Archive for March, 2013

Matlock’s Women’s History Month Spotlight

March 29, 2013

Our next feature in our celebration of Women’s History Month will showcase two of our own extraordinary female leaders here at Matlock. Previously we have talked with some of our clients who are great business leaders. Now we wanted to move even closer and talk with two of our Matlock Leaders: Matlock’s SVP & General Manager Kirstin Popper (L) and Matlock VP & Brand Group Director Pamela Bishop (R).  These two women represent a face of diversity and inclusion that Matlock prides itself in bringing to our work. PS, they are also our bosses ;o)



  1. When you were a child, what did you want to ‘be’ when you grew up?
    1. Pamela: I wanted to be either a Biostatistician or a Truck Driver. Believe it or not, this is true :o)
    2. Kirstin: I wanted to be a teacher.
  2. Why did you choose this career path?
    1. Pamela: I liked Math and I thought riding around in the cab of a truck would be fun.
    2. Kirstin:  (Laughing) My path was a bit more direct: I worked on the yearbook in high school, which got me interested in the world of world of writing & design, and well, which eventually led me to where I am now.
  3. If you had not chosen this career path, what do you think you would be doing now?
    1. Pamela:  A producer, a background vocalist or a physical therapist.   
    2. Kirstin: Philosophy professor or an Intellectual Property lawyer.
  4. Is it hard to find time to balance your personal life and your professional life?
    1. Pamela:  It is not easy, as a mother, a wife, a boss and an employee!!  Most times I don’t think either gets enough of my time.  My son is a trooper and has been very adaptable to travel, conference calls in the car, Babysitters, etc.  When I leave Matlock at the end of the day, I definitely start the second shift as Mommy.  There is very little “me” time.
    2. Kirstin: Definitely.  My job is demanding, and sometimes long hours are required, however you have to find time for other focuses as well.  Without that balance, both sides eventually suffer.  (Some weeks I am better at striking that balance than others.)  (:
  5. Pamela: How do you balance being a mother and a Business leader? 
    1. Pamela:  It is not easy!!  Most times I don’t think either gets enough of my time.  My son is a trooper and has been very adaptable to travel, conference calls in the car, Babysitters, etc.  When I leave Matlock at the end of the day, I definitely start the second shift as Mommy.  There is very little “me” time.
  6. Have you ever felt denied a role/promotion etc. based on your gender? Can you share, and if so, how did you handle this denial? 
    1. Pamela: I don’t recall knowingly being denied a promotion because of gender; however, I do feel that I was denied opportunities because I was a mother, so I guess that is considered gender bias.  I also recall working for women who preferred men reporting into them and I felt at a disadvantage…strange.  Oftentimes, we as women hold ourselves back by not giving other women a chance. 
    2. Kirstin: To my knowledge, I have never been denied a promotion based on my gender, but I have had experiences where I believe my compensation was effected by my gender, which was disheartening.
  7. Have you ever felt at an advantage based on your gender? If so, please explain.
    1. Pamela: I think being a female has definitely affected my leadership style for the better. 
    2. Kirstin: I can’t think of any of the top of my head.
  8. In your role at the agency, do you find there are differences in working with men vs. women? Do you see any key comparisons/contrasts between how men and women work, handle work situations, excel in certain areas?
    1. Pamela: Not in the agency do I see a difference, but overall, it has been my experience that men often feel more comfortable with their position of authority.  We as women must work on that.  
    2. Kirstin: As a general statement, I find that women are interested in the details, and in talking them all through more so than men.  Of course, that can be both a positive and a negative trait, depending on the situation.  That said, there are exceptions to that observation (in fact there are some exceptions to that here at Matlock).  Not all individuals are alike.
  9. In mentoring many of your team members, do you see any differences now from when you were in their roles?
    1. Pamela: “Back in the day”, there was definitely a more “pay your dues” mentality.  Now people definitely want/expect to move ahead more quickly.  It is challenging to offer diversity of opportunities without always an opportunity for advancement. 
    2. Kirstin:  I share Pamela’s sentiment here.  Workers of my generation, coming up in the Agency world definitely had a “pay your dues” mentality.  Workers entering the Agency world today, have different expectations.  This can be challenging.  On the other hand, workers entering the Agency world today grew up in a time where technology was changing at a rapid pace.  This experience has made them quick to adapt to changing tools and perhaps more adaptable overall. 
  10. Do you have any favorite moments or situations that have occurred at Matlock that you can share?
    1. Pamela:  I really enjoyed working on the BMW pitch as it really brought out the best in the agency.  
    2. Kirstin: Participating in the Atlanta Medical Center pitch – I was so proud of this, as it was our first large General Market Brand win.  Also, moving to the current Atlanta offices, it was such a step up from our old offices.  The old office was in a lovely high rise, and was nice, but lacked character & creativity.  It felt like it could have been an accounting firm or a law office.   I remember seeing the new space for the first time & loving it. When we moved in, I Immediately saw a change in the culture and the work.  It’s amazing how much your environment affects the work that goes on it.  Similarly I remember how proud I was when I moved into my current office. I have strong memories of working together with our old GM, Marla Jones in this office, so even though I had been in the new role for some time when I moved to this office, it was that move that really made me realize the new role.
  11. What advice would you give to young women hoping to become Business Leaders?
    1. Pamela: Determine your standards early and stick to them.  Don’t allow a culture to shape you…strive to shape the culture.  
    2. Kirstin:  Set goals.  Determine the steps necessary to achieve that goal, and don’t lose sight of that path.  Believe in yourself.




