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Stories by Hydro

Meet Beatrix Hudak – Her journey from aspiring to inspiring

“I had never met a woman like that before,” says Beatrix Hudak, when interviewing for a career at Hydro.

Beatrix is Vice President of Finance for Hydro’s largest business unit, representing more than 35 production sites and 9,000 employees. She is based at the Hydro head office in Oslo. A Hungarian national, Beatrix joined the company in 2008, working as a financial controller for Hydro in Switzerland.

Tell us about how you started with the company?

I got my first job in Switzerland at a jewelry company. I worked there for six years, but I always wanted to work for a manufacturing company, because I liked the fact that you had an input material, did some production steps, and had an output – it’s really interesting from a controlling point of view. And at that time, I saw an opportunity with Hydro.

I went for my first interview, and I was not that impressed. The building was old and the job description was not that exciting. So I was not convinced. Then I was invited to a second interview and decided to give Hydro a second chance. When looking for a company, I looked at three things: The company culture, the talent, and the people you will work with – especially your direct boss.

There were two senior Hydro leaders in the second interview – one female, one male. And the female colleague, she told her story. That she was born in Scotland, started to work for Hydro as a teenager, did her Master’s degrees with Hydro, then moved to the U.S., to China, to France, and then to Switzerland. I was really impressed. Wow! This was really a female leader with such a career! I had never met anyone like this before. And I thought: This is what I want.

But you said the job description was not that exciting. What happened?

My boss said yes, you have the job description, but you can make from this job what you want out of the job. So I became convinced that not only would I be hired by this company, but that I also want to work for this company. And since then, I have done the same as the female colleague. I have lived in Germany, Switzerland, Norway and in China, and I’ve had a fantastic opportunity to grow. I really think that stepping outside the comfort zone and learning to work with different cultures helps make us better leaders.

Why would a woman want to work for an industrial company like Hydro?

When I ask my teams why they work for Hydro and why they are happy, they always mention two things: People and the challenge. This is true, regardless of gender. It is the company culture and the people we are working with. And then you have the challenge, because there is always something happening in Hydro. We have gone through the coronavirus, we had a cyberattack, supply chain issues, a merger, restructurings, investments. It’s never boring. There are always a lot of challenges and this gives an opportunity to grow.

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