To really identify, shape, and reinforce the firm’s culture, Jessica Marinelli wants to figure out why people like working at Morgan Lewis. As senior manager of employee engagement, Jessica plans to identify what motivates certain groups of people at the firm and find a way to share that with everyone. Here, Jessica talks about her new role and what well-being means to her.
Tell me about your current position here.
I recently moved into the role of senior manager of employee engagement and a large part of that has been focused on the launch of ML Well. That’s an exciting first effort under our employee engagement umbrella. Going forward, I’ll be working on new initiatives that explore the culture here at Morgan Lewis, our attributes, and shared values in the firm, which differentiate us in the marketplace. Through engagement surveys, focus groups, and other forms of information gathering, I plan to analyze that data to make recommendations for additional programs that help make people—both lawyers and professional staff—feel like they are connected to the larger Morgan Lewis community.
What in your career history prepared you for this role?
My background is in human resources, which has allowed me to work in all types of organizations – publicly traded companies, startups, nonprofits, and HR here at the firm. HR is the place where people often come to talk to you when they aren’t feeling engaged. Being able to draw on what I’ve learned from those conversations over the years has definitely prepared me for a role that is designed to foster and encourage engagement.
What are you most looking forward to with the rollout of ML Well?
I’m most excited about hearing how ML Well, and programming that is on the horizon, is impacting my fellow coworkers. In the short time since we’ve launched the internal portal to share resources on well-being, we’ve already heard from people on what they are using, what they would like to see there, and who they are sharing it with. I think there is a feeling of people wanting to share successes in increasing their own well-being, and knowing that we are helping people, even in a small way, makes this job so rewarding.
What does well-being mean to you?
For me, well-being means striving to achieve your highest level of satisfaction – intellectually, physically, occupationally, and emotionally, as well as having an impact on your community. There are going to be times, probably more often than not, that I’m not going to be fully satisfied in all of those dimensions at the same time. But learning to even identify the areas in which I can grow and focus my efforts means I’m working to achieve my highest level of satisfaction and in turn, bolstering my overall well-being.
How do you maintain your own well-being?
Before I took this role and started thinking of well-being in a broader sense, I pigeon-holed well-being as purely physical health. I started running seven years ago because I was looking for something to focus on aside from work and my personal life. I could set goals for my runs and hold myself accountable, while increasing my physical stamina. But what I have come to find is that running allows me to have time to reflect and process what is going on that day or week or month. It really provides me with just as much emotional well-being because it gives me an outlet to think, to process, to focus, to just be.
What is one thing that always puts a smile on your face?
My family! They are all incredibly important to me. I could have a totally average, run-of-the-mill day, but getting a call from my parents or FaceTiming with my little nephews can take a lame or average day and bolster it right to a 10. This last year, we convinced my afraid-of-flying dad to get on a plane and take a family trip to Disneyworld. The memories we made on that weeklong trip—even the ones of the crowds and the ice cream sliding off the cone to the ground—are so important to not just me, but our next generation of family members. It suspended reality for a week so we could just focus on spending time with everybody together.