Dana Motley
Dana Motley

What is your cultural background? Where did you grow up?                                                                                                         

My African American fabric is woven with the threads of many different cultures, including both a Cherokee and Caucasian ancestor.

While I was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, the most memorable part of my childhood were the summers spent on the dirt roads of Browntown, Alabama at my grandmother’s house with all my cousins – my mother is one of 10 children!

I graduated from the University of Memphis with a degree in applied mathematics and a concentration in Spanish.


How do you support NNSA?

I am the Director of Human Capital and Business Operations (HCBO) in the Office of Defense Programs (DP).

Charged with the bridging the gap between mission and people, HCBO aims to be the search engine for solutions for over 700 federal, contractor, and military personnel in Defense Programs. HCBO has four major functional areas – logistics, employee engagement and training, human resources and performance, and business operations. We are also honored to be the home for the Defense Programs Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility program. Customer service is our goal, and we are constantly striving to enhance the employee experience. 


How did you become interested in the field you are in? How did you end up on this career path?

I always knew I wanted to help people and make an impact in some way and a 2009 internship at NNSA headquarters ignited that flame.

During my internship, I was inspired by my boss. Not only did she provide me with the assurance of representation as an African American female, but she was insanely smart, driven, and held a very high standard. She really made me feel like there was a place for me in NNSA.

Since then, I’ve bounced around every three to five years in various roles that leave me even more invigorated about the work we do in NNSA. Throughout the course of my career and with the help of the Future Leaders Program, I have had roles as a congressional liaison in Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, site office liaison in Defense Programs, annual assessment coordinator in the Office of Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E), federal program manager for research development certification and safety, and executive director for RDT&E, and had the opportunity to spend time supporting weapons quality assurance at the Kansas City National Security Campus, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, Partnership and Acquisition Services, Lawrence Livermore’s International Assessments Program, Stockpile Services, and Emergency Operations.


What’s one of your favorite things about working at NNSA?

I’m so grateful for all the experiences NNSA has provided me. My journey has led me back to my passion to motivate others, help people, and make an impact in Human Capital and Business Operations.


What are the characteristics of the best teams you have been part of?

The best teams I have ever been on are diverse, dynamic, and fun. Having diversity of thought enhances the work products and having folks on the team that bring positivity, great energy, and new ideas is a necessary key for success.


What advice would you give members of the Black community who want to do what you do for NNSA?

Please join us and be the change you want to see! Don’t doubt your capabilities, there is a spot for you on the team.


How will you celebrate Black History Month?

Black History Month doesn’t start and stop for just the month of February. I have two little ones (2 years old and 8 months) and it’s very important to me that they celebrate their identity and understand the history of African Americans in the United States. I introduce them to stories about the concept and beauty of a variety of skin tones, as well as the gloriousness of their curly crowns, we will add books to our weekly library visits that highlight African American stories.


What leader or cultural figure would you like to recognize this month?

Gordon Parks. I am always intrigued by multi-talented individuals they really inspire me to try new things and do more. Gordon Parks was not only a photographer who inspired empathy and activism through his iconic images of the segregated south, but he was also a jazz pianist, wrote 15 books, directed “Shaft,” and co-founded Essence magazine! He left his mark in so many ways. 


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to laugh, travel, and experience new things.