Marta Riggins - Gregarious and Empathetic

Image by Michael Baca /

Image by Michael Baca /

What are your “and” words and why? Gregarious and Empathetic. I am an extreme extrovert, love being around people and get my energy from social situations. I am also very empathic. I also seek to understand the larger context of what's going on with people. Without empathy we cannot deepen connections, work through hard situations or come to understand our differences as strengths. (I also don't think of characteristics as masculine or feminine and believe that all genders can display these types of characteristics fluidly).

What you are known for saying / a quote from you. What does this quote mean to you, (or if it’s from someone else, why does it inspire you)? I didn't come up with this quote, but a quote that resonates with me that I say all the time at work is "you don't know what you don't know." It's a reminder to be curious, embrace vulnerability, not assume things and also assume best intent with people and help educate versus judge.

Which other Ladybadasses inspire you and why? Carla Harris (Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley) is such an empowering and inspiring BOSS Lady. If you've never seen her speak, go watch one of her invigorating talks! Brene Brown's books are incredibly powerful and I love her motto of "courage over comfort" to push through on those hard days. Congresswoman Maxine Waters is royalty in my eyes. She fights endlessly to support neglected communities and has zero tolerance for bull**** which she so brilliantly demonstrated with the "reclaiming my time" video that went viral during the Financial Services Committee hearing when she tore Steven Mnuchin apart for giving inadequate answers to her questions, and asked to reclaim her allotted time during the hearing. "Reclaiming my time" has become a mantra for me. 

When did you first realize that you had some Ladybadassery in you? I took an active interest in activism and women's rights at an early age. I was an intern for Planned Parenthood in highschool and continued to intern for them in college and ended up getting my minor in Women's Studies. From there, I think my need to demand more for women just became part of who I am. I don't think I ever saw myself as having "Ladybadassery," but as I went through my career in various industries (entertainment and tech) where there are lots of obstacles for women (many of which I personally faced and had to persevere through), I just continued to grow unapologetic about bias and fairness and thought, I've made it this far by being this way, what have I got to loose now?. I didn't realize that it was meaningful or seen as "Ladybadassery" until other women on my team and people in past companies started to tell me that they appreciated the fact that I would push on things that seemed unfair. Part of my job now, working in employer branding, employee engagement, and social impact is to help push for progress. I'm grateful that I get to use this natural passion I have to help create community, generate awareness and connection around important issues both inside and outside the walls of my company.

What keeps you motivated on days when you aren't quite feeling like a Ladybadass? Everyday has its challenges. What keeps me motivated is the impact I've been able to contribute to or help to influence in the environments in which I've worked over the years. Change is real (one example is looking at how much support working mothers have now vs. when I had a child 7 years ago.. it's mind blowing.. mother's rooms were just barely a thing!) so it's worth it to keep persevering. I have also learned from past experiences that if I didn't speak up, sometimes others wouldn't, and I'm not okay with that. I'm motivated to push forward because If I don't, there isn't a guarantee that someone else will.

What is your advice to other women who are trying to tap into their Ladybadassery? Your competitive advantage is who you authentically are. Listen to your inner voice, find what drives your passion and purpose, embrace and flaunt it. All of us (those who identify as women and those who identify as genderfluid) have "badassery." It's just whether you feel comfortable and confident to show it on the regular.

Preferred pronouns: (She/her)

Marta is Director of Employer Brand & Employee Engagement at Instacart. Her passion project is called "How the ____ Do I Podcast" - ( a peer-sharing & learning/self-help podcast) which she is a Co-Founder and a Co-Host of. It's like a pep-talk in your pocket! :)