June 19th, 2019
How do you not only maintain a business in the face of tragedy, but expand it while raising a family as a single mother?
Dr. Mary Hudelson is a partner in a thriving medical practice, as well as a commercial real estate owner and landlord. When her husband Scott passed away, Mary was thrust into taking over their combined businesses all while balancing them with single motherhood. Listen in as Mary shares what helped change the trajectory of her grief and allowed her to focus on her mission, establish an excellent team of trusted advisers and partnerships that foster and maintain the desired business culture, and perpetuate loving family relationships.
Dr. Hudelson is Director of Family Allergy & Asthma Care in Flower Mound, Texas. She is also on staff at several North Texas hospitals. Dr. Hudelson served in the United States Army Reserves as a medical officer and was active during Operation Desert Storm. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, TX, and is a member of several medical associations and councils in Texas and Denton County. Dr. Hudelson has three children.
Dr. Mary Hudelson Podcast Interview – Audio
by Jeff Holler
“Thankful in the Present”
That’s the key to Dr. Mary Hudelson’s purpose and productivity as a single mother and entrepreneur
by Jeff Holler
To say that Dr. Mary Hudelson wears a lot of hats in business leadership and among her peers of women entrepreneurs is an understatement. A single mother to three children, Mary is an innovative business owner on several fronts. She is the majority partner in a thriving medical practice, Family Allergy & Asthma Care, in Flower Mound, Texas, as well as in an acclaimed food allergy clinic. Mary is also a successful commercial real estate owner and landlord while remaining active in church, community, and a number of charities, where she often assumes strategic leadership positions.
How does she manage it all? “One day at a time,” she says. “I try to approach every day with a spirit of enthusiasm and find ways that I can be helpful. I keep self-talk running in the background in a positive way. Most importantly I surround myself with a ton of really exceptional people that help me.”
That “one day at a time” approach served her well after her husband, Scott, passed away in a tragic airplane accident in 2004. In addition to all the personal and family grief in the immediate aftermath of his death, Mary had to deal with complex business matters. “A lot of it is a blur, but I got myself a three-ring binder and made folders. I made a section for the dental practice and the medical practice and all of the estate stuff,” she said. “I walked a lot, prayed a lot, and journaled a lot.”
Then, about a year after the accident, Mary had what she called a “big, huge eureka moment” that changed the trajectory of her grief – and her life as a mother and entrepreneur.
“I am a forward thinker. I tend to live in the future and don’t look back much. Through a series of serendipitous events, I learned that you can always be in the present moment if you can be thankful for the present moment. It is such a simple thing. No matter where you are, you can say, ‘I’m so thankful.’ It was life changing for me.”
Mary balanced being a single mother with the professional aspects of her life by hiring a great nanny and prioritizing time for her family. “One of the things that is important is to eat breakfast or dinner together no matter what, and read and pray together every day,” she said. “Look for ways to create family memories. You need to be taking short trips, even on weekends, and make sure you maintain a good family calendar.”
For single moms who are active as businesspeople or desire to build a business, Mary counsels to “always focus on your mission. Have fun, have great hours, have happy employees, and know how to foster your team’s unique abilities.” She also declares the importance of being honest with yourself and the people around you. “Be generous, have a clear ambition, and then go for it. One of the mantras I like to tell my kids, and I do it in my business as well, is, ‘You get what you give, and in every moment you can choose.’ Being an entrepreneur, that’s what it is all about.”
As someone who must continue moving forward in a medical industry that seems to have paralyzing uncertainty, she suggests finding what you are good at doing, and then doing it well. “We focus on the people. That makes all the difference. We are service oriented. Our new marketing slogan is, ‘We provide peace of mind.’ That is exactly our goal with people who have allergies and asthma.”
You’ll want to take notes during my next podcast when Mary also reveals how to maintain a caring and service-oriented culture, use OKR’s (Objectives and Key Results) effectively, and have robust documented values and service delivery goals. She’ll also give her insights on some of the unique challenges and opportunities that you will encounter when working with business partners.
“The biggest thing that drives me is I really like to be helpful,” Mary said. “I am also very intuitive and empathetic. I always trust myself to know the right answer when I hear it. It might take me a while, but once I have decided, I have decided. I don’t know why I can do that, but I can. I think that is unique.”
“At this point in my life,” she added, “what is bigger than business for me is creating a meaningful family legacy of integrity, generosity, and loving God and neighbor. That is my goal.”