Turns out, although ABC’s Scandal has some pretty outrageous characters and plots, the show is actually based off a real woman! The main character of Scandal, Olivia Pope, a crisis management expert or “fixer” is actually based directly off Judy Smith.
Judy Smith graduated with a public relations degree from Boston University and founded her own strategic and crisis communication firm called Smith & Company where, like Olivia Pope, Smith represents many high-profile political, athletic and entertainment figures including Kobe Bryant and Paula Deen.
Smith has even been the public relations expert behind the scenes of many real-life scandals that have made national news. For example, one of Smith’s biggest cases was representing Monica Lewinsky after news broke of her relationship with President Clinton.
She was also the PR expert behind the scenes of a scandal that erupted in 2007 after professional football player Michael Vick was accused of operating a dog-fighting ring in Virginia.
As if that wasn’t enough, Smith even worked in the White House! During her time as Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary for the Bush Administration, she provided the president with communication advice regarding the Gulf War and US-Kuwaiti relations.
Obviously, Judy Smith has a very impressive resume that definitely warrants a hit-television show but a lot can also be learned from her successful career. For example, never talk about your clients: Obviously, the scandals Smith has been involved in were splashed across all media outlets. However, until recently most had never heard of Judy Smith. This is because she has a reputation of never speaking of her past clients, which is definitely a necessity in crisis PR.
Many have asked Smith the key to her success and her response is a lesson to be remembered for all aspiring PR professionals: “Constant work and focus,” she explains. In most careers in PR, professionals will be handling many different accounts and clients; therefore, it is necessary to work hard and stay focused to keep up with their demanding needs.
Do you think Judy Smith’s wide range of clients and success makes her the ultimate PR star?
This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Emily Charles.