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Judy Smith shares insights on 'Scandal' and Olivia Pope. (WLS)

When Chicago native Shonda Rhimes interned at a law firm in the nation's capital, she became intrigued with the inner workings of the Beltway.

Fast forward several years. When Rhimes becomes the mega-hit producer, she schedules a meeting with Washington D.C. crisis manager Judy Smith. It was supposed to last just 15 minutes but went two hours, and before Smith could get to the parking lot, Rhimes said, "I must do a show about your life." So a Thursday night obsession was born.

Judy Smith was the keynote speaker at the Women's Business Development Conference here in Chicago. "Scandal" was inspired by her life when she worked as deputy press secretary in the White House.

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