Daring Career Moves with Dawn Hudson

March 19, 2015

Dawn Hudson

We're thrilled that Dawn Hudson is delivering the opening keynote address at the Simmons Leadership Conference!

A rare combination of high-energy executive, consensus builder, and sports aficionado, Dawn Hudson is the newly named Chief Marketing Officer at the National Football League. 

What would you say is the most “daring” move you've made in your career? What did you learn from that experience?

I have always wanted to be head of a large agency and finally got the opportunity to run a 1000-person agency in NYC called DMBB. It was a troubled agency and I worked hard my first year to stabilize it and make people believe in its future. But then a former client, Frito-Lay, called and offered me a job to be Global CMO of Frito-Lay. I would be working out of NY, but most of my staff would be in Dallas and around the world. I learned to focus on the opportunity for self-improvement, to do something very different and personally expanding, to trust my judgment about the caliber of people and cultural fit, and to take a calculated risk, and in the end to go with my gut.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve gotten along the way?

Roger Enrico was CEO of PepsiCo when I was interviewing to be Global CMO of Frito-Lay. When asked to sell me on jumping from my ideal agency job to the client side, he said he would not sell one over the other, but that he had learned to take the job that was around people “you want to hang out with” because you arguably spend more time with the people at work than your own family and you should make sure you will enjoy it.

What was the last book you read?

Peyton Place. It was the Shades of Gray of its era. Written in the 50s, it shattered the ideal of the quiet proper New England town. While it was a light “escape” read, it also gave insight into the times and what would be considered mild by today’s standards. It also gave birth to a TV series that was more famous than the book.

Any tips for work/life integration?

Make to-do lists that integrate work and home to-do’s as they are equally important and many of the life to-do’s also have to be done during the day. Don’t compartmentalize and leave “life” to the evening only. Also, remember that the meeting you think is so important today will wait and likely span another meeting. Missing one of your children’s events will be remembered for a lifetime. No one ever asked their tombstone to read…”I wish I had worked an extra hour each day!”

How do you think women can support other women on their path to success?

Women can support other women by giving them great learning assignments, and reaching out and asking them how they are doing and grabbing a cup of coffee – particularly women not in their immediate department. Some women view other women as competition, wipe that subconscious thought out! More likely they are good people struggling with the same work/life balances.