Thank you, delightful and talented Scott Lawrence of Headshots by Scott Lawrence, for joining Rob Kates and me today on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk. A robust and lively conversation about the power of smart, authentic portrait photography in legal marketing efforts and how to put your subjects at ease, how to introduce a contemporary and accessible feel, and how to incorporate styling for different digital audiences and individual branding needs.
Many, many shout outs (you have to watch to make sense of this list!): Gina Furia Rubel, Marcia Delgadillo, Brenda Meller, Sarah Ryan, Pentatonix, Gittings, Gittings Global, Gloria Pak, Nick Lachey, Jeff Timmons, MotorCity Casino Hotel, Laura Benanti, Susie Sexton, Don Sexton, Alan Cumming, Betty Buckley, Cyndi Lauper, Superman, Tiffany Elie, Hello Dolly, Patty Buccellato, Erin Kennedy, Meller Marketing, Zelig, show choirs, Minnie Driver, Ronald McDonald House Charities Ann Arbor, Kim Kelly, Ronald McDonald, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Gabby Confer, Lori Mola Compagner, Cleveland Agora, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Chris Marrone, Kathy Cook, and heaven knows who/what else!
And thank you, Scott, for my incredible gift presented at show end!
I had a ball chatting with Christopher Johnson today. Thank you, Brenda Meller of Meller Marketing 🥧, for connecting us. Terry Bean, if your ears were burning, watch. 🤣 We chatted about the power of family, great parenting, the arts, human connection, narrative power of marketing, trends in digital, Britney Spears headsets, and so much more. Enjoy!
Mentions include Don Sexton, Susie Sexton, John Mola, Clark Hill Law, Legal Marketing Association – LMA International, Ronald McDonald House Charities Ann Arbor, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, and more!
I’m officially official and deeply honored to be “ratified” as LMA’s 2022 prez-elect and 2023 president!
Thank you, dear Brenda Meller of Meller Marketing and Social Media P.I.E., for having me on today! We unveiled “C.A.R.” – an acronym I devised about 20 minutes before 🤣 – to help people become #socialmedia superfans. Celebrate. Advocate. Reciprocate. In retrospect, I should add an “E” for “elevate,” because I really do “C.A.R.E.” See what I did there?
In addition we discussed my hair care regimen, the power of silly tshirts, my favorite songs, and the goddesses Deborah Harry and Miley Cyrus.
Find out more about – and purchase! – Brenda’s best selling new book Social Media Piehere.
Shout outs in the show to Susie Sexton, Jay Harrington, Nancy Leyes Myrland, Gina Furia Rubel, Jessica Aries, Renee Branson, Heather Morse-Geller, Susan Ahern, Megan McKeon, Clark Hill Law, Mark Ostach, Kathy Kvasnak, Tina Marie Wohlfield, MiVida Burrus, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, Ronald McDonald House Charities Ann Arbor, Legal Marketing Association – LMA International, Beth Kennedy, and more!
P.S. Today’s chat inspired this blog post from Brenda as well. “Have you noticed that when you’re commenting in a live stream on LinkedIn, your photo is a gray avatar? It may be one of two items in your privacy settings. Here’s how to fix it.”
Join me and guests Heather and Jay Harrington, founders of Harrington Communications, as we discuss the importance of thought leadership and PR in legal marketing, marrying smart design with good content, and what it took to start their own agency that has turned top professional services firms into titans of industry.
Jay and Heather also have fascinating interests that include Heather’s spectacular art career – Life and Whim – and Jay’s books and publications. We are looking forward to picking the brains of this outstanding duo, and we know it’s a conversation you won’t want to miss.
Roy Sexton ’95 has been appointed as treasurer of the 2021 Legal Marketing Association – LMA International (LMA) Board of Directors. LMA represents thousands of legal marketing and business development professionals in 48 U.S. states and 24 countries.
“Being on the LMA Board of Directors is the apex of one’s volunteer leadership within the Legal Marketing Association and is significant in advancing the legal marketing profession as a whole,” LMA Executive Director Danielle Holland said in a news release.
