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Fresh Faces 2022: Reed Sowder

Sowder is an exhibit designer for Deckel & Moneypenny, where she creates unique displays and activations for large exhibitions, shows and businesses.

Reed Headshot 1
Photo: Courtesy of Reed Sowder

Reed Sowder is a 27-year-old exhibit designer for Deckel & Moneypenny, a Louisville, Ky.-based company that builds exhibits and brand experiences for a variety of clients. She has previously worked in display and exhibit design for companies like GE Appliances and Fisher-Price.

How she spends her days: "As an exhibit designer, I create visual and physical concepts to communicate ideas that inspire, inform and captivate a client and their audience. The variation in my everyday tasks is what drew me to experiential design. I get to create unique displays and activations for large exhibitions, shows and businesses. From initial mood board concepts to 'go-live' day, I am part of the process. I love the state of flux that comes with executing an event; it keeps the job interesting.

Though I am just kicking off my career in experiential design, I got my start in the event industry at a young age. I grew up installing museum exhibits with my father and started working in my mother’s restaurant at age 13. I was always exposed to the planning of special events and loved interactions with wowed guests."

Biggest takeaway from the past two years: "The pandemic has brought with it many challenges for an industry that thrives on gathering. We've had to shift the way we approach successful interactions, meetings and events. Though the pathways to an impactful event have evolved over the last two years, the end goal has remained: Gatherings should bring a group of people together to deliver tangible results and, in the end, not waste anyone's time. With the shift to virtual and hybrid events, it has been imperative that we keep our events thoughtful, exciting and worthy of our attendees' time.

If the pandemic has taught me anything, it's that we are designed as humans to be together, and for that reason, the event industry will never go away."

Career goals: "In my career, I want to be the 'go-to person' in whatever role I take on. I strive to be a person of value rather than obtaining a particular title. I know that being a trusted team player will bring with it career successes, but the invaluable relationships forged with employers, colleagues and clients is the ultimate takeaway."

Advice for her peers: "Knowledge is a powerful tool to advance you in your career, so never stop learning new things! Our world is changing faster than ever, so staying on top of communication, technical and personal skills can only aid you in whatever role you take on. Consider yourself a forecaster by staying a step ahead of the rest. If everyone is absorbed in the problems of today, think about the solutions that will make a change for tomorrow.

Beyond that, kindness goes a long way in how people remember you—but speaking up, having an opinion and conveying confidence when you have a great idea is just as important. I think this is advice everyone has been given, but sometimes we need the reminder to actually implement it into our work ethos."

In her free time: Sowder is the events coordinator for the Louisville chapter of IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of America). She's also a member of AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, a volunteer for the Shelby Park Clean Up Committee and a volunteer at Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

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This year's "Fresh Faces" feature is sponsored by Glisser, an award-winning meetings and events platform developed by event industry veterans to go beyond basic video and screen-sharing tech to power inspiring, high-participation events of any size.

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