Making Our Mark

Julie (Ivanyi) Holunga '95

Julie (Ivanyi) Holunga '95

Julie (Ivanyi) Holunga '95 majored in French at Union College before earning an MBA from Boston College. About nine years ago, she started a leadership training and coaching practice, through which she helps develop professionals to lead with influence and authority. Julie’s expertise is in effective communications and handling conflict. She also works with attorneys and accountants to build their books of business. Julie is president of the Boulder Chapter of Ellevate Network, an organization that connects and educates professional women to excel in their careers. She is also treasurer for her daughter’s high school lacrosse team and her new hobby, which she stared during quarantine, is mountain biking. The first time Julie ever tried the sport was decades ago in Schenectady, “which isn’t the same as the mountains of Colorado.” She and her husband, Shane Holunga '96, love to ski whenever they are not at a rink watching one of their kids play hockey. When they can, they meet up with Annie (Rozwadowski) Webb '95 and Julie (Jamieson) Kriesel '93. Stacey Rainey '95, Cort Boulanger '93, Amy (Herf) Reichman '97 and Beth McDermott ’93 have also come out to visit. Most mornings, Julie can be found on the mesa behind her house hiking with the family dog.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your career or volunteer activities?

A few years ago, I went through a 15-month program to teach trainers to use a psychometric assessment tool that reveals how people prefer to communicate. It was the hardest thing I’ve done professionally! The process taught me to stick through the hard and uncomfortable parts and look forward to what comes next. This fall, I will be speaking at a TEDx Conference, something I have worked toward for over two years.

Who inspired/inspires you, both professionally and personally?

I am always amazed to watch our kids bounce back from disappointments and rejections and go after what they really want. When our daughter was born, I was working on an initiative that examined women in the workforce at Harvard Business School. This reinforced my passion to work with women, and men, to ensure they take the reins on their careers, and that the infrastructure is in place to support women in leadership roles.

What advice would you offer today’s women students, not just at Union, but across the country?

Don't listen to those voices in your head telling you that you can’t, that you don’t deserve it, that you don’t belong. Raise your hand every time someone asks for a volunteer. Ask for what you want. Say yes to opportunities more often than no.

What was your most formative experience at Union?

My friends. I met my husband in a geology class with Professor John Garver. Many of my closest friends today are those I met at Union, some on our first day on campus. When we get together now, we often revert to our 18-year-old selves! My memories from the swim team still make me laugh.