Creating Safe and Happy Workplaces with Marietta Montgomery · ShiftWorkPlace

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E92 Creating Safe and Happy Workplaces with Marietta Montgomery


People deserve to feel safe and acknowledged at work.

Bio for Marietta Montgomery

Marietta Montgomery grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. She went to High School in Avon, Indiana. She holds a Master’s Degree in Marketing from Strayer University. She has been happily married for 19 years.

Marietta comes with 16 years of experience as a Human Resources Manager. In the last year, she has been working in Learning & Development for a Global Manufacturing Company as an Organizational Development Manager focused on developing great leadership behaviors within an organization’s people through employee engagement and interactive training. She aspires to help people seek their purpose.

Episode highlight

Being a minority in corporate America requires you to develop a thick skin because it’s not a walk in the park. People look at you like you don’t belong or deserve to be there. Since high school Marietta Montgomery has had to fight battles to be acknowledged. Her grandmother always reminded her that the struggles she was going through in high school were preparing her for the corporate world.

Marietta has a record of leaving workplaces better than she found them. Everywhere Marietta goes, she leaves positive footprints in terms of happy and productive employees. Today, Marietta shares her career journey, the battles she has fought to be the person she is and nuggets of wisdom on improving our workplaces.

We also get to be beneficiaries of some wisdom Marietta received from her grandmother growing up.



  • “Before you ask for what you need from someone, check in on them as an individual.”
  • “The more the more you can make someone feel comfortable without judgment, the more you find out about them.”
  • “Family doesn’t mean literal family – it is people that make you feel you can be your authentic self, and truly care about your wellbeing.”


Childhood Incidents

Marietta’s grandmother is one of her strongest influences. She believed every boss had a boss. When Marietta was in school, if there were some new policies her grandmother disagreed with, she would talk to the teacher. If she didn’t like the response, she would go to the principal, and even present her case to the Board of Education.

From a tender age, Marietta learned from her grandmother the importance of clearly differentiating between her needs and wants. She recalls moments when her grandmother would tell her, “You are too old to cry over a want.”

Influential groups

In high school, Marietta was the only African-American female, which was difficult for her. Some pupils viewed her as an alien. Whenever she complained to her grandmother, the response was,” Welcome to corporate America, get ready.”

Throughout high school, Marietta mastered how to be comfortable in her skin. She dropped athletics and decided to focus fully on academics. This led her to join the newspaper staff, where she had a regular column. By the third year, she was popular and, at some point, became a cool kid.

This experience in high school influenced how Marietta approaches others. She learnt how to be open-minded and sensitive to people. She believes before you ask for anything from anyone, check on them first.

Temperament and Personality Influences

Marietta believes she is welcoming, gregarious and excited about life. Her goal is always to be approachable to make it easy for people to talk to and open up to her, becoming more patient over the years.

Cultural Epiphanies

Marietta recalls a time when she worked as an HR manager with a Vietnamese HR generalist. The safety manager was Hispanic. She thought she was in the right place until the HR generalist approached her and asked why she was hired, since she was black. Marietta had a very precise answer for him, “I will be back tomorrow, and my skin will be the same.”

Thriving Moments

To bring out the best in Marietta, you need to be real. She loves it when people are transparent and vulnerable with her because it makes it easier for her to know how to help them.

Soap Box Moment

Marietta compels us to think about our approach to people in general, both in and outside of the workplace. She believes we see things on the surface, but it’s what we don’t see that requires a calm non-judgmental approach.


Marietta Montgomery has real insights into what makes people feel safe and acknowledged at work. Her lifetime experience of seeking commonalities, bridging differences, and setting respectful boundaries started with the experience of being the only minority during high school, and deciding more and more consciously to find and take charge of her margin of control. Marietta now always leaves people in organizations better than how she found them, with fond memories of their work with her. As an inspired people person, she’s at her best in training and development roles. As a manufacturing leader, she takes people from where they are and adds her blend of grit and humanity to encourage them into their next steps.


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