In My Words: What Inclusivity Looks Like To Me – Marjorie
How creating safe spaces for communication helps foster inclusion.
*This story is being shared with the full support of Marjorie and her manager, sharing their experience for the benefit of us all.
Misunderstandings in the workplace can happen. We thank Marjorie and her manager for having an open and honest conversation with one another, and for sharing their story. As we continue to elevate our efforts to foster a culture of belonging and ensure equitable practices across the company, we encourage all Motorolans to lean into safe and inclusive communication. In some cases, that may mean having challenging conversations. But actively listening to the thoughts and feelings of others, even if their perspective is different from your own, will only help us continue to learn, grow and evolve…both as a team and as a company.
As we reflect on U.S. Black History Month, we asked 34-year-long Motorolan Marjorie: When have you felt genuinely included as a Motorolan?
I’ve been a Motorolan for a long time, so I have many stories to share… but for now, I’ll share a story about a safe space that was created for me. One time, my manager and I had a misunderstanding.
I’ve always been a driver. It’s important to me that I make a difference through my work, so when a project is assigned, I go above and beyond. My manager has always recognized this, so when they gave me special projects to work on, I embraced the opportunity.
As time passed, however, I began to feel marginalized from the rest of my team. I’d listen to my teammates talk about their shared projects, and I felt like I had nothing to add...that I was unimportant. And as the only African American woman on my team, it was hard not to wonder if that was somehow a factor. I didn’t expect my manager to feel what I felt or see what I saw, but I knew that it was important for me to share how things looked from my perspective.
Our first conversation didn’t go as planned. It was evident in my tone that I was frustrated, and our conversation was rushed because my manager was busy. Ultimately, I ended up feeling dismissed.
Until, one day, my manager asked me out for coffee. They told me that they could sense I wasn’t happy, which opened the door for me to share my feelings.
After listening to my concerns, my manager seemed surprised, and reassured me that I had been chosen for the special projects because of my skills and willingness to do more. I was happy that we were finally able to clear things up, and even more importantly, that they had offered a safe and supportive space for me to express my need for inclusion.
After our coffee chat, I felt revived and empowered. In fact, everything felt like a revival. While my manager and I spoke, I could feel their compassion and appreciation for me. It was exhilarating because I felt we had established a better, more respectful relationship and friendship – and that we understood each other better.
These days I’m still working on a number of projects, but there have been some changes! My manager now checks in with me on a regular basis – to ask if I want to have another conversation, if I still feel included on our team and if I’m doing OK in my personal life too.
I’ve learned that I can't ask for more and then be upset about getting it. Now I sometimes ask for fewer special projects to make room for team projects – this way I stay connected with everyone.
I feel good about my contributions and am proud of the impact I’ve had on the company. But most of all, I’m grateful that my manager asked me to join them for coffee when they did. When managers provide a safe space for their team members, it strengthens us as a company and allows us all to be our best.
To everyone reading this, don’t be afraid to speak out. There are good people here who want to listen, to understand you better and help you if they can. And try to understand others as well. We’re all Motorolans – helping one another in the moments that matter is what we do.