Michelle Martinez Reyes is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for Greenspoon Marder, LLP. With over 20 years of experience working with domestic and international clients, she focuses on the firm’s strategy and growth, branding, business development, client relations and media and public relations efforts across 24 offices throughout the U.S. Working closely with the founders and partners, Ms. Martinez Reyes serves as part of the leadership team of one of the largest law firms in Florida. Greenspoon Marder is one of the fastest growing and one of the nation’s highest-grossing law firms in the Am Law 200 and NLJ 500 firms.
Ms. Martinez Reyes focuses on building collaborative relationships and has a vast network in her professional circles. Although relationships take time to cultivate, she has been diligent and fortunate enough to have fostered many throughout her 20+ year career. Successes are built upon experience and relationships, both of which she holds in the highest esteem and as a constant throughout her career. Her ongoing positive results in her role and within the legal marketing industry are the testament to the relationships she has been able to build and sustain. She is currently a board member for the National Diversity Council and has championed women and Latinx rights at NDC’s various conferences. I reached out to her to discuss her experience in her profession as a champion for equality and how she is helping to encourage diversity and inclusion in and outside of the workplace:
Q: What is the most exciting aspect of your job as a Chief Marketing Officer at Greenspoon Marder LLP?
A: I really love my job. I do not think there’s one aspect I like more than another per se, because all the facets of it allow me to consistently challenge myself in a variety of areas including marketing and public relations, business strategy and practice development, management and so many areas. I particularly love being part of the philanthropic and community efforts across the country.
I also really enjoy being the lead brand ambassador of the firm because it allows me to be creative and engage with others while working and that’s just a win-win. I’m very fortunate to work for a progressive firm with stellar leadership and partners that allow me to contribute in full every single day. My only complaint is really not having enough hours in every day to do even more. What excites me is learning and growing, so there is no “typical day” ever!
Q: As a female in an executive level role at a top-performing law firm, what would be your advice to women aiming for C-Suite roles?
A: I am learning that advice is very difficult to give without the lessons of experience because experiences shape your perspectives. Women aiming for C-Suite roles need to find champions early on and throughout their careers, that will not only mentor them and sponsor their growth, development and ascensions, but protect them when needed. Business is very competitive and allies assist with the political pitfalls and “hunger games” that you can encounter along the way.
The path to C-level roles is not always linear and often times come with high costs to your personal life and beyond. Being strategic and methodical is important and knowing how to leave your own mark behind while supporting others legacies is key as well. There is not a right answer per se, but there are a lot of wrong answers for sure. Do your research and just understand that being top of class is a daily effort that takes a lifetime of commitment and investment.
Q: Greenspoon Marder LLP was ranked by Vault as the #3 best midsize law firm for diversity. How does this tie into what we do at the National Diversity Council?
A: Similar to the NDC’s mission of promoting diversity, our firm is committed to the continued development of programs and policies that maintain and support a diverse workforce. Our firm’s investment in diversity is rooted in our founders, Gerry Greenspoon and Michael Marder. Their policy and that of our firm leadership is that we hire and retain based on selecting the best person for the job regardless of race, color, gender or any other characteristic.
Diversity is organic for us with over 70 percent women amongst our employees as only one example. Through our efforts with the NDC and several other key organizations, we are working every day to make sure our brand reaches far beyond our major markets and across all classification,s so that the highest grade of talent has the opportunity to apply and be considered and comes to work at the firm. It’s a simple formula that works.
Q: Tell me how you first got involved with the National Diversity Council?
A: Our firm joined as a member of the Florida Diversity Council and Tri-State Diversity Council in 2018, and has continued to develop our relationship with the organization by participating and speaking at a variety of events hosted by the NDC and your local level chapters. We absolutely love what the organization does and who it brings to the table. We want to support, foster and emulate that in so many ways.
Q: You have previously been involved as a board member on our Florida and Tri-State Diversity Council boards. What drew you to becoming involved as a board member at the National Diversity Council?
A: I wanted to become a board member at the national level because I realized very quickly that there are not many Latins, and most specifically, Latin women involved at the national board level. I want to be able to be a voice for professional services executives, and as a progressive C-level within the legal industry, and Latinx women at large and contribute to the NDC initiatives and so much more. I do not have the luxury of time so I wanted to be a part of an organization that would have maximum impact, exposure and reach to best leverage the time and efforts.
Q: What do you find most challenging about the work that we do at the National Diversity Council?
A: I think the challenging part for the NDC is reach, consistency, highest caliber of speakers and programming and creating and sustaining a leading platform to set the bar high for diversity and inclusion education and leadership. Nothing simple about any of that!
Q: I see you have extensive experience volunteering as well as speaking about a range of issues focusing on diversity and inclusion. When you last volunteered or spoke, how did that impact you?
A: These experiences have reminded me to be the best version of myself that I can be and never forget where I came from, who helped me along the way and to never ever forget to give back and help those that may need me at another time. Pay it back and forward as well.
Q: How has it been like speaking on different topics for the National Diversity Council such as Latino leadership and workforce opportunities, as well as transforming men into allies in the workplace? What feedback did you receive from participants?
A: I love every opportunity to share my experiences and speak about key elements within the workforce. Dialogue and collaboration is key to growth. Many participants like to interact and engage and share their challenges and successes. I like to share my successes and failures because often people do not share those and they are often the greatest lessons along our journey.
Q: What do you wish other people knew about the National Diversity Council?
A: I wish more executives and companies knew what the NDC is and does across the country. I would like to see the NDC go beyond the traditional HR and Recruiting ranks and include many more layers of professionals and executives of varying industries and sectors. Diversity and inclusion starts from the top down and so that means you need to include the key decision makers of the businesses and those are on the business and management side of the house.
Q: What’s your motto when it comes to informing people you meet about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
A: I truly feel that education, access, inclusion and competition are all necessary elements of business. To me, diversity is the “value add” component of the formula. I was raised with the idealism that the “best man for the job” is how it works in the workforce. I was the oldest of 4 daughters so gender was never even something I thought of ever at home, school or at work! I just had to be and have to be the best at whatever I do – period. It’s a philosophy, a mantra, a mindset and a lifestyle. However, I was trained on the job to believe that assimilation was key and to suppress the female and Latin and otherwise diverse elements of myself and be “one of the guys” to blend in. However, I have thrived when I have been able to strike the right balance of it all. You need to find the workplace that compliments whatever you believe in and supports and empowers you and those around you, which would include diversity and inclusion.
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