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VOL. 128 | NO. 1 | Wednesday, January 2, 2013

McLaughlin Joins Inferno as Senior Copywriter

By Kate Simone

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Trish McLaughlin has joined inferno as senior copywriter. In her new role, McLaughlin supervises the copywriting department, pairing up writers with art directors and project teams, and reviewing copy for message, voice and strategic focus. In addition, she coaches young writers in strategic thinking, concepting, editing and presenting.


Hometown: Chapel Hill, N.C.

Education and work experience: With a bachelor’s degree in English from Appalachian State University and a tour of duty in Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s schools teaching English and journalism, I converted my love for the inverted pyramid into a public relations job with a Charlotte ad agency. My favorite assignment was meeting Kurt Russell at his hotel suite at 6 in the morning (don’t ask). When my catchy new release headlines caught the creative director’s attention, he suggested I consider a career as a copywriter. “What’s a copywriter?” I asked.

Family: Husband, Paul van Son.

Favorite quote: “Life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death.” – “The Princess Bride”

Favorite movie: “Moonstruck”

The sports team(s) you root for: Tarheels

What’s playing on your stereo right now? Pistol Annies

Activities you enjoy outside of work: Baking, gardening, hiking Shelby Farms with my rascally dog, Macy.

What talent do you wish you had? I wish I could speak other languages. My husband speaks five languages, and when we travel I have to use him as my interpreter.

Who has had the greatest influence on you? Professionally speaking, that would by my first boss when I started in public relations, Kathy Reynolds. She was a wonderful editor and coach. I think I got three years of training that first year. Even 25 years later, she’s still a great friend.

What are your goals as senior copywriter? Right now I’m assessing the talent, examining processes and getting to know the personalities. I’ve worked in agencies in the U.S. and Europe, with huge multinationals such as Philips and tiny startups. So my goal would be to determine how I can further enhance inferno’s already outstanding creative product, client satisfaction and internal culture.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? When I was in my late 30s and recently divorced, I took a job in Holland working as a writer at an agency with offices throughout Europe. I didn’t speak Dutch. I didn’t have any friends or family there. I had to start from scratch and rely totally on myself. I stayed nearly five years. Then I returned to the U.S. with an exotic import – my husband, Paul.

If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? If you have the opportunity to move to another city or area of the country, or, in my case, another country, do it. It forces you outside your comfort zone and opens you up to new ideas.


Anne Dugan has joined inferno as traffic manager. In the role, Dugan manages day-to-day operations of the agency’s traffic department and oversees internal workflow in all departments.

Dr. Richard Sweigard has been selected as dean of the Herff College of Engineering at The University of Memphis. Sweigard, who will take the post June 1, has been the associate dean of engineering for administration and academic affairs at the University of Kentucky.

AOC LLC has promoted several executives in its sales and marketing department: Fletcher Lindberg has been named vice president, marketing; Emilio Oramas, vice president, U.S. and Canada sales; and Brian Parker, vice president, global business.


Kirk Caraway, partner at Allen, Summers, Simpson, Lillie & Gresham PLLC, has been selected by Law & Politics magazine as a Super Lawyer in labor and employment. In addition, Caraway was selected by American Lawyer Media as one of Tennessee’s Top-Rated Lawyers.

Christian Brothers University has named two new members to its board of trustees: Louis F. “Bo” Allen Jr., executive vice president, First Tennessee Bank; and Stephen L. Waechter, vice president of business operations and chief financial officer at ARINC Inc.


John Hensley has joined Allen, Summers, Simpson, Lillie & Gresham PLLC as member. Hensley is a graduate of The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and formerly clerked at Allen Summers.

Vince Callahan, the owner of Ace Rewinding in West Memphis, has been elected an at-large member of Ducks Unlimited’s national board. Callahan has served as a Ducks Unlimited volunteer since 1990, holding volunteer leadership positions at the state and local levels.


Greg Sugg has joined Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors Asset Services as property manager.

Allen, Summers, Simpson, Lillie & Gresham PLLC has been named to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Firms in America 2012 list.

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396