In our busy day-to-day lives, it’s easy to forget to take the time to be thankful for all that we have and all of those who helped us get there, but that is what the Thanksgiving holiday is all about, right? Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I wanted to reflect on some of the things for which I am most grateful over the past year. I encourage you to do the same – make a list of everything and everyone for which you are most thankful (you can do this for both your personal and professional lives). It can be really inspiring to take a step back and realize all of the wonderful bounty that you have in your life. Here are nine reasons why I’m thankful this year. Happy Thanksgiving!
- I’m thankful that I have a job that I love. After making a few career missteps, I am grateful to have found the right firm for me. It is one that challenges me, promotes my successes, doesn’t draw lines between lawyers and staff, and is a place where I can be myself. In fact, “be yourself” was one of the most important pieces of advice that I gave to students at Fordham University School of Law when I guest lectured there earlier this year. I told the students that I’ll never be someone who wears conservative suits to work every day and that’s okay. Maybe you love bow ties, have pink hair or you sometimes wear your lucky Darth Vader earrings like me. It’s important to find ways to inject your personality and be unique while also being professional. You can do both and still be successful in corporate America. Find the type of work environment that lets you be you.
- I’m thankful for the Legal Marketing Association. I could go on and on about how the LMA has positively impacted my professional development. The LMA is a very supportive community that not only provides an abundance of education and networking opportunities for its members, but also enables them to take on leadership roles. Each year since getting involved in the LMA, I’ve been able to grow a new skill set – whether it has been leading a regional social media strategy, joining a regional board, becoming a member of the Strategies editorial team or advising on the LMA Tech Conference planning committees, I am much better at what I do because of these collective experiences. And I have met so many terrific people from all over the country through my LMA work who have become friends, business partners and sometimes even colleagues. So raise your hand and get involved – it’s an exciting time to be a part of this organization under the leadership of incoming 2019 president Cynthia Voth.
- I’m thankful that I may have found a potential second career (half joking). I had no idea that I might be a good live TV reporter until I was asked to be the 2018 LMA Annual conference’s Facebook Live co-host. You may have seen Andy Laver and I around #LMA18 armed with a microphone and a camera crew led by Rob Kates, or you may have seen our video coverage on Facebook. We hope that you enjoyed watching our interviews with LMA leadership, speakers, sponsors and other members of the LMA community. Serving as the official Facebook Live reporting team for the conference gave me a unique perspective on the event, the ability to meet terrific members of our organization and was an amazing overall experience. I’m thankful to the LMA for inviting me to be a part of it. (Good news, we’ll be back in Atlanta for #LMA19!) You can watch the LMA18 Facebook Live videos here.
- I’m thankful for my tribe. There are a few people in the legal marketing industry who I know that I can call, email, text (or send a carrier pigeon) and ask them for advice on just about anything. If I am having a crisis, they will drop whatever they are doing to listen to me. These unofficial mentors are individuals who I know will always have my back and who I know will always be in my circle of trust. Everyone needs confidants like them – find yours.
- I’m thankful for JD Supra. The content syndicator and research tool JD Supra has given marketers who love to write like me a powerful platform to express ourselves and grow our own brands. I’ve been able to post articles about topics that interest me and also read articles from my peers. I can even track readership and engagement through its analytics platform. Here’s a link to my articles if you’d like to take a look (they’re great if you’re having trouble falling asleep, another half joke). I’d like to give a special shout out to JD Supra’s Content Master Adrian Lurssen for always taking the time to expert wordsmith my pieces.
- I’m thankful for our industry’s camaraderie. I’m awestruck at the amazing community of supporters that we have within the LMA who advocate for each other, share each other’s content and promote each other’s successes. We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders, and we have each other’s backs. I learn so much from all of you, and I am so flattered when you say that you learn from me too. That’s you David Ackert, Kara McKenna, Rich Bracken, Jacqueline Madarang, Igor Ilyinsky, Jennifer Klyse, Roy Sexton, Susan Freeman, Aaron Garcia, Chris Fritsch, Deborah McMurray, Ryan King, Jennifer Carr, Joshua Baron, Suzanne Koch, Trish Lilley, Paul Gilbert, Robin Oliver, Jenna Schiappacasse, Mike Mellor, Jay Harrington, Darryl Cross, Robert Algeri, Kevin O’Keefe, Gina Rubel, Nancy Myrland, Iris Jones, Kevin Iredell, Savannah Alden and so many others. I am excited for the next generation of legal marketers to see the example we are setting forth for them of what it means to be true collaborators.
- I’m thankful for social media. Before social media came onto the scene as a marketing tool to disseminate information in a more effective way than ever before, I was good at what I did, but then LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and the other platforms exploded and something just clicked for me. I was able to use my content and visual background to propel me find innovative ways to use social media for brand building and lead generation. We live in a digital world where everyone is researching each other online, so spending the time to understand social media and how it influences client buying decisions is well worth any law firm’s time. It’s the primary channel that clients are using to research outside lawyers and consume content. I’ve been lucky to have many opportunities to speak and write on social media topics, and I’m thankful to have found my niche.
- I’m thankful to our service providers. We are lucky to work in an industry where our service providers are true business partners. I learn so much from them by just having conversations in the exhibit halls at various conferences and by building organic relationships with them. Now that I’m at a mid-size firm that has more limited internal resources, I have come to rely on outside business partners more than ever before, and having strong relationships with these experts is crucial to the success of my initiatives as well as my overall success. You may have heard Andy Laver and I say on our #LMA18 Facebook Live coverage that the exhibit hall is the nucleus of the conference, so make sure that you spend ample time there at your next LMA event! It’s important to remember that you should be kind to everyone, because our industry is incredibly tight knit. Also, everyone is a potential referral source, or someone who could potentially hire you or recommend you for a job. You never know who knows who, and just like everyone checks you out online, people also ask around informally about you too. So the next time you get a cold call or a cold email, be nice. Here’s why: a service provider friend recently showed me an email that she received from an in-house marketer when she cold emailed him that was rude and dismissive. This email has become an urban legend and this legal marketer has hurt his reputation because people talk especially when someone behaves badly. The lesson? Think before you act and treat everyone with kindness. Being kind is just the right thing to do. Also, I was a consultant for a short period of time and then I went back in-house – lots of people in our industry pivot back and forth, so also think about the fact that everyone who you know could be a potential source of business. You may be the service provider one day – you just never know.
- I’m thankful that I’m a naturally happy person. I’m lucky because happiness has always come easy to me even in times of hardship, but it isn’t as easy for everyone to achieve happiness, as we learned from University of Amherst “Science of Happiness” professor Catherine A. Sanderson, the keynote speaker at LMA18 who spoke about the fact that being happy is really good for you at work and at home. She said that successful people are not necessarily happy, but happy people are more likely to be successful. Sanderson stressed that happiness in your personal life doesn’t only correlate with success at work — it paves the way for it. In short, we become more successful at work when we are happier at home. I left her talk feeling energized, and well, happier, and I’ve tried to incorporate her tips for adding more joy into my daily life, and you can too. Watch my interview with Catherine. I also recapped her keynote talk in an article that I hope makes you happy and gives you strategies for being happier and lead to you making more money!
I am grateful that you stuck around until the end of this article, and I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones!