Parting words from two student practitioners

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Jack Harrison

One of the speakers in the first class I took for my public relations minor was Kathy Barks Hoffman, a now retired vice president and consultant at Martin Waymire. She told us about Martin Waymire’s work and clients, and I asked questions. Class ended that day, and I went about my week.

A year later, during my class on Public Relations Topics in Advertising we heard from Angela Minicuci, a partner at Martin Waymire. Part of Angela’s talk was about Martin Waymire’s student practitioners. Immediately, I knew I wanted to apply and get experience working at that firm. I followed up on LinkedIn and applied right when the window opened. In March I was thrilled to accept an offer to be a student practitioner this summer.

I had worked in politics and in the legislature, assisted with campaigns, advised candidates and engaged on campus with organizations. In high school, I became very involved in my newspaper. While at Michigan State, I reported for publications in the East Lansing area. Tired of making political phone calls and looking for a break from reporting, I wanted to explore a newfound interest in public relations and communications. I was eager to see if I would like it, and if it could combine both my political and journalist interests.

Martin Waymire is a public relations and digital marketing firm with a foundation in public policy. Within just a few weeks, I was loving the work and the intersection of those foundations. I was helping write press releases, pitch stories to journalists and interview people within organizations. I loved media relations and working on the other side with journalists. Equally exciting was the interaction with policy and government, assisting healthcare clients trying to get bills passed and clients to pass or defeat ballot proposals.

The Martin Waymire team approaches its work very intentionally. Through case studies and the client teams I worked alongside, I saw how they employ the company’s RACE process (Research, Action Plan, Communicate, Evaluation) in the work. I learned about EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) and how the firm self-sustains their work and creates strategic goals to stay on track. I loved learning about the business aspect of the firm.

The internship was incredibly rewarding because Martin Waymire allows student practitioners to be part of every conversation and take on work that full-time staff undertake. I got to be part of internal client team meetings and committees. I joined client calls and in-person meetings and earned experience with event work. I created graphics and content, researched for clients, drafted op-eds, created media lists, offered input on strategy and more.

It was clear the Martin Waymire team wants student practitioners to succeed. They created relationships and made sure we felt included. The collaborative and fun environment the team created made it such an enjoyable place to work. Everyone was so focused on their work. I really believe in their mission to make Michigan a better place.

This experience was everything I had hoped for, and it deepened my understanding of public relations and communications. I did not realize how many journalistic skills I would rely on and just how much interaction there is with public policy and government. I enjoyed agency work. I now have more direction on my future. I want my first job after graduating next year to involve public relations and communications. I highly recommend this experience to any student who is looking for solid career experience and a meaningful place to work.

If it was not for Kathy and Angela speaking in my classes, I’m not sure if I would have ended up at Martin Waymire for the summer. I am so glad I did.

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Michael Breslin

I applied to Martin Waymire last November on a whim. As a public policy major, my knowledge of public relations was limited to say the least. I’d never written a press release, I’d talked to a journalist on the phone once, and I hardly even knew what earned media meant. The first time I used Canva, an on-line graphic design application, was for my application to MW.

Despite my lack of formal PR experience, I quickly learned that MW would be the perfect place to combine my interest in communications with my policy training. During my interview, THE Kathy Barks Hoffman asked me if I wanted to work in PR after graduation. I told her that I wasn’t sure: I was interested in either PR or policy analysis. “What if I told you, you could do both here?” she asked. “That would be a dream come true,” I told her.

The last eight months have been just that. I have learned countless lessons from my talented colleagues who were generous with their time and advice. What’s more, I was never given busy work, and instead was made to feel like a valued member of the team. I was tasked with real, meaningful projects relevant to my policy background. While each experience was as interesting and exciting as the last, some highlights include:

  • Helping Hemlock Semiconductor execute an event celebrating the CHIPS Act with President Biden (virtually), Gov. Whitmer and others.
  • Encouraging Meridian Township voters to VOTE NO on a proposal that would have banned adult-use cannabis businesses from their community, a project I worked on extensively during my internship.
  • Learning how to use Canva. (Graphic design is fun! Who would have thought?)
  • Writing multiple research reports on everything from tax reform to pollution to health policy.

Martin Waymire’s company culture is such that all-staff meetings are casual and full of laughter. Outings like kayaking and pool parties are common. Simply put, I looked forward to coming into work every Tuesday and Thursday.

That friendly and fun environment, however, never came at the cost of effectiveness, commitment, and hard work. The Martin Waymire team is made up of the smartest and most dedicated professionals in the business. Every person here is passionate about their work and goes above and beyond for their clients. From their example, I’ve become a better writer, communicator and professional. Above all, I’ve gained a passion for PR and am confident it’s a career I want to pursue, all thanks to the fine folks at Martin Waymire.