PR Wonder Woman Kelly Cutrone visits Biscayne Bay Campus

MIAMI, FLA. – The Mama Wolf herself emerged into Florida International University’s (FIU) Wolfe University Center; although there was little huffing and puffing, she certainly blew students away. Kelly Cutrone, PR’s Wonder Woman, spoke to students on April 4 at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus (BBC).

Fashion publicist, entrepreneur, reality TV star, producer, New York Times best-selling author, and mother are just a few of the many hats Cutrone wears to suit her all-black wardrobe. As the founder of People’s Revolution, a leading PR and marketing firm with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Paris,  she has built up her own success from the ground up.

FIU student Lucy Padula with Kelly Cutrone.

Students at FIU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Chaplin’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management filled the Mary Ann Wolfe Theater to hear Cutrone speak. “She does things her own way and she has a fighter attitude; that same attitude paved the way for her success in her business,” said Luciana Padula, Public Relations Student Society of America member and communications student. The lecture captured the attention of an intimate group of nearly 50 students. “She appeals to her audience not because she is sweet and powerful, but because she does things her own way,” said Padula.

Cutrone certainly did things her own way when she set foot in New York City after graduating the Syracuse University in 1988. With a wallet with only ambition, garbage bags of clothing and a beat up Toyota Corolla, Cutrone preached the importance of identifying goals and reaching them, no matter who or what stands in the way. In her best-selling books “If You Have to Cry Go Outside,” and “Normal Gets Your Nowhere” she shared her struggles with the “fame monster” and her self-discovery while climbing up the ladder of fashion PR.

Meeting Kelly Cutrone after her lecture at FIU.

Lessons from Kelly Cutrone

1. Find Your Inner Voice (and Follow It)
Whether your passion and purpose is in fashion, art, medicine, law, science or love when you do identify this passion you must follow it blindly. “You have this inner voice inside of you regardless of where you’re from and regardless of what you know, and it’s telling you to do this thing,” she said speaking from her own personal discovery. Setting high goals is a replication of self-worth and the more you think you can achieve, the better you will do. The idea that Cutrone continuously embarked on throughout her lecture was the importance of our own self-fulfillment. There are people who will always try to mold you to what they feel you should be who Cutrone identified as “partners in a crime against you.”
Cutrone pointed out how common it is to see young college students pursuing degrees in the family trade or staying close to home to keep their loved ones content. In her novel “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside” Cutrone said: “If you’re the kind of person who senses there’s something out there for you beyond whatever it is you’re expected to do – if you want to be EXTRA-ordinary- you will not get there by hanging around a bunch of people who tell you you’re not extraordinary. Instead, you will probably become as ordinary as they expect you to be.”
2. Cutting the Cord Means Cutting the Cash
Cutrone left to New York at only 21 because Syracuse stifled her passions. Although she had no ultimate plans, New York City was her canvas to experiment on. With the support of her parents, a difficult acknowledgement to achieve considering her father hated the city, Cutrone was given a $2,000 starter check from her father. She never again beckoned for money, but instead she did everything in her power to stay self sufficient. Cutrone said that if you’re 21 years old and still receiving support from your parents it’s time to “give them a break.”
3. Be a PR Pro“We were totally punking it all of the way through,” remembered Cutrone when speaking Cutrone & Weinberg, her first firm started with friend Jason Weinberg who interned with her previous employer, Susan Blond. With a furry canine assistant named Theodore and a fax machine as a conference line the two began their own firm and handled names as large as Eartha Kitt. Cutrone recalled lying about getting disconnected from people like Frank Sinatra every time they would receive a fax during an important phone call. “We were so poor that we had a fax machine as a conference line,” she admitted. “Having no idea what I was doing was a really good thing for me,” she said to the auditorium.”I don’t think that not having a clue is going to work like it worked back then because the [public relations] field now is so built up and there are so many professionals,” said Cutrone. During Cutrone’s acceleration in public relations the definition had not built up as much momentum as it has in today’s business setting. “My parents thought I was in the publishing business,” she said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the position of a public relations specialist is expected to grow 23 percent in the course of the next 18 years. Over 300,000 positions of PR specialists and managers exist in the United States today, so knowledge of the field differs from the obscurity in the time Cutrone had experienced it. “You have to know what’s going on. You have to intern and be very specific about where you are going,” she expressed.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Your Own Boss

Cutrone sets her own standards for People’s Revolution by setting specific rules for her brand and who it would represent.
“The great part about having your own business is that you get to make your own rules and do whatever you want,” she said. Cutrone expressed that the internet has allowed more and more businesses to be established and entrepreneurs to thrive. “I don’t think the time has ever been better for you guys to have your own businesses,” she continued “For under $10,000 you could set up a jamming business.”

5. Internships: Play the Game

People’s Revolution receives massive amounts of resumes from prospective PR specialist seeking to intern from one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in not only the fashion industry, but the field of public relations. Cutrone is a New York Times’ Best Selling author, an entrepreneur, a TED speaker, producer and TV star. With a resume filled with accolades, she still comes across apathetic interns who feel that they have nothing to learn.

It’s worked out to a game that could be specified in three simple actions Cutrone stated: “Suiting up, showing up, [and] shutting up.” In an internship it’s important to make yourself a value to the company, even if it means going on daily coffee runs. “Once you are an intern you can order coffee anywhere in the world,” she joked. One of Cutrone’s most memorable interns was a girl who may not have looked like she fit the part of a fashion publicist, but she would always politely ask Cutrone if she would like a water. Every little effort counts and can exhibit a willingness to learn and be helpful.

6. The Perfect Stamp on Your Resume 

“If you want to work for Prada, don’t go get an internship at Betsey Johnson or Steve Madden. Prada isn’t going to give a flying eagle’s nest,” announced Cutrone. Internships should be prefaces to what you want your career to entail. She preached that starting at the top is the best thing a public relations student could do.

