Holly Dowling is a highly sought after award-winning global keynote speaker and inspirational thought leader as well as founder of the “Extraordinary Leader” program. For the past 20 years, she has addressed hundreds of thousands of Fortune 500 companies around the world including Facebook, Deloitte, PaloAlto Networks, Disney, Wells Fargo, Cisco, Home Depot, Google and IBM, among others and impacted the hearts and minds of millions in over 120 countries worldwide with her “A Celebration Of You” podcast via iHeart Radio. She is a member of the United Nations Girl Up, a two-time Stevie Award winner, a recipient of The American Riviera Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award, a global speaking member of the AICET Council (Anti Internet Child Exploitation Team), and she was recently recognized as a SHERO who are women “thrivers” making a positive impact in people lives. Her mission is to continue to inspire hearts and minds all over the world!
The Career found her!
It is either we chose our career or the career choses us. With Holly Dowling, she did not seek out a career in speaking, but the career found her in the most profound way. When asked about the inception of her career she went on to narrate an incident out of her life. In 1997, Holly was asked by a high school teacher to share a personal story regarding a very dark place in her life to an assembly of high school students. Holly’s message about having hope, dreams, and goals after being beaten down resonated with these students in such an intense way that they were lining up after the talk with tears running down their faces. After the assembly, Holly received a letter from a young girl who was in the audience. The letter detailed how difficult this girl’s life had been at home because her father was selling her for sex to get cocaine and that very day she was contemplating on ending her life. “After she heard me speak and share my story, it was a gift that provided her hope and a purpose to move forward” Holly recalled. The impact she made on one girl’s life by sharing her story struck her to the core and solidified her passion to make an impact on so many others’s lives too. Very few in Holly’s world know this, but to this day she still carries the girl’s letter everywhere she speaks to remind her of why God put her here; to pursue her soul’s highest calling and to be a messenger. Another person who was in the audience that day was Gina Schreck, who approached Holly after the presentation and told her that she has a gift for speaking. Gina and her husband owned a consulting business for speakers at the time and Gina is the reason Holly was provided the opportunity to get into a speaking business on a large scale and spread her wings! Holly’s speaking career clearly was born out of opportunity and God’s plan for her life.
“Worldwide Etiquette” -Yet another Milestone
One of the most interesting milestones in Holly’s journey ties back to her fearlessness from childhood and creativity in generating new businesses out of nothing. In 1998, “The Summit of The Eight World Leaders” was coming to Denver, CO. She wondered how the businesses of Denver were going to make a good impression and accommodate such diverse cultures. Holly decided to call the Mayor’s office and discovered no one had thought of how to educate the nuances of different cultures, customize menus in different languages, etc. With all eyes on Denver to make a great impression, Holly created a business in the moment called “Worldwide Etiquette.” With her background engaging diverse cultures on a cruise ship, she expounded upon her research and developed workshops for all the Denver area businesses. As a result, she was on the BBC, interviewed on CNN, and she was asked to join the African American Consulate. Her world dramatically shifted and was a large part of her life that catapulted her into the work she has done trying to make a difference on a global level.
Organization creating ripple effect
Holly’s organization has a mission to bring hope, inspiration, and joy to the world. There is no age, academic level, gender or race that they do not touch or make a difference with their messaging. “All humans are hungry in their soul and in their mind to rekindle their gifts and strengths,” Dowling states. While delivering this message on a global level to corporate leaders in top firms and organizations, they have discovered that all people truly love being able to take this pause to rekindle their mission and, in turn, causes a ripple effect throughout their teams and organizations.
From Fear to Faith
When Holly was asked about the challenges she faced in making her career choices, she spoke of spoke of astonishing and victorious attributes. She discussed her challenges on a personal level when she chose to reveal personal struggles and past experiences. Holly’s fear in revealing a dark past was that no one would want to hire her as a speaker if they knew she was “damaged goods.” But then she realized that by stepping out of fear and into faith, sharing became more of a gift by impacting more women and men with her story.
Follow the herd OR be unique
Holly Dowling has not allowed any professional challenges to overcome her or stop her, however, she has also not built her career in a traditional method either. Purposefully, she has not chosen the path to have a best-selling book, or to be represented by a speaker’s bureau, and has also chosen to not participate in a TED Talk. All of these traditional speaker milestones have been instrumental in her success. Ultimately, with every decision, Holly chooses joy in dictating where her clients come from. Over two decades, global organizations have attained her services time and time again based upon referral. She is recognized globally for contributions on the speaking circuit as well as a speaking member of the Anti-Internet Child Exploitation Team (AICET).
When asked Holly to define herself in one word, she called herself ‘Extraordinary’ and we truly believe she is. From not following the traditional method in the speaking career ladder as well as standing out of the crowd by making her own choices, indeed makes her extraordinary. Beyond this, her beliefs too are unique; she does not believe in work/life balance, she believes in work/life boundaries. Holly creates her boundaries with her morning rituals that she does not deviate from. In addition to a daily ritual within her boundaries, while speaking she implements additional boundaries. “Being an introvert and an empath, I give so much of myself and energy during presentations and the remainder of my time needs to be sacred in order to refuel myself,” Dowling states. In keeping these boundaries, it motivates her to know that she is helping others shine their light and bring tremendous impact on individuals’ lives all over the world.
“Love and Joy”, the message for all
When Holly was asked for a message to share, she chose to keep it simple by stating, “Choose Joy! Garbage in, garbage out! Love in, love out! It is time to stand up for what we stand for. It is time to start being a beacon of love and joy and shine the spotlight on what people bring to the world, not what they lack. It is the greatest gift we can bring to the world and to ourselves. It has a ripple effect!”
Insight in Future
Holly Dowling continues to see herself as a beacon of joy and inspiration as she prepares to launch her first ever “Hollyisms” inspirational app, in hopes that she can touch more lives than ever before. “Human beings are hungry now more than ever!”