Whether the problem is debt, infidelity, indiscretion or merely an embarrassing email sent to the wrong reader, we have all found ourselves in bad situations of our own making. And whether that puts you in a delicate position or a full-blown crisis, it can sometimes feel as if there is no way out. Enter Judy Smith, America’s number one crisis management expert. Smith is on speed dial for some of the highest-profile celebrities, politicians and corporations in the world. But though her business is helping her clients recover from widely publicized personal and professional setbacks, her expertise is applicable to all.
“I tell everybody that they have to be conscious of what their own brand is, and create that for yourself,” said Smith. “It can be whether you are a dentist, lawyer, executive assistant – whatever that is, figure out what your brand is. A lot of times when I am doing executive coaching, I often ask the questions: 'What do people think of you at work? What are the three or four things you would like for them to say about your work?' I think that individuals need to take initiative in creating what their brand should be, and I think sometimes people do it unconsciously.”
Smith, the author of “Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities into Your Biggest Assets” (Free Press, $26), has a client list that includes Monica Lewinsky, the Chandra Levy family and Michael Vick. Drawing on more than 20 years of professional experience, Smith explains that the way to get through a personal or professional rough spot is by understanding the traits that can lead to our wildest successes and most painful failures. She has learned to identify high-risk situations that often lead to marital, financial, professional or personal imprudence; her ability to anticipate potential personal disasters has allowed her to coach people prior to, as well as in the wake of, crisis. She has identified seven traits that are often found at the root of a crisis. They are: ego, denial, fear, ambition, accommodation, patience and indulgence. These traits can be positive and extremely useful, but can cause problems when they fall out of balance.
Smith is also the inspiration behind ABC’s hit series, “Scandal,” and will deliver the keynote address during this week's second annual “The State of the Industry” event hosted by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society, Philadelphia Public Relations Association and the Public Relations Society of American –Philly Chapter.
“Once we learned that the TV series 'Scandal' was based on Judy Smith, it only made sense to bring her to Philadelphia for this year’s State of the Industry,” said Shalimar Blakely, Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society board chair. “Attendees are definitely in for an information-packed event that will help elevate their careers to the next level.”
The State of the Industry event takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 7:30 a.m. to noon at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St. For additional information, visit www.pbprs.com.