Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Volunteer Spotlight: Michael Hudson

Michael Hudson is a man on the move! In addition to Michael running his own thriving business called Site Search & Select, he is also Chair of the Chamber Ambassadors and member of the NGLCCNY Executive Committee.

I recently spoke to Michael about his business, his position with the chamber and a few personal things about his life.

Vaughn: Michael, what is Site Search & Select all about?
Michael: Site Search & Select is a global sourcing and strategic meeting management company specializing in conferences and events for Fortune 1000 companies and national associations that take place outside the United States.

Vaughn: How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Michael: After a decade of working in national sales for global hotel companies, I established a firm that represented hotels outside the US. These hotels lacked marketing in North America. In time, my multi-national, corporate customers indicated to me that my services would be of even more value to them if I could contract any hotel or venue in the world – not just the ones that my firm had on retainer. This was around the time when global meetings were increasing tenfold out of the US, and many of these corporations didn’t know how to begin the process of planning events outside the US. They trusted me to guide them with my vast destination knowledge and international business protocol. In short, they knew I had the knowledge to navigate them into new global environments. Suddenly, a new business was established.

Vaughn: How did your past experience as president of Meeting Professionals International’s Greater New York Chapter benefit Site Search & Select?
Michael: My experience as president helped me to understand how to elevate my business to the top of a very competitive landscape. It also taught me how to build upon my leadership skills which were essential for volunteer association management.

Vaughn: Who is your ideal client?
Michael: Any individual or company that is swimming in unfamiliar waters and understands how worldwide outsourcing can ultimately benefit their business relations.

Vaughn: What sets Site Search & Select apart from other companies with a similar business model?
Michael: Personalized service, global knowledge and an understanding that each project is equally important to us whether we’re presenting a conference meeting with 25 or 250 attendees.

Vaughn: How do you attract new business? 
Michael: I am proud to say that it’s usually through word of mouth from satisfied clients.

Vaughn: How has being a member of NGLCCNY benefited you in establishing business
Michael: Being a certified NGLCCNY business has allowed me to work with clients that I have been trying to work with for much of my professional career. These businesses are willing to start a dialogue because NGLCCNY offers a win-win scenario for both parties.

Vaughn: Speaking of  NGLCCNY, how are you enjoying your position as Chair of the Chamber Ambassadors and member of NGLCCNY Executive Committee?
Michael: I feel truly blessed in this leadership role. I am able to lend a helping hand in mentoring potential leaders as the organization continues to grow, evolve and prosper. Being part of such a sustainable, grass roots movement is such a honor as well as a gift to me.

Vaughn: By the way, thank you for letting me work for your business as a photographer. How have you been able to use other members from NGLCCNY?
Michael: In addition to doing work with your business, (Vaughn Stewart Photography) I had Graham Murray design my awesome new website through his company Lookit Design. I’m also sourcing out other projects to other LGBT businesses as we speak. Yes, the entrepreneurial and creative spirit is certainly alive and prospering in NGLCCNY. 

Vaughn: How would you suggest members of NGLCCNY establish business relationships amongst other members?
Michael: The first thing that I would say is to get involved in the Chamber -- it keeps you visible among other members. Next, become certified! That alone has helped me to establish many corporate partnerships that I would have never been able to do otherwise. It really is the most important weapon in my arsenal.

Vaughn: I know that Bill Finklea belongs to the NGLCCNY and is Vice President of Operations and Sourcing for Site Search & Select. What do you discuss with Bill when it comes to moving the business forward? 
Michael: Usually we discuss ways to keep Site Search & Select on the cutting edge so it maintains its relevancy as a business.

Vaughn: I know that you have accomplished a lot in your life in regards to business -- is there one thing that you feel most proud of?
Michael: I feel proud of how I have been able to reinvent myself and stay flexible in many types of situation, especially when it comes to being a gay businessman in corporate America.

Vaughn: How about personally? 
Michael: Showing my LGBT pride! It feels good going to sleep at night knowing that I have helped to make a difference by impacting so many individuals through all the knowledge I have obtained over the years. It is unbelievably gratifying!

Written by Vaughn Stewart., NGLCCNY Volunteer Correspondent, Media Communications Committee. Vaughn is Principal and Chief Photographer at Vaughn Stewart Photography.

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