Judy Smith Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Judy Smith              

America's Premier Crisis Management Expert; Inspiration for ABC's "Scandal"

Judy A. Smith is a crisis strategist and communications advisor who The Washington Post describes as “America’s best-known corporate fixer.”

For more than 25 years, Ms. Smith has counseled presidents and world leaders through global crises, advised Fortune 50 CEOs through complex challenges, and helped manage the reputations of some of the world’s highest-profile individuals. In 1993, she founded Smith & Company, a strategic advisory firm considered to be one of the top crisis firms in the world, that has offices in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York and London.

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. She 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 D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, the 1991 Gulf War, the Los Angeles riots, the President Clinton scandal involving Monica Lewinsky, the congressional inquiry of Enron, the General Petraeus CIA scandal, the Sony Corporation hacking crisis, as well as the United Nations Foundation and World Health Organization response to the SARS epidemic. Additionally, she is currently serving as a trusted advisor at the forefront of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Perhaps best known in media circles for her expertise as a crisis management advisor, Ms. Smith is on speed dial for a host of high-profile celebrity and entertainment clients over the course of her career including, but not limited to, Angelina Jolie, Monica Lewinsky, Senator Craig from Idaho, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., actor Wesley Snipes and the family of Chandra Levy. That work involves everything from managing unwanted press attention to rehabilitating reputations.

In addition to her work as a communications advisor during high profile moments, Ms. Smith is a long-time counselor to some of the world’s largest and most influential companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Panera, Lowes, Sony, Kaiser, United Healthcare, and Walmart. She provides her clients with strategic advice on a variety of corporate communications issues such as mergers and acquisitions, product recalls, intellectual property litigation, corporate positioning, diversity and other corporate, investor and public relations matters.

A former federal prosecutor, Ms. Smith worked in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia as well as the Office of the Independent Counsel, where she handled high-profile investigations. Ms. Smith cut her teeth in communications and crisis in the halls of the West Wing. She served as Deputy Press Secretary to President George H.W. Bush, during which time she worked on a host of domestic and international issues. Ms. Smith holds a Bachelor’s in Science in public relations from Boston University and a JD from the American University Washington College of Law, where she was the first Black woman to serve on the Executive Board of the Law Review.

Ms. Smith frequently appears in print and on television to offer commentary on crisis management. She has been featured in numerous national publications including: the Washington Post, National Journal, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company. Ms. Smith 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. Ms. Smith also speaks at events throughout the year before conference audiences, corporate boards, academic institutions, and other professional groups. She is the author of the book Good Self, Bad Self, which was published in 2012 by an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and which The New York Journal of Books described as containing “a wealth of insight.”

As a result of her wide ranging and ground-breaking career, Ms. Smith inspired the hit TV series entitled, Scandal, which revolved around the life and work of a professional fixer. Ms. Smith served as Co- Executive Producer of the project and provided insight and technical expertise on crisis management issues. Ms. Smith’s advice and counsel has been valuable to corporate boardrooms and she currently serves on the boards for Save the Children, Global Citizen and Ariel Investments. Ms. Smith has received numerous communications and leadership awards and is active in community service.

Speech Topics

Women in Corporate America: From Competition to Collaboration

Social Media Revolution or Evolution: Crisis Communication & Public Relations in the Digital Age

Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities into Your Biggest Assets

Whether the problem is debt, infidelity, indiscretion, or merely an embarrassing email sent to the wrong reader, we have all found ourselves in bad situations of our own making. And whether that puts you in a delicate position or a full-blown crisis, it can sometimes feel as if there is no way out. Enter Judy Smith, America's #1 crisis management expert. In "Good Self, Bad Self," based on her book by the same name, Smith shares her methods, gleaned from years of professional experience, for smoothing over a bad situation while providing the tools to prevent similar incidents from ever happening again.

Exploring the underlying factors of some very public and often unpleasant scandals, Smith shows how different situations could have been prevented. As she shares her method of repairing the damage that these situations can cause, Smith also explains what we can all be doing in our own lives to prevent a crisis from getting started. Nobody's perfect, and the same character traits that bring us success can lead to our downfall. It is the way each of us deals with personal character flaws that dictates whether we're going to succeed or fail. In "Good Self, Bad Self," Judy Smith distills years of experience to share the tools we all need to face our mistakes and ultimately overcome them.

Crisis 101: Surviving & Thriving in an Era of Perpetual Crisis

The instant and global nature of the Information Age has made the ability to navigate crises of all stripes a critical component of an organization's success. Due to perpetual 24/7 news cycles and ever-expanding digital media platforms, it is harder than ever to successfully communicate a message or shape public opinion. In this presentation, speaker Judy Smith - one of the nation's top crisis managers - outlines the best practices in crisis management she has gleaned over 25 years of experience on the frontlines of many of the most high-profile crises and scandals around the world.


Fox Developing Legal Drama Inspired & Produced By 'Scandal ...
Fox has given a script plus penalty commitment to Justice, legal drama from Scandal co-executive producer Judy Smith.
Michael Strahan and Judy Smith at Chicago Ideas Week ...
Two Ideas Week contributors you may recognize are Michael Strahan and the " real Olivia Pope," Washington crisis-management expert Judy Smith. It's been a ...
'Scandal'-ous Judy Smith in Brangelina spotlight - CNN.com
The real-life inspiration behind ABC's hit show "Scandal" has helped celebrities, politicians and major companies deal with a variety of crises. Judy Smith, here ...
Angelina Jolie's Team Working with Judy Smith Amid Brad Pitt ...
Jolie's team has retained the help of legendary crisis manager Judy Smith, amid the actress' ongoing divorce with Brad Pitt. Multiple sources have confirmed to ...
Judy Smith Enters the Petraeus Spotlight - NYTimes.com
Judy Smith is a rescue artist for people mired in scandal, including Monica Lewinsky and now Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite who touched off the sex scandal ...
Paula Deen Hires Judy Smith, Crisis Manager And Inspiration ...
As the Paula Deen saga closes out its third week and the jury continues to deliberate on whether the celebrity chef's formerly charming-as-cherry-pie persona ...

Related Speakers View all

More like Judy