This story is a part of our ‘A Day in the Life’ series that highlights the career journeys of 2U employees across the world. Throughout June we’re celebrating Pride month and featuring members of one of our Business Resource Networks: 2Q.
Storytelling has always been important to Leah Favia. In her undergrad years at SUNY New Paltz, while she was studying to become a high school Italian language teacher, her roommate was making engaging videos for her TV production degree. Leah realized she wanted to use this dynamic media in her teaching, so she pursued a bachelor’s degree in media management. Afterward, she obtained a master’s degree in documentary film and history at Syracuse University.
With media and film degrees in hand, Leah began work as a television producer in the DC area. While crime documentaries were her forte, she also produced other compelling video series, including a poker biography. Her devotion to projects can’t be questioned; during the production of a Cooking Channel show, she says she gained 10 pounds. Needless to say, Leah has an appetite for excellence.
Assembling a story for a TV show, for Leah, is like solving a jigsaw puzzle. There are many pieces—quotes, b-roll, graphics, research—and she loves figuring out how everything will fit together in a way that viewers will enjoy.
Today at 2U, she continues to solve puzzles as a senior producer on the Creative Marketing team.
Read on to learn how Leah, through her marketing video work, teaches prospective students about student experiences in our university partners’ online programs.
Why did you join 2U? What is it about the company that sparked your interest?
I wanted to make a lasting impact. A lot of TV work is contract-based, and that became hard for me. A show would hire me, I’d produce for 6–8 months, and then I’d move on to the next gig. I wanted to leave a bigger mark somewhere.
When I first came across 2U, I was hooked. The website alone showcased good storytelling, media, and the positive impact they were having on students’ lives. Those were the kinds of stories I wanted to tell. When I got to the application page, there was this great “Why work at 2U” video. I could tell that 2U understood how good media storytelling could sell, and I wanted to be a part of that.
How would you describe your role as a senior producer?
What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your job?
How to capture and then retell an engaging story with an engaging arc in under a minute.
What’s your favorite part about working at 2U?
I have never worked somewhere quite like 2U. The openness I have with my manager and fellow 2Utes is inclusive, and I feel safe being my true, authentic self. I have never felt uncomfortable discussing my values or concerns, no matter how liberal or conservative they may be.
Leah and her team spelling out Pride in American Sign Language
How has culture played a role in your career?
Culture is one of the best parts about being a documentary filmmaker because there are so many stories to tell! I’ve covered history, festivals, sexuality, animals, food, and games!
What does Pride month mean to you?
Visibility! It’s so important that the LGBTQ+ community continues to be seen and accepted into our everyday lives.
What is your most treasured memory from 2Q, 2U's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Allies Business Resource Network, and why?
I am bisexual, and I am a devout Roman Catholic. It’s a duo that seems taboo, even impossible to some. For a lot of LGBTQ+, they’ve been so badly burned by houses of faith that it may be uncomfortable to hear, so I hope to approach it with sensitivity.
During one of my first 2Q Coffee Chats, I decided to open up about my Catholic faith, and the blessings and challenges that come with that as a queer person. A fellow member of 2Q reached out to me to meet for coffee regarding my journey. She had grown up devoutly Catholic, and she wanted to provide a safe space to discuss our faith in regard to our queerness. We talked about the journey, the hurdles, the stigmas, everything. She had a lot of good advice, and she didn’t judge me for the ways in which we were different. I really appreciated that, especially so early into my 2Q life.
As a queer business owner, what got you interested in launching your own enterprise? What does your business entail?
I run an embroidery business called Dainty AF Boutique. My work is a lot of funny phrases adorned with filigree and custom, hand-embroidered art that I showcase on my Instagram page and sell in my Etsy store.
Embroidery started out as a coping mechanism for me when I was widowed in 2015. It was unexpected, and the trauma turned me into a bit of a restless spirit. I needed something productive I could do with my hands, so I started with puzzles and coloring books before I got into crafting and eventually embroidery. The completed pieces started stacking up, and I wanted other people to enjoy them as much as I did.
That’s when I started sharing my work with my 2U manager, Rae Lewis-Krisky (also a 2Q leader!), who suggested I open an Etsy store. It was always something I’d had in the back of my mind but hadn’t yet achieved. So, one day after work, she helped me launch it. I’ve been in the business now since 2018 and have sold pieces around the world.
Some of my favorite, recent pieces include “Enjoy your poop,” “Do no harm, but take no shit,” “Take a bath, you dirty hippie,” and others. A lot of them are sold as gag gifts, and I don’t mind! As long as someone enjoys it, I’m happy.
One of Leah's embroidery creations from her Dainty AF Boutique
What are you doing to celebrate Pride month this year?
Embroidering lots of rainbows for my shop.
Out of everything you’ve done at 2U so far, what are you proudest of?
I’m proudest of how much I’ve grown in my field. I used to be just the storyteller and coordinator, but now I can handle a lot of the tech too. Thanks to the encouragement of my team, I now also edit, color correct, audio mix, travel, research, and film. I had to step way out of my comfort zone to do a lot of those things, and I’m so thankful that my team has been supportive of continuing education.
What advice would you give to someone just starting at 2U?
Have a hobby outside of work. In the creative marketing team, we have a children’s book artist, embroiderers (I’m not the only one), filmmakers, and even a professional wrestler! Never stop learning.
Are you interested in a job like Leah’s? Check out our Marketing team page for information on open positions. We’re hiring.
Learn more about us.
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