On Deepening a Work Culture Centered on Care: A Conversation Introducing Shatona Holcomb as Our New Director of People and Culture
Interviewer: Tell us a little about what brought you to Allied Media Projects.
Shatona: The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic changed my life and how we view work, especially the support and flexibility our staff needed in the workplace. In the wake of so many issues facing employees, many times as a HR professional you find yourself not being able to really “show up” as yourself. Many times I have been the “only”, that being a woman or African American woman in leadership roles. I wanted to seek an organization where that would be different, where “different” is really the “norm.” When I started researching AMP, I loved the programs, the social impact the programs had in the community and the diversity of the staff. As a native Detroiter and someone who grew up in Brightmoor, I have accomplished many things beyond my wildest dreams. The work of the staff actually has a social impact! I love the idea of working with creatives and people who care about impacting our communities!
Interviewer: How do you see the role of the Director of People & Culture innovating on and responding to ever-changing work dynamics as we navigate external forces impacting our work nationally and globally?
Shatona: We have to adapt and the pandemic has shown us anything is possible! The overall idea of what a workplace is and what it needs to be has been reimagined. Organizations must deliberately address the changes brought on by the pandemic and the rapid pace of technological advancement to enable remote and flexible work. While our organization is rooted in Detroit, AMP has established a national and international footprint. We have employees in several states and we have the ability to continue to grow. I see my role as leading the charge on how AMP manages the fundamental human needs of our staff. Research has shown that remote work has increased productivity for companies, however, some complain that it is difficult to feel connected to colleagues and manage work-life boundaries. Figuring out ways to increase connectivity and a sense of belonging, regardless of where employees are, will be one of the goals for the upcoming year. I believe if we can do this successfully, we can help employees balance productivity, well being, and a sense of connection in the evolving future of work. In my short time at AMP, the 4-day workweek has launched, in the process of a comprehensive compensation study to stay competitive in an evolving job market.
Interviewer: We’re excited about the experience and skills you bring to AMP as an HR practitioner, can you tell us what guides your work? (Or what brought you to this work?)
Shatona: Funny, I started my career in advertising and marketing and along the way discovered I enjoyed working with people and policies the most. Over the years, I’ve worked for some great companies and industries and my most recent position as the Director of Talent & Culture for a museum allowed me to lean into the nonprofit space. I love how AMP not only does meaningful work, but cares for their employees. 20 years of impactful work in the city of Detroit and supporting employees who represent all walks of life, who wouldn’t want to be a part of this culture?
Interviewer: One of AMP’s Network Principles states, “We encourage people to engage with their whole selves, not just with one part of their identity.” What does this principle mean to you as AMP works to make its culture irresistible?
Shatona: I love the idea of engaging as ourselves, as we are very complete and complex beings. I personally have many identities that people see when they see me—not only as an African American woman, but a single mom, a Detroiter, a leader and the list could go on and on. I came into the workforce where it was taboo to think about being yourself at work, I remember being told to leave your personal life at the door. Now, in 2023, my professional life starts 3 steps outside my bedroom. My son will join Zoom calls and I’ve hosted team meetings in my living room. I believe showing all parts of my life makes me relatable and humanizes me as an HR professional. In my experience, people like authentic and approachable people. I hope to impact AMP’s culture the same way.
Interviewer: What are you excited about for Allied Media Projects going into 2023?
Shatona: We have so many exciting things happening in 2023—moving into the Love Building, growing our footprint nationwide and helping AMP craft the next 20 years! This is an exciting time!
Shatona’s Media Favs:
Music~ old school R&B and 90s Neo Soul
Movies~documentaries and a good serial killer story
Books- autobiographies of famous people are my