Rae Reed


Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard


What’s your story? (Name, Age, Birthdate, Hometown, Current Neighborhood, Education, Current Position, Current goals, etc.)

I’m Rae: I’m 26, a Taurus through-and-through, and only late to meetings if ‘Fast Car’ or ‘Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman plays. I’m also a life-long Columbus native, living first in Linden, then moving to the South-West side. I studied journalism at Otterbein University and started my first company during my junior year.

I’ve never really had a full-time job. Every day I hustle to support my company, WordUp, a copywriting and content marketing company, and my community project, Columbus Rising, an event to raise awareness about gender-based violence.

I do what I want, when I want, and am always working through the highs and lows of that freedom. Some days I work from 8am to midnight. Other days I send a few emails and tackle home projects.

I also volunteer for several nonprofits, which is incredibly meaningful and rewarding.

However, I donate so much time to projects I love, that I forget to nurture the constant—me. My goals are personal: to be unapologetic about boundaries and respectfully say no to things that overextend. It will be a challenge, but I want to focus on enjoying the benefits of being self-employed and free from a desk.

What does your name mean? (Google it, if you never have.)

A little known fact: my full name is RaDonna, but I’ve gone by Rae since I was little. I’ll answer to either, but RaDonna is really special to me. My dad designed the name after some family members, and I’ve never personally met another with it.

Why Columbus?

It’s opportunity city. No matter what you want to accomplish, there are avenues that lead to open doors. There’s so much to do, and I love how progressive and forward-thinking Columbus is.

What’s your motto/mantra? 

I wrote this for my company to direct me toward the right clients, and posted it where I see it every day:

Chase Vision with Vigor
Honor Your Audacity to be Authentic
Choose Bold over Basic
Every. Damn. Day.


Photo by Derek Coalter

Do you have any mentors/sponsors?

Absolutely. Different people have emerged in my life with the advice and guidance I needed to move forward, especially as I developed WordUp. I like to seek advice from people who have already experienced what I’m going through. Finding people to be in your corner is critical.

What’s been the key to your success?

Never giving up, remaining tenacious with my vision, and honestly, networking (I can’t ignore the power of meeting like-minded people). And, being 100% real. Anytime I simply honor who I am, it pays off in so many ways.

What’s your favorite Happy Hour spot in Columbus?

Easy—The Guild House.

What would you say to the young people who want to take their talents out of Columbus?

I encourage people to follow their curiosity. If something else is calling you, answer the call in a meaningful way (and bring the Columbus attitude with you).

Favorite Ohio Team:

The Ohio Roller Girls (!)

Local organizations you support:

Columbus Rising is my priority. A flash mob, a day of artistic expression, a day to unite supporters and survivors, Columbus Rising revolutionizes resiliency and breaks the chain of violence. My team and I brought a global movement to this city, joining the hundreds of thousands of people on the planet “rising” on the same day.

Some organizations that were part of Columbus Rising: CHOICES, BRAVO, Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Ohio Domestic Violence Network, SARNCO, Deaf World Against Violence Everywhere, Asha-Ray of Hope, Action Ohio Coalition for Battered Women… we’re hoping for more this year!

They’ve just erected a statue of you in front of the State House. What does it say underneath?

RaDonna: Radical, Relentless & Resilient

Best piece of advice you’ve received?

Nichole Baum Dunn of The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio told me something several years that stuck with me: “Bless & Release.” It’s simple and straight. I apply it to moments when I have to make tough decisions about what no longer fulfills me or my goals, whether it’s a possession, a relationship, an experience, a commitment, an opportunity or a project.

For me, it’s taking time to appreciate the impact and acknowledge the value of the past, but allowing myself permission to let go if the time is right.

How can we stay connected with you?

rae [at] wordupcontent.com
Twitter & Instagram: @RaeLivesOutLoud
LinkedIn & Facebook – Rae Reed


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