We’ve gotten a couple of inquiries through the general LMA inbox – only two through that channel – but nonetheless expressing concern about us having an event in Florida given the current political climate. Below is how I have responded in both instances. There are likely better, smarter words I could have used, but these thoughts come from a place of sincerity. I don’t share this here to stir controversy unnecessarily or to spark debate; rather I am simply offering for collective awareness and for continued mindfulness. My response follows, and my door is always open …
“Hi – I appreciated your note about Florida. I actually addressed this a bit in our recent LMA Townhall. You may or may not know this about me, but I am gay and understand deeply your concerns. Of course, as you might imagine the wheels are set in motion on these events years in advance with long-term contracts and such. But even that isn’t a proper answer.
“What I said in the Townhall is that we have members in Florida and communities we serve who have been negatively impacted by state leaders’ actions. Our presence has meaning to them. Also we are identifying programs for LGBTQ youth and people of color and will be doing outreach and fundraising activities to support. I also have a surprise that I don’t want to spoil with which we will be opening the general session that will be a definitive statement as well.
“I know these words are probably cold comfort to you, but it was important for me to let you know that I hear you and we are doing what we can. Thank you for writing.
“Happy to discuss if more helpful – and thank you for your caring heart. Roy”
Are you ready to amplify? There is so much energy going into #LMA23 in a few weeks, and I for one can’t wait to spend time with this community. We realize not everyone has the opportunity to attend, but hopefully all of you are feeling the excitement and will be able to partake in some fashion, either in person or online. Thanks to Rob Kates of Kates Media and By Aries for their joint sponsorship of live video streaming from portions of the conference. (Be on the lookout for that!) And it’s not too late to register — come join us for what promises to be an invigorating, inspiring few days!
Why amplify, you might ask? When we were exploring themes, I mentioned a bit of theater training whereby actors are urged to “find their light” on stage. You know it when you see it/feel it. As an audience, you know it when the actors DON’T. Literally, the actors are hidden in the shadow unless they land just the right position to stand square in the spotlight. That idea morphed into “amplify” which seemed more apt. (And a bit less “new age-y” — FIND THE LIGHT!).
Our aim for this conference is that it arms every attendee with the tools, career guidance, networking, skills and inspiration to leave for home fully in the zone and ready to amplify their impact, careers and professional standing.
A few things to look forward to…
We have dynamic voices and minds leading our sessions at the conference. If you haven’t been checking out our conference speakers’ vibrant and informative session preview videos, give them a watch.
Our keynote Laura Gassner Otting will inspire us to be limitless in our work and our lives. Laura has generously donated a copy of her new book, Wonderhell: Why Success Doesn’t Feel Like It Should . . . and What to Do About It, for each in-person attendee and she will be available after she speaks to meet everyone and sign her book!
Our General Counsel Panel — Aarash Darroodi, EVP and general counsel, Fender; Peter V. Nguyen, SVP, legal, general counsel and corporate secretary, The Descartes Systems Group Inc.; and Jodi Trulove, general counsel and chief client relations officer, Bates White LLC — will have a robust, wide-ranging conversation about what they crave (and what drives them bats) in terms of marketing and business development outreach. And to keep things interesting, we will frame that conversation through an homage to classic game shows 🎲🎯🃏— paging Gene Rayburn!
I’d like to extend my gratitude to our incredible Annual Conference co-chairsLee Watts, Jen Dezso and Megan McKeon. It was nearly a year ago now that we started the journey to develop this year’s conference theme and offerings. They have put in countless hours and so much heart alongside our fab Annual Conference Advisory Committee and Pre-Con co-chairs. They all have exemplified what is best about LMA: innovation, grace, intellectual curiosity and FUN! And thanks again to our HQ team: Danielle Holland, Holly Amatangelo, Kaitlin Heininger, Ellie Hurley, Lisa Kamen and Sarah Logan, among others. They are the magicians behind the scenes lining up logistics, processes, communications and contracts. I am grateful we have such a collaborative and creative group to support us.
