I’m trying really, REALLY hard not to throw Marty Golden under the bus on this one. Please keep that in mind if words like “fossil” slip out of my keyboard.
On July 24, his office will be organizing “The Polished Professional,” a seminar intended to develop the presentation and polish for women seeking to advance their careers.
That’s the nice way of putting it. The other way is to call it out for being a “1950s-style etiquette class focusing on feminine charms rather than actual business acumen.”
Senator Golden’s website seems to have undergone a little revision since City & State’s Chris Bragg wrote about it this morning, now emphasizing that “walking with books on the head is outdated.”
Yes it is. Has been for several decades now.
But while Golden’s office can edit and re-edit their web site to their hearts’ content (Update: as soon as I published this story, I realized they took the event off the web entirely), they can’t take back those color glossy mailers they sent out to constituents, at taxpayer expense, which promised to teach “posture, deportment, and the feminine presence.” The pre-edit web site also apparently promoted tips on how to “sit, stand, and walk like a model,” according to Bragg.
The event is being run by Bay Ridge-based Etiquette Training International. Its president, Phillipa Morrish, is a Certified Protocol Consultant. Yes, there is such a thing, so don’t laugh.
OK, snicker a little bit, I did, too.
But now wise up – carrying oneself in a professional manner in a professional setting is something to take very seriously. I, for one, appreciate that there is a certifying agency out there to encourage such consultants to stay up-to-date with current best-practices. And off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything that says woman-taking-charge-of-her-own-career better than starting your own business, so good on Morrish for that.
That said, I believe the accepted corporate buzzword for such a thing is “personal branding,” not “feminine presence.”
The Democratic candidate running against Golden this fall, Andrew Gounardes, released a written statement in which campaign manager Craig McCreight said “If Marty really wants to do something meaningful to help working women, he should pass the New York State Fair Pay Act.” McCreight added that constituents would benefit from learning interview skills and networking protocols rather than “teaching women how to elegantly walk down stairs.”