I’ve been at Martec for over a year now, and in that time, I’ve picked up on a few “Martec-isms.” “Martec-isms” are the little things that set our company apart from others. Like how everyone lent a hand when I moved into my first house, how dad jokes are worked into every other sentence, or how sports are always playing on the TV in the lunchroom.

You see, we’ve got a lot of sports fans, athletes, and coaches in the office and I think it shows in how we do business. We’re one big team that gives each other assists and works toward one common goal: creating the most insightful and valuable deliverables for our clients.

Because sports have so heavily impacted my professional self, I took it upon myself to ask everyone how sports have impacted their professional lives. I think a few valuable lessons surfaced.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to our team:

Jason Alessi, Market Analyst

We live in a society where sometimes things are not determined based on merit, but rather other factors such as politics and connections. However, sports are the ultimate reality and meritocracy – what you put into the sport is what you will get out of it. I had the unique opportunity to play alongside and compete against some of the best athletes in the country while playing Division I sports. At that level, there is very little that separates the good from the “elite” players and teams, but I realized quickly that those who were willing to put in the extra effort outside of the scheduled practice time were the ones who separated themselves from others. This doesn’t apply just to competing for collegiate national championships; this applies to the 13-year-old trying to get better at tennis in order to make the high school team. Or the kid who is fighting for a starting position on Varsity. There is only so much growth that can occur while playing your respective sport during scheduled practice time, so you need to be willing to make a sacrifice and put in extra time because that is when the real development occurs. You do not become the starter or an All-American overnight just as you don’t become a great businessman or woman overnight. It takes consistent and focused effort on your own to become the player or person you want to be.

Chuck Bean, Partner/CMO

I wrestled in high school and managed to even win a few matches along the way. My Junior year I had a pretty good record and during the regular season managed to beat a guy who on paper should have won. So when I faced him again later in the state tournament, I figured the result would be the same. It wasn’t. He won and I could tell he’d gotten better while I’d stayed the same. I learned to never bank on success continuing simply because of past achievements. You need to continually work at your “game” if you want to have repeat success because there’s always a competitor out there working hard to beat you.

Katie Caldwell, Senior Market Analyst

The transition from being a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond is common in sports. I experienced it a few times while growing up—from dominating 8th grade lacrosse as a 5’9” 13-year-old, to riding the bench freshman year. From leading my high school water polo team to state to getting beat by stronger, faster women in The Big Ten. It’s humbling, it’s scary, but I’ve learned to chase after it. At Martec, I’m surrounded by leaders who have decades of market research experience, each with their own set of unique skills and expertise. Sports have taught me that to optimize personal growth, you ought to be comfortable with being the least experienced person in the room.

Megan Bauer, Market Analyst

I never used to think of myself as an athlete. Throughout my childhood, I tried unsuccessfully to find a sport that fit me. When I entered high school, I learned that there was a ski racing team. Skiing was an activity that I had always enjoyed with my family, and I wasn’t half bad at it. The racing aspect was definitely intimidating, but I decided to go for it and joined the team. With time I developed a deep love for the sport, and I finally felt like an athlete. Joining ski team was a big step in facing my fears. I like to think that if something doesn’t scare me, at least a little bit, then it is not encouraging me to grow. This mentality has helped me progress in so many ways, especially in my professional life and as a new employee at Martec.

Jim Durkin, President/Founding Partner

A Scottish author once said we gain wisdom from failure much more than from success. I must have picked up plenty of wisdom when my high school football team went 0-10 my senior year. But I did learn to move on and played a couple of years on a pretty decent Big Ten lacrosse club. I think the big take-away from all of my athletic experiences is you need to be willing to take risks and put yourself out there on the field. As Winston Churchill famously said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Sandy Monahan, Partner

When and where I grew up (a long time ago in a tiny town in west Michigan), women’s sports programs were almost nonexistent. But I kept the shot chart for the boys Varsity Basketball team and since I dated the coach’s son, I had opportunity to hang around for some of the practices. One thing that struck me was how specific, direct feedback was ‘de rigueur’ – on the performance of both the individual players and the team as an interconnected unit. While everyone loves positive feedback, it’s not quite as fun to hear about where you messed up or how you could have done better. Yet negative feedback delivered constructively, and sometimes with exuberant passion, was a regular part of life for every team member. Candid feedback is expected in sports, but in business it seems we tend to shy away from providing the ongoing ‘coaching feedback’ that would help an individual, and thereby also help the team, improve. So here’s to being more of a team player in both providing and receiving feedback that can help us ‘up our game’!

Sylvia Gorte, Assistant Controller

My daughter’s high school volleyball coach told her team at the beginning of every season: “You don’t have to like the girl (teammate) playing beside you on the court, BUT you do have to respect her.” I loved this as it is applicable to any future career – you may clash heads with coworkers, supervisors, etc., but take one for the team (professional or sports) and definitely respect them!

Josh Emington, Project Manager

There is a lot of debate over whether mastery of a skill takes 10,000 hours, but believing that to be the case and focusing to go beyond basic competence in a skill is an incredibly valuable experience. I’d encourage you to look at the core skills of your craft whether it be research, sales, leadership, accounting, project management, or what have you, and develop a plan to get more proficient in those skills every single week. The practice will pay off if your heart and mind are in it. Sports is a narrative that reflects life. The ‘try-hards’ almost always lose in the beginning and win BIG in the end (long-term). Care, put in the time, and put in the effort, and you won’t regret it.

Marion Germaine-Terrasse, Senior Analyst

There are few things which are scarier to me on a professional basis than public shame. I don’t know about you but I’d rather be in pain than make a fool of myself. However, the day will inevitably come on which you will stand in front of a large audience and say something that will make you look like an idiot. It just will. When this happens to me, and it does on a regular basis, I think about that Tuesday of 2005 at middle school when a strong guy threw a basketball at my face so hard while playing that I fell on my back, knocked out, arms spread, nose bleeding and started crying. If I got over that shameful moment back then, then I can get over that one, and the next one, and the next one. Just like nose bleed, shame does not last.

***

At The Martec Group, we believe our success is due in large part to the relationships we have formed over the years with our clients. The key to building (and maintaining) these valuable relationships comes down to one thing: our people. We’re a group of unique individuals with varying interests, skill sets, and backgrounds who share one particular trait in common: our tenacity and relentlessness when it comes to finding answers. We want to pull back the curtain and introduce you to who we are, so in the coming weeks, we’ll roll out introductions to the whole team here at Martec.

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