After the event ended, the director indeed told us that this would be our last venture with them. Throughout the evening of the black-tie event, the director’s incompetence, insecurities and just sheer lack of knowledge were apparent to all. Even basic principles weren’t followed. Mayor Bloomberg attended the event, and my staff asked our photographer to follow the mayor, and this director informed me that we didn’t need to do that because the mayor had a photographer with him. I insisted that we did because if we did not have our own photos, then we could not get one to the media. Anyone who has been in the public relations business would realize the mayor’s photographer works for him and not our organization and it would take days to get them to send us a picture and by then it would not be news.
Kirsten and I were always able to spot news and knew how to get our clients in the paper, and if the mayor was attending an event, that was a picture we could send to the Style section of the New York Times.
We also knew that being women had its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages or benefits, we never turned down. For the past fifteen years since we have been in business, typically only one guy has worked for us at a time. It’s not that we don’t hire men, but typically more women apply for the positions or we are attracting more women. We get our testosterone from our events, which usually have lots of men in attendance—in fact, for a long time we worked for some very male-dominated firms and organizations. We didn’t complain. All the women welcomed it—in fact, as single women we jumped for joy. We were traveling all over the country and world and would meet a variety of different men—it was always exciting.
In our office, because it was always women, when our service people would come to visit, they would oftentimes not even charge us. We would have technicians come into our office to fix the copier, fax machines, telephone lines—and they would actually think that we were “stupid.” Okay, you’re thinking to yourself, why would these smart women allow someone to think they were ignorant about the inner workings of the technology in their office?
We weren’t that stupid — in fact, we were pretty clever because we were watching the pennies and receiving free services. And the truth of the matter is that Kirsten or I, or even the office staff, didn’t know anything about computers and welcomed the help. Of course, we could have read the manual, but we found our time better served sticking to planning events and discovering new venues to hold our next events.
Published by arrangement with Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
Copyright © Kirsten Poe Hill and Renee E. Warren, 2009.