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JUDY SMITH- Thursday, November 7, 2013, 6pm 

Judy A. Smith is the 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.

Perhaps best known in media circles 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 including, but not limited to, Monica Lewinsky, Senator Craig from Idaho, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., actor Wesley Snipes, NFL quarterback Michael Vick, and the family of Chandra Levy.

Smith is an experienced and sought after commentator as a crisis management expert. 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.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations from Boston University and graduated from the American University Washington College of Law where she was the first African-American woman to serve as Executive Editor of the Law Review.

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 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 has received numerous communications and leadership awards and is active in community service. 
To learn more about Judy Smith, please visit

CHRIS BASHINELLI - Friday, November 8, 2013, 9am

Chris Bashinelli 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 world view. After a successful acting career, including an appearance on The Sopranos (HBO), Chris decided to follow his passion. At 20 years old he moved to Tanzania to experience life in the developing world firsthand. Whether he's running from killer bees in Uganda or gutting raw fish with migrant laborers in Abu Dhabi - Chris presents us with a new way of looking at our world.

As Host and Executive Producer of the internationally recognized series, Bridge the Gap, Chris traverses the globe from Tanzania to Thailand to experience life in someone else's shoes.

Chris is a sought after International Speaker who has appeared around the world at universities, conferences, corporate events, and frequently for the United Nations. In 2011, Chris became the youngest male to moderate the UN International Day of Peace at 24 years old. He continues to share his message of the “Global Stoop” we all share.

Chris graduated from Marymount Manhattan College, Cum Laude with a BA in Theatre Arts.
To learn more about Chris Bashinelli, please visit

NINA GODIWALLA - Friday, November 8, 2013, 3:30pm

Nina Godiwalla is the CEO of MindWorks, which provides leadership, stress management, and diversity training to companies around the world. She is also the bestselling author of Suits: A Woman on Wall Street, an insider’s perspective on her experience at Morgan Stanley from the outsider’s point of view of a second-generation Indian woman. The New York Times described the internationally acclaimed book as the “Devil Wears Prada” of investment banking.

Godiwalla has been sought out as a leadership expert by prominent institutions including the White House, Harvard Business School, NASA, the Smithsonian, the Wall Street Journal Women’s CEO Summit, Aspen Institute and TED Conference. Before becoming an internationally recognized speaker, Godiwalla spent almost a decade working for Fortune 500 corporations. Joining influential women such as Barbara Bush and Sandra Day O’Connor, Godiwalla was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. Recently she accepted an invitation to serve on a White House Roundtable. She also serves on Texas Governor’s Business Leadership Council and has been honored as the Outstanding Young Houstonian for 2013.

She is often featured in major media including USA Today, Forbes, TIME Magazine, NPR, MSNBC, and CNN. In addition to being a certified stress management instructor, Godiwalla holds an MBA from Wharton, a master’s degree from Dartmouth, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas.

page last updated 4/17/2014 3:13 PM