Owning Your Personal Power with Google’s Melonie Parker

What would you do if you earned a seat at the table, but you struggled to belong or simply feel welcomed in the conversation? Recent research from the Center for Talent Innovation found that exclusion is a growing issue. And, that more than 40% of those surveyed feel isolated in the workplace. Now, imagine being the “only one” on a team or in a meeting and not feeling as though you belong, or worse, “not being heard”.

In this episode, Melonie Parker, Chief Diversity Officer at Google, shares her career journey over the years as she learned to navigate the male-dominated corporate ladder, reclaim and step into her power, and become a passionate thought leader and an advocate for change.

Melonie is an HR executive committed to innovative, relevant, and contemporary HR leadership. She is responsible for advancing Google's employee engagement strategy across Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Additionally, Melonie serves as a Minority in Energy Initiative Champion for the Department of Energy


[02:58] Melonie’s journey
[04:05] Dealing with failure
[05:34] Finding clarity on your career path
[08:20] Gaining access to mentors and sponsors
[15:36] Owning your seat at the table
[18:30] Finding your voice
[20:32] Don’t let others silence you
[25:03] Feeling under the microscope as women of color
[28:59] Building powerful relationships virtually
[30:50] Opportunities for women of color
[33:21] Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
[39:06] Common traits of leaders
[44:24] Leveling up and staying ahead of the curve
[45:52] Parting words to listeners 


 “To thy own self be true, you are enough, lean into who you are, recognize what that is and how valuable you are to the rest of the world.”– Melonie Parker

“Leadership done well is servant leadership.” – Melonie Parker

“Hiring is a two-way dialogue – what are you giving to a company and what are you getting back in return.” –  Melonie Parker

“We might walk into a room and be the only one, but we always come with others, our community that always has our back.” –  Melonie Parker 

“Have courage of voice. It empowers you when you take ownership of your ideas.” – Melonie Parker

“What's the story that you’re telling yourself when you are sitting at the table, because if you go to the table, and know that you're designed to be there, that conversation is enriched because you're in it.” – Melonie Parker 

“If we had representation at parity, across healthcare, education, all of these structures, we would see a huge difference.”- Melonie Parker


About Melonie Parker:

Melonie Parker is an HR executive committed to innovative, relevant, and contemporary HR leadership. She is an advocate for change and a passionate thought leader. ​Parker is responsible f​ or advancing Google's employee engagement strategy across Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.​ Additionally, Parker serves as a Minority in Energy Initiative Champion for the Department of Energy.

Prior to this role she served as the Vice President of Human Resources & Communications at Sandia National Laboratories. Parker was responsible for the leadership and Labs-wide management of human resources, health, benefits and employee services. She was also responsible for Sandia’s communication efforts, which include planning, strategy, executive communications, media relations, external branding, community affairs and internal communications.

Prior to joining Sandia as the VP of HR and Communications, Parker extends expertise from a career spanning over 17 years in a variety of Lockheed Martin business areas, locations, and progressive leadership roles. During her time at Lockheed Martin, she has held responsibility ​for employee relations, staffing, EEO/Affirmative Action, diversity programs, compensation, benefits, and K-12 outreach initiatives. 

Parker received a B.A. in Mass Communications from Hampton University and an M.A. in Human Resources from Villanova University. She was named the 2016 HR Professional of the Year by the New Mexico Society of Human Resource Management. She was recognized with a Special Recognition Award at the 2014 Women of Color STEM Awards, and in 2012 graduated from Lockheed Martin’s Executive Assessment & Development Program. 


LinkedIn: melonieparker