Hudson’s Bay Executive Sophia Hwang-Judiesch Talks the Importance of Being Yourself

Promoted in January to add The Bay e-commerce unit under her purview, Sophia Hwang-Judiesch truly believes in the importance of mentorship and giving time and opportunities to other women.

“When you are in the role I am in, you have a lot of people reaching out to you for advice and therefore you need to prioritize where you focus your time,” Hwang-Judiesch said. “I tend to prioritize and focus my time on mentoring and meeting with other women from all walks and levels of life.”

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This desire to mentor may also align with Hwang-Judiesch’s penchant for connecting with people. “In this hybrid era, I think it is even more important to find moments of connection whether it be virtually or in person,” the president of The Bay and Hudson’s Bay admitted. “I have a real interest in understanding what motivates a person and how I can bring out the best in someone. It is amazing when you take the time to ask more questions, and to really in earnest be present with someone, what you can learn about them.”

But this way of connecting more personally didn’t always come naturally for Hwang-Judiesch. The executive admitted that she had to get over the thought that she had to create a division between who she is personally versus who she is at work.

“My biggest strength now is that my team knows all facets of who I am, they know what motivates me, what my vulnerabilities are, I am not afraid to show up as myself,” Hwang-Judiesch said. “There is still a part of me that looks at other leaders that are inscrutable and stoic- and I admire those qualities because there is a real steadiness about them. What I have realized is that I am not that, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, I am good in a crisis and I am decisive but I am also okay with showing when I need support or am feeling uncertain.”

This article appeared in the June 5 print issue of FN, as part of the “Women Who Rock” special section. This annual feature celebrates female leaders who are shaking up the footwear industry with vision and tenacity. And on June 7, FN and Two Ten Footwear Foundation will also honor these women at a live event in New York City, benefiting Two Ten’s WIFI scholarship.

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