An experienced business leader and behavioral scientist, Holly has a rare combination of extensive academic training and in-the-trenches experience working in and leading organizations. She has also worked with elite performers including the United States Navy SEALs, Top Gun Fighter Pilots, Olympic athletes, senior NFL referees, the FBI Leadership Academy, and two United States Presidents.
Holly is the former president of The Ken Blanchard Company and co-founder of a biotech firm. She worked in senior leadership roles with global giants including The Coca Cola Company, Dell Computer, Deloitte, LLP, and Bass Hotels and Resorts. She serves on the Board of Directors for The Warrior Connection and Board of Advisors for the Global Innovation Institute.
Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?
My background is varied in education and work experiences. I have a BA in Behavioral Sciences, an MS in Organization Development, and post graduate work in Neurophysiology. I have worked as an employee for some amazing organizations including AT&T, The Coca Cola Company, and Dell Computer and consulted to hundreds of small and mid-sized businesses as well as global leaders around the world. I have also had the privilege to work with elite performers including the United States Navy SEALs, Top Gun Fighter Pilots, Olympic athletes, senior NFL referees, and two United States Presidents. I am the former president of The Ken Blanchard Company, and co-founder of a biotech firm.
My days are filled with supporting companies, associations, and for cause organizations to help them compete more effectively in today’s uncertain markets. My work tends to focus on strategic planning, operational excellence, and organizational alignment to achieve higher profits and more success. I also get to serve as a keynote speaker for conferences and tradeshows.
Q: What motivated you to get started with The Human Factor?
I had a lot of great experiences and ended up in a large, global company that was stagnant. There was no interest in innovation or change. I found myself closing my office door and taking a nap each afternoon and knew it was time to do something dramatically different. At the same time, a previous colleague contacted me and asked if I could support his organization in strategic planning. The right things all came together at the right time in my career. I have always stayed in touch with former colleagues and was able to reach out to that network quickly to begin supporting numerous leaders and companies right away.
Q: How have you attracted clients and grown your firm?
I have an abundance mentality. Give and it will be returned to you. Use your time and talents to help others.
We do a lot of writing – blogs, posts, contributions to magazines, and books – that has helped with credibility and reach on an ongoing basis for 20 years. Additionally, the keynote speaking gives me introductions to hundreds of leaders. We follow up with all participants to stay in touch including a monthly newsletter and series of neuroprompts to provide additional value beyond the speaking.
Most of my work always has and still comes from referrals. I work hard to maintain relationships.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
A new balance in traveling for work and working remotely. Previously, I traveled approximately 42 weeks a year every year and was often in 3 time zones in one week. I am now committed to one week a month in business travel so I can spend more time with family and friends. This affords me the opportunity to do more research, study, writing, DIY house projects, gardening, reading, cooking, and drinking wine :)
Q: What are the biggest challenges you've faced and obstacles you've overcome?
There are many…I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic at the age of 13. Learning to manage and live with it is a lifelong journey. I had a massive heart attack 12 years ago and live with 2 stents in my heart today. I am a blonde female working the majority of time with men. Finding the right approach and style to be heard and acknowledged means continual learning for me. I am lucky that I was taught from an early age by my parents that you can achieve what you can believe and you can constantly reinvent yourself to adapt successfully. I am lucky to be surrounded by some amazing people who constantly push and prod me to achieve ever higher levels of success.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
Be confident. Take initiative. Speak up. Treat everyone with respect and dignity. Maintain your networks. Provide value everywhere you go even if it is not immediately recognized by others. Find and surround yourself with others who believe in you and your talents and listen to them.