Whether attending this year or simply gearing up for some springtime adventures, I offer you this playlist🎵. Yes, another one. Can you tell this is my love language? Oh, the mix tapes I used to create in college. As you’re packing your bags for Florida, dreaming of reconnecting with your LMA colleagues or just taking a moment to roll down your car windows and jam out on a sunny day, I hope you find something to enjoy here. Yes, I went a bit overboard. Have you met me? But feel free to give it a spin from Apple Music or Spotify.
Last but not least, thanks to the 100+ attendees at our recent Town Hall. We had a lively, engaging conversation, and you can catch the recording here. Some quick highlights:
Our joint survey with ALM is now live. You should have received an email on March 8 to participate. Thanks to our Advocacy Committee — led by Gina Rubel, Ashley Defay and Alan Dickinson with LMA International Board liaison John Byrne — for this fine work. This is a 360° look at how our profession is viewed/valued — by us, by our internal stakeholders and industry leaders. There will be a joint session with ALM at the LMA Annual Conference to announce and discuss the findings. This data will be critical to continuing to position ourselves as THE authority in legal marketing.
Rachel Shields Williams from the LMA International Board is heading up a data governance/planning process. She’s in the discovery phase now with HQ; as the year proceeds, she’ll expand her engagement with LMA volunteer leaders to better understand needs and opportunities. This will inform long-term planning as well as help ensure member value that is segmented and targeted.
Our CEO Danielle Holland provided an overview of our growth plan and marketing communications — we have big goals and we will get there!
International Board members Jessica Haarsgaard and Tahisha Fugate are heading up a task force around member recognitions, exploring ways to expand our current processes, and looking to other comparable associations for best practices.
Our President-Elect Kevin Iredell and yours truly are working with Danielle and the team on long-term financial modeling related to our member growth goals.
Four of our regional presidents — Cynthia Voth (West), Laura Hudson(Southeast), Jennifer Shankleton (Midwest) and Kathryn Burke (Mid-Atlantic) — shared some great program offerings ahead for their regions— check them out!
Our LMA Director of Education Holly Amatangelo has assembled a member task force to review our education structure and offerings, the content of ourLMA Body of Knowledge and to assess long-term education delivery models…
Looking forward to joining Heather Nevitt, Editor-in-Chief of Corporate Counsel and Global Leaders in Law, ALM; Mark A. Smolik, Chief Legal Officer, DHL Supply Chain; and Mike Gaw, Deputy General Counsel, Mana Common for this crucial conversation. Register here.
In-house leaders are facing a number of issues in 2023 including navigating risk in an uncertain economic climate. Specifically GCs are being careful about expending resources while optimizing technology and headcount to drive better outcomes while keeping costs under control.
This webcast, produced as part of Legal Marketing Association – LMA International’s partnership with ALM’s Law.com and its Corporate Counsel media brand, will explore top-of-mind issues for in-house leadership in 2023 and present advice for law firm marketers to better engage this critical audience for success.
Identify the top three challenges facing GCs this year.
Describe what has changed in the way that in-house departments are considering and evaluating legal services.
List some dos and don’ts for legal marketers looking to successfully engage corporate counsel.
Recognize tips for reaching and influencing in-house leadership through the legal media.
Title: What Law Firm Marketers Need to Do Now To Succeed in 2023.
Original post here … For those of us who live in climates where there are more fir trees than palm trees, there’s a saying my husband and I have for those unseasonably warm days that remind us spring is just around the corner: “Teaser days.”
We had a few gloriously sunny, vibrant teaser days last week ― the kind where it seems our tulips and daffodils might burst spontaneously from the ground in full color. Of course, now we’re back to the arctic blast we typically have this time of year in Michigan. But as we rapidly move through the year, days like this do remind us that good times are ahead.
The news cycle is full of portentous warnings and frightening updates about the economy and job loss, environmental tragedies, violence, political wrangling and what feels like one existential threat after another. It’s easy to lose faith, but these teaser days are a reminder of what‘s redeeming about this world. The promise of change, reconnection to the earth and reconnection to each other make it easier to get excited once again for what the future may hold.
