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!
Picture it: 1992. Wabash College Lambda Chi Alpha house. Young Roy was walking through the “tube room” (where our ONE tv was) on the way to do my laundry. My frat brothers were going on in that performative way only young hormonal straight guys can for each other about how “hot” they were finding the “woman” performing on MTV. I giggled to myself when I realized the video they were watching was “Supermodel” by RuPaul.
After I put in my wash, I walked back to find them all a bit crestfallen, as the resident veejay had then interviewed MamaRu and they realized they’d been duped. To their credit, they weren’t spouting off any homophobic foolishness to cover for any embarrassment they may have been feeling. We were a really kind and inclusive house. Always.
All of that said, if you had told me then that I would be holding in my hot little hands today Fisher-Price LittlePeople depicting this fabulous superstar, I would’ve never believed you. But here we are. I’m sure there are some hyperventilating pundits out there sputtering that these charming toys are somehow harming our youth more than guns and devious politicians do. C’est la vie. All I know is that I’m delighted that we live in a forward-moving world where these exist … and that I own them. At age 49. 😅🌈✨
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.
Truly thrilled with this coverage from Law360 of our Clark Hill Law marketing and business development transformation. Every member of our incredible team and their efforts are represented in this overview. So proud to work with these talented souls who all lead with data, ingenuity, strategy, grit, inclusion, collaboration, and heart. And we’ve had a lot of fun along the way!
We discuss a lot in legal marketing circles the need to approach this work with intentionality as other industries do (no more “random acts of marketing”!) and the desire to advocate for ourselves as a substantive profession. For me, I couldn’t be prouder of how my colleagues’ efforts as outlined here align with that direction.
How Clark Hill Makes Use Of Technology To Market Itself
By Aebra Coe
Law360 (May 19, 2022, 3:59 PM EDT) — Asana, SharePoint, Wufoo, Sprout Social, Google Docs, SQL database and PowerBI are all fairly typical technologies for law firms to use in their marketing and business development efforts, but Detroit-based Clark Hill has leveraged those ordinary technologies for some interesting uses, earning it a recent international award.
Susan Ahern, Clark Hill PLC’s chief marketing and business development officer, is the quarterback behind much of the tech-heavy marketing tactics that earned the firm Best Marketing Initiative honors at the Managing Partners’ Forum Awards for Management Excellence in 2020.
Ahern recently spoke to Law360 Pulse, offering a look behind the scenes at the firm’s marketing and business development technology, and the platform around which the technology spins. The system has been up and running for around four years now.
Using off-the-shelf technologies like Power BI and SharePoint for data analytics and team collaboration, Ahern and her team have been able to build an online platform that allows them to track and make use of data in their decision-making around business development.
The data is input through a combination of sources. Digital collection forms are used to gather data directly from attorneys, and other data flows in from the marketing and business development team. Additionally, some streams of data, like digital reach and engagement, are automated through the firm’s other platforms.
“We have been able to implement online data collection processes for different types of data throughout the firm,” Ahern said. “Our systems then organize and store the information into different datasets, [and] our dashboards pivot on these datasets.”
Examples of the types of reports the dashboards can produce include detailed information on client feedback and check-ins, client pitches, event sponsorships and their success, attendance information on events and webinars, and data on social media marketing campaigns.
The dashboards, which are accessible through an online portal, visually illustrate through charts the activities the team engages in and the results of those activities on a wide range of the firm’s marketing and business development operations, according to Ahern. They run and update in real time.
“We have the flexibility to adjust the dashboards to communicate what is most useful,” she said. “Each dashboard is dynamic and can be filtered in multiple different ways by the user. We have been able to identify trend lines year-on-year through dashboards we’ve had up and running over a number of years.”
When it comes to event sponsorships, for example, individual partners and the business development team can see who has requested sponsorships, whether they were granted, and where that money went in terms of industry, client or geography. There’s also data on how much revenue was generated by the attorney making the request.
Since the firm implemented tracking around sponsorships, the number of requests for them has actually declined, Ahern said.
“Having that information has helped hold everyone accountable for what they requested,” she said.
When it comes to pitching clients, attorneys and business development professionals can search and sort data by the rates pitched, client, industry of the client, rate of success by office or business unit, and reasons the pitch was unsuccessful. The firm gathers somewhere between 35 and 40 pieces of information on any given pitch, Ahern said.
According to Ahern, she is often approached by legal technology providers trying to sell her platforms and services related to business development and marketing, but when she asks how they would capture, collate, organize and leverage the data the firm is currently using, the response tends to be underwhelming.
“The more I see of these technologies, the more I realize that they are limited. They are different versions of the same thing,” she said.
Earlier this year, the firm hired a data coordinator Todd Krigner.
Ahern says she remains happy with the system the firm has created in-house, which allows her to translate data, and at times non-numerical data, into something measurable that can help direct the firm’s actions and strategy.
“What we did was look at information that could be useful in influencing the firm’s direction and strategy,” she said. “Most technology in law firms is not being used to its full potential. There are so many other creative ways it can be used to really bring the firm forward.”
I always enjoy the arrival of Wabash Magazine in our mailbox. Egomaniacally, even more so when I’m mentioned in it. Let alone TWICE (!) in this Spring ‘22 issue.
First, for my Legal Marketing Association – LMA International work.
Second, for … buying a record player in pandemic. I might have misunderstood the assignment from Editor Kim Carter Johnson since everyone else wrote about Hadron Colliers, Bosendorfers, The Beatles, Van Gogh, and Pearl Jam.
Truth be told, I spent more money than I’d care to admit for (almost) front row tix for Madonna’s Rebel Heart 2015 tour stop in Detroit (worth the bucks for having met divine Aussie Glenn Nolan and his man). And then again for a complete collection of vintage Strawberry Shortcake dolls (inspired by my elementary school boo Hope Ross Dressler).
Now that I type these past two sentences, maybe it’s good I stuck with the Victrola. 😅✨
Roy Sexton is the Marketing Director at Clark Hill Law and the President-Elect of the Legal Marketing Association – LMA International. Roy has held the Marketing Director position since 2019 at Clark Hill and has begun his journey on LMA’s board as Treasurer before being chosen as the 2022 President-Elect.
Clark Hill is an international team of legal advisors focused on delivering exceptional growth for your business.
LMA supports the legal marketing community through thought leadership, professional advocacy and personal enrichment.
On This Episode, We Discuss…
Shifting Your Firm’s Culture to Digital What is the Legal Marketing Association? Benefits of Joining an Association
“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…