There’s a bit more to all of this and I didn’t want to overdo my comment, but we were really struggling with a lot of this purging, and, as we pulled things off the truck, Susan was so complimentary about my mother’s taste and how well received her collection would be. It was such a relief and an encouragement.
And then we found out that Susan shares the same name … as my mother Susie Sexton. And there’s more: Goodwill Susan‘s mother was a professor at Ball State University in the speech department, and was one of my mother’s professors when she was there. My mother studied speech at Ball State. My mother wrote a couple of books, speaking at length about how much she loved her years there.
It all felt like fate, to be honest. And did our hearts a world of good!
Clark Hill assembled a list of “meaningful media” to honor Pride month, with contributions and (most importantly) heartfelt stories from all across our great firm. Thank you to my colleagues Hannah Reisdorff who organized the list’s development and Ray Koenig and Tobias Smith who are leading our overall Pride recognition activities. Here is my contribution to the list …
For me, there were two albums that helped me as a young high school man living in a small town in Indiana still trying to figure out what his sexuality might mean. Might be surprising to hear but in the late 80s there wasn’t a lot of good guidance for people like me. Lol. But I found a voice in two records that weren’t overtly LGBTQ but were recorded by artists who have always been allies to our community.
In 1989, I wandered into our mall’s Musicland and bought a cassette of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. It was all the money I had in my pocket, and that album with its day-glo, percolating inclusivity gave me a summer soundtrack that made me feel like the world could be a better place.
The following summer, I was chosen by the US Senate as a youth ambassador to Japan. A bit homesick, I bought another cassette, this time of Madonna’s I’m Breathless, a pastiche of songs from Dick Tracy and songs inspired by the film. Problematic as the song “Vogue” has become as we are increasingly sensitized to cultural appropriation, nonetheless its thundering pulse and message of liberation – as well as the fizzy camp with which the queen of pop delivered the album’s other show tunes – spoke to my soul and gave me a sense of self.
I still listen to both of these albums often, now streaming, and they transport me to a time of discovery and give me a sense of great gratitude that these artists were willing to push the envelope of popular entertainment and acceptance.
“Show up every day and keep moving forward, my friends!” – Heather Reid. And indeed she and Carolyn Manning and Dominic Ayres did today on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk with Rob Kates and yours truly! There may have also been appearances by Cher, Elvis, Britney Spears, Homer Simpson, a blue cow, Baby Yoda, and Mr. Ed. 🙌
Along the way, we talked about the Legal Marketing Association – LMA International’s fab #LMA22 conference this March in Las Vegas, tiny dogs who don’t like snowmaggedon, failed guitar lessons, creative heirloom family quilt displays (thank you again, Shoppopdisplays!), the rogue habits of grooms and their wedding registries, and more!
Thanks to these viewers for the love, support, and engagement today: James Barclay, Amy Payton Verhulst, Tahisha Fugate, Nancy Leyes Myrland, Marcia Delgadillo, Don Sexton, Rich Bracken, Gail Porter Lamarche, Jay Linder, and Susan Hunt – with shout outs in the show to Susie Sexton, Heather Morse-Geller, Deborah Farone, Jessica Aries, Laura Toledo, and more.
Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is back this Thursday for a very special, jam-packed episode.
Roy Sexton has a guest co-host, Dominic Ayres, Senior Client Development Manager (Industrials Sector) at Eversheds. Roy and Dominic will be joined by Carolyn Manning, Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer at Mintz, and Heather Reid, Chief Business Development and Marketing Officer at Miles & Stockbridge P.C.
Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media: Video Production.
This book is essential reading at any stage of one’s career. Consummately researched yet accessibly written, the book is chock full of actionable advice, presented in an accessible and entertaining fashion. It’s a breezy yet informative read, peppered with pop culture bon mots illustrative of Dominic’s varied interests.
Given the moment in which we are all living, this book presents a helpful, at times provocative career roadmap. A bit of self-reflection is good for the soul, and Dominic has assembled a powerful array of well-informed voices (including his own) to help the reader on that journey.
Kat Kelly-Heinzelman on my mom Susie Sexton: “Every now and then someone special comes into our lives, and we don’t always know they are going to be special until we have known them for a while. Susie was like that for me. I first met her late one night on Facebook when I came home from work – when I was working second shift and I was relaxing and catching up on the things that had happened while I had been working. We got to talking and I found out that I knew her son and didn’t even know it. Not well yet but that too would come. I found that Susie and I had a lot in common and that we liked a lot of the same things. She lived in the house she grew up in which I found very cool. I used to tell her I would come a paint her porch and then we would sit in a rocking chair and gossip while we drank coffee in the morning or wine in the early evening. But life got too busy for both of us to do that and now we won’t ever get to that.”
Love you, Kat – thank you for this. Your friendship was a lifeline to her, and she truly felt “seen” by you in all the best ways. I’ll always be grateful to you for that. ❤️
Every now and then someone special comes into our lives, we don’t always know they are going to be special until we have known them for a while. Susie was like that for me. I first met her late night on Facebook when I came home from work when I was working second shift and I was relaxing and catching up on the things that had happened while I had been working. We got to talking and I found out that I knew her son and didn’t even know it. Not well yet but that too would come. I found that Susie and I had a lot in common and that we liked a lot of the same things. She lived in the house she grew up in which I found very cool. I used to tell her I would come a paint her porch and then we would sit…
Musings from the bleak midwinter … I woke up here in Grey Gardens cranky – the pandemic and life’s obligations weighing me down. I know everyone is feeling it.
But then I saw these little footprints of Hudson’s in the snow which gave me some warmth and perspective. Life continues in beautiful ways.
John Doordashed some unhealthy but tasty and comforting breakfast treats, and I had some lovely NSFW check-ins from my adopted siblings (whether they like it or not) Blaine Fowler and Diane Hill.
I took a much-needed shower (why are we all so averse to bathing in pandemic?) and threw on my new 80sTees.com Mister Miracle shirt (thanks, Kevin Stecko!), which reminded me how much the escapism (pun intended) of comic books thrills me.
Jack Kirby created Mister Miracle (a cosmic Houdini) and the rest of DC Comics’ bonkers New Gods at the height of his most unfettered creativity. Kirby had jettisoned Stan Lee’s reportedly toxic self-promotion from his professional life and let his freak flag fly. This was after already gifting the world Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Thor, the X-Men, Hulk, Iron Man, and so many other incredible characters.
I found kinship in Kirby by inadvertent means. In the mid-80s, Kenner toys released arguably the greatest super hero figures ever with their SuperPowers line: a well-constructed, detailed (for that era), heady mix of characters both popular and obscure. I was gobsmacked when I saw Dr. Fate and Red Tornado hanging on the pegs alongside Superman and WonderWoman at our local KayBee.
But my favorites among all of the figures in the line were the New Gods – Darkseid, Steppenwolf, DeSaad, Kalibak, Orion, and, yes, Mister Miracle. They were day-glo Shakespearean – epic, fun, transfixing. It would be years later that I would learn the New Gods are suspected to have inspired (in part) my other geek love at the time (and still) Star Wars. (Also, an incredible Kenner toy line over which I obsessed.)
So, I put on this shirt, and thought what lessons can I take from King Kirby? How can I live my life as boldly and creatively? And maybe inspire others as he had inspired me?
One of the treasures my dad Don Sexton unearthed these past few months was a beautiful quilt my great grandmother Money had made. (At least I hope I have that right. My mother Susie Sexton is somewhere saying “I KNEW you weren’t listening to me!”)
After brainstorming a bit with dear friend Aaron Latham about the merits and downsides of framing it (ain’t no wall big enough for THAT!), it occurred to me to order one of those plexiglass display cases you find in jewelry stores and trade shows. Thank you, Shoppopdisplays, for coming to the rescue and delivering on Sundays!
I spent far too much time trying to figure out how to fold this damn thing, but I’m thrilled that it is safe and displayed now in our TV room.
That little moment of creative endeavor and honoring the past did my heart good. I’m no Jack Kirby, but this artistic activity – not to mention that quilt’s bold colors and beautiful lineage – will brighten my January/February days.
