Heather Rae Martin
Be Your Best Self
Heather Rae Martin Class of 2020 BEQ Pride LGBTQ+ Leader Under 40
(She, Her, They, Them) is 35
By 2030, every black queer and trans person will be paid fairly and recognized for our contributions to culture—all while continuing to make an impact in every corner of every industry, especially STEM. We will be living our best lives freely and fully!
Heather Rae Martin is a senior engagement manager in the Commercial Advisory Group, at Syneos Health. They bring tremendous energy to everything that they do and make the people around them better because of how deeply they care.
“From the moment I stepped foot into a business school classroom, I knew I had the opportunity to change the face of business leadership around the globe,” they said. It isn’t lost on Heather Rae Martin that standing tall and proud at the intersection of their identity—while being masculine of center in their gender expression—is a strong message to other gender non-conforming/non-binary people and especially women of color.
“I felt this way, not just because no one looked like me, but because I was pleasantly surprised by my ability to reach people from backgrounds and experiences that differed from mine,” said Heather Rae Martin. “Due in part to changing attitudes in society, and within myself, I have achieved the most success when I started to show up,” they said. They are not shy nor do they suppress any part of their identity, and they are fueled and motivated by the potential to change boardrooms in the way they were able to shift paradigms in the classrooms of elite educational institutions as a student.
At Syneos Health, they are helping their organization build advocates and allies for the LGBTQ community. They are shaping their corporate culture by encouraging their colleagues to show up to work fully and authentically.
Heather Rae Martin shared that their passion to uplift an often marginalized community is evidenced by the number of hours they spend doing voluntary activities. They are committed, involved and engaged in the conferences, nonprofit organizations, professional and social groups that elevate their community.
There are parts of Heather Rae Martin’s advocacy that go on behind the scenes. They work with Princeton University admissions looking to change the way diverse applicants are viewed—a way to plant seeds for a better future. They also spend countless hours on the phone or in person with people within their network supporting and encouraging them to maintain their authenticity in every part of their lives.
One really important way, Heather Rae Martin’s courage as a leader and advocate has made a lasting impact, is in their willingness to stand, sometimes alone, and use their voice for the voiceless. By serving on the board of Reaching Out MBA and more recently on the ROMBA Advisory Council they are raising the profile of women of color and gender non-conforming/non-binary people in what was historically and still is a cis-white gay male-centered space.
Most importantly Heather Rae Martin is incredibly open about their life, values and experiences providing a safe space for others to share as well. They encourage those in their life to always “be your best self”—because they lead by example.