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Gini Dietrich

#FollowFriday: Our New Vice President of Operations

By: Gini Dietrich | November 1, 2013 | 
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#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.

79 comments
dbvickery
dbvickery

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.

EdenSpodek
EdenSpodek

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.

yvettepistorio
yvettepistorio

Woo hoo! Congrats Clay! Can't wait to start working with you :)

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

What excellent news on this lovely San Fran Friday! Congratulations Clay! I'm with Joe and Dwayne (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!

DwayneAlicie
DwayneAlicie

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!

JUDOOOOOO CHOP!

KateFinley
KateFinley

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. ;-)

jeanniecw
jeanniecw

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!

aimeelwest
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 :)

AlinaKelly
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 :)

rosemaryoneill
rosemaryoneill

Just when you thought the A-Team couldn't get any better... congrats @ClayMorgan!

DallasK
DallasK

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

belllindsay
belllindsay

"As our vice president of operations, he is charged with – let’s be real – managing me." BAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Good Luck Clay! :D 

susancellura
susancellura

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

creativeoncall
creativeoncall

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

Word Ninja
Word Ninja

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

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

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

Matt_Cerms
Matt_Cerms

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

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

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.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

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

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

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

Trackbacks

  1. […] Chicago’s Arment Dietrich has hired Clay Morgan as vice president of operations. Jordan was previously executive editor and general manager of The Daily News Journal, a Garnett paper based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Jordan has been a member of the community surrounding Arment Dietrich’s blog, Spin Sucks, for more than a year, frequently interacting with CEO Gini Dietrich; he will remain in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Dietrich writes that, as VP, Jordan will “create the structure we need to scale, launch new products and services, and develop new business opportunities”, citing his experience as a journalist and his theories on the future of content as reasons for his hiring. (Spin Sucks) […]

  2. […] Chicago’s Arment Dietrich has hired Clay Morgan as vice president of operations. Morgan was previously executive editor and general manager of The Daily News Journal, a Garnett paper based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Morgan has been a member of the community surrounding Arment Dietrich’s blog, Spin Sucks, for more than a year, frequently interacting with CEO Gini Dietrich; he will remain in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Dietrich writes that, as VP, Morgan will “create the structure we need to scale, launch new products and services, and develop new business opportunities”, citing his experience as a journalist and his theories on the future of content as reasons for his hiring. (Spin Sucks) […]