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Alumna Spotlight: Saudi Davis ’92

Alumna Spotlight: Saudi Davis ’92

Emmy Award-winning producer, author and entrepreneur Saudia Davis ’92 shares highlights from her career, her professional and personal goals, and the lifelong lessons she learned at Convent.

Saudia Davis ’92 is an Emmy Award-winning producer, entrepreneur, author and creative strategist. Before embarking on these professional pursuits, she walked the halls of the Flood Mansion, soaking in the views from the Williams Library bay windows, learning from teachers she looked up to and forging her own path as the younger sister of an alumna.

Since graduating from Convent High School and attending Saint Mary’s College to study English and Communications, Saudia has explored professional fields that, in their different ways, inspire creativity, storytelling, community and the arts. In each endeavor, she carries a lesson from Convent: You can be whoever you dare and dream to be.

Most recently, these dreams brought her to film production. In 2022, after producing professionally for seven years, Saudia worked as the producer for The Lost Story of Emmett Till: Trial in the Delta. The film recounts the court proceedings that played out in Sumner, Mississippi, in 1955, following the kidnap and murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. In December 2022, the film won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in “Human Interest — Long Form.” For Saudia, this award was far more than a marker of personal achievement. “The win somehow also confirms that Emmett Till’s murder trial will be seen,” Saudia said, adding, “This project shines a bright light on the truth.” The film is currently available for streaming on Peacock and Roku. To Saudia, her work on the film affirmed that she was on the right path in her career.

Before entering the world of motion pictures, Saudia worked on the development of the Kehrein Center for the Arts, a 1000-seat theater in Chicago, which stands as a creative and performing arts hub for the city’s West Side neighborhood of Austin. Using the gutted, ceilingless Siena High School auditorium for storage in 2011, Saudia could see the space’s potential. By 2018 she grabbed the school board’s attention and, together with a volunteer committee, raised over $7 million. Construction began in April 2018, and a year later, the theater officially opened.

In 2020, Saudia released her debut book, 33 Ways Not to Screw Up Creative Entrepreneurship, sharing her insights, guidance and tools for emerging creative entrepreneurs. Two years later, she returned to Broadway to speak to current Convent High School juniors and seniors. In a lively talk, Saudia connected lessons from the book to the students’ lives as they begin or continue their college search. Determined to sign each of the students’ books personally, Saudia almost missed her flight home to Chicago. With this visit, the Convent & Stuart Hall community “welcomed me home with enthusiasm and joy,” she said.

Today, Saudia looks forward to continuing her work in the film industry. With three feature films and one documentary in development, she is as busy as ever. In this busyness, she continues to dedicate her time to service. After being diagnosed with fibroids and undergoing surgery, Saudia has committed to advocating for fibroid awareness and access to safe treatment. No longer able to have children, she shared that her “purpose in life has shifted significantly,” adding, “What I once believed would be my life is nothing like what I imagined.” Saudia has found purpose in her commitment to this women’s health cause, working to support underserved women with fibroids, a diagnosis that disproportionately affects people of color.

In this work, Saudia carries on the values of service she learned at Convent & Stuart Hall: “Convent’s commitment to service is a major part of my life today. … It was instilled in me as a student.”