Vice President, Manning & Napier Advisors
In 2016, Greg Holden served as chairman of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce — the second-youngest person to ever hold that title.
“I’m proud of that,” he says. “It says something about St. Petersburg — it’s not your grandparents’ St. Petersburg. It’s still welcoming for retirees, but it’s just as welcoming for a young millennial.”
Holden accomplished a lot during his chamber leadership tenure. He helped found an economic development corporation so St. Petersburg could better pull its weight in regional matters, such as the joint Tampa-St. Pete proposal to persuade Amazon to build its new headquarters in the Tampa Bay area. Holden also played a big role in St. Petersburg’s bid for a Major League Soccer franchise, heading up the chamber’s Rowdies Council — an effort to rally the city’s business community around the push for MLS. (The Rowdies currently play in the United Soccer League.)
“We secured 250 letters from local businesses, ranging from huge corporations to small businesses committed to season tickets and sponsorship … we’re solidifying the team’s corporate base,” he says.
It’s more than a little surprising the bespectacled, bow-tie-wearing Holden wound up in the fast-paced, high-stakes world of investment and finance. Holden himself, who readily acknowledges his “professorial” bearing and demeanor, says his bachelor’s degree in religion and theology from Denison University in Ohio set him up for success much better than he had anticipated. It also helped land a job in finance.
“I purposefully went to a liberal arts college because I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he says. “I wanted a strong base in critical thinking and writing skills, and I wanted to be challenged and debate big ideas.”
— Brian Hartz
Name: Greg Holden
City of residence: St. Petersburg
Twitter handle: @wgregoryholden
Employer: Manning & Napier
Title: Vice President
Years on the Gulf Coast: 10
Marital status/children: Married to my best friend, Mollie Holden, father/dad guy to Will Holden (age 2)
Alma mater/degree: Denison University; very proud liberal arts graduate
Best place to network: St. Pete Chamber
Messy desk or clean workspace: I promise that I know where everything is...
Eat lunch out or at your desk: Never eat alone
Best business lesson ever learned: Start a relationship by giving rather than taking. This is a marathon and not a sprint. Start early building your network and board of advisors. Remember people who help you along the way and do your best to pay it forward for others.
Weirdest job you’ve ever had: Radio disc jockey...92.7 WQEL and 1540 WBCO...the best of the 50s, 60s and 70s along with running the Major League Baseball...the studio was in a three-story Victorian house and you had to keep a tennis racquet around for protection from bats when working the late-night shifts.
A website that makes your job easier: Salesforce (love/hate relationship) and Google (I have to say it since my brother works there)
App you use the most: Waze (to get around bay area traffic!)
One thing you do everyday: Read to my son
Community group you’re most involved with: St. Pete Chamber
Favorite off-hours activity: Anything on or around water (especially human/wind-powered boats)
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Peter Demens and John Williams (founders of St. Petersburg)
What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Summer camp director/counselor or boat captain
Top item on your bucket list: Getting back to New Zealand
Your happy place is: The top of Mt. LeConte
Your biggest fear: Missing an opportunity
Favorite Ted Talk: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams by Randy Pausch (the “Last Lecture”)
Skill you’d like to learn: How to play the guitar
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Harrison Ford or William Holden (We’re not related, but I get asked all the time since William is my first name.)
Describe yourself in three words: Prepared, thoughtful and adventurous