is these gifts will guide them in service to others, give them the confidence to always stand up for what is equal and just, and provide the foundation for them to fully reach the potential God has given them.
What lesson did you learn from your biggest personal or professional failure?
I have never defined failure based solely on outcomes, but have defined personal failure when I didn’t get into what President Teddy Roosevelt famously called, “the arena”. I believe the greatest failures are when we don’t try. I recently ran for Congress in Virginia and while I came up short, my biggest failure would have been to have never tried. In trying, I was able to help Veterans in the district get better connected to healthcare, put an emphasis on providing better care for Women Veterans, create meaningful dialogue around the importance of making college more affordable for families, shape timely policy discussions for women and girls, champion important issues for rural communities, and speak very openly about the important role faith has played in my life. I believe in “the arena” is where we can make a positive difference for others, and it is often where the most growth and personal strength can be found.
How has your definition of success changed over the years?
My definition of success changed immediately when I became a mother. My two daughters have taught me in the most honest and true way about unconditional and boundless love. I focus more on defining success around the fundamental question, “Did I work my hardest to create a better, meaningful and more equitable future for my daughters?” I believe the definition of success is different for each person, but one thing I have learned is there is great success in the journey and how we can serve others, especially if it can make even a small, positive impact on future generations.
Baylor’s mission is to “educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and a Christian commitment in a caring community.” How is that mission meaningful to you?
Baylor’s mission is very important and meaningful to me as it sets a standard for strong academic excellence and creates an environment where curiosity, creativity and research are valued. The second part of the mission dedicated to “a Christian commitment in a caring community” is equally as important. Through my policy and advocacy experience, I have spent my career working to fulfill the promise of “a caring community” and ensure it extends to women and girls, the LGBTQ community, and many marginalized groups and individuals. As a Christian University, Baylor should be the light that leads the way on civil rights, human rights, social justice and at the very least, ensures that all students, including LGBTQ students, are treated with fairness, equality and human dignity on campus.
As a University with a Christian commitment, we must have policies in place that truly reflect Christ’s love, compassion and grace for all. We must lead on efforts of basic fairness while protecting and honoring the cherished freedoms of speech and religion. If Baylor is going to continue to fulfill its mission to “educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and a Christian commitment in a caring community” well into the future and shape the next generation of leaders, we must provide a safe, encouraging and fair learning environment for every student on campus. We must constantly work to have an academic environment that challenges minds, sparks creativity, and encourages questioning and curiosity—an environment where research is valued and intellectual and spiritual growth are encouraged.
As a new board member, what specific perspectives, skills, interests and relationship networks will you bring to the board and how will you use them?
I have spent my career in service as Chief of Staff to Congressman Chet Edwards, who represented Waco and Baylor University for 20 years in the U.S House, and then as Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications to the VA Secretary at The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In both positions, I managed sensitive and complex challenges and was skilled at finding solutions that solve problems, building consensus and bringing constituencies together. I have an extensive communications background and am effective at building and executing comprehensive public relations and press strategies plans to best communicate timely and important issues. I am adept at building strong coalitions among important stakeholders and have the ability to connect and work with people from many different backgrounds. While I was born and raised in Texas, I have lived in Virginia/Washington, DC area for over a decade and can help bring together out-of-state Alumni coalitions around fundraising and important educational initiatives for the University.
As a new board member, I will work to bring transparency, openness and accountability to the board. The greatest ambassadors for Baylor University are its Alumni, and the lines of communication between the Board of Regents and Alumni should be open, transparent and honest. Recently, Baylor has faced many challenges surrounding the sexual assault and harassment cases on campus. I believe Baylor still has an opportunity to set the standard on this issue for Universities across the country. The Board of Regents should lead on this issue and as a new member of the board, I will work closely with students, faculty and alumni to ensure Baylor has meaningful, transparent policies and enforceable accountability measures in place to keep students safe on campus, fulfill the Baylor’s mission of “a caring community” and provide a fair and equitable learning environment for all students to succeed.
Based on your experiences, what do you believe are the biggest challenges facing governing boards of higher education institutions today?
There are many challenges facing governing boards of higher institutions today. One of the biggest challenges is making and keeping college affordable for families. I understand the struggle first-hand—in fulfilling my dream to attend college, I worked several jobs, took out the maximum amount of student loans available, received several scholarships, participated in the work-study program and received a $1,000 check from my grandfather. If one of those pieces would have been missing for me, I would not have had the opportunity to attend Baylor and go on into a career of service. The rising cost of tuition and the decrease of low-interest college loans available to students has made it almost impossible to have a diverse student population and ensure students don’t have a mountain of student loan debt after graduation. Baylor has worked closely with the Texas State government and with the Federal government on this issue, and if elected to the Board of Regents, I hope to continue that important work so Baylor remains a University with high academic excellence that families can afford in the future.
What qualities and attributes do you think make for a strong board member and a highly functioning board?
I believe it is important for board members to be transparent, understanding, work in collaboration with each other and be willing to respectfully challenge each other and the norms to ensure the best outcome for Baylor University. It is not enough to do things the way they have always been done because it requires the least path of resistance, I believe a good board member is willing to make the right decisions for the University in a transparent way not just when it is easy, but most importantly, when it is hard. The Board has the responsibility to lead the University into the future in a way that preserves the rich green and gold traditions while also ensuring Baylor excels in academic excellence and remains a University that its students, faculty and alumni are always proud of. Baylor has faced some challenging times, and I believe it is up to the Board of Regents to ensure Baylor sets the standard nationwide for a University that not only cherishes our Christian values, but also honors them in our actions. The Board of Regents must lead with transparency, openness and a willingness to ensure the right polices and accountability measures are in place to provide an equitable, safe and encouraging environment for all Baylor students to excel and reach their highest God-given potential.