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Keynote Speaker 2014

Judy Smith

Crisis Management Expert, Real Life Inspiration for the Hit ABC Drama Scandal

Judy A. Smith is the founder and President of Smith & Company, a leading strategic and crisis communications firm with offices in Washington, DC and Los Angeles. Over the last 25 years, Ms. Smith has brought her unique combination of communication skills, media savvy, legal and political acumen to clients facing a wide array of issues and challenges throughout the United States and abroad.

Ms. Smith honed her skills through her experiences with some of the most historic and sensational events of our time, including the Iran Contra investigation, the prosecution of former Washington, DC Mayor Marion Barry, the 1991 Gulf War, the Los Angeles riots, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas, the President Clinton scandal involving Monica Lewinsky, the congressional inquiry of Enron, the General Petraeus CIA scandal, and the United Nations Foundation and World Health Organization response to the SARS epidemic.

In addition to her work as a communications advisor during high profile engagements, Ms. Smith also serves as a counselor to Fortune 500 corporations and has provided strategic advice on a variety of corporate communications issues such as mergers and acquisitions, product recalls, intellectual property litigation, corporate positioning, diversity and other challenges.

Prior to founding Smith & Company, Ms. Smith was a partner at several Washington D.C.- based public relations firms. Before that, Ms. Smith served as Senior Vice-President of Corporate Communications at NBC where she reported directly to the President and CEO and was responsible for the network’s strategic global communications strategy. Additionally, she served as NBC’s chief spokesperson for domestic and international programming and business ventures, and also helped with the groundbreaking launch of one of the nation’s first cable news stations, MSNBC.

In 1991, Ms. Smith joined the White House with her appointment as Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H. W. Bush. During her tenure she provided the President and his Cabinet with communications advice on a wide range of foreign and domestic issues.

Prior to joining the White House, Ms. Smith served as an Assistant United States Attorney and was Special Counsel to the US Attorney of the District of Columbia. Ms. Smith served as Associate Counsel and Deputy Director of Public Information in the Office of the Independent Counsel, Lawrence E. Walsh from 1987 to 1989.

Ms. Smith has been featured in numerous national publications, and is an experienced and sought after commentator as a crisis management expert. She frequently appears on major television networks such as CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, NBC, ABC, and CBS to offer commentary on topical issues of the day. Ms. Smith also lectures on crisis management before corporate boards, academic institutions, and other professional groups.

Prior to her legal career, Ms. Smith worked as a writer and public affairs specialist for several publications and private organizations headquartered in Washington, DC. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations from Boston University and graduated from the American University Washington College of Law where she was the first African-American woman to serve as Executive Editor of the Law Review.

As a result of her wide ranging and ground breaking career, Shonda Rhimes, creator of ABC’s hit television dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, developed a television drama about the world of crisis management inspired by Ms. Smith. The series entitled, Scandal, revolves around the life and work of a professional fixer. Ms. Smith serves as Co- Executive Producer of the project and provides insight and technical expertise on crisis management issues.

Ms. Smith is the author of the book, Good Self, Bad Self, published by Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. She has received numerous communications and leadership awards and is active in community service.

 

 

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