New Podcast Series

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In this first episode of a new series titled “Pithy Conversations with CEOs,” Trusted Counsel’s Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon spoke to Moira Vetter, CEO and Founder of Modo Modo Agency, an award winning creative marketing firm with deep experience in B2B and complex go-to-market challenges. Moira’s business career began when she entered the corporate world as a temp where she was placed in a high growth technology company. She stated, “I was a very formative creature and I really had a great opportunity to come up under some interesting leaders.”

Two decades later, in 2007, Moira went on to establish Modo Modo. Today her agency is an Inc. 5,000 firm and she has aggressive plans to grow to $10 million in revenue and employee 100 people by 2023. As of this writing, Modo Modo has 26 employees. Moira is a weekly contributor of Forbes and the author of AdVenture, An Outsider’s Inside View of Getting an Entrepreneur to Market. She is a past president of American Marketing Association, a founding member of a social change action tank, and serves on Zoo Atlanta  Leadership Council.

The conversation with Trusted Counsel revolved around the company culture, the management team and how they are growing the company. Her role today is changing as she approaches a milestone birthday (she wants to coach and mentor more). With that in mind, she’s charged her team with planning and scaling the agency. Lastly, Moira gave us her pithy brutal advice to new CEOs out there, but ended it on a very positive note. Her parting thoughts were, “When you create your own company, absolutely anything is possible right? You truly can create, it’s the American dream. You cannot do it when you are working for someone else, it is an opportunity. It is the point, right? It was the point for me.”

During the course of the podcast CEOs, business owners, and C-level executives will learn:

  • What led Moira to form Modo Modo
  • Why Modo Modo's company culture of high performance works
  • What's changing in her CEO role as she approaches a milestone birthday
  • Her aggressive plans to grow the company
  • Moira's advice for new CEOs

Don’t miss a single episode of our podcast show. Subscribe to our show “In Process Podcast” on iTunes and now of Google Play to receive this episode as well as future episodes to your smartphone.

Press Release

Trusted Counsel teams up with Open Legal Community (OLC), a leading Japanese IP Professional community to present a webinar on “Expanding Worldwide Brand Protection Through the Use of Intellectual Property”

“I learned the importance of combining different kinds of intellectual property protections to strengthen the company brand” Live webinar attendee comment

On July 20, 2018, Open Legal Community (OLC) and Trusted Counsel provided an IP brand strategy webinar to Japanese professionals. The presenters were Managing Partner, Evelyn Ashley, Attorney, Tammy Tanner of Trusted Counsel and Koji Noguchi of Open Legal Community.

The webinar was not your typical IP-topic presentation where rules and case laws are discussed in detail, instead, the presentation focused on the broader implication of IP in business, how companies should create a brand strategy and how IP will help companies to establish strong brands. 

Many attendees found that the webinar was informative and they especially liked the case study The RIDE, which Trusted Counsel used throughout the presentation to analyze how a successful entertainment bus service company created their unique brand identity through the protection of intellectual property.

The webinar was recorded and published to the OLC website as well as to the YouTube channel of Trusted Counsel.   

OLC, was very appreciative to Trusted Counsel and thanked Evelyn Ashley and Tammy Tanner for putting together a very unique yet practical webinar presentation. Koji Noguchi of Open Legal Community stated “Usually Japanese do not ask questions during presentations, but this time, our audience asked a lot of questions. This indicated that Evelyn and Tammy did a terrific job in engaging the audience despite the language barriers, and also by not physically being in the same room with the audience that was located in Japan. We really appreciated their effort to make the webinar engaging and valuable.” 

OLC also thanked the co-host in Japan, Awaji-cho IP study group. They have been working with OLC from the inception and promote OLC’s activities using their channels in Japan. Awaji-cho IP study group has a monthly seminar to discuss various aspects of Japanese IP-related law and practice. 

About Trusted Counsel (Ashley), LLC

Trusted Counsel (Ashley), LLC provides seasoned, practical and confidential legal services for businesses. Based in Atlanta, this corporate and intellectual property law firm is dedicated to serving the unique needs of companies, investors and legal departments. Trusted Counsel's attorneys make a difference. Their focus is to guide and empower clients with exceptional legal counsel, knowledge and tools that lead to practical, informed business decisions. Trusted Counsel's Managing Partner Evelyn Ashley and Partner John Monahon co-host "In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century," a radio show and podcast where national guests are interviewed on emerging business trends, ideas and techniques. 

About Open Legal Community – A place where Japanese IP professionals learn about US IP

Open Legal Community (OLC), provides timely US IP-related news and information in Japanese. Every week OLC features IP-related articles that are beneficial to Japanese with a Japanese summary of the article. Also, OLC provides periodical webinars to explain complex IP practices in the US. To learn more, visit their partnership page.