I’m similarly grateful for our community. Whether we gather in person or online, your creativity, your caring hearts and your thoughtfulness feed the soul. I’m watching our regions and our Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) generate incredible content, educational offerings and events. I see you celebrate each other, your accomplishments and your thought leadership. I smile when you post an inspiring mix of the personal and the professional on social media. The warm glow of our collective experience heals.
This is a remarkable community.
In March, I invite you to join me for a Town Hall conversation. We’ll offer updates on what the LMA International Board is working on in advance of our April Annual Conference (see more on that below). A few things you can look forward to during this conversation:
A spotlight on the excellent marketing support (game sees game!) from our HQ team.
An open mic to any of our regional presidents who want to share what they’re excited about this year.
Open dialogue for any concerns, opportunities or celebrations you’d like to share.
In the same spirit of openness, if you’re interested in the work our committees, SIGs and regions are pursuing, click here for a summary of the goals. It’s such a fantastic group of leaders and I think you’ll be struck by the intentionality of their work.
We look forward to welcoming more than 1,000 of our community to the conference, and it promises to be a fun, informative, energized gathering. Register now and meet me there! Bonus: We have some surprises planned! More on those later, but spoiler alert ― you’ll want to dig out your best fab ‘80s fashion flare for our Tuesday night party. Rad!
Keep dreaming of spring!💐
President, 2023 LMA International Board of Directors
Thank you, Tier 11, for inviting me on as a guest for your #MarketingMoguls podcast! I enjoyed our conversation very much – always fun to share our stories and experiences in this space.
Episode description (I read this and think, “Wait, are they writing about ME?!?”): Are you ready to skyrocket your marketing strategies and dominate your competition? Look no further! On this episode of Marketing Moguls, we’re sitting down with a marketing heavyweight who has made a big impact in the industry. With decades of experience under their belt, they’ll be sharing insider tips and tricks on how to increase conversions, create winning ad campaigns, and make sure your brand stays top-of-mind with your target audience.
“You’ll hear about the executive’s unique journey from the theater world to marketing and how they’ve leveraged digital channels and creative techniques to reach a massive 12 million people on social media in just one year. Plus, learn how their forward-thinking CEO has used company culture as a marketing tool, helping to set their brand apart from the rest.
“Don’t miss this exciting episode of Marketing Moguls where you’ll get the chance to pick the brain of one of the most innovative minds in the industry. Tune in now and elevate your marketing game to the next level!”
In This Episode, You’ll Learn:
00:00:00 Meet The Marketing Mavericks: Top Executives And Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets
The past weekend the Legal Marketing Association – LMA International international board and team gathered. It was by turns an invigorating, provocative, robust, and inspiring conversation. Grateful to be part of this engaging group and Association community.
We had an incredible enrichment activity with Axelle Flemming (FKA Melissa Yee Loy) Being Axelle – thank you, Kevin Iredell, for bringing her to us. She’ll also be at #LMA23 for all our membership to benefit from her wisdom.
In short, we all live to a great extent in the fight or flight side of our brains, and when we are in that survival mode, there is absolutely no way to grow, be strategic, be truly inclusive, or make a long term difference in this world. She gave us great language and ideas to shape our team dynamic and our service to our organization. I look forward to her engaging more with our broader community and sharing her perspective.
As for this Post It note, she asked each of us to slap one on our back and let our colleagues write words that they associated with us. Our personal “brand” through the eyes of our peers. The results were funny, entertaining, and poignant. Yes, I will be framing mine. #lmamkt
Excerpt: “Instead of taking the deceptive path of least resistance and fleeing from the amazing work that I know you can do, I invite you to allow yourself to fight through those barriers, that scar tissue, and to choose to do the things you need to do to grow your practice. There are amazing people around you, and yes, I am one of them, that are here to help you if you don’t know where to start. (That sounded kind of braggy, didn’t it?)”
I’m not right. Saw this poor stuffed rabbit tossed in the street in Hollywood, Florida. (Here for a meeting.) Felt sorry for said bunny. So I bought a bottle of Dawn Detergent at 7-11 and soaked the little fellow in the hotel tub. Turned out ok if I do say so myself. I’m quite the world traveler. 🤣 Laura Gassner Otting, gets the win for its name: “Bed Bugs Bunny.” 😅
My sweet dad Don Sexton with this beautiful, creative #valentines surprise in the mail. My heart. Though I think Hudson is more impressed with my dad’s art than mine. Admittedly these drawings of mine that my dad unearthed were from when I was 3 or 4. Or maybe from college. Who knows? 🤷 #family #love #valentinesday #dogs #dogsofinstagram #dogslife
Thank you, Robert Clarke and Elevate, for the lovely chat and this interview write-up. I enjoyed our conversation immensely ✨
“Roy Sexton on Teams, Leadership and Learning: ‘You’re only as good as the rest of the cast. Bad actors are the ones who only worry about themselves, whereas good performers think: How can I help the entire cast be good? The audience experiences the entire show, not just one performer – not just the lead. It’s the same in business…’ #elevateelite #leadership #learning Click image for more.”
Thank you, Beth Little Bell, for joining Rob and me today! You are such an authentic soul with a keen eye toward story-telling and culture building. #LMAmkt is truly fortunate to have you in our community. Appreciated how you painted a clear picture of the life of the solo marketer as brand and culture builder and how you use social media, community engagement, and thought leadership to support the DeFur Voran team.
And that team LOVES you – I don’t think in the history of the show we have EVER had so many of a marketer’s attorneys watch and express their heartfelt appreciation. You are clearly doing something right! Congrats on that new grandbaby, and thanks for all you do for Wabash College as well. Thanks one more time to Greg Castanias for connecting us.
Show description: Roy’s guest on our October 6 show was Elizabeth Bell, who leads marketing efforts for DeFur Voran LLP. She has also worked in the legal space as a law firm administrator and paralegal. Spoiler alert: she, like Roy, is a Hoosier AND has a storied background with his alma mater Wabash College. (And she just may have attended Wabash’s fierce rival school DePauw University … so sparks may fly!)
Beth is currently building a marketing program at her firm, and can speak to the opportunities and challenges facing the solo marketer. Roy and Beth unpack how one can leverage servant leadership to help support a small firm on its growth journey and how to build out the resources needed to “do all the things” required for effective law firm marketing and business development when you are a mighty team of ONE!
Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media: Video Production.
Thrilled to be moderating the opening session of this essential #legalmarketing boot camp. Thank you, LMA Northeast Region, Michelle Upchurch Murray, Jennifer Manton, Deborah Scaringi for your leadership here in bringing this to our Legal Marketing Association – LMA International members.
SESSION DESCRIPTION: We are privileged to work in a dynamic, rapidly evolving industry. The legal marketing and business development profession has a multiplicity of career paths and opportunities. Since hustle is our middle name as legal marketers, our own needs sometimes get lost in the shuffle of being in service to others. Being intentional about aligning your talents, desires, interests, and aspirations is more crucial than ever to continued success.
Please join us for a candid, lively conversation with leading lights in our industry on how they themselves shaped their careers amidst an ever changing landscape. We will highlight the career tracks available to you – business development, technologist, marketing and digital strategy, events, branding, coaching, consulting, and so much more – as well as projects you should pursue to maximize your visibility and impact. We will cover the importance of your own personal branding, how to stay relevant and known in this industry, and the importance of leaning on this LMA community to enrich your career.
Moderator – Roy Sexton, Director of Marketing, Clark Hill Law
Robyn Addis, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer, Legal Internet Solutions Incorporated
Michael Coston, CEO, Coston Consulting
Melissa Ertek, Chief Development Officer, Winston & Strawn LLP
Audra Triplett, Senior Manager, Business Development & Marketing, Foley & Lardner LLP
Thank you, Sheila Pursglove, Joel K. Epstein, Brian Cox, Brad Thompson, and crew! Front page above the fold TWO WEEKS in a row? It’s the hair, isn’t it? Tell me it’s the hair. In all seriousness, thank you for the kindness, friendship, and support – it means the world.