Matlock’s Women’s History Month Spotlight

March 28, 2013

In continuing our celebration of Women’s History Month, we would like to acknowledge another remarkable client, Donna L. Brock. Ms. Brock is the Executive Director of Strategic Communications and University Relations at Clark Atlanta University.

ImageWe asked Ms. Brock a few questions about herself, and here is what she had to say:

Q: When you were a child, what did you want to ‘be’ when you grew up?

A: As a child, I used to pretend I was an opera star.  My grandmother’s greenhouse was my stage.   My using her bathrobes as costuming didn’t go over very well, and so ended my career.  By junior high school, I was certain I would become a doctor.  I won the physics and the chemistry awards in high school, and at one point, spent my free time marveling at Jarvik’s artificial heart design.  The deal-breaker for me came when I shadowed an ER physician during my senior year of high school: seeing people in acute pain all day proved overwhelming.

Q: Why did you choose this career path?

A: I grew up on “The Today Show”, “60-Minutes” and rarely missed “The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.”  I was intrigued early on—before I even knew what it was—by the concept of agenda-setting, that the media could influence the public agenda.  By the time I was in graduate school studying journalism and marketing, I was fully invested in the idea that the responsible practice of public relations was the logical, necessary bridge between increasingly fractionalized channels of information and ever-morphing market segments.  Working to make the right things happen and making what happens relevant to others is still exciting, even after all these years!

Q: If you had not chosen this career path, what do you think you would be doing now?

A: I’d probably be an engineer or an architect.  Building something from the ground up, or repairing a structure so that it is even stronger or more efficient than its original frame, is fascinating.  I’m a great fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies Van Der Rohe, Norma Sklarek and Zaha Hadid.  I try to approach my work in public relations and marketing with that perspective:  building something necessary, building it well and building it so that it engages people in a meaningful way.

Q: Is it hard to find time for a personal life with friends and family? 

A: Absolutely.  I work 12 to 14 hours daily, usually six days a week.  (I am NOT a workaholic; I simply understand the values of discipline and thoroughness.)  That my social life has suffered is an understatement.  Fortunately, many in my immediate circle of support keep the same hours.  It doesn’t solve the problem; but that I have relatives and friends who are understanding, patient and usually awake late at night goes a long way!  I’ll do better…next year!

Q:Have you ever felt at an advantage based on your gender? If so, please explain.  

A: No; but I’ve never felt disadvantaged either.  I come from a line of incredibly strong, extremely smart women whose first focus was always excellence.  My father taught me long ago that men and women can both score a win:  discipline and perseverance made the difference, not gender.  Ironically, from day one of my career, most of my mentors have been men.  Any success I’ve enjoyed is attributed to my work—and my willingness to roll up my sleeves and work harder than anyone else.  That is not characteristic of my being a woman.  That is my character.