Sexton, director of marketing at Clark Hill Law, has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, business development and strategic planning.
He has been heavily involved in the LMA as a regional and international leader and has served on numerous nonprofit boards and committees including the Ronald McDonald House Charities Ann Arbor, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, Royal Starr Arts Institute, EncoreMichigan.com.
“I am honored to serve on the 2021 LMA Board of Directors, and I look forward to the opportunity to help guide the association’s important work,” Sexton said in the release. “LMA will continue to provide outstanding programming and opportunities for professional development and networking to our members and advocate for our profession, locally, regionally and internationally.”
While at Wabash College, Sexton majored in English and theater and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha and involved with the Wabash Theater, the Bachelor and Student Senate.
Sexton’s LMA appointment became effective January 1, 2021.
Our Clark Hill marketing and business development team has been on quite the journey over the last couple of years. It has been a great growth opportunity and one of the more enriching work experiences of my life. Out of the blue, REDSTARKIM LIMITED Managing Director Kim Tasso wrote about our work, based on a webinar we did six months ago! A lovely surprise!
Grateful for our exceptional and supportive leader Susan Ahern and for wonderful and inventive colleagues Megan McKeon , Guinevere Lehman Anderson , Emilie Strozier McCarthy , Shayna McCloskey , Tommy Franz , Dani Carter , Alexandra France , Gloria Pak , Elizabeth C. Jeffries , Stacey Marie , Maureen Denney , Keith Hobbs , Katelynn Schwalm , Alé Simmons , Amy Oldiges , Kimberly Reisman , Leslie Smithson.
From the blog entry’s intro: “In September, the international senior marketing and business development team at Clark Hill presented a webinar for the Professional Marketing Forum. The topic was ‘Clark Hill redesigns its marketing and BD team’. The work to re-imagine its marketing and business development (M&BD) team won Clark Hill the Best Marketing Initiative Award at the 2020 Managing Partners’ Forum Management Excellence Awards.”
SAVE THE DATE! February 11, 12:05 pm ET. Brenda Meller of Meller Marketing and I return to thunderdome! We will discuss what it means to be a superfan and how that can benefit your networking, branding, and marketing efforts. Celebrate, advocate, reciprocate.
It promises to be a fun and free-wheeling conversation focused on the principles of good design, challenges of visual communication in industries that need dense messaging, best practices she would recommend, and maybe even some markers of the good friendship (i.e. shenanigans) shared by Nikki and Roy sprinkled in—fingers crossed we get to hear about the night they saw the Backstreet Boys in concert!
Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media.
I am so incredibly proud of my friend Brenda Zawacki Meller, published author! My copy of her book Social Media Pie: How to Enjoy a Bigger Slice of LinkedIn arrived today, beautifully inscribed and in a trademark Meller Marketing pink envelope. Now that is good branding! The book is fantastic, and even if you feel like you know a lot about LinkedIn, there is far more that she can teach you.
As I texted her today, “Brenda, you have surpassed us all in your accomplishments, in your bright light, and in your singular execution of strategy. What you have done in quick fashion in terms of positioning yourself is nothing short of impressive and remarkable. So damn proud of you!” Here are some photos from the many adventures I’ve been privileged to have with Brenda, and her support and encouragement of me and of so many others has meant the world. That is just who she is, and if you don’t know her yet (which would be shocking since she has 52,000 followers and counting on LinkedIn!), you really should!
ABOUT THE BOOK: You’re on LinkedIn, but you’re not sure you’re getting the most out of it. You’re open to learning, but you need some guidance on how to be more effective at your time and efforts on LinkedIn. And, you believe you can have fun while learning. I mean, obviously. Otherwise, what the heck are you doing considering buying a book called, Social Media Pie. That’s crazy talk, right? Or is it BRILLIANT? Probably a bit of both. In Social Media Pie: How to Enjoy a Bigger Slice of LinkedIn, Brenda Meller will share strategies to help you make the most of your LinkedIn presence to help you to reach your business and career goals. In this book, you’ll learn how to:
Adjust your settings to maximize your visibility and reach
Optimize your LinkedIn profile
Create a powerful invitation that’s more likely to be accepted and screen in invitations while creating dialog
Generate greater levels of network engagement
Post (and how often to post) — and what to do NEXT
Build a company page and grow followers (LEADS!)
