As women in the accounting industry, we sometimes face unique obstacles on our path to success. Florence, an aerospace and mechanical engineer by training, was a Former Chief Technology Officer at IBM, a Chief Innovation Officer, and an aerospace engineer at Grumman and NASA; her success is a testament to women everywhere breaking glass ceilings, managing teams, and building inclusive workplace communities. Please enjoy this episode, where I had the honor to talk about these topics (and more!) with the incredible Florence Hudson.
1. BE YOUR OWN BASE, AND WEAR ARMOR
Florence recognizes that industry can be competitive and demoralizing at times; she explains that a necessary counter to uninspiring cultures and communities is a personal base of self-support, protected by a personal armor against negative comments and attitudes. Building a growth mindset helps to build the focus on believing in yourself; finding empathetic colleagues or cheerleaders to push you to believe in yourself matters too. While the invitations won’t always come, and the potential job offer won’t always be there, your mindset stays. A protected, armored mindset can handle small chips at the ego or self-esteem; continuous attacks though, Florence warns, may be a sign that the best step forward is changing your environment. The best environment supports your base of personal trust, amplifies it with cheerleaders, and keeps your armor untouched.
2. VALIDATE, VALIDATE, VALIDATE
We all need validation. When you’re in a space where no one else looks like you, this validation is sometimes hard to come by. Florence explains that validating others is the key step in supporting and cheerleading their efforts at success and growth in the industry. In the conference room, for example, Florence always attaches individual names to specific ideas, giving credit, validation, and excitement to those who are authentically sharing potential solutions. Florence explains that validation can help push back against individuals’ frustration when ideas are taken by others or simply overlooked. She pushes validation of others past the conference room, of course, too, with her work in SWE and many other incredible organizations.
3. LEVERAGE LINKEDIN, AND DATA SCIENCE
Florence explains that mentorship, sponsorship, and general networking can all become keys to success. The key, she explains, is to find the right fit - someone who inspires you to push for better, who you can learn from, and who may take you up on an offer for 30 minutes of coffee. Mentorship can cross interests, industries, genders, and even cities; you can have one for every hobby if you want! Florence recommends meetup.com and general LinkedIn searches to start building these connections. Florence has recently engaged in incredibly interesting projects using data science to analyze complex data, gain new insights and wisdom, and make better decisions. She hopes to make more people aware that this is a potential field for them, provide them enough access that they could find interest in it, and then give them the opportunity to flourish. If you’re interested in Data Science, she recommends starting out simply, at the National Student Data Corp website.
🎧 To learn more about how to succeed in a male-dominated field, Florence’s incredible journey throughout the data science world, and more mentorship advice from Cece Leung, listen to the Dear Accountant podcast here.
🎙 The “Dear Accountant” podcast is a uniquely insightful and entertaining podcast for aspiring young business professionals. Each episode is packed with actionable advice to help young finance professionals get ready for whatever challenge they may face next. Aside from all of the many cool things in accounting (technical topics and trends), we bring in industry experts and influential leaders to share their journey, insights, and perspectives. We will also cover topics that were not taught in school - life essential skills such as personal finance, emotional intelligence, mentorship, networking, body language, and human behaviors, and so much more!
💬 About our guest, Florence Hudson: Florence Hudson is the Founder & CEO of FDHint, LLC, a consulting firm focused on advanced technologies, diversity, and inclusion. She’s an aerospace and mechanical engineer by training, was a Former Chief Technology Officer at IBM, a Chief Innovation Officer, and an aerospace engineer at Grumman and NASA. She is Executive Director for the NSF-funded Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub at Columbia University, and formerly Special Advisor for TrustedCI – the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence at Indiana University. She serves on Boards at her alma mater Princeton, as well as Cal Poly, and Stony Brook Universities, Blockchain in Healthcare, and the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Standards Committee (EMB-SC).
📖 Get amazing advice from the 20 mentors in “Dear Accountant” Book: The book offers a unique immersion into the lives and careers of 20 inspiring leaders in finance from different disciplines - their backstories, pivotal moments, career trajectories, and hiccups along the way.
🎧 Listen to Cece’s interviews about her passion and mission in writing this book and paying it forward to help young professionals to find meaning and fulfillment in their life and career: