Women PR execs should shed party-girl image and move profession forward

AUSTIN,TX: Women should break out of PR's pink-collar ghetto and move the profession forward, said Citigate Cunningham's PR president Kristin Hilf at the Association for Women in Communications' annual conference two weeks ago.

AUSTIN,TX: Women should break out of PR's pink-collar ghetto and move the profession forward, said Citigate Cunningham's PR president Kristin Hilf at the Association for Women in Communications' annual conference two weeks ago.

AUSTIN,TX: Women should break out of PR's pink-collar ghetto and move the profession forward, said Citigate Cunningham's PR president Kristin Hilf at the Association for Women in Communications' annual conference two weeks ago.

In the opening keynote address, Hilf decried the PR-party-girl stereotype before a mostly female crowd of about 200, representing all communication fields. She described a workplace early in her career in which the only high-ranking female exec was a former actress who wore the same tight pink dress to lunch any time clients were in town.

'We need to throw away our pink dresses, so to speak,' Hilf proclaimed, to much applause.

Fields open to women in decades past - PR, HR and training, for example - drew on women's intuitive strengths in communicating and building relationships but were considered soft and nonstrategic, Hilf told the group. 'Over the years, communication has become a very critical element of leadership,' Hilf said. 'We're playing a prominent role as communication is evolving from sort of a pink-collar-ghetto job to one worthy of a seat on the board.'

Hilf dismissed the idea of life balance, observing that at any given moment either work or family/personal issues tip the scales one way or another. She advised women to get over their guilt, lose their fear of being the bad guy and hire people with different interests and strengths than their own.



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