The Fierce Mahal Hudson Navigates Canadian Life Minus the Fears
If you think you are positive enough as a person, wait till you talk to Mahal Hudson. The lady exudes with positivity and great passion for what she does – that is, transforming people to a vibrant and empowered life. But that is honestly, going ahead of this story.
Mahal came to Canada in 2001 at an age that translates to zest for success and adventure. Age 25. Life for her as a newcomer to Canada was not different from the thousands of other immigrant stories. It may not even more dramatic and tear-jerking. But the usual Filipino stories of going for the greener pasture does not necessarily apply to her in terms of running away from a life of dearth back home or more simply called, poverty.
There was a time and possibly, still true today, when public school kids or average school kids would know the difference between going to a state university, a co-ed and a sectarian exclusive school for girls or boys. Mahal studied behavioral sciences at Maryknoll (now Miriam College), and that is enough to say that her family had a good life in the Philippines. Upon graduation from Maryknoll and then UST for some masteral units in clinical psychology, she started to embark on a profession in psychology in home country. She was well on her way for that but dreams and possibilities in bigger realms never ceased to hang about in her imagination. Canada was open, and so she thought it was a good place to hop from on her way to even something bigger in the proverbial land of milk and honey, the great US of A.
But, “I fell in love with Canada” confessed Mahal. So what she intended to be only a bridge became home, more so after meeting Peter Hudson, her husband, in a job networking event in 2001 and whom she married in 2004. Peter is a homegrown Canadian who taught her more about how to successfully integrate herself in the multicultural environment of this place. “Be confident, walk up to people and talk to them,” Peter would always tell her. Because just like any other newcomer, Mahal had her share of struggles and misgivings, sometimes to a point of frustration.
“I fell in love with Canada,”
The good ol’ lack of Canadian experience mythology also haunted her for a while that she had to take on part-time jobs doing inventory and telemarketing despite what she thought was her eligibility for something more professional and elevating. But she is not as unlucky as some who had to do more menial jobs for longer periods. Her first full-time job and big break came merely nine months after those moonlighting jobs. This was in 2002 January with the Oakdale Child and Family Services, a company and a job that was more along the line of her educational attainment, experience and interest in psychology and clinical crisis intervention work with youth and families. She rose from the ranks at Oakdale where she stayed till 2008. Next job was with Community Living Toronto, the largest non-profit organization in North America helping individuals with intellectual disability from infants to seniors. Within 5 years, she advanced to a senior management position overseeing over two-million-dollar worth of programs for children with high risk behaviors and youth with complex needs to seniors with dual diagnosis.
Adventurous as she is, Mahal also successfully ventured into putting up an events management company that specialized in planning weddings, the Silver Platter Events. Why? Like any newly married couples, financial difficulties also once loomed her own marriage. Mahal focused on her strengths and capitalize on them to create resolutions. She was a wedding planner and a full-time employee between 2004-2012. In 2012, she established The Avant-Garde Company (avant-gardecoach.ca), a leadership coaching firm and went freelance. More than the success and self-fulfillment, Mahal values the network, people and connections that she has gained and continues to gain while juggling her time between family, business and career.
“Everything we do has to be a conscious effort,” says Mahalina Mitra Hudson, the second of 5 children of Delio and Eugenia Mitra; the others being Dennis, Mayumi, Marilag and Darwin. You can call her a go-getter and she will definitely be unapologetic about it. She confessed to making sure she goes with successful people, people who will have a positive influence in her life; purposely avoiding people who keep on complaining and whining, and not doing anything to account for their own future.
“I keep on observing people, reading what their accomplishments look like, getting into conversations, looking to develop myself further, thinking of how I can make a change, and working to forge ahead.” This is the kind of mindset that Mahal has embraced for herself and hopes that others will follow or develop into. It is personal mission, set against the vision that she has set up for her Avant-garde leadership coaching venture.
“I keep on observing people, reading what their accomplishments look like, getting into conversations, looking to develop myself further, thinking of how I can make a change, and working to forge ahead.”
A colleague in the global leadership coaching industry, Elena Khomenko, described her as someone “Focused on transforming her clients’ lives by connecting them with their life purpose and relentlessly challenging their limiting (beliefs). Mahal’s passion for life-long learning and her firm belief in human’s birthright to live a fulfilled life has (led) to incredible transformations in careers of many entrepreneurs and business managers providing them with an effective and integral approach to leading their lives and following their true passions. Mahal is one of my favourite business partners. She is transparent, committed and fun to work with.”
The book’s US-based publishing company invited Mahal to be a co- author in their Book 2 when they read her “fierce” message of resilience and power identity in her 2014 blogspot at avant-gardecoach.ca. This led to the titled chapter “The Fierce Me: An Immigrant’s Journey of Self-Empowerment.” Another powerful feature article written by Mahal graced the March 2014 issue of the Canadian Immigrant magazine, entitled “Landed . . . Now What?” A member of the International Coach Federation, she was also invited to speak at the SIPO Foundation where she delivered “How to GROW as a Leader and as a Person.” SIPO or Spreading Ideas Providing Opportunities is a non-profit organization that helps young professionals become leaders through personal and professional development.
And success continues to follow her positivity as she debuts in a new radio program ”Get Real With Mahal” at MBCN’s Pinoy Radio in Toronto. Here, audiences will experience the power of her transformative thoughts as she shares her no “BS” insights, experiences and journeys to a more positive living and empowered existence.
What is her advice to her fellow Pinoy migrants in Canada?
“Don’t settle for a life of mediocrity. We don’t deserve it. I believe we can become who we want to be because we have so much potential. Continue to forge ahead. If what we have is still the mentality that we need to survive, then we are not working on our dreams. Filipinos have what it takes to dream and to achieve.”
Despite her fierce achievements and avant-garde Canadian life, Mahal is by no means very Filipino when it comes to love for family. Family is very important to me, she said. She has a younger sister with special needs and she has vowed to support her to get her through her medications for the rest of her life. Her parents’ hard work and integrity have always inspired her to continue to be a role model to others.
She cannot be any lesser mortal. Or she will not be the Mahal Hudson anymore.