Jimmy Odom (BA ’10) came back to Columbia April 21st to engage in a dialogue with Business & Entrepreneurship graduate students. A Chicago native, Odom is currently the Senior Advisor of Minority Business Development for the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. Odom is also a co-founder of the Chicago startup We Deliver, a customer-focused, crowd-sourced courier service. From his entrepreneurial ventures, to the state funded position, Odom emphasized that his business style remains consistent and that many of his leadership skills were transferable across industries.
Odom began the conversation by recalling his childhood, his motivations to study at Columbia for film, events that brought him to Apple as the Regional Customer Experience head, the story behind Chicago’s Start Up weekend, and finally to his business, We Deliver. One of his main points of emphasis was the idea of creating transformational experiences as opposed to a transactional ones for all his customers. This is great advice for aspiring arts managers looking to make an impact on the community through various art forms.
One of the greatest takeaways from the visit, for those seeking direction in their respective industries, were the concepts of drive and mastery. Odom gave many examples of situations where he engaged in research and self-directed training, giving him the ability to be proficient in presenting and fulfilling his business ideas. Although his niche lies in technology-based goods and services, he explained the value of maintaining the “human factor” in all businesses and encouraged students to master their interpersonal skills.
Students were able to learn from Odom’s experiences and perspectives on how leadership works to make connections of their own. Leadership in the Arts, Entertainment, and Media is a graduate course for Master of Arts Management students offered by the Business & Entrepreneurship Department. This course focuses on varying leadership theories, current topics in leadership, and more. Leadership in the Arts is led by lecturer, Beth Ryan.
This lecture was made possible through the Columbia College Chicago Alumni, in conjunction with Chamille Weddington of the Business & Entrepreneurship department.
Photo credit: Philip Dembinksi (BFA ’08)