After earning a graduate degree in International Business, I moved back to New York City where I was fortunate to be a part of a leadership development program at one of my first employers. We learned about Daniel Goleman's emotional intelligence (EI) framework and its role in leadership. I was surprised to learn that emotions could be useful in business. Up to that point, I had been taught to believe that emotions and personal life were best left at home. Through that experience, I realized that my approach of cultivating human-centered connection at work had always been a part of my professional style. I experienced many functional roles first-hand: internal audit, management reporting, product management, product development, customer service and CRM data analytics. These experiences helped me to develop empathy for the challenges people face in their jobs. Listening and communicating with empathy helped me grow into a compassionate and inspiring leader. I believe that once I moved into cross-functional leadership, empathy was the key skill that helped me to bridge differences during conflict, and ultimately to develop trusting relationships to lead these teams.
Eventually, I enjoyed the people side of my work so much that decided to pursue my passion of helping other professionals develop their full leadership potential. I learned that emotional intelligence could be developed through mindfulness. My practice centers around the same fundamental EI skills that helped me to become an inspiring leader through compassion, connection and courage.
Times have changed since I first arrived onto the business world scene. Information flows freely at great scale and high speeds. Distraction abounds in the always-on world. Emotions intelligence skills are even more essential for our fast-paced, data-driven, world. Leaders with these skill help to create a safe space for human experience of emotion at work, allowing teams to express themselves, be heard, respected and valued, all while pushing the envelope for innovation and enabling sustained performance excellence.
Outside of work, I love teaching children practical life skills and am an enthusiastic volunteer with Junior Achievement of South Florida, a wonderful organization that promotes financial literacy with age-appropriate programs for children in elementary, middle and high school. I am also a board member for the investor's association of the Omni Hilton Head Resort in South Carolina, and an active member of my church council. Being of service with my experience and skills is an important part of what drives me everyday.
When I am not with clients or volunteering, I work hard at self-care so I can be at my best for my husband, our four children, friends, and my work. I learned the value of self-care after experiencing such high stress that it ultimately led to burnout. What I once considered a luxury, I now prioritize through activities that nurture me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Meditation, yoga, HIIT training, home decor, cooking, and singing are all part of my self care portfolio.
Gerri Sapinoso Hudson sitting casually on a bench holding a phone.
Photo credit: Jose Amigo