Rock on LinkedIn in just 15 minutes a day
Through a conversational approach, how-to instructions, and a sprinkling of pie-isms throughout, Brenda will teach you how to increase your slice of the LinkedIn pie. With over 50,000 LinkedIn followers, a LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) of 88, nearly 8,000 profile views in the past 90 days and an awesome LinkedIn network, she shows you how anyone with a strong desire to improve their results on LinkedIn — and an open mind for shining the spotlight on others — can supercharge their LinkedIn presence.
Live from … YouTube? Rob Kates of Kates Media writes: “Today on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk, we enjoyed a heartwarming chat with Roy Sexton, Director of Marketing at Clark Hill, who talks about #StayHome and offers some words of wisdom for marketing a law firm in these challenging times. Join us daily for Legal Marketing Coffee Talk with Stefanie Marrone, 2pm EST daily on Facebook.” ❤️ Thank you, both.
POSTSCRIPT… In less than 24 hours, I’ve become quite the quarantine streaming talk show raconteur. 😂 I feel like Richard Dawson or Bert Convey. #genxjoke – thank you, wonderful Brenda Zawacki Meller of Meller Marketing, for this (just received) invite! 🥧
“Oh, I went to the emergency room last night. They took me from the veterinarian’s in an ambulance. The EMS boy looked like Aquaman.” – Susie Duncan Sexton
Wait. What?! So began a phone call with my mother about a month ago. To clarify a few things: no, she does not receive her health care AT the veterinarian BUT got light-headed while she was there and, then … nearly passed out. And, no, Jason Momoa is not moonlighting for Whitley County EMS, but my mom is threatening to call 911 again, just so she can hang with the young man who apparently bears a striking resemblance to Game of Thrones’ Khal Drogo.
My mom has gone through a battery of tests over the past month, and the good news is that her exuberance for life and her candor and her irreverence have apparently served her well physically in that an army of doctors have found no issues of concern. As my mother notes, “I don’t want to go into that medical world if I don’t have to.” Who can blame her? I do wish she wouldn’t have such a propensity to read and believe all of the side effects listed on any and all medications, but, hell, that wariness has likely served her quite well in this pharmacologically reckless culture.
What my mother has learned from this experience is that when others don’t listen or behave like outright jackholes, it can cause her to experience justified exasperation to the point of plummeting-elevator-wooziness. I think too many of us are still trying to learnthat lesson.
“At 46, I’m coming to the realization that I want life to be less about ‘stuff.’ I’ve had so much fun collecting and gathering and accumulating, but now it all just feels like a weight around my neck.” – Roy Sexton
Two weekends ago, I went to visit my parents. After her chance encounter with a hunky Momoa-look-alike, life flashed before my mother’s eyes, and she wanted to call a family meeting to discuss our “plan.” Note: we are NOT a “family meeting” kind of family, and we might have “plans” but for some reason we don’t actually share them. We are more of a “something unanticipated just happened so let’s light our hair on fire” kind of family. My mother has always been the one who says the things that need to be said but aren’t always heard. This time, it felt like my father and I stopped being idiots long enough to listen. I was cautiously optimistic that we might talk about what the future could hold. And, then …
“I’m getting up at 10 am tomorrow to take the LaCrosse in to trade for an Impala.” – Don Sexton
Unclear if that was invitation for me to assist in the car-buying process or not, but I volunteered to tagalong on a task that has pretty much eluded me my entire adult life. I inherited a hand-me-down Buick Century from my grandmother when I was in college. My parents were kind enough to buy me a Honda Civic when I was in graduate school. Then, I was wise enough to marry an automotive engineer, and I never set foot in an auto dealership again.
