Posts Tagged ‘Women’s History Month’

Matlock Celebrates Women Influencers – Past & Present

March 29, 2017

Women’s History Month is coming to a close, but we didn’t want it to end without sharing our favorite female pioneers/women who have influenced us and why we love them. ♥

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Women pioneers come in many shapes, sizes, and forms. This is demonstrated through the diverse set of women who have had influences on our staff. For example, Jobi, our Account Planner, wanted to pay tribute to a pioneer in history:

“In honor of Women’s History Month, one of my favorite female pioneers is Mary McLeod Bethune:

The daughter of former slaves, Mary McLeod Bethune was the only member of her family to attend school, yet each night she taught her siblings everything she had learned. She became one of the most important Black educators, civil and women’s rights leaders and government officials of the twentieth century. The college she founded in 1904, now Bethune-Cookman University, set educational standards for today’s Black colleges and her role as an advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt gave African Americans an advocate in government.

She was such a personal inspiration and an example of commitment to educating students, as she started her school with $1.50 in her pocket, five girls and faith in God – a culturally relevant history lesson etched in the minds of all students that attend. Because she stood firm on the principles and values of human rights, I am a PROUD third generation HBCU alumnus of Bethune-Cookman University.

‘The true worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood.’ -Mary McLeod Bethune”

However, James, Account Supervisor, Reputation Group and Tamarah, Receptionist wanted to talk about more modern role models…:


“As a musician, and a lover of popular culture, I have to note Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Brandy (Brandy Norwood) as a woman who has positively influenced me. But as usual – despite her undeniable credibility as an entertainer and musical influencer – I can virtually hear the responses of confusion. “Brandy?? Why, Brandy?” Cool. Let me school you.

I’ve studied music and vocal performance since I was a small child, and continued to do throughout my academic career at Howard University where I minored in jazz vocal performance. When I think of vocalists who have depth, range, and color that I like to mirror, Brandy is always one to note. Let’s start with the fact that, in her early years, Brandy – a 15-year-old [singer] – successfully mirrored the impeccable vocal stylings of the late Whitney Houston. This is a feat that most adult singers cannot achieve. As Brandy matured, so did her voice. Her debut effort, “Brandy,” gave us a new school twist on our beloved Whitney Houston’s vocal techniques. Then, she moved into a creating a signature sound with super producer Rodney Jerkins where she showcased nasal, yet attractively smoky, deliveries. However, it wasn’t until her third album, “Full Moon,” that we saw Brandy and her then musical counterpart, Rodney Jerkins, move into creating edgy R&B music that showed off both Jerkins’ innovative sound paired with Brandy’s more mature vocals with signature rifts that a wide variety of today’s artists have merged into their own styles. 

Flash forward to 2017, where we’ve seen Brandy deliver three more full-length LPs with quite a few notable singles (i.e. 2004’s “Talk About Our Love,” 2008’s “Right Here (Departed),” 2012’ “Without You, and 2016’s “Beggin’ and Pleadin’”) that highlight how her vocal delivery has stretched to become an undeniable, multi-dimensional powerhouse alto. Now, the commercial success of her latest efforts have admittedly been less than stellar – for reasons which we do not have time to discuss in this particular blog – but that has absolutely no bearing on the fact that Brandy has remained consistent as a vocalist who becomes stronger with every release.  

So, why Brandy? She taught me how to insert subtleties into my recording and performances that leave lasting impressions on audiences. After having been through what was considered “her prime,” she showed me that it is never too late to become stronger with a strategic re-invention of the body, mind, and soul (i.e. her 2016 role as “Roxie Hart” in the Broadway play, “Chicago” which saw the singer undergo strenuous physical training). She showed me that even when people doubt your gift, you must continue to use it to magnify that magic that resides in you — something that an opinion or doubting whisper can take away. She taught me that when those doubting whispers become screams that you can’t ignore, to let your experiences and accomplishments speak for themselves. For me, it’s about the music — but more importantly – it’s about the consistency, determination, and self-assurance; character traits that can literally cause a “night-and-day” effect in the course one’s life.”


