How We Contribute: A Conversation With Marie Potter

Dissatisfaction and discontent are plaguing the world of work—we see it everywhere we turn in statistics on burnout, mental health challenges, and employee well-being. But what if our well-being, satisfaction, and motivation come from something more than the perfect work/life balance, fancy fringe benefits, or a defined career ladder?

One of our favorite HR thought leaders, Marie Potter, shared with us how her team’s approach to work is evolving.


Marie is an incredibly smart, engaging, and dedicated HR leader. After 15 years in higher education and student services, she made a bold career transition into human resources and the corporate world. Today, she serves as the Senior Director of Culture & Development at Getty Images, leading a global team that champions the experience, engagement, connection, and development of employees enterprise-wide. With a focus on learning and development, diversity and inclusion, and people insights, her team is guided by their motto, “We shape and tell the story of our people”.


Recently, Marie joined us for our monthly innovation-focused lunch meeting, called “Noonovate,” where we regularly explore new ideas. In this meeting, she challenged our team with the following idea: If our quality of life will be determined by how purposefully we apply our strengths in the world, how then should we approach our work?

Inspiration for her challenge was drawn from Tom Rath’s latest book, Life’s Great Question. In it, he unravels the superficial standards of success and compels readers to consider that, “Life is not what you get out of it… it’s what you put back in.”

The answer to Marie’s question, then? We must find the places our motivations, abilities, and purpose intersect. And then activate them.


Pulling concepts from Rath’s book, Marie walked us through some tips to help us reframe our work with purpose:


  1. Think about what the world needs–see The 12 Contributions, Tom Rath’s research-based inventory.
  2. Consider how you, personally, are uniquely equipped to meet some of those needs.
  3. Connect those strengths with the people your work serves–who benefits?
  4. Now, aim your energy and efforts towards this purpose.


Understanding the true purpose behind our work allows us to focus our effort and channel our strengths into the kind of meaningful contributions that add value to our organizations and communities. It’s a contagious and virtuous cycle that we want to be a part of. Join us?


A big thank you to Marie: We’re all feeling a little more intentional about being better Thinkers and better humans.


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