Roy Sexton leads Clark Hill Law’s marketing, branding, and communications efforts in collaboration with the firm’s team of marketing and business development professionals. He has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, business development, and strategic planning.
Sexton is passionate about problem solving, facilitating business growth, crafting communications strategy, and enhancing law firm culture. He works closely with the marketing team to advance the firm’s digital and social media presence and external engagement, using multi-channel distribution and data collection. This enables the team to quantify results and use those results to produce thoughtfully and strategically organized content for clients and prospects. He also advises attorneys on marketing and business development strategy by curating relationships among external publications and media outlets and creating the appropriate platforms and opportunities for attorneys to promote their knowledge and practice.
A resident of Saline, Sexton has been heavily involved regionally and nationally in the Legal Marketing Association – LMA International (LMA) as a board member, content expert, and presenter. He will serve as the LMA’s president in 2023. In addition, Sexton is a published author of two books: “ReelRoyReviews,” Volumes 1 and 2.
What would surprise people about your job?
People still seem pleasantly surprised that I have a global focus. Clark Hill is a huge firm with an international footprint, and, while Michigan will always be home, my responsibilities span the U.S., Mexico, and Ireland. And my fab boss Susan Ahern, our CMBDO, is based in Dublin. I’ve learned to become quite savvy about time zones!
What’s your favorite law-related TV show?
I always say “The Good Wife.” The trials and tribulations of Alan Cumming’s character in particular. In a law firm, no two days are the same when you hold a marketing role. It’s thrilling and sometimes comical how your work runs the gamut from the sublime to, well, I won’t finish that sentence.
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?
Weird as this is to type, I’d trade places with my mom Susie Sexton (who recently passed) so she could have a good chance to say goodbye. She left this world rather abruptly (heart attack), and, having sheltered away for months and months because of COVID, I don’t know that she got a chance to reconnect with people she loved before she vanished. I don’t mean all that to seem as dour as it reads, but I wish she’d had one truly happy day before she was gone.
What do you do to relax?
My inner introvert shines on days off. Admittedly, I have to get through any and all chores first. I also eat the things I don’t much like on my plate first too. But once I’m free and clear, it’s pajamas, comic books, bad pop music, playing with our fur baby Hudson, having a quiet dinner with my husband, and watching some escapist TV.
What other career path might you have chosen?
I have a master’s degree in theatre and thought for a while that I would get a Ph.D. and go into academia. But I wanted to eat. I still wonder what would have happened if I’d tried the “chuck it all and audition for Broadway/Hollywood” route also. But I have such a happy and fulfilling life that I have zero regrets.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
Enjoy the moments with people you might not know you will see again. We are always all so enmeshed in petty dramas or accomplishing some task or rushing off to the next event that we miss the moments that matter. I wish I’d curbed my rampant collecting habits (books, movies, music, toys) early on and put more energy into collecting experiences. And I wish I’d enjoyed being skinny! I was so self-conscious back then about not looking like a Men’s Health model, and I should have just appreciated being me!
Favorite local hangouts?
Seva Ann Arbor has become our “Cheers.” We are vegetarians and still a bit cautious about getting out and about too many places. The food is glorious but it’s the staff who have made us feel so welcome and loved. Every Saturday night – and sometimes Fridays too. I also am a bit obsessed with Target, and I love Vault of Midnight (comic book shop). I really need to get a life!
Oh, I’m such a menace on all social media apps. And I still love iTunes/Apple Music (lord, I’m a dinosaur). And Layout is a great little app for simple photo collages.
I’m a gay man raised in the ’80s: Madonna, Janet Jackson, Tori Amos, Cher, Whitney Houston, George Michael, New Order, Kylie Minogue, Annie Lennox, k.d. lang … basically any and all dance pop with a slight edge to it. And that sensibility continues: Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry … well, you get the gist.
What is your happiest childhood memory?
I didn’t have many birthday parties. I am an only child, but it just wasn’t something we did. My birthday is December 28, which coincided with my parents’ wedding anniversary. Smack dab in the middle of the holidays, not super conducive to adding another gathering to the mix. But I remember one (of two) childhood parties where my parents, grandparents, and a couple of friends all gathered in our dining room for cake and ice cream. And it was all just quiet and loving and warm. I had a wonderful childhood, and have so many memories but that one sticks out right now as I just turned 50!
