The following was written by PR Diva Founder and Editor-in-Chief Aliah Davis-McHenry:
I was away at a non-communications related conference this weekend and was completely immersed with getting the full conference experience and not following up on PR news and events (I know shocker, right?). I was unable to attend the Women in PR Summit in Miami because of this prior event obligation. However, one of the pulls (for me!) of this event was the opportunity to hear Kelly Cutrone speak. She is a PR professional I admire greatly for her tenacity, experience, and business acumen. I was a bit bummed that I couldn’t clone myself to be at both events! I was also glad that Anje Collins, a PR & Luxury Lifestyle Consultant based in Miami and co-creator and organizer behind Women in PR, had created such a summit for PR students, emerging professionals, and seasoned professionals.
I woke up on Monday morning there was much going on in the blogosphere, on Twitter, and on Facebook regarding the “alleged breach of contract” between Kelly Cutrone, the keynote speaker of the event, and the event’s organizers Women in PR.
Quickly, I acquainted myself with background information from Ms. Cutrone’s videos, documentation, and commentary on her Facebook page as well as her tweets. Then I perused the same on Women in PR’s various social media accounts. Thankfully I came across Yasheaka Oakley’s post at the YOakley Blog who gave great background information on the situation as well. In a nutshell from what I gathered, Women in PR could not pay Kelly Cutrone due to a sponsorship pulling out last minute. Several attendees voiced their displeasure of Kelly Cutrone not appearing at the event on her Facebook page. It erupted to many “choice” words said from both parties involved as well as their social media followers.
I reached out to the Twitter community for input. Anje Collins of Women in PR directly contacted me via Twitter. In a brief phone conversation, Ms. Collins stressed that Women in PR will power forward and host another summit in Houston, Texas in 2013 despite the ordeal with Kelly Cutrone. She also noted that only three people asked for refunds after it was announced Kelly Cutrone would not be speaking. Via her Facebook page, Kelly Cutrone will host a Google+ hangout so PR professionals can gain knowledge and insight from her experiences and says she sees this all as a lesson on “how not to do PR”.
How would you resolve something like this if the shoe were on the other foot and you were WIPR or Kelly Cutrone with this dilemma? How would you handle the situation differently..or not?