A tale of two Susans: good will hunting … and abiding

Thank you, Goodwill Industries International, Goodwill Industries of Northeast Indiana, Inc. , Bill Warriner, and Lori McCutcheon! Susan is remarkable!

Original post: https://www.facebook.com/525651807446116/posts/5555854667759113/?d=n

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!

#bekind

#Pride … meaningful media: Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 and Madonna’s I’m Breathless

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.

“The inspiration to do more than just law” – Pinnacle’s Tim Kenney interviews yours truly

Thank you, Tim Kenney and Pinnacle! I thoroughly enjoyed our chat, and I am so honored by this piece: https://www.pinnacle-oa.com/the-inspiration-to-do-more-than-just-law-roy-sexton/https://www.pinnacle-oa.com/the-inspiration-to-do-more-than-just-law-roy-sexton/

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.”

Vegemite sandwiches and kind, caring hearts: Jennifer Smuts joins us on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk … #lmamkt

View the REPLAY on … Facebook: https://fb.watch/cxI48dQXy5/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/activity-6921950723937099776-eEl5?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=ios_app

YouTube: https://youtu.be/52Ac417Mp00

Rob Kates and I had a delightful chat with fab Jennifer Smuts today. We covered EVERYTHING! The magic that is Australia, four legged friends, Legal Marketing Association – LMA International, being true to oneself, and owning one’s career path. Jennifer is the epitome of authenticity and grace. You’ll love her remarks about talent development and recruitment.

And thanks to my dad Don Sexton for joining us from his car on the way to Tractor Supply Co. to buy dog food. 😅 He told us all about Indianapolis Museum Of Art’s immersive VanGogh exhibit, wine in cans, and the restful nature of benches.

Thanks to Nancy Slome, Sue-Ella Prodonovich (AND her 🐦 birds!), Nancy Leyes Myrland, Gina Furia Rubel for watching and/or commenting!

P.S. Clark Hill Shortlisted for “Best Marketing Campaign” by the Managing Partners’ Forum

Following its May 2021 “Simply Smarter” brand launch, Clark Hill has been shortlisted for “Best Marketing Campaign” for the 2022 Managing Partners’ Forum (MPF) Awards.

In association with knowledge partners Harvard Business Review and the Financial Times, these international awards celebrate leadership and management excellence in professional services organizations globally.

After winning the award of “Best Marketing Initiative” in March 2020 by MPF, Clark Hill continued to build on that momentum a year later with the launch of a new brand and website. Following several years of expansion for the firm, the Simply Smarter initiative aimed to achieve a streamlined brand and corporate identity, complete cultural integration, and firmwide strategic alignment.

“It was essential to develop a brand that reflected and united our culture and consolidated our internal and external corporate identity across geographic regions,” said Susan Ahern, Clark Hill’s Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer. “We have utilized the firm brand across each office and practice culture to unify identity, create cohesion, and amplify cross-collaboration.”

Clark Hill is one of four organizations shortlisted in the Best Marketing Campaign category. The MPF Awards will be held virtually on the Remo platform at 5 pm on June 15. Leaders from each shortlisted organization are invited to attend.

“We’re honored to have our brand campaign be recognized on an international scale, and we look forward to joining other organizations in celebrating many innovative achievements,” Ahern said.

March 2020

KM Talent’s Jennifer Smuts joins us this Thursday, April 21 on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk … #lmamkt

Tune in April 21st, at 3:00 pm ET on Facebook: https://fb.watch/cxI48dQXy5/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/activity-6921950723937099776-eEl5?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=ios_app

YouTube: https://youtu.be/52Ac417Mp00

Join us this Thursday with host Roy Sexton and his guest, Jennifer Smuts, consultant for KM Talent. Jennifer is a legend in the legal marketing and business development community AND an incredible supporter of this show, so we are thrilled she will be joining us.

Having recently relocated to Australia, Jennifer will be sure to regale us with tales of her adventures down under and offer insight into career development, coaching, and growth for our viewers. Jennifer writes, “Having enjoyed a successful, 20 year career working in legal marketing and business development in the U.S., I’m excited to take the skills I’ve gathered and apply them in my new position helping clients identify valuable talent and aiding candidates in the search for their dream roles. With a passion for helping organizations understand, create and elevate diversity, equity and inclusion within their corporate culture, I look forward to serving clients in a meaningful way.”

Jennifer is a life-long learner, and in 2021 she completed the eCornell University Diversity & Equity certificate program. As a founding member and past-President of The Legal Marketing Association-Metro Philadelphia Chapter, she continues to stay involved in the legal industry’s premier marketing association, most recently as Chair of the Chief Marketing Officer group for the Philadelphia local and co-Executive Editor of Strategies, The Journal of The Legal Marketing Association.

Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media.

“The importance of connecting with others” – yours truly guests on Market My Market’s Legal Mastermind Podcast

Thank you, Market My Market and fab hosts Chase Williams and Ryan Klein, for having me on your show!

Listen to the episode here: https://legalmastermindpodcast.com/ep-143-roy-sexton-the-importance-of-connecting-with-others/

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

Connect with Roy: https://www.linkedin.com/in/royesexton/

Clark Hill: https://www.clarkhill.com/

LMA: https://legalmarketing.org/

Love this very sweet Valentine that arrived in the mail from my dad Don Sexton.

And I spoiled John a bit today because he’s been working so hard as family caregiver for the past two pandemic years. He’s given so much of his heart and his time and his energy to all of us. ❤️

AND Valentine cookies/ rumballs from our talented, sweet neighbor Rachel Ure … check out her bake shop at https://instagram.com/rachels.rum.balls

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.”

Read Kat’s full post here: https://lighthousekat.wordpress.com/2022/01/30/susie-sexton/

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. ❤️

Rambling Thoughts

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…

View original post 241 more words

Diary of a long short week: brilliant lawyers, nostalgic pillows, dreamy Chris Evans, and fond memories

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.

Clark Hill’s LinkedIn post about the evening: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/clark-hill-law_member-linda-watson-member-jonathan-martone-activity-6890356835203842048-Kubg

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 Kitchenhttps://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!

Hudson re-enacts this week.
We are pooped. So’s the beloved mummy.

Holiday musings: my mom and Wabash College, my grandma and Christmas decor, and my friends and the Legal Marketing community

Part 1 …

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.

Dear friend Beth Kennedy always slays (sleighs?) with her clever handmade birthday cards. We have glitter EVERYWHERE. And we LOVE it. Fun fact: she’s also statistically the most prolific commenter on this blog – after my mom! I reach tens of people with each post! 🤣
Hudson and I are modeling “The Comfy” – in essence a ginormous velour sweatshirt billed as a “wearable blanket.” It’s an apt description 😍🥰❤️. A Christmas gift from my adorable, gracious, generous, QVC-loving mother-in-law.
Loving this fabulous card from Alexis Menard. So grateful UM-Flint School of Management brought us together – she’s a gem!

My dad and newfound jazz critic Don Sexton published in DownBeat Magazine – rave review of John Chin’s “Anything Mose”!

Link to the issue: https://www.downbeat.com/digitaledition/2022/DB22_01/DB22_01.pdf

Have you picked up that my family lives/loves to express ourselves? 🤣 My dad Don Sexton has adored jazz music since he was a little boy, saving his money to buy vinyl at the local record store in Shelbyville, Indiana. He told me the owner helped him discover what “good music” was, directing him to try selections that weren’t necessarily being played on pop radio. For my dad, all musical roads begin and end with Duke Ellington. And those early days of musical exploration have gifted him with a lifetime of musical adventuring. (His dad / my grandfather adored music too, taking a run at being a big band vocalist and singing in the church choir his whole life.)

Well, add music critic to my dad‘s growing list of accomplishments. His letter is published in this month’s DownBeat Magazine! He accidentally (on purpose … and adorably) FaceTimed me and John to read it to us and to celebrate together. As I may have mentioned before, one of the great sources of joy in my life has been how vibrantly my parents – Don and Susie – would talk about film and music and literature, both critically and appreciatively. In our house, watching a movie or a taking in a play or listening to a record was not a passive activity. It was something to be discussed, dissected, celebrated, debated. Hell, it inspired me to even get a master’s degree in theater history and criticism. Obviously, college education in pursuit of highly lucrative careers was not necessarily on our agenda. Lol.

A few months back, as my father is wont to do, he asked me to track down a CD by a new favorite John Chin. Postal Service being what it is in pandemic, the first copy got lost in the mail. Mr. Chin himself was kind enough to send my father a replacement copy, along with a second CD, autographed and with a lovely note. My dad, enthusiastic about the music he heard as well as the lovely interaction, reciprocated with this wonderful letter.

With the loss of my mom, this year has been impossibly hard, but moments like this remind you how special life can be and how important human connection is.

Text of my dad’s letter:

A Little Chin Music

Excellent review of Anything Mose in your October issue. I received Mr. Chin’s signed CD along with another, Fifth. Both CDs are tremendous. Please do an article regarding John Chin’s creativity and originality. Being a long-time music enthusiast, it takes a special talent to get me excited — and believe me, John Chin is the real deal! He should be on everybody’s play list.

DON SEXTON
COLUMBIA CITY, INDIANA