My crankiness has subsided, and that is all due to family, friends, memories, reflection, and writing (this right here if you made it this far). Food, shopping, and cute dogs help too!
Yes, I overshare, but social media and blogging for me are (as they were for my mom) the perfect combo of bulletin board, journal, and party that never ends. Thanks for being there. ❤️
I’m forever sending albums and movies via Amazonto my dad Don Sexton. Some are winners. Some aren’t. (Harry Connick, Jr.’s gospel album … I’m looking at you.) Below is a lightly edited text I received today …
Enjoyed Shemekia Copeland/Keb’ Mo’/John Mellencamp this afternoon. All three artists are excellent and have a totally different take on our society today.
Copeland [Uncivil War] has wonderful uplifting songs – she dedicates the CD to Dr. John & John Prine which should reflect the tone/vibe of the music – with “Dirty Saint” about Dr. John.
Keb’ Mo’ [Good to be…] is more a love letter kinda thing – while surveying society in a positive way.
John Mellencamp [Strictly a One-Eyed Jack] reflects a guy born in Seymour, Indiana in 1951. Very dark and angry – but with a strong message about how fecked up our lives have become.
Ranked by entertainment/fun/pleasurable listening – Shemekia Copeland #1 – Keb’ Mo’ #2 – and John Mellencamp #3 – but John deserves a listen. Thanks❤️
Thank you, State Bar of Michigan and wonderful Mark Rossman, for inviting me to be a presenter at Thursday’s Business Law Symposium. Kudos to my Clark Hill colleagues Linda Watson and Jonathan Martone who hit it out of the park with their respective panels.
It was such an honor to be included and to offer my legal marketing and branding thoughts alongside such fabulous souls as Sabo PR’s Mary Ann Sabo, 2nGage’s Tyler Cady, Dinsmore & Shohl’s R.J. Cronkhite, and Sikora Law’s Lindsay Sikora. Thank you to our fantastic moderator Fishman Stewart PLLC’s Maxwell Goss for organizing all of our ideas and to Rossman, P.C.’s Anthony Bowen for keeping all of the trains moving and clocks ticking.
Thank you to my Clark Hill Marketing and Business Development colleague Stacey McIntyre who watched all six+ hours of the fantastic event and grabbed these images and to our Clark Hill social media maven Tommy Franz for this post.
It was also a treat seeing my buddies Nemeth Law, P.C.’s Terry Bonnette (a fellow Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit board member and Mosaic’s fab governance chair) and Butzel Long’s Jennifer Dukarski (my newfound digital dance party partner) do their incredible things during the Symposium as well.
Text:Clark Hill Member Linda Watson, Member Jonathan Martone, and Director of Marketing Roy Sexton each participated in different roundtables last night during the State Bar of Michigan Business Law Symposium.
Linda’s topic was “Mentorship – What is it and How Does it Happen?” Jonathan’s group presented “Law Firm Management in the Pandemic,” and Roy’s group discussed “Building Your Brand and Protecting It — Responding to a Four Alarm Fire.”
My Columbia City High School classmate Jennifer Krider is a helluva chef AND entrepreneur with a thriving (and darling) catering business/gift shop/soon-to-be empire: From My Side of the Kitchen … https://www.frommysideofthekitchen.com.
It’s a family affair – daughters Mackie Sheets and Kaitlyn Morgan, mom Connie Gottschalk, sister-in-law (I hope I have that right) and another fellow classmate Marta Krider Pearce, Marta’s mom Jo Krider, and no doubt many I’m missing – all lend a hand. Proud of them all and what they’ve built. 🙌
(Fun fact: Connie and husband Joe, who were neighbors to my parents Susie and Don Sexton for years, were part owners of another very cute gift shop in Columbia City in the late 80s. Their exceptional handicrafts are still in my home and that of my parents. And clearly their entrepreneurial spirit lives on!)
I share all of this because family matters, and small towns can be magical places where creativity and commerce really bloom. AND I received this darling pillow in the mail Thursday from Jen and Co. It’s going to be a welcome reminder in our tv room that no matter where life takes you, your roots give you the foundation for success and fulfillment. ❤️
File under: #IHaveTheCoolestBoss … for a short week, this was a wild and woolly one with Friday taking the cake 🍰. So this birthday surprise from my boss, colleague, and friend Susan Ahern Friday was a welcome surprise indeed.
