Remembering A Friend of the Promise: Joseph Holman

“It always took him about 30 minutes to get from the front door to his desk,” shared the receptionist with a smile. “He’d say good morning to everyone as he walked by—asking them about their son’s little league baseball game, their ailing mother-in-law, their recent vacation. He just cared for people.” 

That’s one of my favorite Joe Holman stories, an UrbanPromise friend and supporter who built a small regional Ford dealership into an international business (Holman Enterprises) with over 7000 employees. No matter how large the business grew, people were always a priority.  

Mr Holman passed peacefully away this week at the age of 93. Up until a week ago, he went to the work every day!  He seldom missed an UrbanPromise event. 

This past summer I had the privilege of hearing his daughter Mindy—now CEO of the company—speak to a group of young UrbanPromise leaders. “I remember hearing a story about my father,” she reminisced. “His assistant told me that he always separated his outgoing mail into two piles. One pile got the company stamps. One pile got his personal stamps. He believed that using company stamps for personal mail was stealing. My dad had integrity. He believed in honesty.”

This week the UrbanPromise community is deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend. We are also saddened that our world has lost a kind, compassionate, humble leader who cared deeply about his community.

But despite the sadness, I am also grateful—grateful to have known a leader who, despite his prodigious success and influence, never lost his moral compass. And by doing the right thing the right way, decade after decade, he built a company culture that not only affirmed the worth and dignity of its people, but also enjoyed financial prosperity and respect amongst its peers.

In a world that increasingly celebrates leaders who willfully display egregious acts of hubris and sell their souls for short term gains, it’s a gift to be reminded that humility, kindness and decency are not antithetical to success—they’re actually the ingredients that create a world in which we all desire to live.

So thank you, Joe, for showing us the way. Rest In Peace.

Bruce Main
President, UrbanPromise

Joseph Holman Memorial Gift »