Amy Holdsman, Essential Leadership
Amy Holdsman is the Founder and President of Essential Leadership, coaching and inspiring her clients to authentically identify their values, know their strengths, and step into their power with purposeful engagement. Amy is a trusted leadership coach and philanthropic advisor who guides her clients to identify their voice, vision and values in order to make strategic and impactful investments of their time, talent, treasure, and leveraging their ties. Amy has served in leadership positions in the Greater Philadelphia nonprofit arena for nearly twenty-five years.
Amy served as the Executive Director of the Maguire Foundation for five years. As Executive Director, Amy was primarily responsible for the overall operations, strategy, and grant making administration for $13 million in grants each year. She was the coarchitect of the Maguire Scholars Program, partnering with more than 80 educational institutions and serving over 1,000 students in grade school, high school, and college with significant and impactful scholarship support. Amy worked closely with the founder, Jim Maguire, to co-create and realize his vision for their family’s foundation and legacy.
Amy’s first executive experience was with White-Williams Scholars, where she led this two hundred year old nonprofit including the oversight and administration of the Charles E. Ellis Grant and Scholarship Fund. During her more than decade long tenure, she led the successful transformation of the organization from the single purpose of providing monthly stipends to high achieving young people from low-income families in Philadelphia to a more holistic, high impact program that provides hundreds of low income, high achieving young people with the necessary support for college access and success.
Prior to assuming leadership at White-Williams Scholars, Amy worked for seven years at Leadership Philadelphia where she introduced the concept of board service to hundreds of executives and placed them on boards of directors. It was there that she became familiar with the nonprofit landscape and invested herself in meaningful service to the community.
She is a 21/64 Certified Advisor for Multigenerational Philanthropy, a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaches Federation, and has earned a certificate in Applied Positive Psychology with The Flourishing Center. She is currently pursuing a designation as a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy with The American College of Financial Services. Amy earned her MA in Urban Studies from Temple University and her BA in Journalism from The George Washington University.
Amy is an active member of Impact100, a women’s giving collective, where she mentors an Impact Fellow, a young professional in search of coaching on how to navigate the philanthropic landscape. She mentors a young woman through Mighty Writers on navigating the college going landscape. She is a past Board Chair of Philabundance, and past board member of The Farmers Market Trust (now The Food Trust) and Congregation Rodeph Shalom. She is the 2018 Give Back Award winner at the Baird Women's Lifestyle Conference.
Amy has proudly served for more than a decade as the Pronouncer in the annual Philadelphia Tribune Spelling Bee. The winner of the competition competes in Washington, D.C. at the National Scripps Howard Spelling Bee. She is also a Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor (RYT-200). Amy lives in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia with her husband Kenny. They have two sons, Greg (22) and Danny (20). Amy can be found walking daily in the Wissahickon with her three dogs, Raffi (a certified therapy dog), Rosie and Reece.