My father used to call on auto dealers across northern Indiana in the late 80s when he was a lending officer for Merchants National Bank. He knows a thing or two about this world; the finer points of operating an iPad may befuddle him but he knows his Carfax from his Kelley Blue Book. Nonetheless, the game of buying a car remains one rife with swaggering toxic masculinity.
“I’m sorry. With whom am I negotiating on this? You or your dad or John,” whined the auto salesman as I handed him my cell phone and asked him to work everything out with an auto engineer stationed at his home computer in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
My father and I both gestured toward the phone and then promptly closed our traps. The best way to cut through toxic masculinity? Introduce a well-informed curve ball who doesn’t cotton to preening peacocks. We walked out of there with a gently used Ford Fusion at a third of the expected price, paid in cash, leaving behind a small army of Dockers-wearing salesmen scratching their heads.
“Good. I’m glad John got involved. He reminds me of me. When he gets to talk about what he loves, he’s unstoppable.” – Susie Sexton, upon our return.
You see, all along, my mom had suggested their ancient Buick LaCrosse needed a retirement. My mom is the one saying, “Can we slow down and just take care of the things we love before time is completely gone?” My mom is the one urging people to live their best lives and to enjoy the moments they are in. My mom is the one asking for authentic conversation that isn’t transmitted via digital device in tweets, texts, and cynical memes.
KNOCK! KNOCK! “We’re at the door here for breakfast and swimming and to tell you our plan.” – my parents at my hotel room door the last morning of my weekend visit. (I may have asked for them to call before heading over … that didn’t happen.)
At some point in the past couple of years, my parents and I transitioned to that mid-stage milestone of the child (gleefully) staying at a hotel when he/she comes to visit said parents. It’s not meant to be rude or controlling, but as one ages, as one becomes set in their ways, as one’s midsection grows more pear-shaped … the idea of retreating to a hotel room, collapsing in a heap, and breathing solitary air at the end of a day’s family visit carries a touch of appeal.
And my parents get to come use the pool like two 12-year-olds who’ve just run away from home.
Here’s the thing: those two 12-year-olds who these days spend as much time plotting each other’s demise as they do reflecting wistfully on their 50 (!) years of wedded “bliss,” came bounding into my room, speaking a mile a minute, finishing each other’s sentences, sharing their “plan” with me. I was half awake and a little cranky, but their zeal was a tonic.
And that plan? It’s a pretty good one. It’s not for me to tell, but I feel good about the future. Possibly for the first time ever. You see, I have a vision of the fun we will have, reminiscent of those special days I lived at home and had nary a care in the world, other than what cartoons were airing on Saturday morning or passing an algebra test. And that vision is shared. That makes all the difference.
It was quite an honor to offer the keynote address alongside ProfessionalMovers.com’s spectacular Andrew Androff at last week’s Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce/Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Sales & Marketing Conference. Video of my presentation “How to Win the Room (When You’d Rather Stay Home)” courtesy the lovely Brenda Meller of Meller Marketing: https://youtu.be/xnvDZFDYGI8
I adore Brenda whose kindness and generosity know no bounds. She authentically cares and celebrates. That is a rare quality. And thanks to the equally loving and supportive Heather Morse-Geller who got this ball rolling with a lovely post last year and to my sweet friend Blaine D. Fowler for reading it aloud at this very conference (same day it was posted, in fact, when HE gave the keynote).
Thank you, Melanie Hughes Davis and Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce for this fantastic opportunity. #BeARoySexton😊❤️
Photos courtesy Brenda Zawacki Meller, Milan Stevanovich (w/ Chanel Stevanovich), Ziggy Whitehouse, and my iPhone.
View video – courtesy Brenda Meller of Meller Marketing – here.
What do you do when you know you need to network and market yourself but the introvert within says, “Uh, maybe later”? On August 9, 2018, Kerr Russell Director of Marketing Roy Sexton (that’s me!) presented strategies for embracing your qualities as an introvert (or for those occasions when you aspire to introversion!) and establishing and maintaining a successful personal brand, both online and in person.
