Alumni Spotlight: Alice Gordon Holloway
Posted on January 26, 2021 by MCOB Outreach
From in front of the camera to executive training sessions and university classrooms, Alice Gordon Holloway’s drive and pursuit of learning have distinguished her as a sector-transcending powerhouse. The Mobile native’s professional career hasn’t been confined to one industry; in fact, she’s spent time in broadcast journalism, governmental relations, consulting, supply chain and teaching. Holloway is a two time graduate of the University of South Alabama where she earned an undergraduate degree in communications with a minor in business in 1991. She then received an MBA from University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2014 before returning to South in 2018. Graduating with a Ph.D. in Business from the Mitchell College, Holloway is now sharing her experience and professional expertise with the next generation of business leaders as a Business Management instructor at the University of Alabama.
After working for WALA News, WBLX radio, and Mix 99.9, Holloway’s career pivoted from communications to business. Following her experience in broadcast-journalism, Holloway utilized her diverse business and communication background to excel in various positions within Alabama Power. She stayed with the company for over 10 years in their supply chain and community relations departments. It was during this time that Holloway discovered a passion for entrepreneurship; she started several companies outside of her full-time career, one of which– Skye Connect Incorporated– still operates today, her fifth enterprise.
“I started Skye Connect Inc. in 2013, and, at the time, worked in corporate communications, corporate and community relations, supply chain management, and earlier in nuclear power operations.” Holloway’s company has since provided services to public and private entities including Nissan Corporation, Toyota Corporation, Birmingham Transit Authority, Southern Research Institute, US Department of Transportation, Hightowers Petroleum, National Association of Golf Amputees, United Way and the City of Birmingham.
It was while balancing a full-time job with Alabama Power and her Skye Connect venture that Holloway felt a compulsion to return to higher education. “My work with business leaders was special to me and was thriving but I wanted to also make a bigger impact on the next generation of leaders.” She said, “I wanted to have touch points throughout Alabama, the country, and even the world, so I began seeking out adjunct teaching opportunities… Along the way, I realized that I was able to bring my flavor to the academic environment. This is when I found the Ph.D. program at the University of South Alabama. My world opened up.”
While at South, Holloway flourished. She was challenged by her professors and peers. Laughing she said, “Dr. Howard gave me a wrestling belt at graduation, and told me, ‘This is for the tenacity you have shown and signifies your efforts. You persevered every time no matter the feedback or outcome.’ This program isn’t designed to be easy– and I’m so glad it isn’t– because I earned every letter of the P h and D. I have a picture in my office that reminds me that I did it– I really did it.” Holloway wanted to thank Ph.D. Program Director, Dr. Joe Hair for giving her the opportunity to pursue her degree. “He allowed me to be a published author in his book and guided me through the process of becoming a research scholar. I owe him and his books a depth of gratitude for serving as my foundation to my new academic career.”
Today, Holloway is sharing her knowledge and unique approaches with the next generation of business leaders as an instructor of management at the University of Alabama. She teaches strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation, and management.
“I believe that the classroom allows me to translate my professional experience as a real-world entrepreneur to students who come from all over the world to Alabama for a unique education… My goal is to bring this all together so that students might have this, ‘Ah! Eureka’ moment, and leave them with more than they even came here for.” Holloway is also completing research that will contribute to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and provide new materials and resources for Alabama entrepreneurs far into the future. As the CEO of Skye Connect and a professor at the University of Alabama, Gordon Holloway will continue to shape new generations of professionals and improve the business ecosystem within the state of Alabama.
Holloway is the daughter of Beatrice “BK” Gordon, to whom Holloway credits her resilience. While persevering through the hardships that come with being a 15 year old single mother, Beatrice modeled resilience and hard work– two attributes that she shared with Alice. Passing away in 2008, she wasn’t able to watch Alice receive her Ph.D. in Business from the University of South Alabama in 2021, but, as Alice reflected, “She instilled the value of education in me along with my Aunt Bea and I will never forget them for that. Sometimes you don’t know where all your strength comes from, but if you dig deep, you’ll find it.”
Alice leaves students and professionals with heart-felt advice. “To everyone who has a dream, don’t stop.” She said, “I never thought I would end here– a Ph.D. graduate or professor. I realize now that I am a bridge builder, I will always step up to help.”
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