On Thursday, March 10th, Miami University’s Women in Leadership Symposium welcomed Judy Smith, founder and president of Smith & Company and inspiration for drama series “Scandal”, to present to students and faculty. Smith & Co. serves government, corporate, individual and non-profit clients through crisis management and communications. Smith consulted for high-profile clients such as Monica Lewinsky, Senator Craig from Idaho, NFL quarterback Michael Vick, and the family of Chandra Levy.
Smith is a practiced individual in the field of crisis management. Smith has provided management to heads of state on matters in nations including the Philippines, Haiti, Jamaica and Zimbabwe. Today, Smith continues involvement with domestic issues on the housing crisis, education and economic development.
Advice from Judy Smith on leading through crises:
- Tell the truth. The message you are presenting needs to be believable and transparent. To the extent that you can, you always want to control the narrative.
- Know the facts. Be objective and understand all the facts surrounding the situation. Know the facts, not what you wish they were or could be.
- Own your mistake. Take ownership of the issue and be authentic in confronting the problem.
- Be a leader. You have to lead, make the tough decisions and stand by them. All decisions you make must be clear and decisive. If something being said is untrue about the core of your company, be decisive.
- Define your space. Be very clear on where you stand morally within society and as an individual. Be clear about who you are as a person, define your brand.
- Have discretion. Know what information can be shared internally and externally. Act in such a way that avoids causing offense or reveals private information.