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Exploring Life & Business with Tiffany Hudson of Rooted Consulting

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffany Hudson.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I am an advocate, mother, and small business owner. My personal and professional mission is to use my voice and my profession to foster change.

In 2011, I was offered a full-time editing position at a magazine where I was a freelancer, but it required a move to Maryland. The day that my family and I drove the 14 hours to D.C. to get a feel for the area, it was confirmed that my youngest son, who was 18 months old, likely had autism. Because of the overwhelming need for autism services and long waitlists in Maryland, and the fact that our pediatrician was a big advocate for early intervention and had already put my son on the track for services, I was advised to stay in Missouri or risk delaying my son’s care for at least another year. So, I stayed in Missouri.

Six months later my son received the diagnosis that I knew was coming. He was on the autism spectrum, a diagnosis he received two weeks before his second birthday. And in my mind, getting to that diagnosis was going to be the biggest challenge. Little did I know that my son’s schedule of therapies and doctor appointments were going to fill my daily calendar and as far as I was concerned, all hopes of getting back to a traditional career slipped away. I was a wife and mother of three small boys, the youngest who has this disability that I don’t understand and this crazy schedule, and I was never going to have the life and career that I envisioned. I was grief-stricken over it and I was ashamed to admit it.

After resigning to this life of “motherhood and nothing else,” eventually I decided to post my resume on job sites and apply to jobs that I would have gone for if I were in different circumstances just as an exercise. Even though I had over ten years of professional experience in journalism and communications at the time, I still thought any response would be a long shot. To my surprise, St. Patrick Center reached out to me, I made it through 3 interviews, and I was offered a job.

There, I created awareness throughout St. Louis City and County on the real faces of homelessness through speeches, giving tours to students and professionals, fundraisers, special events, social media, and facilitating media coverage. I took a leading role in advocacy by actively participating and collaborating with advocacy groups (Catholic Charities of St. Louis Advocacy Council and City of St. Louis Continuum of Care to End Homelessness) on behalf of the agency.

I love what I did and working there gave me the opportunity to pursue my other passion for advocacy, but a year or so into the job, my son started to have struggles that pulled me away from work more than what was usual and it put my job at risk. I took FMLA to protect my job while taking care of my son’s needs, but the entire situation proved to be too stressful and offered no long-term solution. Autism wasn’t going anywhere and what was going to happen to my job once FMLA (which only offered protection for a year) was over? I needed to work in a way that provided flexibility without threatening my position or disrupting my income.

So, at the beginning of 2014, six months after resigning, I started to work as an independent contractor and eventually branded myself under Rooted Consulting. Today, I work with nonprofits, social justice organizations, and mission-centric businesses on health, education, and social advocacy campaigns and projects. Some of my favorite projects include a marketing and engagement playbook for an online adult education program for the county library, a multichannel COVID-19 vaccine community outreach campaign targeting Latinx and African American communities throughout Wisconsin for a statewide interfaith social justice organization, and drafting the first “audience” landing page that targets small to medium business customers and prospects for a major cable provider. Also, I became the Missouri State Advocacy Chair for Autism Speaks (from 2013 to 2017) and was elected to the Special School District of St. Louis County Board of Education in 2021.

As a now-divorced working mother of three teenage sons, and as an autism mom, doing meaningful work is just as important to me as having the autonomy to choose projects and manage my schedule.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The six years between leaving my job and finally getting the type of work that could sustain me without having to supplement my income with a regular day job were the most challenging years of my life. Trying to have the confidence and stamina to grow professionally while balancing young kids, a nonverbal child on the spectrum, a tumultuous divorce, struggles with finding the right education placement for my kid, having clients who didn’t want to pay, and having to start our lives over from scratch while trying to maintain work…it’s hard to even put into words. My kids and I bounced around a little and even lived in an extended stay hotel for 7 months. But…what I do know is that consistency and faith will bring results. I bought our home in October last year. Understanding my “why” and being relentless in the pursuit of what I believe I deserve both professionally and personally is what has stabilized me.

I will also say that for me, I’ve had to get comfortable acknowledging my weaknesses. It’s hard when you’ve had to be this strong woman to not want to try to do it all, but that’s not realistic, healthy, or wise. What that looks like for me is, I joined the consulting team as a manager for a national education nonprofit that allows me to work out of my home office, and I keep a small roster of clients with consistent work through my consultancy, and that allows me to only have to go after projects I’m really passionate about and have the capacity for.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I am a nonprofit and communications consultant with a passion for social good. I’ve worked with nearly 40 companies, publications, agencies, and nonprofits across the country and abroad. Organizations hire me to engage new stakeholders through communications and marketing strategies, create audience-specific messaging and content, and manage their internal and external communication needs.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
One day I realized “I am a business” and what I do has value. That I don’t have to be a carbon copy of other women, other professionals, even those who operate in my space…what makes me unique is what makes me valuable. That can’t be replicated by anyone else.

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