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).
|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
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