When the mighty fall, they call Judy
Alumna and crisis advisor Judy Smith (CGS ’78 COM ’80) established a career by managing the secrets of several celebrity clients. Her work even helped inspire the character Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) in ABC’s drama Scandal.
With the rise of Facebook, hidden cameras and “deleted emails,” these are boom times for Smith and her business. She takes care of her clients (for an undisclosed fee), silencing the torrent of potentially career-damaging Internet chatter, putting out a message to move people beyond the mess.
In her recent novel, Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities into Your Biggest Assets, she outlined the struggle of branding clients’ personal lives while maintaining their trust.
From BU Today:
The kind of person who even as a kid could be trusted with secrets, and kept her own to herself (“Why would you tell someone something and make them promise not to tell? I don’t do that.”), Smith knows the most intimate details of her clients’ lives. As a leader in a profession that demands discretion, she has applied that code since her days as a prosecutor and deputy press secretary during the George H. W. Bush administration. Former coworker Marlin Fitzwater has said Smith’s current job is a lot harder.
“What I love about this job is it’s unpredictable and I never get bored,” Smith says over a recent lunch in Washington. “At 9 a.m. we’re dealing with a hostile takeover; at 11 it’s a CEO about to get fired; at 11:45 it’s a celebrity in crisis—and that’s all before lunch.” Smith oversees a staff of 20, but shares detailed client information only with her longtime, indispensable assistant Chris Garrett. For the rest of the team, information is on a need-to-know basis, and Smith’s operation remains leak-free.
Read the full article in BU Today.