Growing up in New York City, Charlie Davis didn’t even need to think about what he was going to do when he grew up. Everyone was certain he would become an attorney like his father, Murray.
“He had me on the path to become an attorney,” said Davis, the president and CEO for the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties. “I didn’t think about my future other than to follow in his footsteps.”
Then, when his father died of a heart attack while Davis was still in high school, the path became more difficult to tread. As an avid basketball player, Davis found solace and comfort in the camaraderie of the team sport following the death of his father. And though he later gave law school the good old college try, he ultimately decided that his father’s career wasn’t for him.
The love of basketball took Davis to Europe, where he played professionally for several years before coming home to begin a coaching career. Once again, Davis’ path was clear. However, before embarking on that journey, he went to visit a friend in Albuquerque, and while there Davis decided to volunteer at the local YMCA.
“I experienced this spiritual thing and became a new believer,” Davis remembered of his first YMCA experience. “Then they hired me. That was 36 years ago, and I never looked back.”
Through that first job with the YMCA, Davis made his way up to the Seattle area and later opened the Tacoma Center YMCA in 1983, all the while believing that every road in his life led him to this destination.
“It isn’t just about teaching exercise,” he said. “You are connecting with people on a deeper level. It’s such a calling. All the things fell into the right place at that right time to get me to where I am today. I love it here. The Northwest is home to me.”
Read on to see what a typical day is like for this boundless, basketball-loving businessman.