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Calling all sponsors to be authentic!

I attended this festival last night, opening night.  The title sponsor, Rogers, had their vice president of marketing make a welcome speech.

Rogers Communications is a national company that reaches far into every community in Canada, both geographically and culturally.  It was very near horrifying to me when I heard the speech this senior executive made on behalf of this organization.

If you are an executive who is being asked to speak publicly on behalf of your company please demand that you get proper public speaking training and take the time to work with a communications consultant - not a PR-spin doctor - to craft your words.  Most of all, ensure that your words are authentic to your feelings.  If you cannot get excited about where you are giving your speech find someone else who can get excited about it.

Another thing, if your company is committed to diversity and you are speaking at a cultural event - send a member of your team who is from that community to speak on your company's behalf!

It seems like none of this was done by Rogers for this event.  I am appalled that a company of this reach and stature would take such a casual and flippant approach toward an event that was being held to celebrate one of the largest cultural groups in Toronto.

As for being true to their brand - or even giving this audience an impression of their brand, Rogers failed miserably.  Learn from the failings of others and please ensure that when you are presenting yourself to a live audience of your customers be authentic and be engaged.  If you are not then don't show up.  Your banner will do a better job than a disengaged presentation.