VYP Q&A: Michael Hudson, Hard Rock Cafe

November 13th, 2012
Michael Hudson likes the sound of working at Phoenix's Hard Rock

Get to know your fellow VYPers through our recurring series of Q&A sessions with some of the Valley’s top young professionals. This month, meet Michael Hudson, sales and marketing coordinator for the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Phoenix. Michael is a young man whose career is hitting all the right notes at the moment.


Q. Your job has the ultimate “cool factor.” How did you land it?
A. I chalk it up to fate. I majored in international relations at Minnesota State University Mankato and initially planned to work in government. Then I realized there wasn’t really a lot of money that could be made in government and ended up moving down here to Arizona, where my grandmother has a winter home. I picked up a part-time serving job at Hard Rock Café, and later was promoted to full-time sales and marketing coordinator. 

Q. Was your plan to get in on the ground floor of a company that interested you, then work your way up? 
A. Yes. You very rarely start out at the top. You have to work hard and prove yourself. Through hard work and dedication, things can happen. 

Q. Tell me about your role at Hard Rock Café. 
A. As the sales and marketing coordinator, I’m in charge of social media and assist the sales and marketing manager with large corporate events. I also assist with scheduling our weekly live music programs and am in charge of promoting those live music events. I have the best job in the world. 

Q. What do you like best about your job? 
A. Scheduling the live music, meeting the band members and hearing about their experiences. It’s just really neat, all the people I get to meet, and all the stories I get to hear. 

Q. How has Hard Rock Café rewarded your hard work and dedication? 
A. Each year, Hard Rock Cafés in each city choose one employee to attend Hard Rock Calling, the premier outdoor rock festival held in London’s Hyde Park in mid-July. Last spring, Phoenix’s management team chose me, and I was really ecstatic when I found out. It was almost surreal. I asked myself, “Is this really happening?” I got VIP tickets and passes to all three days of the concert, with performances by Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Soundgarden and a surprise visit by Paul McCartney. It was my first trip out of the country, and I took some vacation days to visit Paris and take the train from Germany to Amsterdam. 

Q. Are there other enviable perks to your job? 
A. My job is full of perks. We recently got free box seats to the Alanis Morissette concert at the Comerica Theatre. I’ve gotten tickets to all kinds of sporting events. I’ve been to Arizona Cardinals games and numerous concerts, and I went backstage to meet the Phoenix Suns last year. 

Q. What do you really think about classic rock? Isn’t it a few decades ahead of your time?
A. I actually grew up on classic rock and roll. My mom was into it when I was a kid, and so I fit right in here. She listened to a lot of Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Dr. Hook and Three Dog Night. I like listening to this great music while I’m at work. It makes the time go by, and it creates a good atmosphere.

Q. What’s your favorite way to relax and unwind? 
A. My favorite thing to do is mountain biking. I can go out on my mountain bike for three or four hours at a time. I take my cell phone with me, but I’m not taking calls or checking emails. I’m just out and being one with nature. I enjoy rides around Tempe Town Lake and South Mountain. I’m still new to hardcore mountain biking, so I’m avoiding the extreme trails until I get more comfortable with it. 

Q. What makes the Valley Young Professionals a rewarding experience for you? 
A. Just the people I meet. You go into the situation knowing that everyone there is in the same boat. Sometimes attending mixer events can be socially awkward, but members of Valley Young Professionals are always friendly and welcoming. It makes for an overall great experience, and it makes you want to come back and do it again. 

Q. What career payoffs have you received from your involvement with the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce?
A. I’ve made all kinds of business contacts, personal and professional references that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I’ve also landed some business for the Hard Rock Café as well, which of course is the ultimate goal for attending these marketing events. I find it rewarding to attend Chamber events and listen to people who’ve been doing their jobs for 20, 30 or more years. They’re truly experienced and knowledgeable about what they do. And they bestow that knowledge upon you because they want to help you grow professionally. You have an opportunity to learn from other people’s experiences, things you might not necessarily read in a textbook. 

Q. Who’s been your biggest source of inspiration? 
A. My grandfather, who gave me my work ethic. In the early 1950s, at age five or six, he immigrated to the United States from Germany with his family, which was poor. He started working at age nine or 10 to put food on the table. After he got married, he ended up working three jobs to support his own family. He eventually made it big in real estate. And up until the day he passed away, he got up at 5 a.m. and didn’t quit working until 6 or 7 p.m.


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This interview, conducted by Lori K. Baker, is part of the Chamber's monthly Valley Young Professionals email newsletter. To sign up for any or all of the Chamber's email communications, click here. For more information on joining the VYP, click here.

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