Debra R. Hudnell
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Silverstein Properties Inc.
New York, N.Y.
Debra R. Hudnell summarizes her approach to life with the words of author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Hudnell is the first African-American executive at Silverstein Properties Inc., one of New York’s most respected real estate firms. Her rise from a clerk in 1981, when she joined Silverstein, to her current position as senior vice president of human resources could not have happened without the support of the company’s founder and chairman, Larry Silverstein. “Larry has always believed in me and supported me. He pushed me to do more and recognized my potential when I began working for him. I consider him to be a great mentor and motivator,” says Hudnell. She develops, implements and oversees human resource practices that ensure a balanced program throughout the company’s departments and properties, while maintaining its core values —integrity, respect and collegiality.
Hudnell attended Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York, and is currently studying to become a SHRM Senior Certified Professional. She enjoys mentoring high school and college-bound women to help build their self-confidence and enhance their personal and professional development. “Along the way, I’ve had some insightful mentoring. I’ve had personal coaches and professional coaches as well. I’ve honed my skills, mostly through on-the-job training. Most importantly, my co-workers had confidence in me when the corporate terrain was shifting and changing. I never hesitated when I was given an opportunity, being flexible and capable of taking on a multitude of positions. I never felt that my talents should be limited to my job description,” she explains. After 36 years of work, 34 of them at Silverstein, one item she would like to accomplish on her bucket list is to travel around the world. Next vacation stop: Lima, Peru.