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.
Please join me in welcoming him to the team!