What is your most treasured material possession?
When he died, my grandfather Roy Duncan left me his mother’s college ring with “1900” (her graduation year) emblazoned across it. He wore it every day of his life, and I’ve worn it every day of my life since he passed in 1983. In fact, my fingers are so fat now I can’t remove it even if I wanted to. And I don’t! I just think it’s a beautiful reminder of legacy.
What do you wish someone would invent?
Something that makes everyone less reactionary and adversarial over the smallest things. As I age, I just find it harder and harder to understand why people point out flaws, undercut others, argue to prove a point … it’s just so much time wasted. And when I’m being ugly or receiving ugliness, I just feel it as tension in my chest, and I don’t know why people want to walk around like that.
What has been your favorite year so far and why?
2000 – the year I met my husband. It was also a very tough year – I came out to my parents (didn’t go well … like spectacularly so) and John ended up getting a foreign assignment in Japan just months after we met. But it was a year that brought him into my life, it was a year that taught me resilience, and it was a year that set me on a path to genuine happiness.
What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been?
Tokyo, Japan when I was in high school. The U.S. Senate had a program in the ‘80s with Youth for Understanding where they sent two “youth ambassadors” from each state to Japan for the summer. I’d never been anywhere. To be immersed in such a vibrant, dynamic, bustling environment with so much to see and try and do, it was overwhelming in all the best ways. A transformative summer. I still feel electricity in my bones when I’m in big city like that.
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Help everyone be a bit kinder. It’s easy and lazy to be mean. It takes a little effort to show appreciation. But is so much more rewarding.
What’s one thing you would like to learn to do?
Play the piano. Not ever gonna happen. I’ve tried a few times. I don’t have the discipline. But I wish I could accompany myself as a singer. Would save money!
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I wrote a column for our hometown paper in high school. It was called “AdoleSENSE” and was about my experience in small town America. I also wrote the occasional feature story, and the longer they were, the more money I got. I could write a LOT … which bought me more comic books. I also won the national PTA Reflections writing contest three (or four?) years in a row in elementary school.
If you could have dinner with three people, past or present, who would they be?
Jennifer Garner, Wanda Sykes, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Mindy Kaling, Kelly Ripa, Parker Posey, Aidy Bryant, and Jane Fonda. Yes, I know that is triple the requested number. This answer has evolved for me over the years. Now I just want to have dinner with nice people who will make me laugh or inspire me.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
From my boss Susan Ahern: “Take the pause. Not everything has to be rushed. Pick up the phone before the e-mails escalate. You don’t need to feel pressured to entertain or make everyone laugh. Just be.” It’s a paraphrased compilation of thoughts, but her advice has been transformative.
Favorite place to spend money?
Seva Ann Arbor, Target, Vault of Midnight … and Amazon.com! Heaven help me.
What is your motto?
“It’s okay to not be okay.” Something more recent, but I have a lapel pin with that thought and I wear it frequently. As much to remind myself as anyone else!
Which living person do you most admire?
My dad Don Sexton has been through a lot the past couple of years. He retired, lost my mom, began a new relationship with a wonderful soul, transformed his home (still working on that), travels, and has remained buoyant and resilient throughout. I admire how he has embraced life when others might have crumbled. It’s kept me from crumbling myself just to observe!
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Staying true to myself. I’m odd. Some have called me quirky. But (mostly) I’ve not twisted myself into some unrecognizable version of Roy to get ahead or to be liked. At least I hope that’s the case!
What is the most unusual thing you have done?
I don’t know if this qualifies, but my husband John Mola is a fan of the singing group 98 Degrees. Over the years, we’ve seen them multiple times as they’ve devolved into a career of casino performing. Consequently, their meet and greets are pretty affordable, and we’ve gotten to the point of affirmative facial recognition from them when we show up! Jeff Timmons even follows me on Twitter. Ah, we’ve arrived!