Masai Lawson

Talent Acquisition Manager and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Steering Committee Chair
Location: Harrisburg, Pa.

“Emotional intelligence is key. Recruiting talent is not just finding skilled candidates, but also the ability to connect with strangers and make them feel comfortable with you after one conversation.”

Talent acquisition leader. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) champion. Recognized speaker at industry events. Florist. Board Member of the Feel Your Boobies Foundation. Masai Lawson wears many hats and does so with passion and pride. Always striving to improve her skill set and the culture at Gannett Fleming, the Drexel University graduate is planning to complete a DE&I certificate program with Cornell University as well as a DE&I-focused program through Yale School of Management.

We asked Masai a few questions to get to know her:

What do you see for the next generation of engineers at Gannett Fleming?

I believe the next generation of engineers will be more thoughtful in choosing where they work, because they’ll look for a shared purpose with their employer. I’ve spoken to enough emerging engineers to understand that social justice, community involvement, and innovation will keep them engaged.

What’s the most interesting project you’re working on right now?

Our Lift Every Voice video series, where we’re recognizing cultural celebrations and observances. This project has allowed me to tap into my creativity and collaborate with some very talented colleagues. Through these submissions, I feel like I’m getting to know our employees and what DE&I means to them.

What’s your favorite hobby?

Arranging flowers. I enjoy playing with the different colors, textures, and shapes. Floral arrangements can be whimsical, elegant, complicated, joyful, and light up any space they occupy.

What’s something that surprised you about working here?

The sense of community, along with the authenticity and empathy of my colleagues. Many of them checked in on me after George Floyd’s murder. They didn’t try to relate because they couldn’t, but they did, without judgment, allow me to express my pain and anger as a Black woman in this country.

What’s your favorite family tradition?

Growing up as an only child, my cousins became my surrogate siblings. Every Thanksgiving Eve, we get together and have our own Thanksgiving. And we don’t have to set the table under the watchful eye of one of my aunties saying, “Girl, you know that glass doesn’t go there. We raised you better than that.”

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

Take time to reflect on your accomplishments, the impact you’ve made on peoples’ lives, and the obstacles you’ve overcome. You are your worst critic – be good to yourself.

How do you turn things around when you’re having a bad day?

Meditation. Being mindful and practicing gratitude helps me put things into perspective.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would you choose?

Michelle Obama because she embodies Black Girl Magic and Nicole Kidman so I could raid her closet!

Masai uses flowers and greens from her garden for her arrangements.