A Facebook post by Erin Brockovich spurred concern by Plano residents over the local water supply. (Photo by Dean Terry via Flickr)


A Lesson From Erin Brockovich In Getting the Most Out of Your Keynote Talks

The environmental activist decided last fall to come to North Texas to address a charity event. The water stuff came later.

You’ve got to hand it to Erin Brockovich. The environmental activist who was portrayed by Julia Roberts in an eponymous movie 18 years ago is developing a knack for ginning up scary headlines that are linked—coincidentally?—to her previously booked speaking gigs. We’ve just seen a great example here in North Texas, where a recent Facebook post by Brockovich got a bunch of Plano residents up in arms about the local water supply.

At a meeting Thursday night, according to a page 1 report in The Dallas Morning News, the activist addressed 500 people “clamoring for more information” about water quality here. (Never mind that water officials called her information “hype.”) Wrote the DMN: “Brockovich said she and her colleague Bob Bowcock, a water quality expert, hadn’t come to Texas to pursue litigation over water quality. Rather, she said, they came after residents filled her inbox with emailed concerns about their water …”

Uh, not exactly. Brockovich actually came to Texas to be the keynote speaker at today’s third annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club—an appearance that was announced last fall. Then again, alarming posts before a speech have happened before with Brockovich, who’s been touted as earning as much as $50,000 per keynote talk. (Nothing wrong with that; free enterprise and all.)

On March 10, 12 days before Brockovich was set to be keynote speaker at the Memphis Women’s Summit, she wrote another Facebook post blasting the city of Memphis for “disgusting, illegal, and wrong” dumping of wastewater into the Mississippi River. Some commenters noted that the incident was an accident, and that the city was already spending hundreds of millions of dollars on systemic improvements. But the post probably didn’t hurt ticket sales to see the consumer advocate—and unparalleled marketing maestro—keynote the March 22 summit.