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Diversity & Inclusion 2022: Grace Colato Martinez

Associate Attorney, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Grace Colato MartinezGrace Colato Martinez admits that hope does not always come naturally to her but she tries to stay inspired to keep “fighting the good fight.”

“One of the most important and challenging aspects of striving for economic and professional success as a person of color is continuing to remember who we are, where we came from, remain our authentic selves, build our communities, and always reach out to help others in need,” writes Colato Martinez who serves in the Business and Commercial Disputes Practice Group. “While it is important to learn the culture and fit in to a professional environment that is largely white, straight, and male, I serve my community by challenging myself to remain true to my culture and community and take steps to change and shape the profession in ways that I believe will create a more inclusive and equitable environment.”

After graduating summa cum laude from UMKC, Colato Martinez clerked for both Judge Willie J. Epps and Stephen R. Bough of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. A former intern in the state attorney general’s office, she has a Master of Education as well as a law degree and once taught children in the Kansas City Public Schools and at Colegio Bolivar in Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

What motivates you most in your work as an attorney and as an advocate for Diversity & Inclusion?

What motivates me most in my work as an attorney and as an advocate for Diversity & Inclusion is the lack of attorneys of color that currently have a seat at the table in places and positions of power. I want to continue paving a path and making a way for others to follow in my footsteps, so that those who do can continue the progress toward equity beyond what I can do.

Who has most inspired you in your work for Diversity & Inclusion, and why?

One person who has inspired me in my work for diversity and inclusion is Judge Bough. Everyone in the legal community who is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion, knows Judge Bough by name, and that is because he dedicates real time and resources to the cause. Judge Bough has been my sounding board and mentor as I traverse unknown and uncomfortable spaces in my quest to advance diversity and inclusion in our profession. He gives me advice, shares his wisdom, but also, listens to my perspective and understands the importance of learning from the communities we seek to serve.

2022 Diversity & Inclusion Awards