Women @ Work

Woman was hired to clean up one of the worst public scandals in recent memory

Dawn Hudson got a high-profile job offer, but friends and family begged her not to take it

In episode five of Women @ Work, Tina Brown sits down with with Dawn Hudson and discusses a wide range of issues about women in the business world. Hudson is the chief marketing officer for the NFL, a job she started just a few months after a shocking surveillance video of then-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice surfaced showing the NFL star brutally punching his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in the face and knocking her unconscious in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino. Hudson joined the league to help with damage control in the wake of the video and the NFL’s handling of Rice’s punishment, which drew widespread criticism for being too lenient. “I had so many texts and messages from people saying, ‘Well, you’re not going to take the job now, are you?’ And my quick reaction was: absolutely.” Brown asks Hudson how she reconciled being a woman with with having to “spin” such a disturbing story, before they move on to other topics.

Prior to joining the NFL, Hudson was the president and CEO of Pepsi, North America, and she talks about the traits that helped her achieve continued success throughout her career. “I think ambition is such a critical factor,” Hudson says. As the conversation takes a poignant turn, she notes that her sense of ambition was cultivated at a young age by her father. “I was born into a family of three girls, and my father came from a family of four boys,” Hudson says. “I really believe he raised me as the son he didn’t have, and therefore he imbued me with a sense of ambition that I probably naturally had.” She also opened up about having to watch her father go through a difficult period and the lasting effect witnessing that had on her.

Watch the full interview above.

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