It’s Monday afternoon and I have finally cleared my e-mail, spoke to a partner, posted a session recap/guest blog post (with three more in the que), and realize I have not personally provided any major content about the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual conference last week, except for my Twitter feed. Looks like I’m skipping the gym today.

First of all, the LMA annual conference is exactly what Tim Corcoran, our president, described in his opening remarks: part educational & networking conference, part family reunion, part high school reunion. And we all know who the crazy uncle is. There are so many layers to the LMA annual conference, that when I look at the conference from each individual pair of eyes, I find that it only tells one side of the story. Family reunion: It was wonderful to see so many of my former colleagues from across my career in legal marketing. Kevin McMurdo from Perkins Coie, Ellen Musante and Corey Garver from my Pillsbury days. Not to mention all the current and former committee and task force members I have worked with throughout the years at both the local and international levels. High School reunion: Some of my closest and dearest friends I have met through LMA. While we are in constant contact via Facebook, getting to see one another live is beyond measure. We have actually started to form an “after prom” event so we can focus on our business and networking while at the conference, knowing we’ll have our personal social time once the conference ends. Scenes from an LMA Conference Education & networking: Really, there is no better place in the industry for marketing professionals to gather. We are a strange breed, and only in LMA are “competitors” so open and willing to share, help one another as we traverse this road, mentor one another, and on board new legal marketers.

One of my favorite slides, ever, from Matt Homann
One of my favorite slides, ever, from Matt Homann

This year I found the two most powerful sessions, for me, to be the first and the last I attended.

Keynote address from Kat Cole, President, Cinnabon, Inc.: The Difference – Lessons in Leadership, Change and Driving Innovation.

Kat was able to weave her personal story and journey into a driving discussion on leadership. How this GenX, child of divorce, went from a Hooters Girl to the president of Cinnabon, Inc. is an incredible story. But what she has done along the journey is a testimony to her leadership skills.

Catherine MacDonagh and Gina Rubel mesmerized by Kat.
Catherine MacDonagh and Gina Rubel mesmerized by keynote speaker Kat Cole.

As we sat mesmerized by Kat’s presentation, her message and lessons (take aways, if you will) came across loud and clear:

  1. We all need to diversify our sense of purpose. Do the right things for the right reasons.
  2. Be curious and be willing to help and say “yes.” You will amass skills and relationships that will provide for new opportunities.
  3. “If not me, who? If not now, when?”
  4. Trust is the foundation of relationships, and relationships are the foundation of all business.

And while I attended several other sessions, the omega of my conference was the Think Tank Live! Disruptive Business Models – Friend or Foe?

Moderated by Mario Theriault, founder and CEO, Shift Central, this roundtable discussion was provocative, informative, insightful, and debate filled. Shift Central is pulling together a full report on the discussion, but let me say this: there was a 98% consensus (I won’t out the outlier) that the current legal model HAS to change. It cannot be sustained in today’s economic and social (generational marketing and management) environment. Now, what will this new legal business model look like? There appears to be some Think Tanks taking on this challenge.  I know there were many discussions offline around the conference about this issue as well. And it is a discussion I am having with my peers. Over the next week or so there will be many posts coming out on the conference from this blog and others. I know the Social Media SIG is downloading and archiving the Twitter stream, but grab a cup of coffee and peruse it yourself (#LMA14). It really was an incredible few days of education, networking, and reunions. I have returned to my office with a sense of enthusiasm and purpose:

  • I cannot do all things (which is pretty much the job of the lead marketer in a small firm), but I can definitely take the time to focus on the actions that will have the most impact.
  • I can take a step back and think about the foundational steps that I might have missed that can make our next steps all the more powerful.
  • Realize that “If not me, who? If not now, when?”
  • And be thankful for all the times I have said “yes.” Incredible things happen when we say yes.

And I cannot let this post go by without a shout out to James Kane, our keynote speaker from #LMA12. While he did not attend the conference, he did pop up in our stream. Talk about living the brand of loyalty. james kane twitter  Photo credits: Lindsay Griffiths, Gail Lamarche, and the #LMA14 Twitter stream.