Judy Smith will serve as keynote for Women of Color Leadership Conference on May 22

 The crisis management expert is the inspiration for TV’s “Scandal”

The University of Missouri-Kansas City will return to an all-day format for the Women of Color Leadership Conference with keynote speaker Judy Smith, the inspiration for the hit ABC-TV drama “Scandal.”

This year’s conference – “Empower Women through Creative Expression” – will begin at 8:30 a.m., with sign-in at 8 a.m.  The focus will include the connection between the arts, personal expression and leadership development. The cost is $25, and it is open to the public.

Sponsored by the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, the conference offers excellent workshops and panel discussions, as well as a keynote speaker. Smith – crisis management expert, leading strategist and former special assistant and deputy press secretary to George H. W. Bush – will speak during the luncheon at 12:30 p.m.

“Judy Smith is an exceptional speaker to address the art of communication, which ties in with the theme for this year’s conference,” said Susan Wilson, Vice Chancellor for the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. “We  not only have a keynote speaker who is well respected – nationally and internationally – in the world of crisis communications, but our  educational and inspirational workshops attract more than 200 women each year.”

Workshops cover topics that include “The Art of Communicating and Presenting – How to Get What You Want;” “Fearless Woman: Managing Conflict at Work, Home and in our Communities;” “Me, Lead? Yes, I Can;” “Entrepreneurial Woman: What Every Woman of Color Needs to Know about Wealth and How You Can Obtain It.”

Smith is the founder and president of Smith & Company, a leading strategic and crisis communications firm with offices in Washington, DC and Los Angeles.

She honed her skills through experiences with some historic and sensational events, including the Iran-Contra investigation, the prosecution of former Washington, DC Mayor Marion Barry and the President Bill Clinton scandal involving Monica Lewinsky.

Prior to founding her company, Smith was a partner at several public relations firms and served as senior vice president of corporate communications at NBC. Smith served as NBC’s chief spokesperson for domestic and international programming and business ventures, and helped with the groundbreaking launch of one of the nation’s first cable news stations, MSNBC.

Smith is author of “Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities into Your Biggest Assets,” which was released in 2012. She will sign books following her speech.

The conference will be held at the UMKC Student Union, 5100 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo. Registration is required. For additional details, visit the WOC Leadership Conference.


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