Teneshia Hudspeth: A leap of faith
A Texas girl at heart, Teneshia Hudspeth is Harris County’s newly elected clerk—the first Black woman to ever hold this position.
Born in Junction City, Kansas and raised in Austin, Texas, Teneshia was raised by a single mother. Teneshia's mother inspired her ito pursue her education goals and seeking opportunities that her mom was not able to achieve. Her mother was also her inspiration in finding ways to help others because her mom was highly involved in their community – from MLK marches to taking her to polling locations to vote, even as a kid. These experiences helped shape her to become the professional that she is.
Teneshia is passionate about helping and serving others. She is a trailblazer that takes a leap of faith to pursue opportunities. She is a strong advocate for things that her community cares about and able to write opinion pieces on issues in her surroundings. As a result, she was able to talk to her constituents in her district and understand their needs.
She started her journey towards the county clerk's office after interning for Representative Chet Edwards, she received a public affairs administrative assistant position. Teneshia recalled that she was fortunate to climb the ladder and get to where she is now because the leadership opportunities for people like her were not there. After many years, she worked for the interim county clerk and was then recognized for her leadership skills by a female county clerk, Diane Trautman, in 2018. She ran against her previous boss and as they say, “the rest is history.”
Despite the ongoing pandemic, she was able to quickly decide how to still serve the public. It was not until the moment that Diane Trautman had to step down in the middle of 2020 that she started campaigning for the role.
She is a part of many organizations like the Houston Chapter of Women Professionals in Government, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the Houston Black Leadership Institute (HBLI) that focuses on planning leadership success in Houston’s African-American community.
From Teneshia’s leadership experiences, she advises four things. First, she stresses the importance of finding a mentor – whether it’s for an individual’s personal life or for faith – we need to look up to someone that reflects where we want ourselves to be in life and have them share their experiences with us. Second, we need to trust our own selves and believe that the work that we’ve done was enough (just like how she worked hard enough to run for office). Third, we need to be involved in our communities – especially when it comes to our civic duties. Lastly, we should take a leap of faith because we spend so much time thinking of what could happen – it’s best to not look back and think that we didn’t at least try then regret it.