Role Model: Shelby Holliday sets an impressive example

Fundraiser, Electronic Journalist. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Her commitment to the new way of doing journalism is infectious. For Shelby Holliday, off to a quick start in her areas of interest — business and journalism — life presents all sorts of exciting opportunities, and she is glad to show others how to maximize their opportunities. She’s a role model extraordinaire. Holliday, a Cherry Creek High School graduate, started working in the community while still a high school student. While participating in charitable events with Young Americans Bank in Denver, she met Linda Childears, president of the bank. “She was an incredible role model,” Holliday now says. “She showed me how much potential there is for women in our world — especially in business. I would lead meetings of 12 to 15 kids, and it was very meaningful work in leadership and business.” Childears became the president and CEO of the Daniels Fund, a $1 billion foundation, in 2005. Before that, she had been president of the Young Americans Bank since its opening in 1987. She hd worked with cable pioneer Bill Daniels to plan and organize the innovative bank.

ShelbyHolliday2It was this woman who inspired Shelby Holliday. The experience of leading groups and working on charitable events took Holliday down a very satisfying path with her sorority at the University of San Diego, where she is a senior. She helped to raise more than $65,000 for Alpha Phi to support the Alpha Phi Foundation’s Cardiac Care in conjunction with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement. Holliday says she acquired the donations and put together the auction, “just like any charitable event.” The results were astonishing. “We had no idea we’d do so well. We just wanted to raise as much money as some other colleges. Now, we’re the leading Alpha Phi chapter in the nation for fund raising,” says Holliday. Considering this activity “defining role-model behavior,” Holliday says, “We learned so much through doing the event just how serious heart disease is for women. It wasn’t hard to get donations. We had our committees, and I had all of them doing donation hunting. I love it — working with other girls and women. At the end of the event, you feel like you’ve done so much. Our sorority does important work. I don’t think when girls join sororities that they think they’ll be doing fund raising or charitable work. You realize doing something like this makes your experience in a sorority much more significant.” Sara AlonzoEveryone worked really well together. For example, Holliday was able to put together a weekend in the Big Apple. The package included a luxurious weekend for two at a boutique hotel in Manhattan, four passes to the NBC Top of the Rock Observatory Deck, a Lonely Planet Guide to New York City and two “I Love New York” T-shirts.

This go-for-it young woman had never been one to sit back. As a high school student, she was a competitive athlete, playing basketball and running in cross country events. Her basketball prowess took her to the University of San Diego, where she intended to play, but a back injury nipped her basketball career in the bud. Having to redirect her focus didn’t daunt her at all, and she realized she loved the university, so she stayed to study business with a minor in communications.
Holliday has put in some time at assistant level positions in the magazine-publishing world. Last summer, she helped a fashion director at Women’s Health Magazine and worked in the photo and features department at Shape magazine. Her experience also includes being a contributor for the publication 944, a San Diego magazine. She enjoys the work, saying, “It’s always new, always changing, always fascinating.” Communications work has taken Holliday further into the new arena of electronic publishing. She is the San Diego reporter for, an electronic magazine that has as its tagline “Where the world goes to college.” Contributing two to four stories a week to the online news and entertainment magazine for the Internet generation, she carries a camera, a Canon ZR800 mini-DV courtesy of, in her purse and chooses a topic to cover. She takes the footage, edits it, downloads it, produces it, does the voice
work and then sends it electronically to During the California wildfires last fall, she interviewed kids who were going out to help “Josh,” who had lost his home to a wildfire. Showing her unabashed love for the new medium, she says, “I believe video is the wave of the future. It is so convenient.”

She expands her enthusiasm to explain just why she loves it so much: “I like writing and delivering news to kids in my generation and like to get them involved, because it’s my passion. I want to reach kids my age because people need to know what’s going on, and I want to inform them. The biggest mistake that mainstream media make is they don’t cater to kids my age. If you can use Facebook and YouTube, and they can see what you’re doing, that’s a good thing.” In a recent edition of, Holliday was billed as “showing us how to bake scrumptious cookies.” In her cookie-baking story, she was engaging and showed how much she enjoyed what she was doing. She says she would love to do broadcast journalism. Holliday is still working in ink on paper, too, as she writes her sorority’s newsletter. She says she has had a live journal blog since high school. She began her writing career in high school for the school newspaper. Her dad was a journalism major in college, and she got “the bug” from him, even though he now works in the area of finance. Sara AlonzoHer parents, Nancy and Jeff Holliday, were influential as role models. Jeff was a basketball coach and took Holliday to swimming, out running and playing golf and tennis. “He’s been very influential in my athletic life,” Holliday says. She says her mom “is very supportive, encouraging.”

Crediting her parents with never saying she couldn’t do something, Holliday explains, “My parents will be supportive of whatever I choose. Dad always said, go beat the boys.” The Hollidays are also supportive of Shelby’s two siblings, a brother who is a student at Cherry Creek High School and a sister who plays soccer at San Diego State. For this energetic 21-year-old role model, nothing seems out of the question. Whether raising money for a good cause, doing cutting-edge journalism for her peers, or showing other people her age that anything is possible, Shelby Holliday is at the top of her game.

Photography by STEVE GROER

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