‘I Love My Job’: The ‘Transformational, Collaborative, Innovative, and Motivating’ Culture at MBRDNA

Mar 10, 2024 | People Stories

Welcome to I Love My Job, the series where we hear from women who really love their jobs. In this edition, we sat down with Jonae Felton, Senior Patent Engineer and Patent Counsel at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA)

Ever since she transitioned to her current role around a year ago, Felton tells us that time has flown! Part of the reason for this is the supportive people around her. “My favorite thing about MBRDNA is my team: the legal and patent team,” Felton shares. “I strive to surround myself with exceptional people, and I have been fortunate, once again, to surround myself with people of character, of excellence, of thoughtfulness, of high performance, of fortitude, and of grace at MBRDNA.”

Not only that, but Felton tells us that her team is also the most diverse one that she’s ever worked on. “I am so appreciative that I can share feedback with them, learn from them, and work alongside them, especially regarding diversity,” she tells us. “For example, my team has been supportive of events that I have organized as a volunteer for the Women@MBRDNA group. My team has also been fundamental to my career objectives to provide exceptional service to my stakeholders.”

In the video below, Felton shares more about why she loves working at MBRDNA. We also provide lightly edited highlights from the video discussion in the following article.

In case you have trouble watching this video, please click here to watch it on YouTube.

What do you find most exciting about your work?

The daily opportunity to work with innovators at MBRDNA. I have previous work experience as an engineer at a research and development company, and when I combined my engineering background with my legal background, I gained skills that I can leverage to drive innovation and harvest inventions, including inventions related to electric vehicles. 

My role at MBRDNA also affords me the opportunity to work closely with all the engineering departments across MBRDNA and other Mercedes-Benz affiliates. I manage idea submissions, invention disclosures, patent families, and other legal tasks while efficiently coordinating with my stakeholders. My personal goals include increasing the transparency regarding the patent team and its processes and “encouraging innovators to become inventors” as my coworkers and I always say.

How would you describe the culture at MBRDNA?

Transformational, collaborative, innovative, and motivating. MBRDNA values trust, respect, integrity, passion, ownership, and diversity, and I am honored to work with all of my colleagues towards MBRDNA’s vision of “creating the automotive future.” (MBRDNA’s Home)

To achieve our goals, our teams strive to be agile and supportive, and I’m proud that I have an environment where I can live authentically. MBRDNA’s DEI Transformation Manager Melind King stated that “MBRDNA is on a journey to ensure that our organization embraces all employees and that all teammates can feel safe bringing their full selves to work.”

Our DEI Transformation Manager also stated that “diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are embedded in MBRDNA’s Integrity Code. [DEI efforts are] reflected in many aspects of MBRDNA’s […] operations.” For example, we have monthly events with Women@MBRDNA, in addition to other diversity events, such as celebrating Diversity Day (which I coordinated across all of our sites). During this Pride Month, we plan to host a company-wide talk focused on LGBTQIA+ innovation and to collect donations for The Trevor Project.

How does MBRDNA support you?

I truly feel supported by MBRDNA because it is flexible and allows me to work remotely. In addition to the culture at MBRDNA, the company also has great benefits and policies, such as: healthcare insurance plans for medical, dental, and vision; health savings accounts; maternity leave; a delightful vacation policy; 401k plans; employee assistance programs; tuition assistance programs; and more. Employees even get a wellness reimbursement. Last year, I applied the reimbursement toward my monthly fitness fees and an office chair for my desk at home.

With support from MBRDNA and my team, I can balance my work and my personal life. I’m looking forward to my yearly performance reviews and the next steps in my career map to expand my engineering and legal skillsets.

What advice do you have for other women looking to work at MBRDNA?

My advice for women looking to work at MBRDNA is to be authentically you and to share your feedback and ideas so that we can “bring them to life” as we say on our homepage.

We also state on the FairyGodBoss website that “…MBRDNA is a place for exceptional people with outstanding ideas and the absolute willingness to bring them to life. With R&D facilities all over the U.S., you’ll be surrounded by engineers, software developers, and designers who are pushing technology boundaries to shape the future wherever you are. We are not just about cars: we are also about” you and the contributions that you can share. And that “[h]ere at MBRDNA, you can create a digital ecosystem […] around cars, you [can] design a language between humans and machines, you [can] make a car even more intelligent, and you [can] make the new reality for cars. [MBRDNA has] an open and flexible environment to allow you to push boundaries, [so] join MBRDNA and design your future.