New Podcast Series: Episode 2

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In this episode, second of a new series titled “Pithy Conversations with CEOs,” Trusted Counsel’s Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon speak to Liz Harvey, CEO of Island Windjammers. Island Windjammers provides cruises in the Eastern Caribbean to seasoned travelers, the kind who’d likely turn their back on overcrowded massive impersonal cruise lines. Liz's guests cruise on any of the three Island Windjammer’s ships; Diamant, Sagitta, or Vela, and happily spend their recreational dollars for the experience of smaller ships (10 – 26 guests). Experiences include; visits to smaller islands in the Caribbean, exploring quaint villages, and having more personal activities such as snorkeling and beach barbecues. 

Incorporated in 2008 by principal founder Liz and a small group of investors, today, a large part of the ships fan base have invested in the company under Rule 506(c). We commented to Liz (whose past full-time job was as an operating room nurse) the idea that she’s raised capital in a very innovative way. Liz simply shrugged her shoulders and stated simply “Well, I’d never raised money before so I didn’t know how it was done. I just did it one way.”

The conversation with Trusted Counsel revolved around how Liz started the business, what she’s learned with respect to running a seasonal business, virtual management, and her sharp focus on the future. Success for Island Windjammers is all three ships averaging 80 percent or better occupancy over the course of the year. In 2017, when Caribbean tourism drastically decreased due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, survival was difficult for Island Windjammers. Rather than throwing her hands up in the air and doing nothing, Liz and her team started a GoFundMe page. Using the small yacht, she and her team collected and sent relief items to ravished islands, and anything to help out. “Those are our friends out there too.  Friends of our crew member’s families, it really hit pretty close to home,” Liz told us. 

When Liz is not busy managing her business virtually, you can find her at Roswell Surgery Center in Georgia. Yes, she’s still an operating room nurse who’s always willing to help, although she’s no longer working there full-time.    

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

  • What led Liz to form Island Windjammers
  • Her best tactic for marketing the business
  • How she's able to manage her team virtually from the United States
  • Her experience with fundraising and taking advantage of Rule 506(c) 
  • How she managed to solidify her business when 2017 hurricanes hit hard and nearly decimated her ships and the business

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.

GDPR Update: Your Questions Answered About GDPR and Data Privacy

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In this episode of podcast In Process: Conversations About Businesses in the 21st Century, Trusted Counsel’s Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon speak to Michael Jones, Attorney at Trusted Counsel, whose practice specializes in privacy, compliance and technology licensing. Michael discusses the latest developments regarding the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and data privacy in the United States. This blog post and podcast continue discussion of two earlier blog posts; The EU General Data Protection Regulation and The California Consumer Privacy Act.

As you probably already know, the GDPR entered into effect on May 25, 2018. By now you’ve most likely been bombarded with emails from various vendors stating their privacy policies are updated. What you might not know is that the driving force behind this flurry of email activity is the GDPR. A key requirement of the GDPR is that customers and other users must be notified of certain changes to privacy policies. The goal of the GDPR is to allow individuals to have greater control over how their personal information is processed by organizations. And although the GDPR is a European Union regulation, many U.S. businesses are discovering that they may have certain obligations under the law. If you are a U.S. business providing goods or services to individuals in the EU (even through other businesses), you should undergo a thorough review of how you access, store and use your data. 

“If you are quick to dismiss the GDPR due to the idea that it is an EU regulation, really think it through,” Michael says. “What’s really striking about the GDPR is its extraterritorial effect. By this I mean the idea that it protects the personal information of EU residents. A business can process, hold, maintain, and use the personal information of EU residents even if they’re not living in the EU. In other words, the individual could be located in the state of Georgia, or anywhere in the world. In this example, it applies to your business.”

About a month after the GDPR went into effect, the California Legislature passed the CCPA, which has suddenly become the gold standard for privacy legislation in the United States. It imposes requirements much like those imposed by the GDPR, but it doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2020. Much like the GDPR, you might be thinking that you’re not affected because you don’t have a business in California. But look at it this way, chances are that somewhere in your database, you’ve obtained the personal information of at least one California resident with whom you do business. And, if California just passed this legislation, could other states soon follow suit? Yes, they will.

Businesses need to prepare now, and here’s what you need to do:

  • Read our past blog posts on GDPR and CCPA (each includes detailed and important questions to ask yourself)
  • Listen to the entire conversation by clicking the audio player below
  • Identify the employees in your company that know where your data is. Get them together, put together a team and start talking about how your organization collects personal data.
  • Take good notes and document everything
  • Contact Trusted Counsel with questions. We can help you put together a compliance plan if needed. This will allow you to not only be in compliance now, but also to stay in compliance. 

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

  • The difference between the GDPR and the CCPA
  • What questions businesses should be asking themselves regarding GDPR
  • Internal steps a business should take right now to become compliant
  • Legal advice for organizations that are reviewing their data privacy policies and procedures and their compliance risks
  • Commentary regarding the future of data privacy in the U.S.

Stream the conversation in the player below to learn more. You can also subscribe to In Process Podcast to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show on your smartphone. If you have any questions or comments regarding the GDPR, the CCPA, data privacy and your compliance efforts, please contact Michael Jones with Trusted Counsel. You may reach him at 404-400-3886 or email him at

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.

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