Realizing she was playing with a hot hand, Edwards had shrewdly cultivated The Dallas Morning News , which had sent a writer. She knew that "everybody" in JCPenney management would read a feature on the business page of the Dallas paper. Assuming that the report was favorable, this ink would nourish various agendas at the new Penney headquarters complex. Considerably down the food chain, this included those of Edwards and her colleagues in sports marketing.
Working through Penney's PR department on the sly, she also had several other media reps attending , including stringers for the national retail and sports trade press. So there was the press to worry about, plus the overall reaction to the material. When a corporate program strayed away from the expected, there was never any guarantee of success. And conferences with press coverage could be dangerous to careers.
Aside from the sporadic intense pressure, Carol Edwards had what appeared to be an enviable job at JCPenney. Because of the nature of sports marketing and Edwards' special competency, she had ready and frequent access to her company's executive suite. There, she had managed to catch the eye of new Executive Vice President Gale Duff-Bloom. Edwards's title was manager of sports programs, and she was, in effect, the producer of tomorrow's keynote and coproducer of the preceding two- hour Summit session.
JCPenney sponsored several women-oriented events, with an emphasis on golf. These included the LPGA "Skins Game" and the "JCPenney Classic" (a mixed team tournament ), seen every year on ABC. Senior Penney executives were always visible at these events, especially chairman/CEO W. R. Howell. Now came a most unusual moment in the Penney sports scheme. The summit was a comparatively small corporate event with an offbeat team of only four from JCPenneythe three staffers and a Fortune 50 CEO. Yet this keynote event was so potentially important that it had started near the top (where conference matters almost never do) and, in the interest of secrecy and control, arrangements had completely bypassed Penney's company communications producers .