Marlene Paez Dukes
Hi Chicago pals,
We have a special treat for you this month. I had the opportunity to interview Rachita Vasan, our very own CreativeMornings’ volunteer member. Rachita is a Junior Strategist at Leo Burnett and is currently leading some meaningful social justice projects at her work space. Check out the full interview to learn about her favorite books, current playlist, and the best advice she has gotten.
1. What have you gained from being part of the CreativeMornings volunteer team? I have learned so much from multiple disciplines that I am not exposed to on a day to day basis.
2. The projects that you’ve worked on have focused on social justice issues. What approach did you take to make sure that the projects stayed true to the mission? I work at Leo Burnett and we have a diversity and inclusion platform called Create Greater Than which centers on the idea that conversations create change. One of the projects that I co-lead is Create Greater Than Fridays where we bring in speakers. I spoke at one of the events about unconscious bias. I focused on how it impacts the work that we do.. in order to educate and empower everyone that I work with.
VIDEO OF CREATE GREATER THAN FRIDAY link - https://open.spotify.com/episode/6HVcayxXHEEdE6MpB0EsUV?si=3wbDX6zXTa6QJptqEtt3Fw
3. August’s theme is Justice, in one sentence or less, how do you define Justice? Justice is not just evening the playing field but understanding where people come from and understanding that everyone’s story is important and unique.
4. Who is your social justice role model? Jameela Jamil, actress from The Good Place, because she owns up to her mistakes and is an outspoken advocate for body positivity, representation, and transparency.
5. What does community mean to you? Community is a gathering of people who are motivated by the same things. The communities that enrich me are my strong female friends, CreativeMornings, and Sofar Sounds.
6. What’s on your current playlist? Sylvan Esso, Lizzo, Vampire Weekend, The Beach Boys, Local Natives, Brockhampton, Tennis, Maggie Rogers, Tyler the Creator, Death Cab for Cutie. A little bit of everything, really.
7. What keeps you up at night? When I’m in the middle of a book and I can’t put it down. Also, the fact that the bees are dying.
8. What are you reading now?
- Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
- How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
- Educated, Tara Westover
- The Library Book by Susan Orlean
- The Power by Naomi Alderman
- Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
9. What is your secret superpower? The ability to make a good pun; my constant need to ask questions and question everything while still trying to maintain empathy.
10. What do you do when you feel creatively stuck? I read, wash dishes, and do yoga.
11. Where do you find creativity in Chicago? The events that I attend such as CreativeMornings.
12. Best advice you live by? Live life like a middle age white men in congress and just assume you are entitled to everything and deserve a seat at the table. Also, ask for forgiveness, not permission.
13. How does Chicago influence you or your work? Chicago influences my work because Chicago’s creative community is inclusive and incredibly collaborative, more so than a lot of other cities I’ve lived in.
14. Who is another creative person / organization in Chicago that we need to know about? 826CHI, a non-profit creative writing, tutoring, and publishing center dedicated to amplifying the voices of Chicago youth.
15. What advice would you give to someone going to their first CreativeMornings event? Come with an open mind and talk to people, because everyone is hungry for that connection.
16. Lastly, what’s one fun fact about you that’s not on your official bio? I usually read 100+ books a year.