Gini Dietrich

#FollowFriday: Our New Vice President of Operations

By: Gini Dietrich | November 1, 2013 | 

#FollowFriday- Clay Morgan

By Gini Dietrich

As if adding the crazy Laura Petrolino to our team wasn’t enough, we’ve anteed up again and want to introduce our new vice president of operations.

Clay Morgan has been part of the Spin Sucks community for at least a year and he and I became fast friends late last year.

I should consider publishing some of our email exchanges. He leads a very thoughtful conversation about content, delivery, monetization, and the future of it all.

During his interview process, we talked about everything from brand journalism and the future of the PR industry to process that doesn’t stifle and leading a group of really talented people.

What Will the VP of Ops Do?

As our vice president of operations, he is charged with – let’s be real – managing me. As part of that, he’ll create the structure we need to scale, launch new products and services, and develop new business opportunities.

I’m very excited about adding his talents to our team. He’s been a reporter, an editor, and a publisher throughout his career so he understands where journalism was, what happened to it, and where it’s going.

He has some theories about the delivery and monetization of content that we can’t wait to test. Even if he’s wrong (and I don’t think he is), the things we’ll learn will be invaluable to us, to our clients, and to you (because I’ll blog about it).

But enough about business. I thought it’d be fun for you to learn a little about him, personally, in his own words.

The Personal Clay Morgan

GD: You celebrated your second wedding anniversary in April. What else happened that day that forever changed your lives?

CM: I had reservations at Merchant’s Restaurant, which is where we held our wedding reception, and we had tickets for a Country Music Hall of Fame fundraiser concert. At 3:30 that afternoon, my phone started blowing up. My great nieces (four-year-old twins and their three-year-old sister) were being sent to live with us by child services. They came with absolutely nothing, so we gave away the fundraiser tickets and Laurie and I celebrated our second anniversary at Ruby Tuesday and Target with three little girls.

GD: It’s been really fun to watch you fall head over heels in love with those girls. Tell us one thing about each of them you adore.

CM: Alyssa is so elaborate in her play. She loves dress up clothes (and she puts on some funky combinations) and her Halloween costume was this elaborate fairy princess dress with all these layers and a huge, long hoop skirt (that I had to take up). I told my wife it was a little over the top and she replied, “That’s Alyssa.” Indeed it is.

Madison has a great deal of physical aptitude, but she makes these faces when we get to joking around that are hysterical. She sings “This girl is on fire” incessantly. I HATE that song at this point, but her singing it trips me out because she is so loud and so passionate about it.

Kaylee is the younger sister. I was worried she’d be the one getting picked on, but her daycare tells us she’s actually the leader of the three. One thing about her is you cannot get her to not make a goofy face for photos. I’m not sure we have any photos where she isn’t sticking her tongue our or making a face.

All three have their own things that just make me laugh and/or take the stress away. Earlier this week, I was ready to stick them in bed and be done with the night, but then they crawled into my bed and we start watching the movie Babe. They were cuddled up with me and we were all laughing away at the movie and stayed like that for about 90 minutes. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

GD: Rumor has it you have work habits that provide people insight into your mood. How are you going to manage that in a virtual work environment when no one can see you go for a walk to cool off?

CM: I think you can tell when someone is upset, frustrated, or what not. And there are sidewalks in Tennessee, so I can still go for walks. 🙂  For me the key is walking helps me to not deal with a situation angry. I can talk my walk, reset my head, and come back and solve problems without taking it out on the team. Best therapy in the world.

GD: You’re just getting back into judo. What is your history with the sport?

CM: It’s always been there, even when I was taking a bit of a break. I started young and am now a third degree black belt (I was offered fourth, but because I wasn’t training actively, I declined it). I have won several Tennessee state judo championships – including three consecutive in the mid-90s. I earned medals, including three gold, in the Southeast U.S. Championships and placed in several nationally ranked tournaments during my heyday.

I have fought people, including world and Olympic champions, from more than 30 countries and generally won more than I lost. I taught and eventually had several nationally ranked students.