Q: Do you have any favorite moments or situations that occurred during your tenure at Clark Atlanta University that you can share? 

A: In general, freshmen inductions and commencements are always great.  You feel like 1,000 of your own children are having their best day ever!  Also, I have for many years been an advocate against dating and domestic violence.  Thanks to the largesse of Verizon Wireless and Avon Products Inc., we initiated an annual educational program, “The Call to True Beauty” on our campus.  I have myriad responsibilities and wear multiple hats in my role here.  But the world comes to a complete stop when students—male or female—come to me and say, “I think I have a problem, may I talk with you for a moment?”  Last year, a student that one of our peer educators helped approached me following a rather crowded program.  She quietly hugged me and simply said, “I’m good.  Tell everyone, I’m really good.”   I heard a new confidence in her voice. No one can manufacture a moment like that one.

Q: What advice would you give to young women hoping to become business or nonprofit leaders?

A: Be unwavering in your pursuit of excellence and be yourself.  Trying to emulate others only gets you so far.  It is important to embrace new experiences, situations and ideas.  But the manner in which you incorporate, apply and present what you learn should reinforce your value to an organization.  That value is enhanced by your ability to consistently deliver work that is professional, thoughtful, efficient and clear.  These qualities are continuously honed through practice and discipline.  Also remember that everyone can teach you something, from the CEO to the custodian, to the summer intern.  Look always for the lessons and they will find you.

Q: There is a concern regarding the ‘Glass Ceiling’ for women, with fewer senior roles going to women – or women going for the senior roles. As a ‘glass breaker’, do think there is a key ‘flaw’ that many women seem to have that keeps them from breaking through?

A: Women have been discriminated against in the workplace, for sure.  However, I think many women also are risk averse and too often unwilling to speak out or go against the grain.   How many times a day do we hear “think outside the box?”  I’ve found over the years that many of my female colleagues were overly grateful just to be inside the box.  Leadership is not about proving you are an equal individual, it’s about motivating everyone in the company to prove that your company is superior.  I’m not all that interested in swimming with the sharks.  I think it’s a better use of my time to field the right team, build a superior speedboat and, maybe we’ll catch a few sharks while we’re out making waves!

Spotlighting Women in Business: Matlock Client, Trudy Hardy, BMW of North America, LLC.

March 27, 2013

To wrap up Women’s History Month, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than feature a few of our Clients.

As consummate professionals, we learn from them every day. However, we have never taken the opportunity to learn how they came to be great Clients, Colleagues, Mentors, etc.

Today we feature Trudy Hardy, Department Head, BMW Marketing Communications and Consumer Events, BMW of North America, LLC.  Our CEO, Kent Matlock, describes Trudy as bright, talented, and one of the hardest working professionals in the business!”

We agree! Please check out what we learned when we asked her a few questions:

QUESTION 1: As a child what did you want to “be” when you grew up?

Trudy Hardy (TH): Well, as a young child, I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. I was very serious about this goal and was heartbroken that my mother didn’t take my ambition seriously. In fact, she refused to buy me an actual Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader costume. So, I decided to make my own: consisting of the shorts, a blue shirt, and the vest. Also, since I didn’t have any white boots, I wore my brown snow boots….which looked ridiculous!

While I had distinct goals, my mother guessed my correct career path. She stated that I was the ONLY kid who had no desire to watch cartoons; however, I’d stop what I was doing to watch commercials, particular ones with jingles. She stated she could only see two clear paths for me: marketing, based on the interest in commercials or law, based on my desire to argue.

QUESTION 2: Later in high school and college, was marketing your “chosen” career?

TH: No, in fact I went to college to be an accountant as I always excelled at math. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I took a marketing class and became inspired. Based on this class I added an extra semester of college and graduated with a double major of accounting and marketing.

My first job after college was a marketing role for a financial software product, which I thought was perfect for me. However, this was a boring job and I quickly learned that I wanted bigger and better marketing challenges.

