Darcy Horn Davenport ’95
Courtesy Premier Nutrition
For Darcy Horn Davenport ’95, the president of Premier Nutrition Corp. and a veteran marketing executive, the path to a career in consumer products began in a Princeton classroom. But it wasn’t economics or finance that sparked her interest. “I took a couple of economics classes, and for me it just it was too theoretical,” she said. “Then I discovered sociology and the lightbulb went off. I discovered my fascination with people, what motivates them, why they do certain things, and it just ignited a passion for me.”

Even so, Davenport was not convinced that her undergraduate major would apply to her life after college. Her first job was in finance and audit accounting, followed by an MBA at New York University’s Stern School of Business. It wasn’t until a few years later, when she was discussing her career path with a recruiter, that she made the link between her sociology background and the fields of marketing and brand management.

Davenport worked at Dreyer’s Ice Cream (Edy’s, on the East Coast) and smaller companies like Timbuk2 Designs before landing at Premier Nutrition, whose products include the Power Bar, Premier Protein, Joint Juice, and Supreme Protein brands. Davenport, a track and field athlete at Princeton, jokes that she’s “come full circle,” years after first eating Power Bars as a high-school and college athlete. “The category is one of the highest growth categories in the grocery store, and I think what’s exciting is that consumers want to eat healthier — and they are,” she said. “We’re kind of at the center of the trend of healthier eating as well as convenience.”

Davenport says that while her foundation in finance and accounting has proved helpful, she sees sociological elements in her current role as well, motivating and empowering those around her and creating a strong corporate culture. Part of that culture involves investing in service to the local community, through a philanthropy program that aims to “spread good energy” in Emeryville, Calif., home of Premier Nutrition’s headquarters. The company refreshed and refurbished outdoor spaces at a local elementary school earlier this year; more recently, it raised funds to assist those displaced by the Northern California wildfires.

Davenport is enjoying the career she’s built in an area that wasn’t even on her radar as an undergraduate. “There are many careers that people just automatically go to after Princeton — there’s investment banking, there’s consulting, there are people that go to law school and medical school,” she said. “But it’s funny, I don’t think that CPG [consumer packaged goods] marketing is really ever even thought about. … I just kind of had to discover it myself. I would love to tell students at Princeton that there are other jobs out there that aren’t the typical [ones], and everybody has their own path of trying to find what they want to do in life.”