Building Resilient Brands for Harsh Business Environments

(This podcast originally aired in July 2017)    

(This podcast originally aired in July 2017)    

This week on In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century, (Trusted Counsel’s bi-weekly podcast show) hosts Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon of Trusted Counsel revisit a previously aired podcast from July 2017. They were joined by Jonathan David Lewis, a branding and strategist expert and the author of Brand VS Wild: Building Resilient Brands for Harsh Business Environments.

A few years ago, Lewis was in the midst of accepting an award for his firm, when he had a not-so-average “aha” moment of the realization of just how lost he truly was in the business world. Lost in the sense that nothing in the business world is predictable. Disruption is just about the only thing business entities can rely on happening in the ever-changing market. With that uneasy, yet resonating truth, how do corporations and the like stay afloat? This experience prompted Lewis to write a book.

There’s a psychological component behind the idea of staying afloat and Lewis argues that executives’ behavior is essentially no different than fighting for survival in the wild. The premise of his book stands on the belief that the way executives react in a boardroom to unforeseen roadblocks parallels with the reactions of survivors navigating their way to safety. Alluding to the U.S. Air Force Survival Manual (USAFSM), as well as several other sources, he uses these survival psychology tips to teach readers how “to navigate unremitting uncertainty and change” in the business world’s “wild”: that being the economic changes, aggressive competition, and disruptive industry dynamics that have grown increasingly prevalent since the start of the financial crises recession of 2008.

He begins his strategy by introducing the natural physiological reactions to stressful situations that stand unwavering across the board. It’s human nature for our bodies to resort to one of the following actions; fight, flight, or freeze. The pituitary gland releases hormones in this moment inevitably leading to “less logical and more visceral” reactions. Visceral being behavior reflecting inward feelings instead of that of intellect (aka emotional and impulsive). Leading us to Leach’s 10-80-10 Theory. The theorist divides the population in these ratios arguing that; 10% of people react calmly and rationally to the stressful situation, 80% literally go numb with no noteworthy response, while the remaining 10% react uncontrollably and in some cases act as a threat to those standing by.  With science acting as its supporter, there is no denying a vast amount of individual’s automatic response is irrational and erratic – seems our mothers were right, sleep on it!

Acting as the most necessary abettor against our shortcomings, Lewis emphasizes that focus is a crucial discipline. However, he follows up by noting it is conjointly “the hardest thing to accomplish and the easiest thing to lose.” Talk about a twofold setback. With that, how can we grasp this discipline to ensure our success? Lewis describes several ways to overcome the various enemies hindering us such as; success, misdiagnosis, complacency, and placation. Some key points he brings up include is to set short term goals. These are more obtainable, and you won’t become discouraged from something that seems too far fetched in the long run. Additionally, avoid losing track of priorities in response to lack of focus known as “brand drift” by implementing the Beaning’s Cycle. The cycle can be used as a tool to separate your company apart and bring it back to progress. First, determine your land mark, pile your stones, then finally confirm and celebrate. In layman terms, set your goal, get your projects and systems in order, make sure everything went accordingly, then enjoy your bit of success. With a clear, organized mind it can be that simple. So, when the market seems to run amuck step back and keep in mind, “where the wild paralyzes, focus empowers.”

 Adaptation: a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.

 Despite the magnitude of unpredictability, we encounter day in and day, there is at minimum one firm truth to hold on to – we can’t change the facts of our environment. In order to train your business to vigilantly navigate the market we must learn to adapt. Three principles are discussed that teach us never to rely on old forms of success; Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and Second Law of Thermodynamics. The foundations of these principles are broken down within Lewis’s work to convey their relevancy to those in the harsh business environment. Applying these principles can aid us all in adaptation to change.

Stream the conversation with Jonathan in the player below to learn more about leading your business through the wild. Listen to examples of real businesses that trenched though the wild and how they emerged out of the wilderness. Don’t miss an episode, subscribe to In Process Podcast on iTunes and now on Google Play to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show to your smartphone.

Read the Transcription

California Enacts Groundbreaking Privacy Law

By Michael Jones, Attorney

By Michael Jones, Attorney

What is the CCPA?

On June 28, 2018, the California State Legislature passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which imposes sweeping new requirements on companies that transact business in California. The CCPA becomes effective on January 1, 2020. The text of the CCPA can be found here.

Hard on the heels of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which became effective on May 25, 2018 and which we previously blogged about, the CCPA seeks to drive greater transparency in the way that companies collect, use, and share personal information. The CCPA defines “personal information” extraordinarily broadly as:

information that identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household.

The CCPA then goes on to list examples of personal information, including some usual suspects like social security number, driver’s license number and the like, but also some less common items, such as geolocation data, biometric information, and—most interestingly—“inferences” drawn from items of personal information: in other words, a consumer’s “profile.”

To whom does the CCPA apply? It applies to the personal information of California consumers.

The CCPA governs the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information of California residents. As of 2018, California would have the fifth largest economy in the world (if it were an independent country), and its population is recently estimated as just shy of 40 million. It is a safe assumption that many, many U.S. companies (including many non-U.S. companies) access or use the personal information of California residents, especially if they conduct business online.

