Judy Smith, Inspiration for Hit TV Show ‘Scandal,’ to Speak at Mercer University


MACON – Mercer University will welcome Judy Smith, the inspiration behind the hit television show “Scandal,” to speak on Wednesday, 6-7 p.m., in Willingham Auditorium. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by QuadWorks, the University's student-led campus activities board.

Smith is founder and president of Smith & Company, a leading strategic and crisis communications firm with offices in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Over the last 25 years, 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.

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 D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, the 1991 Gulf War, the Los Angeles riots, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas, the President Bill 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.

Perhaps best known in media circles for her expertise as a crisis management adviser, Smith has served as a consultant for a host of high-profile, celebrity and entertainment clients over the course of her career including, but not limited to, Lewinsky, Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., actor Wesley Snipes, NFL quarterback Michael Vick and the family of Chandra Levy.

In addition to her work as a communications adviser during high-profile engagements, 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.

On the domestic front, Smith continues to be involved in many of the public policy issues facing the nation. She has worked with several federal agencies and organizations on issues including the housing crisis, childhood obesity, education and economic development.

In the international arena, Smith 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 (Save Zimbabwe Campaign). In addition, she assisted the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's leadership with its communication efforts as part of the War on Terrorism.

Smith has been featured in numerous national publications including the Washington Post, National Journal, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company,and writes regularly on current events for the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast. 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 to offer commentary on topical issues of the day. Smith also lectures on crisis management before corporate boards, academic institutions and other professional groups.

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. 

Kyle Sears
Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​