Q&A with Kirk Hudson, Vice President in New York City
In this Q&A with Kirk Hudson, a vice president in our Investment Banking Division in New York, he shares what it was like to join the firm during the pandemic, how he helps create a sense of belonging for others, and what makes Black History Month special for him.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a meteorologist.
How’s that going?
Not well! (Laughs). I got to meet a local meteorologist back in elementary school. While it was great meeting him, I realized I didn’t love the study of meteorology itself.
How did you find your way to Goldman Sachs?
My career began in investment banking operations at another bank where I was drawn to transforming the operations functions. From there, I went into management consulting to get more business transformation experience, which led to a handful of leadership roles back in banking within treasury and transaction banking operations. I genuinely enjoyed transaction banking and when the opportunity came along to build out a new Goldman Sachs Transaction Banking franchise as a digital startup within Goldman Sachs, it was simply too good to pass up.
How did you find your sense of community at the firm, particularly joining as an experienced hire during the pandemic?
My biggest concern joining remotely in the middle of the pandemic was that it was unlikely I would develop a broad firmwide network. Thankfully, I was wrong. My colleagues across Transaction Banking and within Operations really went the extra mile to make sure that I was meeting people (albeit over Zoom!). My personal network also helped – friends and former colleagues reached out and introduced me to their contacts at Goldman Sachs. Through all of these connections, I discovered the Firmwide Black Network and LGBTQ+ Network. Both have been critical in expanding my network beyond my division and creating my connectedness to the firm.
And now you’re a leader in these networks! Can you share more about some of the initiatives you’ve led within the FBN and LGBTQ+ Network? What are you most proud of?
I co-lead our divisional network, the Operations Black Network. I am most proud of the VP Mentoring Program we kicked off at the end of last year to ensure that Black vice presidents in the network are linked with mentors to help them continue to grow their leadership skills and build their careers at the firm. Within the Firmwide Black Network, I co-lead our client engagement pillar, where we are working to create additional touchpoints with our clients – specifically Black Clients, or clients who are Allies of causes that we support related to racial equity. Finally, within the Americas LGBTQ+ Network, I co-lead our community engagement pillar prioritizing non-profit organizations that champion LGBTQ+ causes to ensure that we have board placements from the Goldman Sachs community, as well as significant volunteer contributions from our network and Allies.
How do you nurture your community in and out of GS and create a sense of belonging for others?
Creating a sense of belonging for my colleagues starts with intention. I know that I never want to work in an environment where I feel like an outsider or where I can’t have an equal voice. With that mindset, I aim to be self-aware on any blind spots where I could unintentionally create this experience for someone. It’s also important to remember that we work with people of all walks of life – what creates a sense of belonging for me, may not resonate with others. So, it’s important to have an adaptive approach to ensure everyone feels a sense of belonging that enables them to do their best work.
Where do you see yourself in two to three years?
I joined Goldman Sachs in July 2020 and am relatively new, so the next two to three years will focus on continuing to grow the Transaction Banking business and growing my career within the firm. Personally, I am in a different kind of “honeymoon” period. I got married in October 2021 so I am also excited about the prospects of growing my family – I will definitely avail of our new leave benefits when the time comes.
What is your ultimate goal now?
My ultimate goal has shifted dramatically. I want to continue to work with organizations and causes where I can make a differentiating impact and provide a unique perspective. I view myself as a leader that can seamlessly chart out a vision for the future but also deliver tangible results – I never want to be in a space where I am indexing on one of these dimensions, but rather I always want to work at this intersection.
What do you want your legacy to be?
In every facet of life – professional or personal – I just hope that I made someone behind me believe that what I accomplished is within reach. Especially if that prompts them to surpass any and all of my achievements.
What’s your superpower?
This changes. But for today, I’ll claim optimism. When confronted with the most unusual circumstances, I tend to keep going when many have already turned back or thrown in the towel.
What do you think the future looks like for the Black community?
Candidly, the answer changes day to day, but my hope for the Black community is for it to realize a society with true equity. Clearly, many steps and milestones have been made towards this eventual goal, but there’s still more work ahead before we reach that state.
What makes Black History Month special for you?
I look at Black History Month as a time of recognition and a time of celebration. As a kid, I was mesmerized to learn all of the global contributions and advancements that were made possible by Black people. What started as Black History Week and now has evolved into Black History Month is an important tradition to remember the past, and set the tone for the possibilities of the future.