I’m sorry that she had to wage war with the Postal Service to get it here – even more challenging in these pandemic life days – but I’m grateful for the outcome. And I honestly enjoyed this extension of last month’s birthday fun!
This beautiful and brilliant Captain America 3D print – autographed by equally beautiful and brilliant Chris Evans (swoon! 🥰) no less – is the perfect addition to our pop culture crazy home. I love it!
But I especially love that I get the distinct privilege to work for and with such an incredible, kind, thoughtful human (and team) at such a wonderful firm as Clark Hill!
I don’t remember being this skinny. Or this young. Or this tan. Thank heavens dear friend Chris Marrone captured it on film! And then texted them to me on Saturday.
Chris is a putz who looks EXACTLY the same now as he did 22 years ago when these were taken. Our first and only cruise – Western Caribbean- and we had a blast! Chris has always been the resident vacation planner – we need him to plan another, when the world isn’t bonkers!
CHICAGO, December 22, 2021 — The Legal Marketing Association (LMA), which represents thousands of legal marketing and business development professionals around the globe, is pleased to announce that Roy Sexton has been appointed President-Elect to the 2022 LMA Board of Directors. His appointment becomes effective January 1, 2022.
Sexton is the director of marketing at Clark Hill, where he helps lead marketing, branding and communications efforts, collaborating with the firm’s exceptional team of marketing and business development professionals. Sexton has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, business and strategic planning.
He has been heavily involved in LMA as a regional and international leader and serves on numerous nonprofit boards and committees, including the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor, Royal Starr Film Festival, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and encoremichigan.com. Sexton earned his Bachelor’s degree from Wabash College and holds two master’s degrees from The Ohio State University (M.A., Theatre) and the University of Michigan (MBA). He is also a published author with two books, “Reel Roy Reviews,” Volumes 1 and 2, taken from his blog of the same name, http://www.reelroyreviews.com.
“I am honored to serve on the 2022 LMA Board of Directors, and I look forward to the opportunity to help guide the association’s important work,” said Sexton. “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.”
“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,” said LMA Chief Executive Officer Danielle Holland. “LMA would not be the strong organization it is today without the stewardship and dedication of its volunteer leaders. It is my honor to be able to work alongside the 2022 LMA Board of Directors in shaping the future of LMA.”
Founded in 1985, the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) is the universal voice of the legal marketing and business development profession, a community that brings together CMOs to entry-level specialists from firms of all sizes, consultants and vendors, lawyers, marketers from
other professions and marketing students to share their collective knowledge. LMA has eight regions and more than 40 local groups across the U.S., Canada and Europe, and its members hail from 48 U.S. states and 24 countries. More than 90 percent of the largest 200 U.S. law firms employ an LMA member. Members at every stage in their career development benefit from participating in LMA’s array of programs and services. For more information, visit http://www.legalmarketing.org.
Thank you, Wabash College (and Karen Linn Handley!), for this lovely shout out to my mom Susie Sexton in the latest alumni magazine. She and my father Don Sexton loved Wabash and the positive and profound impact attending and, later, working there had upon me.
I still remember vividly the day they dropped me off for freshman year, her standing in front of Sparks Hall (right after a shutter on the stately building crashed off its hinges to the ground) exclaiming with pride, “Go and have fun! Enjoy this!” That exhortation may have been an immediate response to me tearfully asking them to take me back home. As I understand, my mom herself cried during the entire car ride back to Columbia City when they left me that day, but I never got one hint of her own anxiety about setting me on my path. To be honest, I was even a bit shocked that she seemed so ready to get rid of me! ￼
My mom had an incredible superpower to be the eye of a hurricane in the truly important moments and to exemplify bravery when others were caving around her. That takes an incredible energy, selflessness, and love – it also takes a toll on the person who sets that intrepid tone day after day, year after year. The older I get the more I realize what a high wire act that can be. I will always be grateful for that quality my mother had and how I benefited from it.
