Empathy Is the Essential Skill We All Need Right Now

Derek Odell and Phillip Blackmon at Lifeblue.

There’s a common thread that ties together every product, every restaurant, every experience you love as a customer. By design, you probably will never recognize its presence.

That invisible ingredient is empathy, the ability to understand what another person is thinking or feeling. It’s foundational to any successful relationship, and we’ve never needed it more than we do right now.

It’s empathy that makes it possible for a company to create something that feels like it was made just for you. (This is a notion I may have had while visiting my favorite barista this morning.)

Empathy doesn’t happen by accident.

The best leaders build it with intention and effort. This is what I think of when I think of Derek Odell, who leads our product development team.

Derek has deep expertise in his craft – certainly he’s a web-coding whiz – but what sets him apart is his cognitive empathy, his skill of perspective-taking. This makes him a better product developer, and it also makes him a better leader.

Derek Odell of Lifeblue.
Derek likes to go fast, and that’s a good thing for our partners’ sake.

Once we understood the impact of COVID-19 on our partners in the arts and cultural space, Derek led his team to pivot quickly so we could build TurnStyle®. This is our custom ticketing solution that’s designed to help venues reopen safely.

Aside from developing TurnStyle® with an understanding for both the ticket seller and the ticket buyer – considering the practical and emotional needs of public outings during a pandemic – Derek also sought to understand the challenges his remote-working team members faced as they put in long hours under tight deadlines.

The launch was a success, and the team is stronger as a result of the project.

At Lifeblue, we strive to deliver on a promise to build greater value for the greater good. I’m thankful to have colleagues ­– like Derek – who work intentionally to make that possible.


We are proud to be a Certified B Corporation, a designation that signifies we balance purpose with profit. Leaders in the B Corp community have provided numerous resources to help businesses cope with issues related to COVID-19 and racismstrive to help create stronger social ties, empowered by the best technology in the history of humanity.

Follow Lifeblue on FacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.

Tagged with:

About Us

Exceptional results, driven by purpose

We’re a full-service digital agency with end-to-end capabilities and a commitment to exceeding expectations. As a Certified B Corporation, we’re also proud to be part of a global movement of companies that believe business should be a force for good.

JJ and Travis work.
Bhuvana looks at Derek's screen.
Nicole, Schmidty and Lauren wear Hack Week shirts at a happy hour.
Contact Us

Let's move
forward faster

Inclusive Design: Moving Beyond Web Accessibility

What does your website say about your brand? Read our report on creating better digital experiences for everyone.

A report on inclusive design that includes an image of a man with headphones on working on a computer.