The Understood Blog

Get Understood updates, expert insights, personal stories, partnership announcements and more

Employee spotlight: Malik Thompson


At, we’re living our mission by creating a world and a workplace where everyone can thrive. We support and challenge each other to make an impact, embrace difference, set the standard, and act with purpose so that we can thrive together as a team. Each and every employee plays a foundational role in helping us achieve our mission and strengthen our culture. 

In our “Employee Spotlight” series, we interview employees from across the organization about their background, their work at Understood, and why they are motivated to shape the world – and our workplace – for difference.

In this Q&A, Malik Thompson, Senior Director of Business Operations at Understood, shares a bit about what brought him to Understood.

Tell us about your career path. What brought you to Understood?

After impacting growth, strategy, and continuous process improvement at large global companies for more than 15 years, joining a nonprofit with such a noble mission to reduce stigma and provide resources for people with learning and thinking differences was a welcome shift. I was raised in a family of educators who ingrained in me that everyone deserves an opportunity for education and a chance at a fulfilling life. The synergies in these goals were my motivation to contribute my skills at   

What is your role and what does your day-to-day look like at Understood? 

I lead the Business Operations team at Our team takes on challenges in project management, strategic operations, organizational design, and continuous process improvement. We collaborate across the organization and work toward a consistent way of working together. A lot of our work is with the Leadership and Execution teams, planning and implementing projects aligned with Understood's mission and vision. 

What’s one misconception people have about what you do?

People often think that operations and strategy are singular events where you create a process, and then everything all of a sudden works. Business Operations is a function of continuous process improvement that involves the coordination and collaboration of multiple functional groups and various skills, and it's ongoing. 

What’s the best career advice you’ve been given? What advice would you give to others?

One piece of great career advice I've received is to treat everyone with respect, no matter what that person's role or station is. One piece of advice that I often give to others is to do all that you can with the things that are in your control and shake off all of the things that are not in your control.

 Interested in joining our team? Check out our open roles here.

Related stories

Show your support

1 in 5 people have learning and thinking differences. Your tax-deductible gift will help us in our mission to shape a world for differences and help millions of people.

Donate now

Visit our Media Center

Our Media Center includes Understood’s latest research and surveys, press releases, and information on our thought leaders and experts.

Visit our Media Center

Get in touch

Send us an email, and one of our Understood team members will get back to you.

Contact us