Crisis Management Expert, Inspiration for “Scandal” Judy Smith to Deliver Lasell’s Commencement Address

Crisis Management Expert, Inspiration for “Scandal” Judy Smith to Deliver Lasell’s Commencement Address

March 10, 2015

Judy Smith, a leading crisis management advisor to Fortune 500 companies and high profile individuals and the inspiration for the TV series Scandal, will deliver the Commencement address for Lasell College on Sunday, May 17, 2015, announced Lasell College President Michael B. Alexander.

Best known in media circles as a crisis management strategist, Smith, the founder and President of her own strategic and crisis communications firm Smith & Company, has served as a consultant for many high profile, celebrity and entertainment clients including Monica Lewinsky, NFL quarterback Michael Vick, and the family of Chandra Levy. She has also counseled Fortune 500 corporations and provided strategic advice on a variety of corporate communications issues, working with such companies as BellSouth, Union Pacific, Nextel, and United Healthcare.

In recent years, she has become widely known as the inspiration for the hit TV series Scandal, which revolves around the life and work of a professional fixer. Smith serves as Co- Executive Producer of the project.

"We are pleased and excited that Judy Smith will be the featured speaker at Lasell Commencement this year," said President Alexander. "Her breadth of business and legal experience will be an inspiration to our students and families. I have no doubt that she will provide sound advice to our graduates as they prepare to face the challenges of building their own professional careers," said Alexander.

Smith began her career as a writer and public affairs specialist in Washington D.C. She then launched a legal career as Associate Counsel and Deputy Director of Public Information in the Office of the Independent Counsel. She also served as an Assistant United States Attorney and was Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney of the District of Columbia.

Later, she joined the White House with her appointment as Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H. W. Bush, providing the President and his Cabinet with communications advice on a wide range of foreign and domestic issues.

Prior to founding Smith and Company, Smith was a partner at several Washington D.C. - based public relations firms and 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. She also served as NBC's chief spokesperson for domestic and international programming and business ventures, and helped with the launch of one of the nation's first cable news stations, MSNBC.

Internationally, she has provided counsel to several heads of state and executives of major corporations on matters in the Philippines, Haiti, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Zimbabwe and assisted the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's leadership with its communication efforts as part of the War on Terrorism.

Her portfolio of work also encompasses the sports arena where she has been involved in legal matters concerning National Basketball Association players Kobe Bryant, Chris Webber and Juwan Howard, National Football League player Donte Stallworth, and Major League Baseball player Gary Sheffield.

Smith is the author of the crisis management book Good Self, Bad Self and has received numerous communications and leadership awards.

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.

At Commencement, which will be held at 11 a.m. on Taylor Field at Lasell's Newton, MA campus, Smith will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters.