Forty Under 40 Q&A: Allison Breanna Hudson

breannahudson13Allison Breanna Hudson, 31

Public information officer, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office

Back in 2008, a fresh Xavier University graduate named Allison Breanna Hudson was tapped to become editor-in-chief of The Donaldsonville Chief, a struggling community newspaper in Ascension Parish. Hudson was the first African-American editor of the paper. “The amount of trust the publisher had in me to do the job was a moment that changed my life,” Hudson says. She continued to break new ground after that, becoming the first public information officer for the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office back in 2012. She was named one of Xavier’s 40 Under 40 Top Young Alumni in 2015. Hudson is also involved in a wide variety of community organizations and volunteer efforts. 

NAME THREE MAJOR PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

  1. Being the first public information officer for the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office in its existence.
  2. Becoming the first African-American woman editor of one of the oldest weekly newspapers in the state of Louisiana.
  3. Being voted as the youngest Chamber of Commerce President and Rotary Club President.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR VOLUNTEER & COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS AND INVOLVEMENT.

I am part of several organizations and volunteer as often as I can:

  • National Alumni Association, Xavier University, member
  • Greater Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers Ascension representative
  • IRIS Domestic Violence Center Ascension representative
  • Xavier University Mass Communication Advisory Board, current vice president
  • Rotary Club of Donaldsonville—member, past president
  • Donaldsonville Chamber of Commerce, director, past president and vice president
  • Ascension Chamber of Commerce Leadership Ascension graduate
  • The Arc of East Ascension—board member, current vice president
  • Donaldsonville AMI Kids Alternative School, board member
  • Leadership Ascension, graduated 2016
  • Partnership Award from Greater Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers, 2015
  • Top 40 under 40 Young Xavier Alumni Awards, November 2015
  • Top 25 Under 35 in business in Editor and Publisher magazine, 2011
  • Won over 100 awards from the Louisiana Press Association.
  • Journal winner of ethnography as being the first African-American and the youngest editor-in-chief of a newspaper in the state of Louisiana
  • Recipient of a key to the city of Donaldsonville presented by Mayor Leroy Sullivan, 2012
  • Nominee for the Woman of Excellence Award from the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus, 2011
  • Nominee for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Angel Award, 2009
  • Volunteer coach for the Donaldsonville High School Varsity Cheerleaders, 2009-2011
  • Volunteer for rape victims in Ascension Parish
  • River Road African-American Museum events committee
  • Life Planning for Persons with Disabilities committee
  • Donaldsonville Ready City Community Committee
  • Spanish and salsa instructor for the city of Donaldsonville Bright Futures program
  • The ARC, Dancing With The Stars contestant, 2012
  • Coordinator for the Donaldsonville Teen summit event
  • Volunteer for Dream Day Foundation events
  • Volunteer for Special Olympics South Louisiana
  • Volunteer for Donaldsonville’s Mayor Youth Advisory Council, 2014, 2015, 2016

NAME ONE BOOK THAT HAS INSPIRED YOU PROFESSIONALLY.

Besides the Bible, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle has inspired me to find my happy place.

WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?

When I was a child I had always dreamed of being a lawyer. When I was in the eighth grade, my journalism teacher inspired me to major in journalism, so I did.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB, HOW OLD WERE YOU AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?

My first job was a summer job at the age of 16 working for the New Orleans Recreational Department as a student teacher. I learned the value of saving money.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE FOR A BUSINESS LUNCH IN BATON ROUGE, AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DISH THERE?

Pimanyoli’s Sidewalk Café. My favorite dish is the BBLTA! It is delicious.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?

My greatest achievement professionally would be successfully saving a newspaper [The Donaldsonville Chief] in a declining era of print media by bringing back the community feel and allowing the community to take pride in their newspaper.

HOW DO YOU GET PUMPED UP BEFORE A BIG MEETING, PRESENTATION OR PITCH?

I always pray first and then listen to some music while going over the meeting agenda in my head.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST FULFILLING MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

The most fulfilling moment in my career has been to see those young students I helped mentor and tutor are now graduating college and entering their careers.

WHAT WAS YOUR PROFESSIONAL “AHA MOMENT?”

When I transitioned from newspaper to law enforcement my counterparts started asking for my advice and expertise on certain things as it relates to the media and how to interact with law enforcement, and that let me know that I knew more than I thought I did.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PRODUCTIVITY HACK?

Sleep when you can! 

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THE HARD WAY?

That just because you treat others the way you want to be treated does not mean they will actually do it.

HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY DRESS FOR WORK—CASUAL? PROFESSIONAL? BUSINESS CASUAL? OTHER?

Typically professional and business casual. However, when duty calls in the field it is casual.

WHAT PART OF YOUR JOB DO YOU LOVE? WHAT PART DO YOU HATE?

Being a public information officer allows me to be a part of every division within the sheriff’s office, and I love interacting and sharing moments with my co-workers and I love being in the community. The part I hate is talking with families to give them bad news. It breaks my heart every single time.

WHAT IS THE BEST COMPLIMENT YOU’VE EVER GOTTEN FROM A COLLEAGUE OR BOSS?

That I was very special and that I was very good at what I do and that they looked forward to seeing my name in high places!

MAC OR PC?

PC. 

ARE YOU ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA? IF SO, ON WHICH PLATFORMS ARE YOU MOST ACTIVE?

Yes, I am active on Facebook.

HOW MANY TEXTS DO YOU SEND ON AN AVERAGE DAY? HOW MANY EMAILS?

I send about 100 texts a day, roughly about 20 emails daily.

HOW LOW WILL YOU ALLOW YOUR REMAINING PHONE OR COMPUTER BATTERY LIFE GET (IN %) BEFORE YOU HAVE AN ANXIETY ATTACK?

Usually 20 percent is when the anxiety kicks in for me.

HOW MANY UNREAD MESSAGES ARE IN YOUR INBOX RIGHT NOW?

None, I always check my messages throughout the day.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE APP AT THE MOMENT?

My favorite app is ESPN because it lets me keep up with all the scores and latest news in sports when I don’t have time to watch television.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT OF THE PAST DECADE?

I would have to say Skype. This has allowed me so many additional opportunities to communicate and to be in more than one place at the same time. 

WHAT TECHNOLOGY DO YOU WISH WAS NEVER INVENTED?

Cellphones! We depend on them for everything!!!

WHAT TIME DO YOU GET UP ON WORKDAY MORNINGS?

5:30 a.m.

BREAKFAST AT HOME? BREAKFAST ON THE GO? BREAKFAST AT YOUR DESK? NO BREAKFAST AT ALL?

Breakfast at my desk or none at all.

THE SAYING GOES: “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.” SPECIFICALLY, WHAT ARE YOU ‘BEING’ TO MAKE BATON ROUGE BETTER?

Volunteering in my community and making a difference one step at a time.

WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE “GROWN UP?”

When my parents stopped helping me financially.

WHAT WAS THE BEST VACATION YOU HAVE EVER TAKEN?

The best vacation I have ever taken would have to be San Juan, Puerto Rico. I loved everything about the trip. I loved learning the history and culture, the music, and the shopping. I could live there. Having traveled to various places, this trip was most memorable.

FAVORITE GIFT YOU WERE GIVEN AS A CHILD?

Karaoke machine.

WHICH TALENT OR SUPERPOWER WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE AND WHY?

I would like to have the superpower of telekinesis. I think it is most intriguing to be able to move objects through the mind.

WHAT’S A NICKNAME YOUR FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS HAVE FOR YOU?

Alley.

WHAT ARE YOU SUPERSTITIOUS ABOUT?

You cannot split a pole when walking with someone because it will ruin a relationship with that person.

WHO FASCINATES YOU?

Lala Anthony because she is a journalist who married an NBA star and she did not let that stop her from pursuing her dreams.

WHICH FICTIONAL CHARACTER DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH?

I would have to say Wonder Woman because she believed that to help just one person she was willing to accept the consequences to do so. She was portrayed as powerful, strong-willed, and a person who would never back down from a challenge. 

FAVORITE DRINK?

Among everything, water is my favorite.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BAND OR SONG?

My favorite song is by Ashlee Simpson, Pieces of Me. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?

Pretty Woman.

WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?

Queen Latifah.

WHAT SCARED YOU AS A CHILD, AND WHAT SCARES YOU NOW?

Dogs!!!

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR 18-YEAR-OLD SELF?

It’s OK to make mistakes—just learn from them. 

PETS?

No.

HAVE YOU HAD ANY MEMORABLE CELEBRITY ENCOUNTERS? WHAT HAPPENED?

Yes, I met President Obama at a graduation ceremony at Xavier University. I got to interview him and really get to know a little about him. 

TELL US ABOUT A MOMENT THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE.

After graduating college in 2008, I was approached by a publisher to become editor-in-chief of a local newspaper that was struggling. The amount of trust the publisher had in me to do the job was a moment that changed my life.

WHAT’S THE NEXT BIG PERSONAL OR CAREER CHALLENGE YOU PLAN TO TAKE ON?

Going back to school for a law degree.

WHAT CONCERNS YOU MOST ABOUT THE FUTURE?

That we will no longer communicate with each other in a good, old-fashioned conversation, that everything will be either via social media or through text.

WHAT GIVES YOU THE MOST HOPE ABOUT THE FUTURE?

The generations behind me who are coming up with their own ideas and creativity.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE FOR FUTURE FORTY UNDER 40 HONOREES?

Never give up on your dreams, and keep striving to be a better you.

DO YOU PLAN TO BE IN THE CAPITAL REGION FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? WHY OR WHY NOT?

Depends on where God leads me.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST HOPE FOR BATON ROUGE?

That we continue to keep our youth challenged and invest in them, for they are our future leaders.

DO YOU HAVE A BUCKET LIST? IF SO, WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 THINGS ON IT? 

  1. To go to Africa.
  2. Act in a play.
  3. Fly a private jet.

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