About the session, co-chair Brenda Zawacki Meller of Meller Marketing wrote, “Today my friend and marketing idol Roy Sexton of Kerr Russell presented ‘How to Win the Room When You’d Rather Stay Home’ to a PACKED ROOM at Inforum Michigan Troy. Video link below. Now that the meeting is over, I have to confess: I was freaking out a bit this week. We typically have 30 attendees at this monthly meetup and our registration was at 62 people earlier this week. We were getting pretty close on seating. It was almost going to be ‘standing room only’ at one point! But we brought in extra chairs. This is what happens when you book a ROCK STAR MARKETER for your speaker. I think both his marketing and the topic itself were both reasons for our outstanding turnout. Roy was an amazing presenter. I knew he would be great, but he was even better than I anticipated. Roy has a genuine, approachable, and relatable speaking style. He reminded us introverts that we’re OK to be an introvert. We don’t need to apologize for it, and we can be effective at networking, too. I learned that if you give introverts an assignment at a meeting (live tweeting, taking pics, helping at the registration table), it eases our anxiety. Need a keynote or conference presenter? Check out Roy Sexton. And tell him Brenda sent you. Then, check out the hashtag #BeARoySexton.”
Roy (me again!) has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, business development, and strategic planning. He earned his BA from Wabash College, his MA (theatre) from The Ohio State University, and his MBA from University of Michigan. He is a graduate of Leadership Detroit and Leadership A2Y. He sits on the boards of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor, Royal Starr Film Festival, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, EncoreMichigan.com, and Legal Marketing Association – LMA International. A published author with two books (ReelRoyReviews), Roy is an active performer, awarded 2017 Best Actor (Musical) by BroadwayWorld Detroit. He recently received recognition as one of Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s “Unsung Legal Heroes.”
My mother Susie Sexton’s critique of my first (and probably last) radio gig as vacationing Rochelle Burk’s stand-in alongside Robby Bridges on their 96.3 WDVD drive-time show Friday, August 10. This is one of the funnier things I’ve read in a while: “stayed for nearly every second? geesh? you both were fabulous….nice repartee all the way around…I now am no longer a music lover as I was listening to stuff about the smell of sexy sheets and such just to hear your patter? one little bit I missed was when I needed to medicate issie with her pill and she was hiding? the word mousey was said and something about walking down a street? and sears called with a mix-up….they had changed delivery date to aug. 17 and then just called to robot me about tomorrow delivery again…that was sure effing fun. maybe straightened out now. damn 4 hours of choreography, engineering and listening to countless sex-crazed songs….but the patter was mighty fine…spell-check? no…I am exhausted.”
Postscript – she added when we chatted on the phone: “I liked that man (Robby) a lot. He has a kind, sweet quality that is inviting and not snarky, but also very funny. That is rare.” ❤️
And – bonus – Brian Cox, editor of Detroit Legal News, ran my “tech thoughts” article from the Legal Marketing Association’s Strategies Magazine. Whew! You can read the full text here.
Reel Roy Reviews is now TWO books! You can purchase your copies by clicking here (print and digital).
This concept couldn’t be more important in our tumultuous times. “Disruption” is the word of the day, and, man, are we ever disrupted.
Of course, we see this culturally and politically, but we also see it in our legal industry. Technology brings amazing advances, efficiencies, and “super powers” we never knew we could possess. Would I have imagined 20 years ago, I would have a device in my pocket and social networks therein that would allow me to access friends and experts around the globe in an instant? Nope.
[Image Source: Wikipedia]
However, this technology also brings great change. As the music industry, the print media industry, the photography industry, and many others have all witnessed, technology can cause customer migration, profit erosion, infrastructural change, and wholesale business model reinvention.
We in the legal space have known for years that this is coming for us – at what speed and in what fashion is still being determined. We are living in our own history right now, and we won’t see the forest for the trees for quite a while. However, we as marketing and communications and strategy and business development professionals must be on the forefront of these conversations, must embrace the new ideas, must socialize them within our organizations, and must be active participants in the writing of that history.
Fine, Roy. So where does Paddington come in?