Working in the public relations department of office supply company isn’t going to stand out on your resume to Marc Jacobs. This applies to every field and not just fashion. By using your skills to get the best possible internship in your line of work you are raising your chances of getting recognized.

Once that top brand is in the bag and you are ready for your next big career move Cutrone suggests to “use the hell out of it.” By using the brand name to propel yourself in the right direction of public relations you can get ahead. Cutrone said that the interns who use People’s Revolution on their resumes generate the idea that the intern has tenacity. “Use them for the millions and millions of dollars and times and energy they invested into their brand,” she recommended.

7. Speak Your Mind

There is one trait that Cutrone consistently finds in her interns and that is their inability to say what they want. She expressed that young women have a very difficult time asking for what they want, which is a habit they gain at a young age. “They usually are taught at a really young age to go around things,” she said. How many people remember mom lying to dad

Cutrone used to be afraid to approach her clients for money they owed her out of the fear of being fired. Not speaking your ming and asking for things you want could get you “pummeled” in the PR world. “You have to become a dynamic partner in your life,” she advised. When you do something you are naturally uncomfortable that you need to work on you should celebrate it. Cutrone admits to throwing a personal “marching band” in her mind.

In the beginning it may be unclear, but Cutrone suggests figuring out what you want to bring to your business, career and life.

— Jillian Goltzman

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FIU PRSSA Travels to Charlotte, NC for the Annual PRSSA National Assembly

Many people do not realize the complexity and size of PRSSA as a National organization until they attend a national event. Whether it’s National Conference, Regional Conferences, Leadership Rally or National Assembly, National events are a wonderful opportunity to network with students and professionals across the country. This past Spring Break, I traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina for the PRSSA National Assembly. For those of you who do not know what that is, it’s an event that PRSSA National holds every year in order to vote for the upcoming National Committee. Each Chapter can send one delegate to represent their College or University and I was honored to represent FIU this year.

The weekend began with a welcoming reception in one of the hotel’s ballrooms. Here, the current National Committee president welcomed all delegates and introduced the local PRSA chapter sponsoring this year’s assembly, PRSA Charlotte. Fortunately, I had the pleasure of meeting Natalia Flores, current PRSA Charlotte board member and past FIU PRSSA president. It was great to see some FIU representation in their Chapter and in assembly as well. Natalia gave me a brief history lesson on our Chapter; she spoke to me about Professor William C. Adams, our Chapter’s namesake and past advisor. Although this man’s name is on my business cards, club shirt and email signature, I never really knew who he was until now. I learned he was a beloved man who truly cared about the progression of our Chapter. Although he is greatly missed, he is surely not forgotten by all who knew him, as was evident as I listened to Natalia speak of him and all the lifelong friendships FIU PRSSA brought her.

After a complimentary breakfast the next morning, we were separated into rooms in accordance to our positions.  During this session, we all engaged in discussion on issues we had within our chapters and gave suggestions. This was one of my favorite parts because realized that everyone was facing similar issues to mine. The day continued as we rotated to different sessions that taught us about ethics and communications across campuses.

On assembly day, all delegates were given the responsibility to listen to all candidates as they gave their speeches and then vote on who was to be a part of the upcoming National Committee. It was a long process, and we all got a little anxious, but the experience was surely worth it. Being such a crucial part of the future of this organization was a blessing.

Of course, apart from immersing yourself in all things PRSSA, there is much more to National events. One of my favorite elements of National events is all the wonderful cities they take place in. Luckily, in every event schedule, they manage to work in a good amount of time to explore what the location has to offer; and with all the friends you make, there is always an adventure waiting to happen. Charlotte was definitely one of the most beautiful and cleanest cities I have ever seen. The area where our hotel was located in was surrounded by great restaurants, shops and bars which made my short visit that much more memorable.

Finally, on our last day, the delegates gathered one more time for the assembly’s final Keynote speaker, Mary Tribble. Originally from Miami, Mary told us an inspiring story about her life, mainly teaching us a lesson about never settling when you feel like there must be more to life and learning how to breathe and relax when things don’t go your way; two great pieces of advice that we often may lose sight of in the midst of things. A nice break from the constant PR talk we had been hearing all weekend, Mary’s speech was enlightening and refreshing. The standing ovation she received from the audience was proof of that.

National Assembly was a wonderful experience for me. After this, all I can do is count down the days until the next National Conference in Fall 2012. San Francisco, here we come!

— Stephanie Necuze

FIU PRSSA and Federation of Families team up to combat childhood obesity at FUNdae 2012

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MIAMI – On February 25, 2012, members of Florida International University’s William C. Adams Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) collaborated with the Miami-Dade Chapter of Federation of Families (FOF) to host FUNdae 2012, an event to raise awareness about childhood obesity.

The free event, held at Florida International University’s Alonso Field on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus, encouraged children, teenagers and their parents to learn more about the serious short and long-term consequences of obesity, and inform them of the steps they could take to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The event attendees were able to find out more information about different health and fitness programs in the local area, and received samples of products designed to make transition into better health easier for the families.

Approximately 150 children and parents were entertained at the event by the Miami Heat dancers along with their mascot, Bernie. The attendees were also able to participate in a Zumba dance routine and martial arts instruction.

Members of FIU PRSSA participating in the Bateman Case Study Competition, the national organization’s national case study competition for public relations students, were responsible for organizing the event as a part of a month-long campaign fighting against childhood obesity. They partnered with the Miami-Dade Chapter of Federation of Families (FOF), a non-profit organization providing support, education and guidance to families of children and youth with emotional, behavioral, substance abuse and mental health needs.

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