I’m glad this particular issue’s theme is “gratitude” as that is what I’m feeling right now.
Please check out Editor Kim Johnson’s excellent foreword – she nails with candor and warmth and wit the anxiety we all are feeling these days and how moments of pause and of appreciation can re-center us.
Part 2 …
My grandma Edna Duncan had an inimitable way of decorating for the holidays. If I were to give her style a descriptor, I’d call it “how to avoid putting up a tree while still seeming festive for the grandkids by utilizing one’s fireplace, some tinsel and garland, and assorted marginally Christmas-related items.” There was a nurse doll (still scratching my head about that one), a handful of glass ornaments, some mid-century flocked reindeer, a half-drained snow globe or two, and THIS little item. (Well, not THIS very one pictured, but you get the idea.)
I’m guessing some liquor vendor gave this novelty promo item to my novelty-promo-item-loving grandpa Roy Duncan (this apple doesn’t fall very far from THAT tree) when he ran #ColumbiaCity’s “Blue Bell” (Wrangler Jeans) factory. I’m not sure how/if it survived years of inquisitive grandkids (myself included) pushing the lid down off sequence, shoving fingers in the automaton pups’ mouths, and plugging and unplugging and plugging it back in. I also don’t know where the original ended up, but I decided late one night the other week to see if I could find a replacement on eBay.
Lo and behold, my insomnia-fueled nite owl online shopping adventures struck gold. And $150 later (Merry Christmas to ME!), this very cute and, yes, incredibly annoying piece has been added to our own eclectic decor. Let the holiday traditions live on!
Now, when and if I start gifting bottles of Old Spice cologne with checks lovingly affixed (not to mention wearing little straw hats), you’ll know my transformation into Edna Duncan is complete!
Yoda does NOT look amused. 🤣
Part 3 …
I am truly lucky to have a wonderful friend with whom I also happen to work. I’ve known Megan McKeon maybe about 10 years now? But we first actually collaborated in 2015 on a Legal Marketing Association – LMA International annual conference quick start panel. Fellow panelists Heather Morse-Geller and Gina Furia Rubel said, “We gotta get Megan to join us!” They were absolutely right. Few people are as devoted, as hard-working, as caring as Megan.
Flash forward a few years later, and Megan introduced me to Clark Hill. Heather told me that I MUST take the job – as she saw it as the right next step for me. Don’t tell Heather I said this, but she’s darn right 99% of the time! 😉
This legal marketing community blesses us with guardian angels at every turn, and three years ago when I received the distinct privilege to work with Megan my life improved for the better. I’ve never worked harder in my life, been challenged to be a better professional, or had someone so consistently in my corner as I have had with Megan, and our wonderful boss Susan Ahern, and our incredible colleagues.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s late. And I’m in a reflective mood. And this magical surprise (pictured above) appeared on our front doorstep. Admittedly, one can argue it’s a year early as I will be president elect of the international association next year and president the following. Nonetheless, when my husband opened this, thinking he was going to find new floor mats for his Jeep 😅, we both squealed with delight. Of course, being me, I couldn’t get this on our movie poster wall fast enough.
(NOTE: I added the word “elect” to the image in the hopes of avoiding controversy! 😅)
This gift puts such a big smile on my face after one hell of a year. Everyone knows I love movies obsessively, but Megan has a distinct giftgiving prowess and somehow she found somebody who could turn me into my own movie poster. The tagline is hysterical: “Only the marketing is legal.” 🤣
Fun fact, Megan took this picture of me – and it is one of my favorites. We were in Chicago, on a sidewalk patio, shortly after I had started with the firm (halfway between a couple of my quarterly nervous breakdowns 😂), waiting for Ray Koenig and Susan to join us for drinks. Little did that naive Roy know what incredible adventures were ahead. But I’m looking at this poster, reflecting on the past year, the past three years, the past 10 years, incredibly grateful for what our legal marketing community has given all of us and for this friendship with dear Megan. Love you, Megan.
I hope everyone rings in 2022 with love in their hearts and an appreciation for what makes us each uniquely perfect in our own beautifully fallible ways. My holiday prayer.