"I want
to see
everyone win!"

She Moves Us - Interview with PUMA´s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

May 20, 2021

She Moves Us - Interview with PUMA´s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

May 20, 2021

One of her strategic priorities as PUMA’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for North America is to “REFORM the Workplace”. As part of our “She Moves Us” series, CATch-Up spoke with Michelle Marshall about her way of life, role models and her role in diversity leadership.


In 2018, we established #REFORM to honor the 50th anniversary of Tommie Smith’s Silent Gesture, to stand up against the broken U.S. criminal justice system, fight for LGBTQ+ rights, and push for Gender Equality forward. In her role at PUMA, Michelle strives to make PUMA a more inclusive organization and to bring the #REFORM program to life. She is the first person in this position at PUMA. So, what drives her, motivates her and what is her vision?

As a child, Michelle thought she would become a Computer Programmer. She learned coding in high school and she was even a member of the local computer club. It was in her first year of college when she realised that she would prefer to focus on a more creative and collaborative job. She studied Business Administration & Marketing and spent the first half of her career working in the Finance Industry. According to Michelle, there were moments in her career when she didn’t feel challenged or fulfilled. “I realize fulfillment means different things to different people, but for me, I wanted to wake up every morning and know that I was in a role that allowed me to feel like I was walking in my purpose and that will allow me to influence change to leave the world a better place for those generations coming up behind me.”

Tenacity as a superpower

Michelle likes to think of difficult parts of her career as training ground for what is to come: “Every one of those moments was meant to happen for me to evolve into the person and leader I was meant to be“. This optimism sums up in Michelle´s tag line in life. She “wants to see everyone win“. As a result, in her current diversity leadership role the best thing for her is the ability to create a culture where all employees can thrive. Here, she sees tenacity as her superpower. When things are tough, those are the moments that I shine and become even more determined for a successful outcome.”

"We should learn about all that makes us different, and at the same time understand that at the end of the day we are all human and have a lot more in common that we realize."

Michelle Marshall

Female role models 

In her life, Michelle felt especially influenced by women. Specifically, by the women who raised her. She highlights her mother, who passed on her strength and faith, as well as her sisters. Her sisters helped her shape her love for music, her creativity and sharpened her ability to think outside of the box. Michelle also speaks highly about her aunt, who was instrumental in her initial love for reading and learning, and her grandmothers who were hard working, resilient and always put their families first.

Women in leadership positions

In a business environment, Michelle still sees circumstances today that make it difficult for women to pursue certain management positions, but also provides a solution. “There is a plethora of circumstances that can make it difficult for women to pursue management positions, but those obstacles can be eliminated if more men and women in leadership will commit to being champions and sponsors for women to move into management positions. Mentorship is also key, but women are often over mentored and under sponsored so there needs to be a balance. Organizations must also be intentional about providing benefits and policies that will allow for a more equitable environment.”

Michelle remembers one of her college internships  she wasn’t just the only woman in meetings, but also the only woman that worked in the office. That seems to have been a defining event for her. “It made me feel that I had to work harder to become a part of the men’s circle and talk about things they loved talking about so that I wouldn’t feel like an outsider.”, she reflects today.


Here is Michelle’s career advice for young professionals:

1. Always pick up new skill sets because you never know what new technology or industry disruptions will occur that will cause you to have to quickly pivot into another career.
2. Prioritize self-care. You can't be your best self for others, if you are not taking care of yourself.
3. Don't let anyone's assumption or judgement of you be your narrative. Always remember who you are and the unique value you bring to the table.
4. If you desire to be in a specific role, I always suggest reverse engineering that role by doing research on what it takes to be successful in that role. This includes seeking advice from leaders in your desired field, studying to become a subject matter expert, researching job descriptions to determine what experience/skills are key so you can work to acquire the skills it will take to become more competitive, and volunteering for projects that will better prep you for your desired position.

For Michelle, a good manager should have the ability to think outside of the box and to not only communicate effectively, but understand that there are times when it is your job to listen more than speak.

Conversations That Move Us ft. Taylor Cassidy & June Ambrose


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