Published on
Jun 19, 2024

Parallax Advanced Research’s Human Resources Department ensures that the company culture aligns with the needs and aspirations of both employer and employee, fostering harmony and facilitating growth within the workforce. Parallax’s Marketing Department sat down with Leigh Oldham, the new VP of Human Resources, to discuss the most important lessons learned from her HR career and how she plans to improve efficient and effective workforce communications and HR programs at Parallax.  

Leigh Headshot


Stay Curious  

Leigh Oldham has over twenty years of experience in human resources. She has served within fields ranging from criminal justice to medicine to manufacturing and now, science and technology. Leigh has always followed her curiosity in finding a position that suited her.  

In her own words, "I never saw my career as dimensional. Human Resources is a transferable skill, so if an opportunity sounded interesting and I thought may teach me something new, I took it!”

Leigh explored the philosophy of curiosity in her previous position, as they underwent a major growth incentive with several acquisitions. Her contribution was welding each organization together through a learn-and-align approach, whilst maintaining engagement and retaining talent. Leigh found that through effective and efficient collaboration and communication, achieving this outcome is possible.  


At Parallax Advanced Research, talent development, career progression, and internal growth are a few of the top priorities concerning employees. To ensure that these opportunities are provided for employees, Leigh suggests the creation of conscious learning. Understanding the employees' desires for growth and giving them opportunities to communicate these goals with managers or supervisors will allow for individuals within the company to head start meaningful projects, initiatives, or committees.  

This emphasis on curiosity is evident in Parallax’s student program, where students can work part-time or intern, whilst focusing on their personal and professional development.

Being curious, however, does not end in the academic sense. Being curious about others is just as important. As Leigh underlines, “The more you're curious about someone, the kinder that makes you as a person. Seeing life through another person's perspective is the best way to build relationships and meaningful connections.”

Leigh and kids

Find Joy in Work

Leigh also highlights the importance of finding joy in work. “There is always an opportunity to find something that makes you connect to your work or laugh or enjoy being around others in a work setting,” said Leigh.

One important factor in enhancing employee engagement and satisfaction is understanding employee experiences on an individual basis. “For engagement to be sustainable,” Leigh teaches, “there must be a two-way conscious communication effort.”  

Leigh’s focus in regard to cultivating meaningful conversation is taking a critical look at current communication channels and deciphering which of these have been the most influential for employees.

Another important factor in providing a joyful workplace is supporting work-life balance and the overarching well-being of staff. Leigh emphasizes the importance of emotional intelligence and empathy in the workplace.  

“There is no cookie cutter approach towards people, because people are individuals with unique circumstances,” said Leigh. “The term “work-life balance” sounds like a teeter-totter, but really it is about being present.”

The role of the Human Resources Department, in this sense, is understanding how to advocate for employee’s both physical and mental presence. Sometimes this may look like working with employees to navigate difficult conversations with management or making sure the employee understands the value in their voice.  

“I am really impressed with the policies and benefits regarding work-life balance Parallax offers,” said Leigh. “My focus moving forward is improving these policies to become a market leader in employer of choice. How can we attract, retain, and engage the best at what we do?”

Lead Humbly

There are two initiatives a company’s HR department should always be in line with: (1) the company’s core values, and (2) Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) strategies. Some organizations approach DEI as a checklist of boxes for compliance. At Parallax, however, its DEI strategy and core values are woven into the fabric of the organization. Leaders like Leigh ensure that these values saturate each aspect of Parallax’s business.  

“I have seen organizations treat DEI as a check list, focusing only on compliance issues,” explains Leigh, “My role is to delve deeper. DEI is not simply about race, gender, or associations. This is about how we treat each other.”

Making sure employees voices feel heard and their concerns seen are the most critical jobs of the HR department. Leading humbly by valuing and concisely listening to employee feedback fosters an inclusive and respectful workplace culture.  

According to Leigh, “Employees are the customers of Human Resources, their feedback is the guidepost in building HR strategy. The only reason you have an HR function is because you have employees.”

Leigh aims to work towards a proactive management program, where she can understand the productivity needs of employer and employee. A proactive organization is more responsive to change management and better able to absorb these changes as they happen. Because of this, Leigh welcomes Parallax employees to reach out to her at any hour during the workday to share their experiences, give suggestions, or ask for advice.  

“It is so important to me that employees continually know that their voices have been heard through the changes we are making within the organization,” Leigh said.  


About Parallax Advanced Research & The Ohio Aerospace Institute 
Parallax Advanced Research is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit research institute that tackles global challenges through strategic partnerships with government, industry, and academia. It accelerates innovation, addresses critical global issues, and develops groundbreaking ideas with its partners. With offices in Ohio and Virginia, Parallax aims to deliver new solutions and speed them to market. In 2023, Parallax and the Ohio Aerospace Institute formed a collaborative affiliation to drive innovation and technological advancements in Ohio and for the nation. The Ohio Aerospace Institute plays a pivotal role in advancing the aerospace industry in Ohio and the nation by fostering collaborations between universities, aerospace industries, and government organizations, and managing aerospace research, education, and workforce development projects. More information on both organizations can be found at Parallax and OAI websites.