QUESTION 3: If you had not chosen this career path, what do you think you would be doing now?

TH: I’d definitely be an accountant.

QUESTION 4: How do you balance being a mother and a business leader?

TH: I believe having children influenced my career path. Based on their ages and needs, I made sure I was able to find roles where I could be there for my kids. As my kids got older, it got easier, and that was when I was able to take on more and more responsibilities.

QUESTION 5: Is it hard to find time for a personal life with family and friends?

I think so, definitely more difficult than finding time for my family and work. I always tell my kids you better love your job because the truth is, you will spend more time at work with your colleagues, than you will with family.

Again, as my kids have grown older (now 14 and 20 years old respectively), I have taken on more responsibility. So my personal time/life is more sacrificed than anything else. But luckily, I love my job and my team.

QUESTION 6: Do you see your kids wanting to follow in your footsteps?

TH: Interestingly, my daughter recently took a professional test that based on your answers, calculates your assumed profession. Based on her scores it was recommended that she should be in Marketing/Management, which she was very excited to learn!

My son wants to be in the automotive industry, but he wants to be a racer, on a race team or a professional driver. We have agreed that he can pursue this career as long as he gets a college degree to fall back on, so he is currently studying sports management.

QUESTION 7: Have you ever felt denied a role/promotion based on your gender? If so, can you share?

TH: Actually no. I have felt fortunate to really know my strengths, core skill sets, and my boundaries. Using this, I have found roles where I fit and have been happy to excel. I think women in more male dominated roles including engineering probably have it tougher, but BMW is an equal opportunity corporation and I have always felt needed.

QUESTION 8: Have you ever felt you were at an advantage over others, based on your gender?

TH: It’s sad to say, but in many cases, it can be an advantage being a strong woman in business. I find that working for large corporations or businesses, we are under the microscope to have a diverse workforce. Particularly in the automotive business, where the ratio of men to women is generally higher, it could be an advantage for a woman.

However, I strongly believe that the right person for the job should be chosen, regardless of gender.
What I have a big problem with is when I hear other women use their gender for personal advantage. I once heard a colleague say “I can say that as a woman, but you can’t say that as a man.” Why?? I’m sorry but I don’t think anyone should be able to play both sides – if you want to be treated equally; you have to treat everyone equally.

QUESTION 9: In your role, you supervise a large team of direct employees as well as many partner advertising teams. Do you find there are differences in how men and women work? Do you see any key comparison/contrasts in how each handle situations or excel in certain areas?

TH: Definitely! Women are more emotional! However, this statement is both a positive and a negative – a double edged sword. If emotions are channeled in a positive way, this will be shown in being passionate for your work. However, if channeled negatively, emotions can be a woman’s downfall. I often tell my female team members “Say what you need to say but do so without the emotional tie-in.” By taking out the emotion, you are simply presenting the facts, which is important in presenting your case.

QUESTION 10: In mentoring your team, do you see in any differences now from when you were in their roles?

TH: Absolutely, I can see myself in them and remember how it felt in particular stages. It really teaches you a lot. I think I’ve learned more from what I didn’t like in certain past supervisors/bosses than anything else. Remembering key insights from both good and bad supervisors has really taught me how best to train and mold my team.

QUESTION 11: Last question, there is a growing concern that fewer senior roles are going to women. Do you feel there is a “Glass Ceiling” and if so, as a glass breaker, do you have any thoughts on this concern/issue?

TH: I find that women in general are better in balancing what they want out of career and personal life. Most women are aware that with advancement comes sacrifice and therefore determine their own ‘ceiling’. In fact, on my team, I can say that 8 out of 10 women would NOT want to have my job. These women, in particular, have aggressively worked to find the best career opportunity where they can have successful careers and happy family lives, with boundaries between the two and limited sacrifices. Men usually do not have to find this balance, although this is changing and I feel everyone must decide how high is high enough? I think most people would say a better balance of life and work is more important than the stress and exhaustion that is needed to handle the job above the glass. I encourage everyone to really think to themselves, “How high is high enough?”