Companies otherwise at risk of being subject to the CCPA are, however, not subject to the CCPA if they meet any one of the following requirements:

  • They do not have annual gross revenues of over $25 million; or
  • They do not receive the personal information of at least 50,000 California “consumers, households, or devices”; or
  • They do not earn at least half of their annual revenue from selling the personal information of California residents.

That said, a recent study by the International Association of Privacy Professionals notes that at least 500,000 U.S. companies are likely subject to the CCPA, most of which are small- to medium-sized businesses. Is your company one of them?

What does the CCPA require?

The CCPA imposes a number of obligations on companies that, until now, have been unheard of in the United States, although they will be familiar to those U.S. companies that have recently worked to become compliant with the GDPR. The most important of them are briefly described below.


The CCPA requires that companies disclose the categories of personal information they collect and identify the types of third parties with which they share such information.

Opt-out of sale of personal information

The CCPA requires that companies provide users with the right to opt out of the sale of their personal information. To enable such opt-out right, the CCPA requires a “clear and conspicuous” link on the company’s homepage labeled “Do Not Sell My Personal Information,” in addition to a link to the company’s privacy policy.

Right to delete

The CCPA empowers California residents to request any company subject to the CCPA to delete any personal information it holds. The company that receives such a request must also instruct its service providers to delete the resident’s personal information. This right is limited to 2 requests per year and is subject to certain exceptions.

Data portability

The CCPA requires that, upon request, a company provide a California resident with any personal information collected about the resident “in a readily useable format that allows the [resident] to transmit [the] information from one entity to another entity without hindrance.”

Right to be free from discrimination

The CCPA forbids companies from charging different prices to California residents, providing different services or denying goods or services to California residents who exercise their rights under the CCPA, although there are certain exceptions to this right.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

The CCPA allows a California resident to sue for each unauthorized disclosure of unencrypted personal information, to the tune of up to $750 for each individual disclosure.

Next steps

For those companies that thought they were exempt from the GDPR because they had no exposure to the EU, the CCPA will require them to think again and to take another look at the way they handle personal information. Here are some key questions:

  • Where does your personal information come from?
  • How do you treat that personal information in your systems?
  • What do you do with that personal information?

If you can answer these questions with clarity and specificity, you are well on your way to complying with the CCPA.

If you need assistance or have any questions please contact us. At Trusted Counsel, we have tools and strategies to help you. Contact John Monahon at or Michael Ridgway Jones at or call our main line 404.898.2900 to speak with either attorney.

Get Your Team into "Flow" and Increase Revenues & Success

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Dr. Judith Glick-Smith has been studying flow-based decision making and flow-based leadership for several years. It was during a conversation with her brother-in-law, (a former battalion chief  of a Virginia fire rescue department) when she realized that he had all of the characteristics of flow in his decision-making in his line of work. In 2011, when she needed to select a topic for her doctoral dissertation in Transformative Studies, she honed in on flow-based decision making and leadership in the fire service industry.  

Her story however, isn’t solely about her research and education with flow-based leadership. Back in the 80s Judith owned a technical writing company in Dallas, Texas and had 25 people working for her and she was an IT consultant. She witnessed many bad decisions made in IT at the leadership level and then when 9/11 hit, her business went bottoms up. That’s when she decided to go back to school to learn more about psychology and study decision-making from the angle of quantum physics, and anything that would quantify better decision making in the workplace. It was then when she truly learned all the ins and outs regarding the concept of flow.  

The feeling of being “in the zone,” is often referred to in the field of positive psychology as “the flow.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian-American psychologist is recognized and named the psychological concept of flow. Judith says “Flow promotes productivity and people who are able to work in flow are five times more productive. Flow is that feeling you get when you’re doing what you love. You kind of lose your sense of time. You’re concentrating on the task at hand, to the exclusion of everything else around you, some people call it being in the zone, it’s the same thing.”

This week on Trusted Counsel’s podcast show “In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century,” we interview Judith Glick-Smith, Ph.D. She is the author of Flow-Based Leadership: What the Best Firefighters Could Teach You About Leadership and Making Hard Decisions. She is also the founder and CEO of MentorFactor, Inc. and is the Executive Director of The Center for Flow-based Leadership. She is a recognized expert on flow-based decision making and flow-based leadership.

Whether you are in the fire service industry or not, the book referenced above is a terrific roadmap for leaders in any organization in which decisions must be made in chaotic, uncertain and rapidly evolving situations.

During the course of the podcast, entrepreneurs, business owners and C-level executives will learn:

  • About flow and why it's important
  • Characteristics of flow
  • The idea of making better decisions when your team is in a flow state
  • What you can do right now to maximize your flow state

Don’t miss a single episode of our podcast show. Subscribe to our show “In Process Podcast” on iTunes and now on Google Play to receive this episode as well as future episodes to your smartphone.