Rebecca Eastham: Directer, Center for the Future of Work

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Media Contact:
Terry Tush | Director, Marketing and Communications | 405-744-2703 | [email protected]

Coming from an “OSU family,” Rebecca Eastham knows a thing or two about OSU but it
wasn’t until last October that she took up residence on campus as the director for
the newly established Center for the Future of Work.

She has earned two degrees from OSU — a bachelor’s in hospitality and restaurant administration
and a doctorate in human sciences — in addition to a master’s in human relations and
a graduate certificate in economic development from the University of Oklahoma.

Eastham spent 25-plus years in the hospitality industry, specifically in training
and development. That led to her position as executive director of workforce and economic
development at Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, where she spent 12 years
prior to becoming director for the new Center for the Future of Work in the Spears
School of Business.

She and her husband, Kyle, have called Stillwater home for the past 15 years and enjoy
being a part of the community. She is active in the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce,
Stillwater CARES, Vibrant Stillwater Coalition and church. The Easthams, along with
their Great Dane, Caldwell, enjoy serving as a part of Pete’s Pet Posse. 

What is the Center for the Future of Work? 

The Center for the Future of Work is being developed for the purpose of advancing
local and regional economies and community well-being through organizational development,
technology transformations and innovative workforce development. 

Why did you accept this role in leading the center? 

This was an exciting opportunity which aligned with my experience, personal passions
and interests along with allowing my return to OSU. I enjoy the challenge of taking
a concept and building it into something tangible and sustainable. The position allows
me to engage both internally and externally with OSU and build collaborative relationships
across the state and region.

I am looking forward to working with the faculty to generate impactful research and
consulting projects, connecting with organizations to collaborate and address issues
to shape the workplace and workforce, building relationships with donors to build
out the vision of the center and — of course — engaging with students, both in and
outside of the classroom, to prepare them for the future of work in today’s dynamic
economy and to serve the greater good as business leaders. 

What are your vision and goals for the center? 

Our vision is to be the preeminent resource for businesses, community organizations,
government agencies and NGOs to provide research, services and information to create
evidence-based solutions, programs and public policy to address some of the most challenging
workforce and societal issues. Our areas of strategic focus are: 1. Faculty Research
for Impact: Using rigorous research to address workforce and societal issues; 2. Innovative
Leader Development: Developing students and business leaders to drive the future of
work and make social change; and 3. Community Advancement: Helping Oklahoma toward
economic prosperity and community development. 

Why should an OSU business student be interested in the center and its goals?

Like the rest of the world, Spears Business sees the shifting of needs, issues and
technology of today’s workforce and workplace. Our students will be facing disruptive
technologies, remote and virtual workplaces and a wide diversity of colleagues. The
center and our initiatives will better equip them to thrive and lead in this future
of work.

We also know our students care about issues related to positive social change, diversity
and inclusion, protecting the environment and addressing social problems. Engaging
students in research projects and professional development opportunities will be a
key component to the center.

The center will play a part in developing socially conscious business leaders who
will have a positive impact on social change, their own communities and the organizations
they work with and for after they graduate. 

In 10 years, what do you hope the center has accomplished? 

I believe the center will be the preeminent entity in Oklahoma and the region to provide
research, data analysis, training and consulting for businesses, nonprofits and government
entities. The center will be known as a key contributor in advancing local and regional
economies and making measurable positive societal change. 

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