Rob Kates and I had a delightful time with our guest today EJ Stern Bearman! Thank you, Amber Bollman, for introducing us! Yes, there were shenanigans aplenty, but, before I turn to those, give this a watch for the heartfelt, authentic, wise counsel EJ provides on professional and personal development, the magic of knowing oneself, understanding your own gifts (and challenges), and finding those moments of connection that build successful business development relationships. We talk about using your energy to your advantage, introversion versus extroversion, and how DEI is such a crucial consideration in creating an environment where people can find fulfillment and optimal performance in life and in work.
As for shenanigans … My dad Don Sexton joins us as I thank him for the Lincoln Home National Historic Site surprises I received in today’s mail. Rob celebrates Cinco de Mayo in his inimitable way. We learn a new prank in asking Alexa to play unsolicited show tunes in our guests’ homes. We review the positive impact life upon the wicked stage had on our formative years. We address the joys (and occasional sadnesses) of having four-legged friends. We note how important participation trophies can be in helping some of us feel seen and validated. We give a shout out to Mother’s Day, Janet Jackson, mental health awareness month, #itsokaytonotbeokay, Led Zeppelin, Kroger runs, Encanto, Ricky Martin, and The Ramones.
Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is back this Thursday, May 5th with host, Roy Sexton, and his guest, EJ Stern Bearman, Senior Executive Coach at Novateur Partners, and the two will discuss how increasingly essential it is for us all to take moments of self-care and personal development to succeed in our fast-paced industry.
With 15+ years leading business development and strategic initiatives in the legal industry, E.J. has a proven record of success helping lawyers grow their practices and build their books of business. Her results-oriented coaching approach helps clients create best practices and provides the accountability necessary for success.
“People are my passion. I understand the pressures individuals face and the critical role coaching can play in professional development and ongoing success. I help individuals refine their leadership skills and develop strategies to decrease burnout, increase productivity and create greater job satisfaction.”
Join us for incredible insight (and probably some show tunes, as E.J. and Roy have a mutual love for all things musical theatre) Thursday, May 5th at 3:00 pm ET: Right here on LinkedIn.
Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media: Video Production.
Grateful for the opportunity to discuss organizations I love like Clark Hill Law, Legal Marketing Association – LMA International, Ronald McDonald House Charities Ann Arbor, and Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit. And I want to frame this intro you wrote! 🙌
“When I picture the sort of person who would be heading up marketing for a law firm like Clark Hill, Roy Sexton wasn’t who I had in mind. But I’ll be totally honest: I’m glad.
“After nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, and business development Roy has risen to the top of his game and now sits as President-Elect of the LMA for 2022. An impressive feat for sure, but what really draws me in is his character.
“Roy is a warm, charming iconoclast, pushing his lawyers to bring more to the table than, well, just law. There’s an air about him that he deliberately chooses to be different, almost as if he’s smiled in the face of corporate law and said ‘let’s try this another way, shall we?’
“We spoke about his team, his philosophy, and why a master’s degree in theatre beats an MBA.”
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
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…
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!
Episode description: “Thor’s hammer, ‘Mjolnir!’ Attorneys with dogs! Superman t-shirts! Roy Sexton leads a lively discussion about how the little quirks make your law firm more attractive to new hires, current staff, and the audience of your marketing efforts. He shares his career anecdotes and Clark Hill’s recent branding revamp while being frank about the need for a new type of law firm culture. Learn more about the Legal Marketing Association here.”
Thank you all for the birthday love. I made a failed attempt to try to go through and like or comment on all of the Facebook posts, but Facebook is being stubborn and I think about 100 of them are lost to the ether. Given that part of my mantra was to unplug and chill out, I hope you will forgive me.
I had a wonderfully relaxing day with John and my dad Don and Hudson. I was suitably spoiled by John with an avalanche of superhero-themed gifts, a CD player for my car (yes, I’m a dinosaur), and a much-needed desk chair (after nearly two pandemic years of sitting in an antique straight back kitchen chair 🤣). My dad had this great T-shirt made up for me and brought this scrumptious cake as well as some beautiful family heirlooms I’ve been nagging him about. Dear Rob Kates surprised me with this rare Cyndi Lauper disc he knew I was coveting (and treats for Hudson!). And Megan McKeon and Susan Ahern continue to ply me with liquor with a very thoughtful Caskers gift card. 🍸
We kicked back in our movie room watching Tick Tick BOOM (glorious!!) and listening to my dad’s new Christmas gift jazz CDs. (There we are with CDs again!) More than a few gin-and-tonics were imbibed, and then John chauffeured us to Seva Ann Arbor and treated us to a quiet, lovely dinner. Thanks to the staff there for the surprise tiramisu. Seva has become our “Cheers” in pandemic, a welcome haven for which we will be ever grateful.
This year has been a LOT. But today was just what the doctor ordered. Feeling deeply calm and content right now. Love you.
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.
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!
Want to join me in supporting a good cause? From now until my birthday on December 28, I’m raising money for Ronald McDonald House Charities Ann Arbor and your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500. Every little bit helps. This will be my fifth year of doing this birthday fundraiser for RMHCAA. Last year you helped us raise over $4000. Shall we go $5K for year 5? I think we can! I’m honored to be an RHMCAA board member but I’m even more honored to help support this incredible mission.
The mission of the Ann Arbor Ronald McDonald Houses is to provide families of children experiencing a serious illness or injury requiring hospitalization or treatment on an outpatient basis, a “home away from home” that assists in alleviating the families’ emotional and financial stress.
Facebook pays all the processing fees for you, so 100% of your donation goes directly to the nonprofit.