Who's Who of Professional Women


Joy Holland

Joy Holland lives by the mantra, “don’t make excuses, and don’t be a victim.” She doesn’t believe in letting problems hold her back; perseverance was her strength, and she did what she had to in order to succeed. Ms. Holland initially started college as a math major, but quickly found nursing to be more appealing. With a growing family, she wanted a career she could launch quickly. She was also drawn by the prospect of spending her time helping individuals get better. Ms. Holland proceeded to earn an Associate of Arts in nursing from Olive-Harvey College in 1972. She obtained her first position, staff nurse at the University of Chicago Hospital and Clinics, that same year, and the rest is history.

After a year in her initial position, Ms. Holland began to work her way up. She garnered experience in roles like head nurse at New York Hospital, clinic administrator at Morrisania-Montefiore Hospital, head nurse and supervisor at Pilgrim Psychiatric Hospital, surveyor and consultant at the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals, and chief executive officer of the Ypsilanti Regional Psychiatric Hospital, the Clinton Valley Center, and Southgate Center, and became the chief executive officer of Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in 2001. Her final positions before retiring in 2017 were chief of staff to councilmember Muriel Bowser in Ward 4 in Washington, DC, and deputy secretary for the District of Columbia. She specialized in emergency treatment and in caring for mentally challenged youth.

The highlight of Ms. Holland’s career was developing a hospital for mentally ill offenders in Michigan. Another moment that stands out was when she decided to try and help her patients see a concert. These patients didn’t have the opportunity to attend events like that, and she wanted to give them that experience. Ms. Holland found a church that would allow her to hold a concert and a soprano who volunteered to perform. She asked some of the patients and staff to perform as well, and costumed them by taking donations from local businesses. The concert was a complete success; her patients loved it.

Over the years, Ms. Holland advanced her professional standing by continuing her academics and connecting with her peers. She received a Bachelor of Science from Saint Joseph’s College in 1976 and a master’s degree in health administration at C.W. Post College in 1978, and joined prominent organizations like the New York Academy of Science, Business and Professional Women, Incorporated, Sigma Theta Tau, and Alpha Kappa Alpha. She was also a member of Masons Order of the Eastern Star.

In her spare time, Ms. Holland enjoys chess, walking, and reading.

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