Spotlight on a Working Diva You Should Know
-The Working Diva
Who She Is: Judy Smith
What She Does: Guru, Author, and the #1 Fixer in the World
Why is she a Working Diva You Should Know?
Simply put, this woman is awesome. Who hasn’t heard of Scandal, one of the top rated shows on television to date? Be honest, how many times have you and your co-workers rushed to the break room to talk about the latest episode? From the great fashions, to enthralling storyline, Olivia Pope (brilliantly portrayed by actress Kerry Washington) and her cast of gladiators is a hit with television viewers 18-49 years of age according to TV by the Numbers.
You may not be aware that there is a real Olivia Pope and she is what inspired the hit television series that everyone is talking about. Her name is Judy Smith and she runs the crisis management firm Smith & Co. based in, you guessed it, Washington D.C. According to her website, her firm specializes in “providing crisis management, strategic communications, public affairs and public relations counsel to clients facing a broad spectrum of issues and challenges.” She is, just like the t.v. show says, a fixer.
Judy Smith has been the brains behind the best PR moves in some of the most public scandals. Her clients have included everyone from Monica Lewinsky, to Michael Vick. Her Global experience includes assisting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s leadership with its communication efforts as part of the War on Terrorism.
In 1991 she joined the White House as the Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H. W. Bush. Her accomplishments are impressive and she is a shining example of what can be accomplished and the many avenues one career path can take you.
How did she do it?
Education and hard work. She attended Boston University where she graduated with her B.S. degree in Public Relations. Afterwards she enrolled in American University and graduated with her Law Degree. Judy was the first African-American woman to serve as executive editor of the American University Law Review.
So, how can you do it?
If you have the chance, go back to school and get a degree in Public Relations. Or you can try to use the current skills that you have (if relevant) and get your Public Relations Accreditation. Many university extensions offer them such as UCLA. You can also check out the Public Relations Society of America, they offer a PR credential that you can earn as well as providing resources and connections to PR firms that are hiring. If you are new in your college career, or are thinking of a career change, Public Relations could be the field for you.
Remember, studying those that are considered excellent in their field can be inspiring for the rest of us. It can also show us that the steps they took to achieve success, are steps that we too can follow.
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