April 2018, News & Features

Luck and hard work help professor achieve goals

For Assistant Professor Dan Holly, earning a good salary and living a balanced life were both important goals. But he had never been able to really achieve both until a chance conversation in a bathroom at his church in 2011 changed his life.

The friend, Benjamin Money, knew that Mr. Holly had been an editor and columnist at the News & Observer, the local newspaper in Raleigh, and was a skilled writer and editor. Mr. Money was the CEO of a health-care company. He told Mr. Holly that his company needed some help with writing tasks and would pay him for his services.

Mr. Holly worked for the News & Observer, where he was an editor and columnist, for 10 years. At the newspaper, he earned a good salary but worked extremely long hours, and he eventually decided to leave. At the time of that conversation, he had recently joined the faculty at Saint Augustine’s University, where his work schedule was not as stressful but the pay was less.

Mr. Holly has been an assistant professor at Saint Augustine’s since 2011. In March of 2018, he was named interim chair of the Media and Communications Department.

“My life’s goal has always been to make enough money to support my family,” Mr. Holly said. “But I didn’t want to work too hard and come home exhausted every night. I don’t like being overwhelmed with all the work I have to do. At the News & Observer, I was getting burned out.”

The bathroom conversation made Mr. Holly realize that others might be willing to pay him for writing and editing tasks. He formed his own company, GTB Communications, to offer his services to individual and organizations, big and small.

He still has the company and it allows him to pick up enough work in his spare time to increase his income. The extra income is especially important with two daughters in high school who will soon be going to college, he said.

“I think I have finally been able to achieve my goal of life balance,” he said.

Mr. Holly realizes that he was lucky to be in that bathroom at the right time, but he said luck has been combined with hard work.

“Never give up on your dreams,” he said. “I never stopped and kept going until I finally accomplished my goal.”

— Breana Gambrell