Interview With Wanda Motley Odom, M.O. Group

For this year’s International Women’s Day, our team at Slice is proud to celebrate women across the marketing and communications industry through an interview series. Follow along throughout the week leading up to International Women’s Day to read about these inspiring women and their stories.

This interview is with Wanda Motley Odom, the Principal Consultant of the M.O. Group, which provides strategic communications and marketing direction to small and mid-size nonprofit agencies.

How do you define your leadership?

Leadership begins with humility, recognizing that one’s importance stems from the ability to authentically connect with, encourage and motivate others to strive for excellence in every measure. Leadership is bringing out the best in everyone. 

How has your leadership changed over the years you’ve been working?

I don’t think my leadership has changed as much as it has matured through experience. Setting a good example by modeling dedication, collaboration and respect has always been my approach to leadership, and that commitment has only increased in importance for me as today’s workplace has come to employ people of diverse backgrounds across multiple generations. Equally critical to my leadership style is seeking out and listening to new perspectives and ideas, for that’s the best way to create opportunities for improvement and growth that otherwise might have been missed. 

Can you share a story that demonstrates a key learning for you in your leadership journey?

In a previous job, I proposed launching a blog to raise the organization’s visibility, encourage community engagement and position it as a thought leader. The plan was to repurpose content that was already being created. There was staunch resistance for fear of readers being able to comment on the blog posts. Instead of pushing the issue, I recognized that the parties involved were not ready for this step into social networking. So I let it go. A year later, with new players involved, we were able to launch this platform as an important marketing and communication tool. 

What role do you think marketing communications should play in the future of your organization or industry?

With the plethora of ways that organizations and businesses can convey a message to a targeted or general audience, marketing and communications will continue to be essential to one’s success in the marketplace. Investing in marketing and communications people and resources will define that success. But we cannot forget that an organization’s actions are its narrative, so good decision-making regarding business operations makes effective marketing and communications that much easier.

What do you think young women entering the marketing communications field should know?  What advice do you have for them?

First and foremost, hone your writing and editing skills, news judgment and message development skills. Always seek to understand your audience through its voices. And stay current with evolving technology, and the ways in which it is impacting communications and marketing. Finally, read, read, read and watch, watch, watch. Be a voracious consumer of media — so that you can become confident in forming your own judgments about what works and what doesn’t. 

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