Matlock Spotlights Women Leaders in Business

March 26, 2013

As Matlock continues celebrating Women’s History Month, we would like to acknowledge a few of our remarkable female clients! The first lady in our showcase is Ms. Nicole Gustin, Director of Public Relations & Marketing at Atlanta Medical Center. 

Ms. Nicole Gustin is Director of Public Relations & Marketing at Atlanta Medical Center. She is an award-winning journalist and communications professional with specialized expertise in crisis communications.

She has raised visibility for leading organizations such as Massachusetts General Hospital and the American Red Cross. Her proactive approach to public relations has resulted in coverage in top-tier media outlets in the U.S. and 20 countries, including: USA Today, New York Times, Time magazine, Boston Globe, Good Morning America, Today Show and many others.

Matlock is honored to work with Ms. Nicole Gustin and Atlanta Medical Center.

We asked Ms. Gustin a few questions about herself, and here is what she had to say:


Q: When you were a child, what did you want to ‘be’ when you grew up?

A: I always wanted to be an actor. I was involved in Cobb Children’s Theatre through high school. But my parents refused to pay for me to major in drama because they were worried I wouldn’t have a job. They were probably right. My second love was writing, so I decided to become a journalist.

Q: Why did you choose this career path?

A: I became a journalist because I love to write, and I love being the first to uncover a story. As a newspaper reporter, one of my side beats was health care, and I knew I eventually wanted to work in health care PR. I was right, I absolutely love it. I still get to uncover great stories and share them with the world. And I never stop being fascinated by science.

Q: Do you have any favorite moments or situations that occurred during your tenure at Atlanta Medical Center that you can share?

A: I am new to Atlanta Medical Center, so I don’t have any favorite moments yet. But this is the third hospital I have worked at, and I can say that I find it most rewarding to see how health care makes a difference in the lives of our patients. At one hospital where I worked, I met a woman who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She had given a donation to the hospital, and we wanted to get news coverage about it. By digging a little into her personal life, I found that she ran an after-school program and had touched the lives of hundreds of kids and parents. I managed to get a front-page story about her in the local paper, and she called me the next day to tell me that she had gotten a flood of phone calls from former students and parents to offer their support. I was very moved – I felt like I made a small difference in this woman’s life. 

Q: What advice would you give to young women hoping to become Business Leaders?

A: Be compassionate with yourself and others.

Q: There is a concern regarding the ‘Glass Ceiling’ for women, with fewer senior roles going to women – or women going for the senior roles. As a ‘glass breaker,’ do think there is a key ‘flaw’ that many women seem to have that keeps them from breaking through?

A: I don’t know that there’s a flaw, but I think it has to do with competing responsibilities. As much as women want to work full-time and have a career, I don’t think they have learned how to let go of some of the other responsibilities in their lives – raising a family, caring for their parents, etc. The reality is you can’t do everything, and really don’t have to. It takes balance. Women might be a lot happier if they let go of that “superwoman” expectation of themselves – to be the perfect wife, mother, daughter, employee and leader.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: Follow your passion. If you follow the money, eventually, you will be disappointed.

March Is Also National Nutrition Month!

March 13, 2013

March Is Also National Nutrition Month!

Though this month is mostly known as Women’s History Month, March is also National Nutrition Month. National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. It also recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions, and health concerns all impact individual food choices. Within the America minority community there are many factors that play a role in poor health. This month is about finding affordable ways that people can change their everyday diet to help in their overall health. Trade your soda for water, candy bar for fruit, and ice cream for frozen yogurt! Want to learn about healthy alternatives that will change your quality of life? Click on these links to start 

It’s Women’s History Month!

March 7, 2013

It's Women's History Month!

Matlock is pleased to honor Women’s History Month by updating our Facebook logo. Women’s History Month honors and celebrates the struggles and achievements of women who have struggled to gain rights not simply for themselves but for many other underrepresented and disenfranchised groups. Stay tuned for great content celebrating Women throughout the month. We encourage you to “Like” our page, respond to interesting posts and share/recommend us to friends!