Today it is just knocking the rust off and trying to get in a little more exercise. Judo is great because for that time on the mat, all my worries and concerns are gone. I am focused 100 percent on improving my judo, which in the end, I think, makes me a better person.

GD: Do you really think you can beat me in number of steps taken each day?

CM: Yes. The problem is you cheat by using a bike, so an hour of biking is going to give you a lot more “steps” than my hour of walking. But I have a committee working on a solution.

GD: Ahhhh. So cute.

Where to Find Clay

Just like the rest of the team, Clay can be found in various places across the web.

Find him on LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+. And he’ll be writing here every sixth Wednesday, beginning next week.

Please join me in welcoming him to the team!

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Congrats Clay!! I wondered yesterday when this was announced if you would get a laurapetrolino – like 2nd FF! Should have placed a bet or something! You’re going to be a great addition to the team (and I am with you on the walking …..).

    • biggreenpen  laurapetrolino as operations manager ClayMorgan has decided every Follow Friday going forward will be for him.

      • Howie Goldfarb biggreenpen laurapetrolino ClayMorgan The Unfollow Fridays are going to start now, aren’t they.  ginidietrich has been building that spreadsheet late at night while listening to Boyz II Men and now she has someone to execute it.

  • Good for you guys!!!!!!!  And congrats Clay!

    • AmyMccTobin Thanks, Amy! I’m super happy to have someone who has strengths where I do not.

      • ginidietrich AmyMccTobin Gini you are way stronger than you look. I think @jasonkonopinksi used the term wiry and determined and that you can take down people twice your size in knife fights.

        • Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich AmyMccTobin Yes, but I have to use a knife.

        • ginidietrich Howie Goldfarb AmyMccTobin Wiry and determined ain’t the half of it.

  • I was really impressed with how fast Clay has moved to bring this ricketty 1980’s era organization into the 1990’s! He now set up A-D with AOL Online and an intraweb. He called me last night to scout new offices for everyone to be  in Vermont. Says being in one office together will improve creativity and efficiencies. Plus will reduce costs because seriously paying for 29 different electric bills vs cutting one check is expensive. Why he chose Vermont is easy. Clean air and water. No traffic. Lots of trees and great cheese of course. Educated work force. Lots of cows. His exact words were ‘I run this place now and my word is law’.
    So I am off to scout locations. The guidelines were:
    Near a good ski area.
    Bike friendly (the whole state is)
    Kayaking and Fly Fishing nearby.
    Craft breweries within walking distance.
    Must have an apple orchard and sugar shack on premises.
    Does Clay know he described like a gazillion places here?!!!
    Grats Clay! 8)

  • Welcome, Clay, and congratulations!
    “There are sidewalks in Tennessee.” Love it.
    Speaking of, I’ll be in Nashville next week. If you are anything like ginidietrich you’ll want to flee the state before I arrive. 😉

    • mickeygomez ginidietrich there is a sidewalk. I saw it. It is pretty long. 18 blocks in Gatlinburg. Being the only sidewalk it is packed with walkers.

    • mickeygomez Why don’t you come to Chicago?

      • ginidietrich  I’m in the midst of negotiating a lift on the travel ban I received following The Hairbrush Incident of 2012.

        • mickeygomez You and I need to coordinate a visit to Chicago. Oh, the hilarity that would result! ginidietrich

        • jasonkonopinski Danger, Will Robinson. mickeygomez ginidietrich

  • Wow! Congratulations Mr.Morgan!

  • BillDorman

    Bravo for you Clay in taking the children in. I know child services well as I’m a volunteer Guardian ad Litem and I’ve seen too many kids get the short end of the stick. 
    I think you will fit in well with the Spin Sucks team; best of luck to you. 
    I didn’t know you were on a hiring spree ginidietrich, let me know when the next ‘just show up guy’ position opens because my resume is pretty stellar. You would be amazed at how many drink tickets I have accumulated.
    Happy Friday.

    • BillDorman I will hire you just for those drink tickets.

    • BillDorman ginidietrich Bill, I’ve become a huge fan of GaLs. The girls’ guardian has probably been our biggest advocate with the courts.

