Meeting the Challenge: Doranne Hudson and Preston Coughlin

Photo Credit: Dan Videtich Photography

Photo Credit: Dan Videtich Photography

If Doranne Hudson could impart one piece of advice to her students, it would be to cultivate mentors and to develop those relationships to the fullest extent. After connecting with Hudson, that’s exactly what Preston Coughlin (B.B.A. ’12, J.D./MBA ’15) did.

In his junior year, Coughlin received a coveted spot in the Edward A. Smith Urban Leadership program, a summer internship that combines classroom study, mentoring and a full-time position at an area nonprofit organization. Within minutes of sitting down with Coughlin at their first one-on-one meeting, Hudson was impressed.

“Preston had been relatively quiet in our initial group conversations, but when we met one-on-one he immediately began asking the most insightful questions I had ever heard from an undergraduate,” Hudson says.

The depth of their discussions would continue to be the crux of Hudson and Coughlin’s relationship.

As graduation drew near, Coughlin considered attending law school while also taking graduate business courses. While he received encouragement from most, Hudson was the first to challenge him on his decision.

“She asked me in-depth questions about my aspirations and what I hoped to accomplish,” Coughlin says. “When I chose to move forward, I was more confident in my decision. Professor Hudson forced me to reflect deeply and consider all alternatives.”

Since finishing his joint J.D. and MBA program, Coughlin has applied what he learned from Hudson as a corporate attorney at Fontg & Hansen LLC.

“One of the most important things professor Hudson taught me was that I can be a leader, even if I’m not in a traditional leadership role,” Coughlin says.

And while Hudson has been impressed with Coughlin’s growth since their first meeting, she’s happy to say in this instance, certain qualities that drew her to Coughlin have remained the same.

“Preston certainly has a more broadened perspective of the world,” Hudson explains,
“but some of his best qualities, like his drive and curiosity, I’ve been happy to see grow alongside his career.”

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