Running with the Wolves
In the workplace and in her personal life, Meredith Holland, MBA ’16, embodies the spirit of freedom and perseverance she encountered at NC State.
“I’ve been a fan of NC State since the day I was born,” Meredith Holland, MBA ’16 reflects. For her first Halloween, her parents dressed her in a baby wolf costume, setting the scene for what would become a lifetime with the Wolfpack.
As an undergraduate at NC State, pursuing a degree in business and a concentration in marketing, Holland remembers walking around Nelson Hall and seeing the MBA students with their sleek briefcases bearing the Poole College of Management insignia.
But it’s an expensive endeavor, so I decided to work for several years to explore my options and understand what I wanted out of my career.
“I knew I eventually wanted to study for an MBA,” she says. After a five-year stint in sales, Holland became the one with the briefcase in Nelson Hall.
She knew she wanted to learn more about the strategic side of marketing, but it was ultimately her MBA classmates who inspired her to take a deep dive into product management. “The people I interacted with throughout the program helped me discover things about myself I hadn’t realized before,” she remembers. “Several of my peers were in product manager roles, and I was intrigued by how they integrated the storytelling of sales with the out-of-the-box thinking needed for problem solving and the bigger picture of markets.”
Reimagining healthcare education
As soon as she graduated from Poole in 2016, Holland stepped into a product manager role for CastleBranch, a compliance management and infectious disease screening company headquartered in Wilmington, NC. Throughout the past five years, during which she was promoted to Group Product Manager, Holland has headed the development for the CB Bridges™ managed solution, which propels students in the healthcare industry forward by helping them track safety protocols, background checks, clinical hours and employment opportunities connected to their training.
It was the first time in several years that the company had stretched to create a new product, and Holland’s work was instrumental in accomplishing this undertaking. “I’ve seen CB Bridges™ go from nothing to being a viable product out there in the world,” Holland describes.
My favorite part of the job is interacting with clients and hearing their stories, then bringing those insights to my team as we continue improving our product. It’s gratifying to give these students the gift of time to focus on learning and cultivating patient relationships, while we handle the rest of the logistics.
Going from a non-technical sales role to a technical-focused development role was not an easy transition to make, she says, but Holland attributes her confidence to step outside of her comfort zone to the NC State community’s consistent examples of perseverance and tenacity. “Poole taught me to always look past the face value or initial fear of a challenge,” she shares. “That’s something I apply everyday with my job. I often encourage my team to look at problems from multiple angles so we can find the best solution for our clients with both empathy and strategy.”
Continuing the Wolfpack legacy
Her desire to live out NC State’s values is further evident in her personal life, not only in the workplace. Holland shares how earlier this year, her son, Sullivan, was born three months premature. He spent more than 100 days in the NICU before coming home for the first time.
“Every day in the NICU, my husband and I thought about Coach Jim Valvano’s famous tagline, ‘Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up,’” Holland says.
“Those simple words embody so much of what NC State represents, and they bolstered our spirits during those long days in the hospital.”
Today, our son is doing fantastic, and perhaps someday he will join NC State as a fourth-generation Wolfpacker.”