  • Super, super excited about this, ClayMorgan. I’ve very eager to hear some of your insights about content monetizations models and their associated delivery mechanism — and I know we’ll find lots of ways to chat it up. 😀

    • jasonkonopinski ClayMorganIt is all about the web bots delivering digital ads to fake readers and charging the client for each view.
      You both should read this because digital advertising and web monetization models might crash when the big brands fix this theft. And I expect the result will be the shine of online content to make money might take a big hit. If no one can trust the data. My guess is everything online that isn’t an actual sales transaction will become devalued (my specialty).

      • Howie Goldfarb jasonkonopinski ClayMorgan Good point Howie. There is a largely un-talked about elephant in the room with both bots & anonymous users. It’s been an intriguing question in my brain for a while.

        • JoeCardillo Howie Goldfarb jasonkonopinski ClayMorgan I think great content will always get seen. Its the CFOs who will decide value. I have told clients to reduce the number of views by 20% depending on the media channel that is not online because I always assumed it was Nielsen, Arbitron, Billboards and the print media that had a hard time convincing me of the numbers (how do you know they watched/looked/gandered at your ad or itch or content) The shift to digital because you can prove a click has been immense. Even with the low clicks/views they at least could see a real action. Now they will question the data.

          Could be a bigger hit to smaller publishers. If you saw a 20% drop in your billings that could tip from a viable ‘job’ a side gig. Big orgs just shed some jobs and plug on.

  • Congrats Clay! The girls sound simply adorable and amazing. All your experience including Judo is pretty incredible too. Look forward to reading more posts from you. Happy #FF

  • Just like everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, apparently everyone will eventually work for ginidietrich. Congratulations all around!

    • RobBiesenbach ginidietrich oh geez I sure hope not. My goal in life has been to have her work for me one day. That would be horrible if it was the reverse. I would be forced to flee to Cuba or some other repressive country like Canada!

      • Howie Goldfarb RobBiesenbach ginidietrich Dear Howie: Canada welcomes you. 🙂

        • belllindsay Howie Goldfarb RobBiesenbach ginidietrich actually I am 1/4 canadian (french does that count?) and my in laws own 150 acres in some remote place north of Ottawa. So by blood and will be future land owner. Watch out I might vote for PM one day!

        • Howie Goldfarb belllindsay RobBiesenbach ginidietrich You might BE PM one day, the rate *we’re* going.

        • AlinaKelly

          belllindsay Howie Goldfarb RobBiesenbach ginidietrich There could soon be an opening for Mayor of Toronto as well

  • I just want to address the obvious nervous tension behind everyone’s comment so far.
    ginidietrich This will not go unnoticed. Don’t think for a moment that you can assemble a team of people who are smart, capable, and big picture thinkers and expect us to buy that you are simply building a business. I have a source at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and I’ve seen the data & testimony about ClayMorgan’s information gathering and strategic decisions. I fully expect an invitation to a posh party at the country (countries?) you will soon own and may I also remind you that I have both an appreciation for and capability for managing large Swiss manors that is unparallelled.

    • JoeCardillo ginidietrich ClayMorgan See you on the polo field, good chap.

    • JoeCardillo I now know not to tell you any secrets. You just go blabbing them all over the blog.

  • Congrats on the new position, Clay! And congrats on the #FF! Really intrigued by your Judo career!

  • Congrats.. nice to see the AD team growing, shaking things up.

    • 3HatsComm they all are required to take Twerking lessons per Executive Mandate Number 1,651 of year 2013. ginidietrich issues mandates daily practicing to be President or Governor or Queen or Dictator…she is leaving her options open.

  • Looks like another great addition to Gini’s team. Congratulations @ClayMorgan! I envy you!

  • Congrats, Clay; looks like 2014 should be a very interesting year for Arment Dietrich.

  • susancellura

    Congratulations!!! It’s exciting to see how AD is growing!!!

  • “As our vice president of operations, he is charged with – let’s be real – managing me.” BAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Good Luck Clay! 😀

    • belllindsay You know it’s true.

      • ginidietrich belllindsay now you have 3 managers Lindsay!

        • Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich Um WHAT?