Empathy and understanding and listening are crucial business skills that are too often dismissed as “soft.” Yet, having finely calibrated emotional antennae helps us predict the future and navigate the present. Culture eats strategy for lunch. A cliché but an apt one. Without accurately assessing the anxiety ridden waters in which we swim and finding ways to engage and allay our partners’ emotional pain points, we will never achieve the organizational focus required to create lasting, meaningful change.
[Image Source: Wikipedia]
The next time you are in a heated conversation with partners over an issue close to your heart, stay calm, stay empathetic, stay committed, and don’t meet their energy at a heightened level. Underplay it, keep the facts on your side, and use empathy: why are they arguing your idea? why are they pushing back? Trust me, it’s not to torture you. Don’t make it about you.
First, lawyers learn through argumentation. That’s how they burnish ideas. Also, the money you spend, at the end of the day, comes out of their pockets. Understand that business model and appreciate it. Further, change isn’t easy for any of us. Who has bought an exercise book somehow thinking it will magically transfer abs to them without actually following the prescribed routines? This guy for one. Knowing that none of us want to change but that we must change, take the time to understand your partners’ histories, training, experiences and how all of that will impact their willingness to adopt the very ideas they must adopt to survive.
And first and foremost, be kind and polite (even if others aren’t … and especially if others aren’t). The world will be right.
[Image Source: Wikipedia]
This is why I go to LMA’s annual conference: my energy and emotional “work reservoir” are replenished being around like-minded professionals.
I learn new skills and trends and issues facing us all, not just in the sessions but in the hallway chatter and the cocktail parties and the late night coffee runs.
In fact, do not flee the social interaction or run off to take a conference call in your downtime. Talk to people, learn from them, include them.
LMA can feel like the biggest clique in the world. It ain’t.
[Image Source: Wikipedia]
It’s just that we don’t get to see each other that often, and, for new people, it can seem like we don’t want you to play our reindeer games. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I was one of those new people (what feels like yesterday), but I tweeted and I facebook’d and I got out of my own head and I approached people.
And we old guard, in turn, need to be mindful and empathetic about what it was like to be “new.” Be kind. Be polite. Be supportive. Be inclusive. Those skills will serve you well at LMA, at your firms, and in life.
So says Paddington Bear.
Wow! Thank you, Blaine Fowler! He read this piece by Heather Morse at the Sterling Heights Chamber/Chemical Bank Sales & Marketing Conference. Thanks to Joan Giffels for capturing. And Heather for making me a hashtag. I feel pretty damn special this week. #bearoysexton#bearoysextonchallenge#lmamkt
Second version, captured by Brenda Meller of Meller Marketing and Social Media below …
________________________ [My street cred follows … ] _____________________
Roy Sexton is responsible for leading Kerr Russell’s marketing, business development, communications, and strategic planning efforts.
He has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, business development, and strategic planning, having worked at Deloitte Consulting, Oakwood Healthcare (now Beaumont), Trott Law (formerly Trott & Trott), and St. Joseph Mercy Health System. He has been heavily involved regionally and nationally in the Legal Marketing Association as a board member, content expert, and presenter. He is treasurer-elect currently for the Legal Marketing Association’s Midwest Regional Board of Directors.
He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Wabash College, and holds two masters degrees: an MA in theatre from The Ohio State University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He is a graduate of Leadership Detroit and Leadership A2Y, was a governor-appointed member of the Michigan Council of Labor and Economic Growth, and was appointed to the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association Board of Governors in 2012.
He served as an at-large member of LMA’s Midwest Regional Board, served on the advisory committee for Strategies Magazine, and was a member of the Social Media SIG steering group. He has been involved on the following nonprofit boards and committees: First Step, Michigan Quality Council, National MS Society, ASPCA, Wabash College Southeast Michigan Alumni Association, Penny Seats Theatre Company and the Spotlight Players. He currently sits on the boards of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor, Royal Starr Film Festival (Royal Oak, Michigan) and encoremichigan.com. He is a published author with two books Reel Roy Reviews, Volumes 1 & 2.
Reel Roy Reviews is now TWO books! You can purchase your copies by clicking here (print and digital).