Known for her high-energy, high-integrity style, Martha Holler is a master architect of brand and image transformation. Leveraging her Fortune 500 executive experience, she creates distinctive marketing communication strategies and award-winning campaigns that align to business objectives, amplify brands, and achieve measurable results.
A “brand believer,” Martha is passionate about helping clients articulate their purpose and strengthen their brands—to forge lasting connections with customers, make marketing more effective, and lift organizations to reach their full potential.
At the same time, she’s also known for her keen attention to the bottom line, translating business goals into finetuned strategies and narratives that deliver results. Martha can adroitly step into virtually any organization as a fractional CMO, often leading “the firsts,” from creating marketing functions and formal strategies to expanding into new channels such as public relations, social media, sponsored content, and paid advertising. She is a trusted advisor to C-suite executives and an inspirational leader to high-performing teams.
Martha founded ShinePR in 2020 to provide strategic marketing, branding, and PR counsel and execution to purpose-driven brands. Purpose is at the core of everything we do because brands that truly live their purpose achieve the greatest success. The award-winning, boutique agency excels at articulating and illuminating how clients contribute to something greater than themselves. When not growing her clients’ brands, Martha is honing her own as an active Episcopalian, avid football and MMA fan, accomplished tailgater, and champagne enthusiast.
Earlier in her career, Martha served 24 years at Sallie Mae, leading the effort to manage the firm’s reputation, chairing brand transformation initiatives, acting as primary spokesperson, and playing a key role in defining the corporation’s mission, vision, values, and accompanying narrative. She led a communications center of excellence and created de novo strategies for brand marketing, corporate social responsibility, and financial literacy.
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Table of Contents
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffett, how would you describe your company, services, or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Martha Holler: Our greatest strength? Purpose. Purpose is at the core of everything we do.
Why? Leading with purpose is a more fulfilling approach to business success. It positions organizations to benefit from more powerful marketing messages, deeper emotional connections with audiences, and more word of mouth recommendations. It also drives people and entities to do their best work and to make a difference.
In creating ShinePR, we pulled together the best of the best marketers, brand managers, and publicists. We thrive on discipline and delivering excellence. Warren Buffet should expect nothing less. What will stand out to him as hallmarks of an exceptional organization are we differentiate ourselves by leading with purpose AND we demonstrate that doing well and doing good are naturally concordant, not mutually exclusive.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?
Martha Holler: Over the last several years, we have lived through the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice awareness and activism, global conversations about climate change, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These issues are not just on our minds, they are on the minds of everyone around us. Our families. Our friends. And our colleagues.
So how do we as professionals navigate this environment and how do we keep our people happy? We rise above it by focusing on our higher calling. Our purpose.
Statistics show three-quarters of workers want jobs that offer a sense of purpose, and they place a high value on finding work that delivers on a sense of purpose. In fact, the overwhelming majority of workers would trade more income for more meaning in their work. Employers of all sizes and structures should take note: people feel more motivated, they are more passionate about their work, and they are much more likely to look forward to coming to work when their employer is committed to making the world a better place.
As humans and as professionals, we are hard wired to care about purpose, and when it comes to the workplace, purpose motivates. It inspires. And it fulfills us. At ShinePR, we understand the power of purpose and focus our work on helping clients’ tap into their purpose potential.
Here is a two fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
Martha Holler: A most recent read is one of my favorites: Growth Point: Develop Your Playlist for What You Can Do Today To Be Even Better Tomorrow, by Amy Clark. This book reads like a conversation with author and executive coach Amy Clark, and it includes a workable process to put ideas for improvement to action.
One of our values at ShinePR is “Raise the bar.” We pride ourselves on delivering high-quality deliverables and hold ourselves to a standard of excellence. That said, there is always room for improvement, and if we did it today, whatever the “it” is, we want to do it better tomorrow. Growth Point includes a methodology to work alone or as a team to do just that.
Christopher Hitchens, an American journalist, is quoted as saying that “everyone has a book in them” Have you written a book? If so, please share with us details about it. If you haven’t, what book would you like to write and how would you like it to benefit the readers?
Martha Holler: My business partner Laura Wessells and I have this conversation at least once a week. And our client and friend Jodi Brandstetter of Influence Network Media reminds us regularly that every business person has a book inside them. She goes on to say the book is a container for your intellectual property and a way to share your expertise with prospects and clients as you would a business card…only the item being shared is much more valuable and useful.
Laura and I agree. We have set ourselves a goal of writing and publishing our first book next year. We both are purpose fanatics, individuals who believe that we can contribute to the greater good not only in our personal lives, but also in our professional lives. We have lots of advice to share and stories to tell about tapping into your purpose potential. Stay tuned.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?.
Martha Holler: Freedom. Freedom to succeed on your own terms. Freedom to fail.
After a 24-year run in corporate America with a lot of great work and great people, I relish the freedom of running my own business. Creating everything from scratch – literally everything –required my team and me to practice what we preach to clients about how to build a strong brand from the inside out. We defined our values. We mapped our ideal prospect and client experiences. We created our own models.
We set strategies and prioritize efforts. We problem solve and take decisions both large and small. We listen to learn from every voice. We give grace to one another and to others. We take time to build relationships with one another and with our clients. We continuously share feedback to raise the bar so we are better tomorrow than we are today. And we build trust among ourselves and with our clients by keeping our word.
Do other companies do these things? Sure. When you run your own company, you are free to do this as directly, decisively and swiftly as you wish.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Martha Holler: On a business level, it means building on two years of growth and hitting our stride. Delivering excellence to and for clients. Applying our expertise to build strong brands. Learning and growing. Giving back. Having fun.
On a personal level, it means being happy. Family. Balance. Wellness. Quality of life.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Martha Holler for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Martha Holler or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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