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Judy A. Smith and Chris Bashinelli to speak at the TWU Cultural Connections Leadership Conference Nov. 7-9


DENTON — Crisis management expert Judy A. Smith – the inspiration for the successful ABC television series Scandal – and television host and global explorer Chris Bashinelli are the featured speakers for Texas Woman’s University’s Cultural Connections Leadership Conference Nov. 7-9.

Judy A. Smith will speak during the opening evening of the conference on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. and Chris Bashinelli will speak on Friday, Nov. 8 at 9 a.m. in Hubbard Hall. For more information and a detailed schedule, visit

Registration for the conference is $30 for the general public, $10 for TWU students and $15 for TWU faculty and staff. The registration deadline is Nov. 6. On-site registration is $50 for the general public, $20 for TWU students and $25 for TWU faculty and staff. For more information or to register, visit or call (940) 898-3679.

Judy A. Smith
Ms. Smith is the founder and president of Smith & Company, a strategic and crisis communications firm with offices in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. Ms. Smith has served as a consultant for a host of high profile celebrity and entertainment clients over the course of her career, including Monica Lewinsky, Sen. Larry Craig from Idaho, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., actor Wesley Snipes, NFL quarterback Michael Vick and the family of Chandra Levy.

As a crisis management expert, Ms. Smith is an experienced and sought-after commentator. She frequently appears on major television networks such as CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, NBC, ABC and CBS to offer commentary on topical issues of the day. Ms. Smith also lectures on crisis management before corporate boards, academic institutions and other professional groups.

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.

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 Emmy-winning series Scandal revolves around the life and work of professional fixer Olivia Pope, whose character is inspired by Ms. Smith. Ms. Smith serves as co-executive producer of the project and provides insight and technical expertise on crisis management issues.

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

Chris Bashinelli
As host and executive producer of the internationally recognized television series Bridge the Gap, Mr. Bashinelli travels the globe from Tanzania to Thailand to experience life in someone else's shoes.

He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to Italian and Lebanese parents. His childhood friends shared a combined total of 13 nationalities, which significantly shaped his worldview.

After a successful acting career, including an appearance on The Sopranos, Chris decided to follow his passion of global activism. At age 20, he moved to Tanzania to experience life in the developing world first hand and, ever since he has been sharing his experiences of travelling, working and cultures from around world.

Mr. Bashinelli has spoken internationally at universities, conferences, corporate events and, frequently, at the United Nations. In 2011 at age 24, he became the youngest male to moderate the United Nationals International Day of Peace. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Amanda Simpson
Director of Media Relations

page updated 10/2/2014 10:58 AM