A proven leader and volunteer extraordinaire, Peggy Holly brings her innate love of craft to her latest governance position as board chair-elect of Craft Alliance in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood.
After years of dabbling in Craft Alliance classes herself, Holly discovered that clay was the perfect medium to combine her passions for art and design. Twenty years later, she credits a Craft Alliance instructor for guiding her through the process of falling in love with pottery. “She encouraged me not to become attached to the pieces I create,” Holly says. “If it comes out of the kiln with a crack, you don’t want to feel defeated. It only makes learning that much more difficult.”
Holly loves her wheel-work because “it’s a very tactile, physical experience. Wedging clay always reminds me of my grandmother baking bread. You can use it to work out whatever you’re feeling.”
Holly will lead Craft Alliance at an exciting time, after its recent move into its new home in the self-styled Makers District at 5080 Delmar Blvd. “The new space not only allows us to bring joy and fulfillment to Craft Alliance students, but it also enables us to bring new focus to our education and outreach programs,” she says. “We’re looking forward to incorporating fresh ideas and new ways to reach out to the greater St. Louis community.”
Born and raised in St. Louis County, Holly received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana University/Purdue University in Indianapolis. From there, she embarked on a 30-year engineering career at Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas), where she received intensive leadership training at Cambridge’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pasadena’s California Institute of Technology and the Center for Creative Leadership, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina. She was also a participant in Wash U’s not-for-profit management program and a board member of Columbia’s Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation.
Her volunteer work includes an impressive position as an emeritus board member of the Friends of St. Louis Public Radio, where she has served as the coordinator of the Grand Center Theatre Crawl since its inception in 2013. Holly and her husband, Mark, were both honored by the radio station with its Golden Microphone Award for their years of service to the station. Holly is also a member of the organizing committee of the Reparative Justice Coalition of St. Louis, which works to advance equal justice in the community, and she has served on the boards at ALIVE – Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments and St. Louis’ Safe Connections.
A past president of Duo Dogs, she and her retriever-mix dog volunteered in the organization’s TOUCH program, doing therapy work at nursing homes, hospitals and treatment centers. She has also served on the board of Habitat for Humanity and as board vice president of Redevelopment Opportunities for Women, providing financial sustainability services, advocacy, and wraparound support for women.
“I’m not a patient person,” she says. “I want to fix the things in our community that need to be addressed.”
An innate storyteller and award-winning photographer and writer, Alice Handelman provides Ladue News readers with a glimpse into lives that enrich St. Louis.