LEADERS SPOTLIGHT: Jessica Reed
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
[Jessica gets right to the point with her thoughts on leadership. We appreciated her succinct yet profound input.]
Tell us about your organization, its mission, and your role.
The STEM House is a 501c3 nonprofit that believes in STEM For All. We strive to increase the numbers of minorities and women in STEM fields through scholarships, STEM clubs, and enrichment programs.
What are some of the biggest challenges your organization faces in its operations, and how did you overcome them?
I would say we have two big challenges. First, is funding. We are still working on ways to increase our donations from various sources. Our second big challenge is convincing our target audience that they can do STEM. We run into a lot of parents and children who are afraid of STEM and think that you have to be a science or math genius. We work to remind them that everyone has a place in STEM, regardless of your educational background.
Is there anything you would have done differently when starting up or running your organization?
I would have started with a more niche focus. When I started, I wish I would have focused on only one area in STEM or either on one program only. We were excited about all of the positive feedback and interest we had in the organization when we started. However, we have had to take a step back and reevaluate how we accomplish our goal of STEM For All instead of trying to execute too many programs at once.
What does leadership mean to you? Describe how you lead.
I definitely believe in leading by example. I would never ask people to do something that I haven't or wouldn't be willing to do.
What would you say to girls or young women who are interested in making a difference or considering leadership?
Don't be afraid to pursue leadership roles - even if they are in areas that aren't traditionally targeted to girls and women.
Who inspires you?
One particular person - Stacey Abrams. Also, anyone who is not afraid of innovation, people who believe in ethical decision-making and who stand up for what's right.
Where can we learn more about The Colorization Collective?
More about you (bio):
Jessica Reed is the Founder of The STEM House, a 501c3 nonprofit based in Atlanta, GA. She has been passionate about technology and all things STEM since she was a child. When she arrived at college, Jessica discovered that some of her classmates had more exposure to opportunities in STEM than she did and were more prepared when it came to choosing a career field. This experience is one of her main inspirations for founding The STEM House. Ms. Reed has a degree in Computer Science from Florida A&M University. In addition, she is a training and change management consultant who works with corporations and organizations to develop course content that is used to empower adult learners in various industries.