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BMO Harris regional president Anthony Hudson focuses on doing good, diversifying workforce

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A Cincinnati native, Anthony Hudson had his life changed after attending a Jesuit High School in his hometown. The school’s motto was “Men for others,” and taught him how to be purposeful in the ways he gives back to communities. He starts everyday with the intent to help others.

Regional president of BMO Bank in Milwaukee, Hudson sees his role in life to help others from the top down. As a leader in BMO, Hudson sees his position to create zero barriers for inclusion for diverse careers in banking. As an employee of BMO, serving its customers programs like BMO EMpower to dispel racial wealth gaps — a program he helped launch in 2020.

“For me (Jesuit High School’s motto) meant how do you find a way, in a purposeful way, to give back to help your neighbor,” said Hudson. “It maybe sounds kind of cliche or somewhat cheesy, but it certainly became a bit of a guiding principle for me into college, and then started my career in banking. And so, although my business card may reflect a banker, at my core, my role is to help people.”

Hudson started his career at Fifth Third Bank as he went back and forth between his hometown of Cincinnati and Charlotte NC. He took a call from BMO 10 years ago, relocating him and his family to Milwaukee, and has not looked back since. Hudson took the opportunity with BMO due to how they see him as a leader and person.

“BMO sees me as a thought leader. As someone who is nimble and is able to lead through an ever-changing marketplace,” said Hudson. “Our tagline is to boldly grow the good in business and in life. BMO sees me as someone who is passionate about living up to that tagline.”

Hudson embodies the tagline through his work both with BMO and outside in his personal volunteer work.

With BMO, he worked to launch BMO EMpower, an initiative to provide $5 billion in community support to diverse communities and their businesses. BMO overshot the goal and hit $40 billion and has relaunched the project as BMO EMpower 2.0. The intended support is the same as the previous, but the outreach and ability to support diverse communities nationwide has increased drastically.

As a leader and Black man in a high position in the predominantly white banking industry, Hudson sees his position as a way to create a diverse workforce.

“What I am unafraid to share is that we have work to do when it pertains to you hiring, developing, advancing African American, Hispanic, women within our industry. It’s not just within BMO, that’s across financial institutions and my job as a leader is to commit to that work,” said Hudson. “I’m really intentional about how I help to change the narrative there.”

In his outside commitments, Hudson is a board member with the Urban League of Greater Madison, City Year and the Community Development Alliance in Milwaukee and is on the national board of trustees for the Boys & Girls Club.

His work in everything from his career to volunteering is centered on how he can show up for others and promote racial equity in building a diverse work force and dispelling the racial wealth gap. Homeownership is one of his strongest pushes in his efforts.

“If you think about how you help Black and Hispanic families, build wealth and close the racial wealth gap. In many ways people will tell you to start with education and then homeownership. The home is the greatest asset that one may own and to be able to build wealth through homeownership and eventually pass that on through generations has to be something that can be seen as possible for all,” said Hudson.

His efforts are strongly tied to Madison’s and Milwaukee’s marginalized communities right now on that front. Homeownership in Milwaukee is something he sees as one of the largest barriers to overcome.

“Your race should not dictate whether or not you’re able to become a homeowner in this city,” continued Hudson.

Hudson credits where he is at in his career to the work of coaches and mentors in his life. The Jesuit school was just a start in bringing him to where he is now. The power of coaching is something he feels is underestimated.

In his workforce development plans, a push for mentorship and career coaching to further careers is important to him. Hudson is currently involved with the McKenzie Regional Workforce Development Center as praxis to his culminated beliefs of equitable workforce, the racial wealth gap and homeownership.