Meet One of the Newest Members of Our Wilson College Family: Michael Odom
- Position: Director of Development
- Department: North Carolina Textile Foundation
- Hometown: Kannapolis, North Carolina
What was your path to this position?
I am a proud NC State and Wilson College of Textiles graduate! Prior to my current position at NCTF, I was a Director of Development for Appalachian State University.
What drew you to NC State for your degree? Are these aspects also what made you choose to accept a position with the Wilson College of Textiles?
I first learned about the Wilson College of Textiles through the recruiting program. I grew up in the textile town of Kannapolis, so it was certainly a part of who I was and the culture around me. I am also a first-generation college student. In fact, graduating high school was a celebrated event in my family. When I heard about the Wilson College of Textiles and the opportunities there, I thought that this would be a new and different path in a similar family business. I was also really interested in coming to NC State. When I visited for orientation I was sold on the university as a whole.
These aspects factored into my decision to come back to work at NCTF. I previously worked for Appalachian State University and have lived in Boone with my wife for over 20 years. I am excited about this opportunity with NCTF and remain in Boone through my remote position. Dean Hinks and the NCTF team have always been energized about our mutual priorities. Particularly, I value the Textile Pioneer Scholarship program, which is targeted to students that are from rural areas like myself. Additionally, I am passionate about speaking about these opportunities and how people can impact the college through whatever is important to them whether that be scholarships, programmatic support or entrepreneurial endeavors.
Did you hold any research or employment positions while you were a student here that prepared you for your current role?
The student experiences part really stands out to me. I had fulfilling work-related experiences as a student at NC State. In my junior year, I was a teaching assistant for introductory textiles classes for first-year students. For my second job at NC State, I assisted in the career services office in conjunction with the foundation, which is a full circle moment for me.
Was there a position you have held previously that you think will especially prepare you for this position at the Wilson College?
I navigated a 13 year career in sales and sales management, which I enjoyed, before entering my current position. That path certainly helped develop my abilities in terms of speaking with people and honing in on my interpersonal skills to make meaningful connections. For the last four years, being in a director of development role at Appalachian State, I have learned how this type of position operates. Establishing those interpersonal skills within relationships with students and colleagues has allowed me to be effective at this job based on those previous roles I have held.
How does it feel to transition from an alumnus of the college to an employee here?
It feels fantastic! This is truly my dream job. I have the opportunity to talk about the college that I love and has really impacted my life. When doing fundraising for another university, I was certainly passionate about the subject matter, but the role is very different now that I am working for the place that sparked so much joy, lifelong friendship and direction in my life. I love NC State and it feels more special to me now that I am giving back to my college.
Why were you interested in this position / in working at the Wilson College?
What we do at the Wilson College of Textiles and NCTF in many ways parallels my own story in terms of being a first-generation college student. My background and experience prepared me to discuss aspects of the college that are important to the dean, college students, staff and faculty. I can proudly carry that flag with me wherever I go and talk about these different pieces based on my experiences. I am also excited that I can work with alumni and friends of the Wilson College in order to impact our students and provide the best textile education and experience in the world.
What are your duties on a day-to-day basis?
My main responsibilities involve advancing the mission of the college through the generous philanthropy of our alumni and friends.
What about this position excites you or challenges you?
I am excited about telling the college and foundation’s stories and advancing our mission. NCTF has big needs, big dreams and big plans, which can all be made possible. This pandemic has truly shown us the value of the textile industry with personal protective equipment (PPE) and supply chain issues. I also love to bring people in to help us work on something that is going to impact the textile industry, our students and society in so many ways.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Time with my family outdoors, especially hiking, camping, skiing, mountain biking and kayaking.