Gala's keynote speaker was inspiration for Scandal
TSU NEWS

Maroon and Gray Affair keynote speaker

was inspiration for Scandal

galaJudy Smith, president of Smith & Company, a top strategic and crisis communication firm in Washington, DC, will serve as keynote speaker for The Maroon & Gray Affair, a black-tie fund-raiser for Texas Southern University. The gala will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel Houston.

Smith’s career as a ‘professional fixer’ was the impetus for the groundbreaking television series, Scandal, starring Kerry Washington. Smith is co-executive producer of the show, sharing her technical expertise with Scandal’s award-winning creator, Shonda Rhimes. Scandal is currently in its sixth season on ABC.

The Maroon & Gray Affair draws inspiration from the University’s hallmark colors to present an evening of elegance in support of student scholarships and programs. TSU First Lady Loren Lane is chairing a committee comprised of a virtual “Who’s Who of Houston,” including Pamela Huewitt, Roslyn Mitchell, Gerald Smith, Argentina James, and other notable figures. The gala is in line with Mrs. Lane's vision to aid young scholars who, in turn, will contribute to the city, the nation and the world.

“Our goal is to improve our annual graduation and retention rates by providing our students with a bridge over their financial challenges. This University wants to do everything in its power to support these incredible young people so that they can matriculate unencumbered from the start of their freshman year to the moment they walk across the graduation stage in four years,” said Dr. Austin A. Lane, 12th president of Texas Southern University.

The Maroon & Gray Affair will feature a tribute to students and alumni, live entertainment and a silent auction. For more information about sponsorships, VIP tables or individual tickets, contact TSU’s Office of Development, visit www.tsu.edu or call TSU at 713-313-6844 or 713-313-1363.

 Judy Smith Biography:

Ms. Judy A. 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, Ms. 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.

As a result of her wide ranging and ground breaking career, Shonda Rhimes, creator of ABC’s hit television dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, developed a television drama about the world of crisis management inspired by Ms. Smith. The series entitled, Scandal, revolves around the life and work of a professional fixer. Ms. Smith serves as co- executive producer and provides insight and technical expertise on crisis management issues.

Ms. 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 President Clinton scandal involving Monica Lewinsky, the congressional inquiry of Enron, the General Petraeus CIA scandal, the Sony Corporation hacking crisis, and the United Nations Foundation and World Health Organization response to the SARS epidemic.

Perhaps best known for her expertise as a crisis management advisor, Ms. Smith has served as a consultant for a host of high profile, celebrity and entertainment clients over the course of her career. She has been featured in numerous national publications and writes on current events for the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast.  She frequently appears on major television networks to offer commentary on topical issues of the day.  

Prior to her legal career, Ms. Smith worked as a writer and public affairs specialist for several publications and private organizations headquartered in Washington, D.C.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree in public relations from Boston University and graduated from American University Washington College of Law where she was the first African-American woman to serve as executive editor of the Law Review.

Ms. Smith is the author of the book, Good Self, Bad Self, published by Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. She has received numerous communications and leadership awards and is active in community service.