Providing a Culture of Belonging for People…and Pets
Diversity and inclusion leader Morieka Johnson is passionate about creating safe, empowering environments for everyone.
Morieka Johnson has long appreciated the power of storytelling. A Georgia native, she grew up in a household where reading the day’s newspaper was an embraced tradition. “Being informed was part of our daily ritual,” she said.
After attending Emory University, Morieka combined that appreciation with a talent for writing, earning a job at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I was so proud to finally get the call and work in a newsroom with such amazingly talented people,” she said.
After her time in journalism, Morieka joined Cox Media Group’s corporate communications team and later became a program manager for Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) at Cox Communications. Fast-forward to present day, and Morieka was recently promoted to a senior manager position on the D&I team.
“I’ve always had a passion for helping the company attract, retain, and – most importantly – advance talent,” Morieka said. “As Senior Manager for Diversity & Inclusion, I work with our employee resource groups, our regional councils, and our leaders across the country to make Cox an employer of choice. This role was a natural fit based on my communications background, and my love for employee growth and development across Cox.”
Morieka explained that in this role, she uses storytelling to show the business value of diversity and inclusion both internally and externally.
By managing all the Cox Communications employee resource groups (ERGs), Morieka is also helping Cox team members find community and opportunities to serve. At Cox Communications there are five employee resources groups supporting women, black and African American team members, Hispanic team members, LGBTQ+ team members, and early-career professionals. Across Cox we have two company-wide ERGs – Salute, supports our veterans across Cox and Lotus, empowers our Asian and Pacific Islander team members.
The ERGs offer programming and events that span the entire organization, and all employees are welcome to participate. During Morieka’s time as program manager, ERG membership increased more than 50 percent and D&I launched five new ERG chapters.
“Each ERG focuses on employee growth and development through a different lens, and I love being part of that conversation,” she said.
Outside of the office, Morieka is a loving dog mom to a French bulldog named Louie B. (who likes to snore loudly during her conference calls). But Morieka is more than a pet parent: she also uses her writing and communications chops to help animals.
“It started when I inherited a pitbull named Lulu,” she said. “After connecting with so many trainers and veterinarians over the years, I decided to write about my experience and help other first-time dog owners. That column appeared on MNN.com and has been re-purposed on CNN.com. I also created a few podcast episodes capturing those tips, and I occasionally contribute pet stories to the AJC.”
Morieka said that volunteering with pet organizations is also important to her.
“Right now, I volunteer for Ahimsa House,” she said. “This organization provides emergency housing and vet care to pet victims of domestic violence. It’s an amazing organization and I transport pets to boarding facilities when they need help.”
Morieka also loves to travel and has fond memories of trips to Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, and Switzerland.
Venturing outside of the comfort zone is one of Morieka’s key pieces of advice for people who are eager to advance their careers.
“Learn the business and build a strong network,” she said. “Once you understand the demands of your role, step outside of your comfort zone and get to know people in other departments and business units. Many Cox employees have long tenures, so it’s highly likely that you will cross paths on future projects.”
In the world of diversity and inclusion, leading with kindness and positivity is especially important.
“Cox Communications CEO and President Pat Esser says that people want to follow optimistic leaders – that’s so true,” Morieka said. “I have been fortunate to work with optimistic leaders who remind me to focus on the positive. We work for a great company and even during times of crisis or change, it’s so important to keep things in perspective. Stay focused on the people in your life who matter most.”
Morieka has now been at Cox for over 15 years, and her enthusiasm for what she does is still palpable. She is excited to see how diversity and inclusion at Cox will continue to grow.
“I love this role because I get to reinforce how diverse and inclusive workplaces drive business results, and that having them is simply the right thing to do,” she said.
Want to read more stories like this or discover a day in the life at Cox? Check out our employee blog or search for open roles to learn more.