        • belllindsay Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich Gini. Clay and Moi (see I am french canadian)

        • Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich I DON’T ANSWER TO YOU, GOLDFARB!!

        • belllindsay Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich Does this mean Lindsay is less likely to be fire daily. 😉

  • DallasK

    Soon we will all be on the AD Payroll.  I can’t wait for my first performance review!

  • Just when you thought the A-Team couldn’t get any better… congrats @ClayMorgan!

  • AlinaKelly

    Congratulations to you Clay and and LauraPetrolino (who I did not get to fete last week – sorry about that). What a great opportunity to work with ginidietrich’s already great team! But biggest congrats go to ginidietrich for making such smart people investments. Looking forward to seeing you all take over the known universe – along with significant chunks of the unknown universe 🙂

  • aimeelwest

    Yea! Another fabulous addition to AD 🙂
    Enjoy those little girls they grow up fast 🙂 my husband said you can borrow our tower when the need arises 🙂

  • Welcome, ClayMorgan and thanks for sharing so much insight here! I love how you and your wife just took to being a family with those girls. And now may I suggest you create or find a “walking” avatar so you can insert it into virtual chats with Gini when you need to walk it off. 🙂 When you do that, please let me have it for the same reason, k? Welcome!

    • jeanniecw ClayMorgan I also need this GIF….

    • jeanniecw YOU always have access to me. But don’t tell anyone that!

  • GREAT introduction and insight into Clay’s role ginidietrich ! ClayMorgan I cannot wait to get to know you more — welcome to the team. This little #FF revealed so much that I didn’t know about you and I have a feeling there’s a lot more that we’ll learn quickly. 
    P.S. OH and good luck keeping GIni in line … She can be quite feisty. 😉

  • Congratulations, ClayMorgan, ginidietrich, and everyone on the Arment Dietrich team! I love what is going on with you guys. I was just observing to RebeccaAmyTodd last night what a brilliant plant for world domination Ms. Dietrich is unleashing on the world (alluded to by Joe below.) When she needs a new addition to her staff, she doesn’t have to look far for qualified applicants who demonstrate commitment to her same values and complement her brand. Smart lady. Smart people!

  • What excellent news on this lovely San Fran Friday! Congratulations Clay! I’m with Joe and Dawyne (physically and spiritually) on this-G is going beyond simple team building and is trying to take over the world. I look forward to seeing the results of this new partnership! Congra-toque-ations to the whole AD crew!

    • RebeccaTodd You just had to rub in that you’re in SF.

      • Beyond that…on Dwayne’s couch sipping coffee and CoWorking, dinner with Joe later… Life’s awesome.

        • RebeccaTodd **waving at JoeCardillo**!!

        • belllindsay RebeccaTodd JoeCardillo 
          Hello lo  lo   lo    lo    lo   lo

  • Congratulations Clay!

  • Hi

  • Welcome! Congrats! Be afraid!

  • Sorry, I’m late to the party today…ClayMorgan I’m so happy for you, for ginidietrich & the whole team!  It’s been great getting to know you here in the zoo & know you’ll do AMAZING things at AD!! 🙂

  • Woo hoo! Congrats Clay! Can’t wait to start working with you 🙂

  • rdopping

    It just keeps getting stronger and stronger. I’m sure Clay fits right in with the SS crowd.

  • Congrats ClayMorgan! Double welcome to @armentdietrich and the @spinsucks #FF cast of characters. Your nieces sound amazing and are lucky to have you and your wife in their lives. Looking forward to seeing where you’ll be taking ginidietrich in the next phase of your joint career journey.

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  • Wow, hard to find a good judoka in my normal online interactions. I’m just a shodan, Clay – but my instructors are outstanding (Scott and Heidi Moore in Denver…they coach the Olympic visually impaired team). A good 90~120 minute practice definitely leaves you too drained to still be angry at anything!
    Of course, I went back to my first love (tennis) a couple years back since my wife was never going to join me on the tatami. My oldest did get her sankyu…then she decided to start popping out grandchildren while pursuing her Accounting degree!
    Congrats on joining the Spin Sucks team.