Spotlight on… Leeah Odom, ReedPop Content Co-ordinator, USA


Spotlight on… Leeah Odom, ReedPop Content Co-ordinator, USA

1. What advice would you give to your teenage self?

There’s truly no way to prepare for the world as we’re living in it now. However, I was a very hopeful teenager. I’d tell my teenage self about the last six years, and she’d probably start planning how to fix it. So, my advice to her would be: “Don’t be afraid of failure. Find a different approach, and try again.” It’s such cliché advice, but freedom to fail is powerful and something I don’t think kids hear enough, but we’re supposed to magically not do as adults.

2. What TV show/movie do you never tire of watching, and why do you love it?

I’m sure my ReedPop colleagues won’t be surprised, but Star Trek. Specifically, Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). While I enjoy every series in the franchise, I grew up watching TNG and it has remained my favourite over the years. Star Trek presents an Earth when money is obsolete, world hunger is solved, education is accessible, racism has been actively addressed, war is a thing of the past, and medicine is advanced past the threat of deadly Earth diseases. As an adult, I see the 20th century flaws in TNG; but, for a child, Star Trek showed a better world for all humanity and hope for the future.

3. What does a perfect vacation look like for you?

For me, a good vacation involves good company, good food, indoor plumbing, and good transportation!

4. What’s your go-to productivity trick?

I’m used to the hustle and bustle of the New York morning commute, and the too loud noise of an office open floorplan. I miss neither of those now, but when I had to find a replacement to jumpstart my day and keep my energy up I returned to my old university tricks: Star Trek: TNG playing in the background; and pop music in a language I don’t understand. The first seems obvious. The second means upbeat music without risk of me singing along and starting an impromptu karaoke session.

5. What digital event technology are you most excited by and why?

The pandemic has been horrible, but one of the positive things that it has done is brought barriers to entry to the forefront of the events industry. For every vendor, panelist, attendee, and volunteer there is a barrier to entry to being able to attend or to work events - whether that’s their day job, travel time, finances, health, or having a disability.

In the past three years, I’ve virtually attended conferences hosted in France, China, Britain, Seattle, California, and various other location all from the comfort of my home. Yes, the technology and experience was rough at the beginning of the pandemic, but three years on, the options offered both to event companies and to attendees have increased and improved. I’m excited about event technology that makes going to conferences accessible to everyone.

6. How would you describe the culture at RX?

As the Education and Events Lead of the RXUS African Ancestry Network (AAN) Chapter, inclusivity and diversity at RX is something I’m passionate about. I would describe the culture at RX as “in progress”. Last year, at the beginning of 2021, I co-authored an article for the ReedPop LinkedIn page about how to highlight diversity and foster inclusion during the pandemic, specifically when a company isn’t hiring.

In the article, my colleague and I mentioned ReedPop’s recognition of the need for diversity in the company and the steps being taken to foster that company culture. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) like the AAN are one way RX is promoting diversity and inclusivity. Promoting international ERG events to the company at-large, recognizing federal commemorative observances, hosting internal events like the Emerge Conference on diversity and inclusivity are all ways that RX is progressing.

As these internal events signal to employees that inclusivity is something to be discussed and fostered, not shied away from, I hope our internal culture progress will influence the diversity and inclusivity of our external culture at the events we curate and host.