“Karen Civil is a Haitian-American social media guru and public relations strategist in the hip hop industry. She became a young pioneer by developing fan sites for actor J.D. Williams and The Backstreet Boys, for which she placed 3rd in a national competition in middle school. She also interned as a staff assistant under Funkmaster Flex at Hot 97. In 2008, she founded and the marketing agency Always Civil. Civil caught my attention on Instagram when I noticed her being photographed frequently with rappers YG and Nipsey Hustle. After following her on Instagram for the past several years, I realized she is a true female pioneer paving the way for aspiring professionals like myself.

Civil is the ultimate entrepreneur! She is responsible for the placement of Beats by Dre and Lil’ Wayne’s fan mail campaign while he was incarcerated at Rikers Island all the while building her own brand. She is the ultimate “body goals,” showcasing her slim physique and abs on Instagram. She motivates me to eat healthy and get in the gym. She has also taken a significant role in giving back to the country of her roots, Haiti. Civil is a true philanthropist and has built the Live Civil Playground and remodeled the school next door. She is committed to her brand, service in Haiti, living a healthy lifestyle and staying true to herself and for that she is a true female pioneer in my eyes!”

Lastly, Dacia, the Brand Group’s Assistant Account Executive, and Ashley, our Agency Services Coordinator felt as though women they see in their everyday lives have made just as big of an impact as the rest.


“When I thought of who I wanted to write about for this blog, it immediately hit me that I have been inspired by some ladies in my generation. The woman [or women, in this case] who currently inspire me were not ladies I had learned about in history books or heard about through #WomensHistoryMonth. Instead, they are regular, everyday women, who I had tried to sell advertising space to.

In my previous job, I sold ad space for a local newspaper. I met a lot of local people with a lot of local businesses but two women with one start-up in particular stuck with me after leaving the sales position. Vesta Movement owners, Missy, a bartender, and Alixx, a hair stylist, told my sales manager and me the story about how they grew passionate for kickboxing after living sedentary lives that were not seeing results after trying different workout methods. I listened intently as they talked passionately about their female-friendly gym and sense of community they wanted to bring to the overly male-saturated sport of kickboxing. It wasn’t until I actually started going to the classes myself (over a year later) that I saw a passion turn into a reality and a real business opportunity. These young ladies turned a pre-registration list of 25 into an approximate 400 membership. I had attended other kickboxing gyms, but none were quite like this one.

They work really hard to keep the classes fresh and fun, you definitely get a work out, and you get to blow off some life-induced steam all in one session. One of the owners even teaches some of the classes. Although the gym was targeted towards women, they are very inviting and welcoming to the male members. My fiancée even enjoyed the classes when he was going. My point is, before that moment I signed up to take my first class at their gym, I had never witnessed a vision first-hand such as this one turned into reality. I had never seen someone turn a passion into a profit. It has inspired me to find my hobbies, find my passion, find my talents, and like Nike, “Just do it!”


“When asked, “Who is a woman that inspires you or that you consider to be a female pioneer?” I thought about my mother, Darlene Leysath. This opinion could be a bit biased, but I think is well deserved. I have seen her work tirelessly throughout my 20 plus years of life to help me as her God-given duty, but to help others as well. She is a humanitarian and advocate for those who suffer from mental illness and those who may be forgotten. For example, a notable act of kindness is that Darlene teaches computer classes for seniors and helping veterans who need resources to healthcare. Not only in her professional career has she been a social worker and counselor, she is also an entrepreneur who hosts a radio show, motivational speaker, and co-founder and executive director of her own nonprofit organization, The Cornerstone CDC. She has helped raise funds and written grants for thousands of dollars in donations and resources to help those in need — not only in her community in North Carolina, but also working with Red Cross and the National Baptist Convention to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey. She has personally volunteered numerous hours to give people resources such as counseling services, food and items needed during crisis or disasters. I have watched her in awe because she does it with a smile.

I truly admire her being dedicated to the mission and doing her purpose to help others and help develop the community, so humbly and modestly. She inspires me to be a phenomenal woman like her.” 


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 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.