3 Career Lessons from Melonie Parker, Chief Diversity Officer, Google

Named one of Savoy magazine’s 2023 “Most Influential Executives in Diversity & Inclusion,” Melonie Parker, Chief Diversity Officer, Google is a force for change. Today she leads a team that creates a positive ripple effect across the organization and technology industry.

At the recent Catalyst Awards, Melonie shared her path from a small town in North Carolina to the chief DEI role at the tech giant. Hers is a legacy of activism and groundbreakers. Melonie’s parents marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and her mother was the first Black bank teller in her town. She and her brother were also the first in their family to go to college. Three lessons that apply to us all stood out.

Embrace your superpower. Melonie described the phenomenon of women of color toggling between hypervisibility and invisibility. When she was younger, she tried to “shave a little piece” off herself to avoid standing out and calling attention to herself. Today, she encourages people to find their superpower and embrace the value they “add in” to their team.

Make the cookies. Early in her career, Melonie focused solely on delivering on her work and didn’t see the value in social events like cookie exchanges. A manager helped her understand that these were important networking events and that can help you expand your professional relationships.

We make change together. Melonie encouraged everyone to resolve to become a change agent–collectively. She closed by saying that only by working together will we be able to be the Catalyst Effect and improve inclusion in our workplaces.

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