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Aww Shift

Jun 20, 2023

Today Aww Shift welcomes the guest Dawn Hudson who has survived and thrived in this world and had massive success. I had amazing conversations on different topics, like how we can find ways to help women see what they can do and how she had done that with her band of sisters. Today will be a thinking day. I’m excited about these people as they have walked in different areas of life many people have not experienced. They have their own Aww Shift moments in different regions but evolved to navigate their success on other people.

(3:16)Who do you see yourself to be?

I don’t know; I can even describe who I am. What I can tell you is the promising career path I had and was privileged to take. I went to a career path site in Boston, my mom went to Wesley, my father was an attorney, and I had to follow my mom to Wesley. I’m a little bit more competitive and want to change it up. I discovered a dorm in college in the woods in Hampshire. And I love to hike and sport in school.

From there, I went to advertising, which was a terrific way to learn business across many categories. It was a field that had a few women. Interesting, it is now changed quite a bit today. From there, life happened when my clients hired me. When I worked with Pepsi, it needed to reconnect with the next generation; the Pepsi drinkers were to reconnect with music and sport. We had a vast set of sports relationships within Football. We were successful and had a chance to work with Gianna Fel, who operated for 11 years.

(6:19)What do you think about what stands out as one of the most unique and unseen aspects you had to walk through?

I think I’m trying to learn football. I wish I had tried to play, but I didn’t have that opportunity. In an environment where most senior leaders are men, sitting around the table can be intimidating. When the number of former professional football players, I may think I know football, but I can’t hesitate to give my opinion on a call or a game change. No matter how much you try to improve your weaknesses and improve yourself, you should be yourself by contributing differently. What I brought to the table was the generational shift in football today from people who follow teams and what they do on Sundays. They follow multiple teams and players using their phones within minutes. That is what I brought to the table, being myself.

(8:50)How paramount is this diversity important to human beings or the company?

I joined Pepsico in the late ’90s. When I joined, it was a men’s environment. Pepsico was a very opportunity environment. They believe the world is diverse in many aspects. If a company didn’t change its recruiting and culture to attract various people and make them stay, it would not stay in that business in the future. I was lucky enough to be a part of and a leader. So I watched the company’s transition from a very white male-focused to a diverse place. If you have any business problem, gather people from different backgrounds; that diversity of perspectives will solve the problem faster and more successfully. So I lived and believed it. One of the things I’m passionate about and why I joined the Band of sisters today is to get your members up to recruit diverse people, which allows you to make a culture that will enable people to feel more comfortable from different backgrounds. 

(11:22)Did you experience any kickback from people not embracing 100% of these new changes?

Anthony, I was lucky I was not kicked in my face. When I worked in advertising, I was asked to join with a type 1 detergent product, but I needed to work with sports products. I was not excited. However, it was a massive move for others as I was the first woman working on such a vast project. Typically, what you have performed in your job and your strengths are evaluated when offering the next job to you. The company was so good. But one day, a person called me and said, “You won’t make it here; you are not our type. I’ll do everything by my power that you’re not going to make it”. Lucky for me, I had that confidence. I played back, and other people helped me. When I had an issue, I confronted them without complicating the situation.

(15:11)Did you always have the mentality to develop something over time?

It developed earlier in my career watching others. One of my successors had ways of raising complex subjects that aren’t personal or as an attack interpreted as angry and aggressive. A lot of people grow things appropriately. How they do it is misinterpreted, and overreaction is the other side. You should try to help others and have more connections. It will be infectious if you are excited and enthusiastic because you feel like you can bring that. The role of a leader is to make sure that the people in the organization are comfortable being at work, and knowing the different capabilities and personalities will bring more business success.

(18:24)Did you share what you believe?

Mentors are someone who gives you knowledge and perspective, helping you to perform better over time. I needed mentors for packaging development and operations to get more advice when I entered marketing. When a decision is made, the mentors are not in the room. So, think about who you want to sponsor; someone senior in your direct line can be in the same department. How one person gets selected rather than another is quite an advocate for you. 

(21:48)Can you unpack what the band of sisters is about and how your team is together?

The band of sisters consists of 6 women from different races, single, married, with and without kids. We work together at Pepsico. We support each other and share stories. But sometimes the stories could be more funny. We discussed how to educate younger women and help with what we had earlier experienced and thought to bring men into the conversation. Before the pandemic, we started speaking and advertising on this and decided to get more examples and materials. When the pandemic hit, we collected 360 stories and decided to write a book instead of speaking. We needed it to be inclusive and gain help from others, including men.

(32:09)Did you think through which ones were the more important to put into the book? What was that conversation like?

We looked through the themes. Pepsico is powerful in personal development. We had a very affinitive process to see people get together and talk with each other. How they should be judged: performing metrics like future capabilities were considered. We need to get together the things to make sense. We need to give a book of flow about the situations.

(34:43)What was the exact name of the book?

You must get specific advice to bring attention to a situation. We don’t want to handle the situation differently. We have used three voices about how we dealt with the problem. So the people can relate. 

(39:57)What is next for the band of sisters?

We continue working with companies and associations and coaching and mentoring people. A book is a piece of helping others. We don’t know whether we will write a book or not.

(40:33)What transpired in your world?

In my world, we spend a lot of time with a band of sisters. From my business standpoint, I get invitations to come and talk to extend my impact. It is exciting to dive into the subject. I wouldn’t do it if it were not comfortable for me.

(43:20)Where can the people access the book and you?

We have a website called “,” and you can buy the book from Amazon and bookstores. You can follow any of us from Linkedin or the band of sisters. The contact list is there.

(43:56)What promise did god make to the world when he created you?

The best comment that anybody made me said was, “You don’t give up,” and you will help others.

Key Quotes 

(17:37-17:56)The role of a leader is to make sure that the people in the organization are comfortable being at work and knowing the different capabilities and personalities will bring more business success.

(10:07-10:27)The diversity of perspectives will solve the problems faster and more successfully. 

How to connect with Dawn Hudson


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