Outstanding Supervisor Series: Deb Martinez

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Deb Martinez is Deputy Director of the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE). She has a drastic and positive effect as a supervisor and a leader in the Office of Institutional Equity. Martinez is an asset to MSU, a role-model, and a passionate and developmental member of the OIE team.

Positive, thoughtful, authentic, and engaging. These are just some of the character qualities that have been used to describe Deb Martinez and her supervising style.

This award recognizes individuals with a positive leadership style that empowers others, which is observed in how Martinez has coached individuals. Martinez is relentlessly positive, while still giving herself and others grace when a day gets someone down. Positive leadership is the ability to reframe a set of circumstances and make the best of the situation at hand. Martinez does this so naturally and guides others to do the same. It is hard to emphasize one skill Martinez has because she holds so many as a leader. 

“Deb ensures that I feel supported in work by checking in frequently, practicing with an open and approachable management style, and generally caring about her team. I have never felt insecure or fearful to tell her I had a family obligation. I have never felt that my performance was being affected by the fact that I have a family. In fact, Deb ensures just the opposite. She understands the demands of a family and openly praises and encourages me in my work, given that additional constraint”

Martinez is not only liked for her warm and welcoming personality but values the importance of the family-work balance. Martinez, a mother to five children herself, understands the constant struggle of balancing work and motherhood. She has found a way to manage her department that allows staff to feel confidently committed to both. Besides, Martinez has taken in the pandemic and adjusted her sails to meet the unique needs of her team. She has allowed flexible scheduling, cleared her schedule to make sure each of her staff feels heard, listened to, and accommodated. Her heart is in the work, but also in the health and safety of her staff. She understands her team are all people with families who need them, especially during unprecedented times like these.

“Deb celebrates our different social and cultural identities. Deb is curious, kind, and always admits when she does not understand something one of us brings to the table. I appreciate her efforts to learn more about the different groups represented on campus at large and within her own staff. She conducts searches for new team members with an eye to bringing in diverse perspectives.”

Martinez is the kind of person that fights for her staff and supports them through all circumstances. She is an outstanding supervisor who has and will continue to make a positive impact on MSU’s campus.  

Learn More About the 2020 Winners!

Click any image below to learn more about other Outstanding Supervisors at MSU.

Learn more about the Outstanding Supervisor Award

The Outstanding Supervisor Award honors Michigan State University supervisors who have consistently demonstrated worklife sensitivity and support of the professional/personal needs of the employees in their unit.