Recently on my podcast, Parent. Boss. Leader. (PBL), I spoke with Matice Morris, a Senior Project Manager at Willis Towers Watson (WTW). Matice is also the author of The Product of My Selfishness: The Stutter and The Story, in which she details her experience living with a stutter, encouraging and educating stutterers and non-stutterers alike to better understand the challenges, and demonstrating how to thrive in spite of them. Her story is also a reminder for us to reflect upon our own prejudices and biases towards those with disabilities.
Matice is an amazing human being! I cannot stress this enough. Smart, funny, accomplished, and a pleasure to have on PBL. I encourage you to listen to the podcast in full to hear Matice’s story, but before you do, here are some of the highlights in her own words:
“Finding my first corporate job was a whole process by itself.”
In spite of earning a master’s degree, employers weren’t interested in Matice, and recruiters were reluctant to work with her. One recruiter said that her stutter would make people think she was mentally challenged, while another bluntly stated that people “would chew [her] up.” Experiences like that are part of why Matice started her own YouTube channel, wrote her book, and now accepts offers to speak in forums like PBL. Regardless of the platform, her primary goal is to raise awareness and understanding of disfluency among those who are fluent.
“Once I got that first job, my co-workers were incredibly helpful, understanding, and patient.”
Matice explained early on, people supported her in her new role. They let her stand on her own, and from that, she gained experience and confidence. Sounds like what every new hire needs! She recalled how she “was shy and timid at first,” and her colleagues would make phone calls for her until she grew more comfortable speaking with clients. Matice told me with a smile, “Now I lead conference calls with dozens of attendees and no help!”
“I ended up at WTW because of their true commitment to an inclusive culture and diverse workforce.”
Matice explained that she had been looking for a new opportunity for several months when she saw WTW’s post for World Autism Day on LinkedIn. The post featured neurodiverse employees who discussed what it was like to work there.
“I had never seen a company highlight people with differences who worked for them,” Matice said. “Usually, it’s about charity work. To celebrate hiring them was new for me. That caught my attention. I applied and was hired. In the first two days, I was also part of an African American ERG. There were more black employees than any of my previous employers ever had. Inclusive and diverse. That sealed the deal for me.”
I loved that story! Hiring managers, diversity leaders, CEOs, employers of any and all kinds: Are you listening? If your DE&I efforts are genuine, measurable, and you demonstrate and share your progress, you will attract great people—just like Matice!
“My main advice is do things that scare you the most. That way you will build your confidence.”
This was Matice’s answer when I asked what advice she gives to other disfluent, neurodivergent people or anyone facing challenges. Matice elaborated about her journey as a public speaker: “My YouTube channel, podcasts, live radio, it was all terrifying at first. Then I realized, even if I fail, the worst thing that happens is that I fail! Then I can try again and get better. Eventually, you will see that half the battle is mental, and once you conquer that, the sky’s the limit.” Advice that absolutely anyone can benefit from. I told you. She is amazing.
Thank you, Matice, for sharing your experience, insight, and advice! For those of you who want to learn more, check out these links: