Alice Davidson, JD'11


Alice Davidson, JD'11

Meet Alice Davidson, Legal Counsel at Mogo and Instructor at Spin Society. This month we sat down with this high-energy lawyer to learn about her career path, her mantra and her presentation at the recent Allard School of Law and Sauder School of Business Pecha Kucha event, Finding True North: Pursuing Happiness and Empowerment on Your Terms.

Only a few years after Alice Davidson graduated from the Allard School of Law, she was living the dream: an associate at a national law firm working on high-level transactions. The only problem? She wasn’t happy. She loved the people at the firm, and the type of work she engaged in. Nor was it the intensity of working in a high-pressure environment that set her actively looking for new opportunities. For Alice, the most dissatisfying part of her practice was the lack of control she had over her work life and consequently, her life outside of work. She also wanted to be more than just the legal voice on a transaction; she found herself constantly wondering about the strategy behind the deal and the outcome after it had closed. It was enough to compromise her sense of well-being, and lead to greater burn-out.

“A job is a job is a job, but if you’re not happy, what’s the point of it all? You need to be happy. Being successful in your career is not enough.”  Alice Davidson

The ideal role, she realized, might be a general in-house counsel position at a progressive company—a position that would help her regain control over her work and home life and enable her to become more involved in the ‘business’ side of things. And it was while exploring the opportunities in this direction that she discovered an outlet to help her manage working in a job that was draining: physical activity. She started with running, completing three half-marathons over the next year, and eventually found what keeps her going to this day, spinning. When Davidson experienced her first ride in a dark room with music blasting, she was instantly addicted, and she began to find a sustainable happiness and satisfaction outside of work. She decided to begin training intensely to become a spin instructor while pursuing new work opportunities in the legal field. The perfect balance came soon enough. With an offer to become the Legal Counsel at Mogo, she was able to balance her spin instructor training with a legal position.

I’ll be successful, and then I’ll be happy. That’s how we measure success. But that’s just backwards. Shouldn’t the formula be: you work hard at being happy, which in turn will make you successful?” Alice Davidson

During a presentation at a firm retreat by Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, she learned a new perspective on happiness that she’d unknowingly been working to pursue over the past few years. Instead of trying for success, and assuming happiness would follow, Achor spoke of working to be happy, which would breed success. This formula comes with the idea that happy people are more productive, they want to work harder, and they’re more motivated to achieve. Happiness gives them the drive to be successful. Davidson examined her own formula, and realized that she was becoming a spin instructor because it made her happy. She also recognized that moving to an in-house role was more about her happiness, which she hoped would breed success.

In her role at Mogo, Davidson still works hard, she still works on weekends, and you will never catch her without her phone. The difference? She’s happy doing it. She finally found a balance that was right for her, and it’s abundantly clear hearing her story as she sits in a sunset lit boardroom in the Mogo office nearly two years after her career transition.

Davidson, along with seven other presenters, spoke about happiness and empowerment in the legal profession at the annual Pecha Kucha event hosted by the Allard School of Law and the Sauder School of Business on November. Learn more about the speakers and be on the lookout next October for tickets to the 2018 event. If you think spinning may be something you’d like to explore, you can find Davidson on the bike at Spin Society every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:15am.

Check back here soon to see photos and video clips with the annual Pecha Kucha event!