Beginning September 28th, 2021, Pam McLean will be shifting out of her role as CEO of Hudson Institute of Coaching, after 20 years at the helm. She will be staying at the organization in an active leadership capacity with the title of Founder & Chief Knowledge Officer. Michael Hudson will be stepping into the CEO role.
Change is afoot at Hudson as we make the third leadership transition in our thirty-five year history. It’s an honor and a privilege to follow in the footsteps of a business envisioned by my father, Frederic Hudson, and grown and sustained by my mother, Pamela McLean. It is a rare experience to lead an organization that felt almost like a member of our family in my childhood years – always a part of our conversations and the daily routines, and even while I grasped few of the details of the work, I could surely feel the sense of passion for what was unfolding.
I have been fortunate in the path I have traveled to arrive at this place. After college, my first job was with a university in rural Vietnam, near the border with Cambodia. There, I tested my appetite for rural development and discovered the complexities of full cultural immersion. It was an opportunity to step outside of the cultural frameworks with which I was familiar, notice different perspectives and traditions, learn a new language, and to broaden the spectrum that I could use to make sense of our world.
From there I moved to East Africa and joined a small team of brainy young entrepreneurs launching what is now one of the largest, most impactful direct service NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa – One Acre Fund. I ultimately headed up new country development and was gifted with the chance to study the unique economic challenges of smallholder farmers in a variety of countries, build key partnerships, set up and staff early pilot programs and eventually launch new country operations for One Acre Fund. In this role I worked on the ground in more than 15 countries, and ultimately established operations in 6 of them. The work was multifaceted with challenges unique to each country – communications, legal, logistics, funding and most of all, relationships and leadership. Halfway through nearly a decade of this work I reached back to Hudson to see if we could find a way to offer coaching services to key leaders in our organization. As this five year partnership evolved, I observed the power of our work first-hand. Coaching simply made our leaders better, stronger, and more awake to the possibilities for growth and development at our fingertips.
Pam and I, on a trip to Zimbabwe in 2014, began a conversation that lasted several years — we started exploring the possibility of working together at Hudson. Over the course of this conversation, I came to understand in-depth the path that Hudson has traveled over the past three decades and the essential elements that make it unique. We talked about my skills and passions, and how they might align with future possibilities at Hudson. Very importantly — we took our time as we explored an idea that seemed deserving of great care and attention.
In 2017, it had become clear to me that Hudson was a compelling possibility for my next chapter — it was an organization that generated transformational impact for its learners, it was values-driven, and there were so many opportunities for growth. It had deep roots, yet it had retained the capacity to innovate and stay nimble. With enthusiasm, I decided to take the plunge and devote my time wholeheartedly to Hudson. My wife and I moved from Nairobi to San Francisco, and I began to fully immerse myself in the daily operations of the business in order to develop a thorough understanding of all aspects of our work.
In many ways, joining Hudson has felt like coming home. In my growing up years, I used to listen with curiosity while my parents debated topics related to coaching and adult development while on family road trips. Now, standing where I am today, I feel deep gratitude for having made the choice to also dedicate myself to this work. Though I know I have big shoes to fill, it is a rare privilege to be a part of something as meaningful as Hudson — and just as my parents have done before me, I am committed to all that is required to nurture and evolve this organization as we move into this next chapter.
Thank you to Pam and our community for all you have given over the years — I am looking forward to walking alongside you and writing our next chapter together.