Terrie Davoll Hudson wasn’t born into a wealthy family, but she has fond memories of her upbringing in Columbia, South Carolina.
“I loved growing up there because it was a small, very church- and family-oriented community,” Hudson says. “And lots of love. Not a lot of money, but lots of love.”
It was there that Hudson developed a love for books and a passion for reading and writing.
“Growing up in South Carolina, in the ’60s, you couldn’t go just anywhere. It was mostly church and school,” Hudson says. “When I was about 13, my mother said, ‘We’ll start to let you go on the bus downtown alone, but there are only two places you can go.'”
The two places Hudson was allowed to go on her own? The library and the South Carolina Statehouse.
“From the time that I was 13 until now, I have never missed going to a library – no matter what country I’m in, no matter what city I’m in,” Hudson says. “I love books. Reading lets you go anywhere in the world you want to go.”
Hudson left Columbia to attend college at Morgan State University in Baltimore. From there, she moved to Florida and worked for BellSouth in Fort Lauderdale; she then transferred to Atlanta, where she spent most of her adult years working for BellSouth and then AT&T. Now retired from her corporate career, she lives with her husband in Dallas, near one of their daughters and their grandchildren.
Leaving a Legacy
Pretty soon, however, Hudson began receiving invitations to speak about leadership at various events. She did some speeches pro bono, but her speaking arrangements quickly evolved into a professional practice. And one of them, in particular, gave her inspiration.
“The subject was ‘Leaving a Leadership Legacy,'” Hudson says. “At the end of the speech, several people wanted more about that subject, and they asked me if I had a podcast. Nope. Do you have a book? No. Do you have anything? A blog? No. I had none of those things to share more about the subject of legacy.”
The questions stuck with her for the next few months of her pseudo-retirement (which she happily refers to as “repurposing” rather than “retirement”).
“I was sitting out by the pool relaxing as I said I would, when those questions kept nagging me. And as I pondered them, I decided I really should write about legacy,” Hudson says. “It was thinking about my own legacy; it was thinking about the legacy I had left at work, all the places I had volunteered my time. And the legacy I would want to leave for my children. From that perspective, I started thinking about and researching legacy.”
In her award-winning book, Hudson inspires readers to think about what your gifts and skills are – what are you innately gifted to give? It encourages finding ways to create legacies throughout life using those gifts and skills – and your values.
“Leaving a legacy is not about inheritance,” Hudson says. “People think it’s what they’re going to get – my perspective is, it’s what you’re going to give. That you’re going to create value, no matter where you are in life. We all have something to give and contribute to the greater good.”
Legacy Is All About Values
Legacy is really all about values, Hudson says. It’s not only the values in which you believe, but the value you bring to society, regardless of your age or where you’re coming from in life. Her book discusses having a responsibility for what we leave in our wake, whether that’s at work, at school, or in our community.
“I am just thrilled at the feedback I’ve gotten from people who’ve read the book and what they are actually creating in their lives because of it,” Hudson says. “I’m excited about the reach I have now. It gives me great joy.” In the middle of the pandemic, Hudson received news her critically acclaimed book won an Independent Publisher Book award.
Hudson says if she hadn’t been able to retire when she did, she may not have had the energy or found the time or inspiration to write her book.
Being the Best Person You Can Be
“It’s the perfect time, because I still have great energy,” she says. “I can still go out and talk – not just about the book, but it gives me a platform for speaking about being the best person you can be and connecting with people. And the book also gives me an opportunity to just share my journey.”
“I get to tell people how I got to be who I am, coming out of a segregated South, someone who couldn’t go to the park that was right next to the community I lived in, someone who watched their mother handcuffed because she insisted we were going to go to the all-white park. We thrived and lived boldly in spite of all those things,” she says.
Those hardships, Hudson shares, become opportunities for us do something better for ourselves, our families and our communities. And no matter what happens, there’s nothing that’s going to keep her down as she lives out the next chapter of the story that is her own journey.
The Hudson family Wealth advisor is Thomas Underwood.