Friday, October 23, 2009


This week's Team Huddle compiled by Lisa An

Toronto’s Fashion Week, officially known as LG Fashion Week, is wrapping up this Saturday but the antics of Robin Kay, president of the Fashion Design Council of Canada, the organization which hosts Fashion Week, will likely live on. For those who need a quick refresher on last year’s events, Kay delivered a rambling, incoherent speech while inebriated prior to the start of a fashion show and had to be escorted off the stage. Her behaviour was denounced by the Toronto fashion community with some calling for her resignation. Despite the furor she continues to head the Fashion Council as its leader with no worse for wear (excuse the pun). But that may change given the unflattering feature printed in last Saturday’s issue of the Toronto Star. Kay was clearly unprepared for the interview as she awkwardly avoided questions about last year’s controversy claiming she was too “sick” to directly answer questions and provided an unvarnished look at how she interacts with her “minions.” The article noted that she tried to make up for the disastrous interview by inviting the reporter to speak with her a second time but was still portrayed as being uncomfortable with the one-on-one interaction. My colleagues unanimously awarded Kay a Fumble for obvious reasons: she was clearly unwilling to accept accountability for last year’s events when she should have addressed it head-on. What’s worse is she actually read an answer off a piece of paper in response to last year’s incident, key messages that were obviously prepared by a staff person for the interview. She also gave the impression that she was feigning her illness to avoid the tough questions – the reporter noted that as he left the interview, he could see through the windows that she was “waving her arms animatedly” while conducting a meeting. But in addition to Kay’s Fumble, my colleagues felt that her media team deserved penalties as well. It was clear from the feature that Kay was uncomfortable and unready for the media. She should have been counseled to avoid any interviews and instead have third-parties speak in her stead, suggesting that she’s dedicating to correcting past mistakes and turning a new lead. Instead, what resulted is an entertaining read, but a profile that is a disservice to Kay who is trying to dispel the image as a demanding, drunken diva and another step towards her demise. Need media coaching advice? Contact the Veritas team for help.

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