Martin Waymire Racial Equity Imperative

At Martin Waymire, our driving passion is to help make Michigan a better place – a goal that will remain unreachable as long as Black, Indigenous and People of Color face institutional racism, violence and inequitable opportunities. Research has shown that racial inequity significantly lowers opportunities and outcomes when people face racial profiling, employment bias, discriminatory lending and mortgage practices and unequal access to health care, a truth that became even clearer as Black, Hispanic and Native Americans died at disproportionate rates from COVID-19 in part because they didn’t have equal access to high quality health care.

Martin Waymire often leads statewide communication strategies in a variety of sectors, including health care, higher education, infrastructure and democracy reform. We understand the weight of this responsibility and the negative effect the lack of diversity on our staff can have on our communications with key audiences. It is through this work that we know that significant racial disparities exist in health, education, our economy and more.  

We also know that, based on 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees in the advertising, public relations and related services industries are 82.6% white, while Black practitioners comprise 8.1% of the industry and Hispanic practitioners make up 6.2%. Martin Waymire’s numbers reflect an even greater lack of diversity, and that lack is keeping us from being fully engaged with all stakeholders in making Michigan a better place.

Our racial equity imperative therefore is to acknowledge our lack of diversity; to make diversity, racial equity and inclusion (DREI) a permanent part of Martin Waymire’s culture; and to put in the time, energy, honesty and self-awareness needed to guide our clients with experience and candor toward the goal of making Michigan a better place for everyone, not just those in the white dominant culture. We want to be a company and workplace that recognizes, values and advances the full humanity of Black, Hispanic, Middle East and North African, Asian/Pacific Islander and Indigenous people in the Lansing area and throughout Michigan. 

Our goal is to achieve racial equity and a measure of social justice for all the clients and communities we serve. We have a responsibility to put equity in the spotlight as we increase our efforts to make DREI a part of every step we take to make Michigan a better place. 


We face challenges in making this happen, including: 

  • Out of our 14 full-time employees, we lack diversity on our team.
  • While we do work with minority-owned consultants, we lack intentional infrastructure to build upon relationships with people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds, which affects the work we do and representation on our staff.
  • It’s difficult to persuade current and potential clients that we care deeply about DREI when a look at our staff makes them question that commitment. 


For Martin Waymire to embed a racial equity lens to our work, we must: 

  • Redefine our culture and values to honor the histories of communities of color, recognize the inequities that exist, acknowledge the pain felt by people of color and allow them to truly integrate their entire selves and all that they bring into Martin Waymire.
  • Bring a curious mind, an open heart and a willingness to be vulnerable to our relationships with people from diverse racial groups so that we truly know their stories and understand how our fates are intertwined.
  • Be eager to find more opportunities to talk to people from diverse racial groups about what working at Martin Waymire is like while listening to their ideas about what could be done better and how changes could be made by hiring or building more relationships with Black, Hispanic, Middle East and North African, Asian/Pacific Islander and Indigenous people.
  • Encourage staff members to build personal and professional relationships with people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to broaden our understanding of racial equity and find new ways to work together. 
  • Join organizations that include racially and ethnically diverse talent and connect with minority-owned businesses in Michigan and nationally so we can include the experiences, viewpoints and skillsets of people from different racial groups.
  • Address through the work we do with clients and individually the systemic injustices that have marginalized communities and left many people behind. 
  • Change our internal policies and procedures, including onboarding new staff, to make clear that anti-racism is integral to all company standards. 
  • Develop and implement measurable, companywide initiatives to encourage diverse perspectives in our approach to making Michigan a better place. 
  • Evaluate our work with clients to help them take a more inclusive and intersectional approach in their communications strategies. 
  • Engage in and reimagine partnerships to advance racial equity.
  • Provide feedback to the Martin Waymire team and other stakeholders on our DREI progress, journey challenges and bright spots so we can continue to drive accountability and transparency.