As the White House Chief of Protocol, it's her job to ensure there are no embarrassing slip-ups when visiting dignitaries come to town.
But for Capricia Penavic Marshall, it was a slip of her own that caused some red faces at President Obama's latest State dinner.
Ms Marshall slipped backwards on the steps of the White House, with the president and first lady watching on.
Recovering her poise before the arrival of Mexico's President Felipe Calderon and his wife Margarita Zavala, she made light of her slip by pleading with photographers to spare her blushes.
Among those with coveted invitations for the four-course dinner in the East Room were a celebrity contingent that included Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Longoria Parker, George Lopez and Olympic speedskater Shani Davis.
Longoria Parker talked policy, saying it was an important time to be holding such a dinner with Mexican leaders, given the hot temperatures over immigration right now.
"You can't have these states doing their own punitive laws," she insisted, referring to Arizona's tough new immigration law.
Obama and Calderon launched the dinner with a toast to the friendship between their nations. Obama, in toasting Mexico's contributions to the world, singled out "some very good food, including the food of the gods -- chocolate".