• Meet Ileigh Reynolds, Entertainment by Design

    FROM THE Summer 2017 ISSUE

    Ileigh Reynolds transforms events into experiences.

I leigh Reynolds set up shop at the intersection of art and entertainment when she founded Animate Objects Physical Theater in 2006. It’s only fitting for a woman who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at Miami’s New World School of the Arts, then went on to perform in modern-dance companies and as a showgirl, cruise ship dancer and aerialist.

“I’ve got that more formal, traditional and artistic side mixed with the razzledazzle, sparkles, glitter, fake eyelashes and feathers of the entertainment world,” Reynolds explains. 

She moved her company to Seattle in 2010, bringing some of that glitter to the notoriously gray Pacific Northwest. “I love the sun and culture of Miami,” Reynolds says, “but I love the lifestyle and ethics out here. I feel like these are my people.

Animate Objects started out as a nonprofit dance, circus arts and physical theater company, but Reynolds soon caught the attention of event planners with a choreographed performance rappelling down the side of a building, and was called on to do more high-profile events. “Pretty soon I got more and more calls to do corporate events, and I started realizing I really loved the event entertainment. People didn’t purchase tickets for a show, they’re just going to their company gala or awards show, and it’s a surprise for them.”

Reynolds says events challenge her creativity. “We get to create this whole experience just for that night, for that moment, for those people. … We provide handcrafted entertainment experiences.”

From strolling performers to a full-blown production involving aerialists, stilt-walkers and fire dancers, Animate Objects can produce a unique experience for any size event. “I’m an entertainment designer,” Reynolds says.

And that entertainment can save the day when everything else is falling apart: If dinner is late, attendees can be distracted by a spectacular show. “Our performers can really interact and help change the direction of the event more than an awesome centerpiece can,” Reynolds notes. 

Of her company’s performances, she says: “My job is about bringing joy into the world. It’s those moments when you see someone’s face just light up in awe and elation. … We’re taking people to a different reality for a minute.” 

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 


Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.


Danielle Boyles’ first job in hospitality was at the front desk of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in her hometown of Toronto, Ontario. “I lived and worked in Asia for four years and learned to speak Japanese while I was there. The Royal York hired me on the spot to work at the front desk and with the Japanese tour groups. I never looked back,” she says.