Penelope Trunk rattles baby boomer PR pros


Big screen of Penelope Trunk at the PRSA International Conference

Big screen of Penelope Trunk at the PRSA International Conference

Penelope Trunk talked to about 3,000 PR pros at the PRSA International Conference. Being a member of the Brazen Careerist, I know about Trunk’s views and I really like them. She believes that once you’ve learned all you can at your job, you should move on. In her book, she gives 45 tips on thinking bigger, acting bolder, and blazing trails you never thought possible. 

I like her way of thinking and so do many Gen X and Y’s. On the other hand many baby boomers are known to be traditionalists and do not agree with her thinking. This was evident at the conference as you could here whispers coming from the tables during the keynote.

Reality is both baby boomers and Gen X and Y’s are getting older. Gen. Y’s will be in middle management soon and that’s the same time that baby boomers will be retiring. So I’d say Trunk is targeting the right generation to give tips to.

10 Responses to “Penelope Trunk rattles baby boomer PR pros”

  1. - October 30th, 2008

    Oh I wish I was there! I went to the Advertising Federation regional conference this year (kind of a similar group) and ended up leaving early because the Boomers speaking were so out of touch!

    Let me guess what the Boomers whispered:

    “That generation has no LOYALTY!”

    “You CAN’T do that, because that’s not how things we’re done in ’87.”

    “Those Xers are just so glib! So crass! So abrupt in their speech patterns!”


  2. Mandy - October 30th, 2008

    I think that boomers have a great deal to learn from the Gen X’ers and Gen Y’s. I am a sales mananger for Julie LaTerra Homes, a custom home builder in Charlotte, NC, and have the opportunity to work with people in all age groups. There is so much that each generation can learn from each other. Many of our clients are Gen X’ers and we have learned a great deal about their housing needs, which is vastly different from the Boomers. People have a choice to either change or grow and it is sad when people, regardless of age, do not embrace the opportunity to learn from others.


  3. arizonabrian - October 30th, 2008

    I agree, it work’s both ways. Baby Boomers have a lot to learn from Gen X and Gen Y’s, but at the same time, Gen X and Y’s have a lot to learn from baby boomers.

    As the only Gen Y in my workplace, I have a lot to learn from others and never reject anything that is said – instead I listen. Listening is a key between generations, because often people just shut each other out.


  4. Dan Keeney, APR - October 30th, 2008

    What the Boomers at my table were chattering about was that Adrienne Roston — err I mean Penelope Trunk — was fronting a much younger character than she really is. Her valley girl persona suggested a person much younger than the 42 year old she actually is. The impression I left with was that she has come up with an idea that is compelling to youngish workers and — just like Paul Reubens created Pee Wee Herman — she created this Penelope Trunk character to shake people up and sell her books, products and services. In the meantime, she is inciting a kind of intergenerational battle that I suspect can be pretty destructive in the workplace. FWIW, I am a good example of job hopping, having worked for 12 companies before starting my own firm. There is an adage in the PR agency world that you have to move out to move up. I first heard it back in 1994 and it was an old saying then. So none of this is actually new. Just a better job of branding and packaging this time.


  5. How to go to a meeting when you want to sit home and cry » Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk - November 3rd, 2008

    […] what last week was like: On Sunday I flew to Detroit and gave a speech at the Public Relations Society of America. Then I flew back to Madison on Tuesday and met with an […]

  6. dl - November 4th, 2008

    I too am a big fan of Penelope Trunk. And I’m a baby boomer – well, I’m the lost generation: the very tail end of the baby boom and therefore very removed historically and chronologically from the majority of them.

    I agree with many of the comments you’re making about us being out of touch. It’s typical of society at any given time that the older generation will be slightly outdated. That’s probably even more true today, since things change so quickly. Heck, in Gen Y’s view, Gen X is out of touch.

    Here’s the important thing, though, and several have already mentioned it. Each generation can learn from the other. For example, baby boomers are great for understanding the importance of professionalism, right down to the T…. Image, proprieties, protocol. Often times society today thinks they no longer matter. But things go in phases and such things will once again come into importance (remember, I’ve been around long enough to see this. The older baby boomers were the epitome of unprofessionalism in the 60’s).

    Here’s what I mean: While Arizonbrian’s post and the comments that follow are an interesting read, they’re littered with typos and poor grammar. It’s phenomenal that we’re doing so much more reading and writing than, say, ten years ago. However, we’ve also become lazy in the way we do it.

    Take heed: Good writing, if it doesn’t seem important now, will once again be very important. Very professional. You never know who will be reading what you’ve written. You never know when the next generation will be labeling you as out of touch just by your writing.


  7. Brazen Careerist: A community for Millennials | The PR Practitioner - August 25th, 2009

    […] Careerist was founded by author and career columnist Penelope Trunk.  I had the opportunity to see Penelope speak at the 2008 PRSA International Conference. Penelope reminded us that Gen Y will soon be in middle […]

  8. Kaylee Lopez - May 25th, 2010

    My grandpa is also a Baby Boomer and we love him a lot.~,,


  9. Aimee Chapman - August 29th, 2010

    my grandfather is a baby boomer and i am quite proud of his longevity all these years-;,


  10. Carver - September 15th, 2011

    I ran across your web site, i believe your website is awsome, keep posting.


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