Eight years ago, Andie Poole walked into Martin Waymire, and subtly took over.
She wouldn’t see it that way, even today. And I and my fellow Martin Waymire partner and co-founder, Roger Martin, didn’t see it that way as it happened.
But let there be no doubt, having Andie – who was just named PACE Maker of the Year by the Central Michigan Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America – come to Martin Waymire was an important turning point in the company’s life.
We had just lost a very important player and were struggling to figure out how to fill her very large shoes. We had made a commitment to move strongly toward social media, but Roger and I had little clue what that really meant. We knew we were really good, but not great, and we wanted the company and all the players in it to be the best in the state if not the nation. Andie clearly was the right person for the spot we had, and she checked a lot of other boxes.
- Legislative experience: She had worked with a state senator and a lobbying firm.
- Tech/social media experience: She had worked at TechSmith, and within the hour she sent us a thank you note – in the form of a video off her phone, a big deal just those few years ago. She clearly knew more than we did about Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.
- Design skills: She had them, and within a few months, she modified our company logo.
- Good writer: She was an English major who went back to get her master’s degree in public relations at MSU.
- Connections to major business who might be clients: She had very close relationships with key folks at MSU where she had been alumni coordinator for the College of Communication Arts & Sciences.
But even then, we didn’t know about her uncanny ability to listen to potential clients, ask two or three questions that showed she really knew what they were after, and then offer solutions that went to the heart of their issue. We didn’t know that she was a quiet leader by example, showing her co-workers how to get the best from themselves and teaching them about social media. We didn’t know of her passion for policy and ability to translate the mundane into the important. Or of her ability to grow in her career while successfully raising two daughters with her husband, Andrew. Or her musical talents with an amazing voice.
Over the last eight years, she’s significantly heightened her earned media skills. She’s an outstanding mentor to staff, and speaks often to students. She’s transitioned from a valuable staff member to an accomplished leader. She’s taken over our accounting operations and made them better. She’s earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) certifying her drive, professionalism, principles and commitment to doing top-notch PR work.
And she’s completed her subtle takeover by helping Roger and I identify and lure to the firm her two fellow owners, Angela Minicuci and Josh Hovey.
Andie was the driving force at a management retreat to change our company’s “Core Target” – that North Star you aim the firm toward – from the mundane (a focus on revenues and awards) to the sublime: To be Michigan’s most influential agency, making waves across the nation. That’s an inspiring goal.
CMPRSA describes the PACE Maker of the Year award this way:
This prestigious award recognizes a practitioner who has made a significant contribution to the profession. This person would stand out as a superior example of the management function that establishes mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the public.
Andie checks every one of those requirements as well.
Andie joins Josh, Angela, Roger and me as winners of PACE Maker awards, the highest recognition possible from their regional peers. Going forward, we’re anticipating with excitement all the ways that Andie and her fellow partners make waves all across our nation while working to make Michigan a better place.