One of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2017 recognized the special skillset of Citizen Potawatomi tribal member Anita Holloway. Ernst & Young LLC appointed Holloway to managing partner of the firm’s Tulsa office earlier this year. As a global provider of assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services, EY recognized the importance of having someone with extensive oil and gas accounting experience in a leadership role at one of their Oklahoma branches.
“I was honored and thrilled to be trusted with leading our Tulsa office and building upon the legacy that we have established in my home state of Oklahoma,” Holloway said. “At EY, we believe success is driven by our people and their development and engagement, and I can’t begin to describe how rewarding it is to get up each day and work with some of the most talented, motivated accounting professionals in the state.”
Holloway brings 25 years of industry experience, including eight years in the Tulsa office, to her new role. She will help ensure continued high-quality service to Tulsa-based clients and work with local and regional leaders to sustain a positive work environment for the company’s employees.
Holloway completed a bachelor’s degree with honors and the highest academic achievement in accounting with a math minor from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.
“My clients are primarily in the energy industry, but since EY has offices in more than 150 countries, I have been exposed to what a very big, and yet amazingly small, world it really is,” Holloway said.
After growing up in the small Oklahoma town of Stuart, Holloway has gotten the chance to travel the world during her tenure at EY. “I’ve taught an oil and gas accounting course in Abu Dhabi, observed a pigment plant in Rotterdam, Netherlands and been on the North Slope in Alaska seeing an offshore drilling rig. Coming from a town of 200, it’s pretty awe-worthy for me.”
Holloway attributes her success to her family, especially her father, who carries her Potawatomi heritage. Her father, George Lee Holloway, and grandfather, George Carter Holloway, who was a sharecropper, showed her what hard work looked like.
“When my father raised me, I never doubted that I could do or be anything that I wanted,” Holloway said. “I would hope that some other younger member of the tribe could also see that they could do whatever they want to and find their way in doing something that they love.
Additionally, Holloway is actively involved in Tulsa and other Oklahoma communities. She serves on the boards of the University of Oklahoma Energy Institute and the Tulsa Area United Way. She is also a member of the University of Oklahoma Price College of Business Board of Advisors and graduated from Leadership Tulsa.
“It’s always been very important to me to give back to my community given the fact that my parents invested in my education and helped me really get a great start in a great career.”
“Serving on the Tulsa Area United Way board is satisfying because I really get to see the impact that it has on the community,” she said. “I really appreciate the fact that it supports a broad range of services — from healthcare to education to financial stability.”
Holloway and her coworkers from EY recently participated in the Tulsa Area United Way’s Day of Caring, volunteering at Youth Services of Tulsa, which is an organization that assists homeless youth with food, clothing and other services.
“It’s not just being a donor or serving on a board. It’s actually being hands-on with the organization to see the impact they have,” she said. “The Tulsa Area United Way is very good about allowing its donors to have direct access to the partner agencies that it supports with monthly tours and volunteer events.”
Culture shapes her
When asked how her heritage influences her, she explained how her CPN culture has been a source of pride for her family. Holloway attended the Family Reunion Festival in June and appreciated the lengths the tribe has taken to preserve traditions while acclimating to political and cultural changes.
“At the most recent Family Reunion Festival, my brother Alan and I were able to spend some time in the Cultural Heritage Center reflecting on our Potawatomi ancestors and the changes they saw in their lifetimes,” Holloway said. “I think they would be proud to see how the tribe has kept our culture and heritage alive and how we, their descendants, have continued their legacy of adapting and thriving in an ever-changing world.”
As a member of the Melot family, an honored family at the 2017 festival, she was able to learn more about her ancestors with the help of honored family boards displayed in the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center and the book The Potawatomis: Keepers of the Fire by R. David Edmunds, sold in the Citizen Potawatomi Gift Shop.
“We learned that my five-time great-grandfather was a Potawatomi tribal war chief and actually met with President Andrew Jackson,” she said. “To think that he lived in a time where his culture as he knew it and his people were having to decide whether to fight or agree to relocate and was a part of those negotiations and decisions — it’s just amazing to think about someone going through that.”
Holloway and her family recently started combining their annual family reunion with the Family Reunion Festival on tribal grounds each June.
“With the pride of knowing that common heritage and where it comes from, for me, it’s why my family has taught me to work hard and always do my best. You know who your ancestors are and your tribal heritage and that makes you very grounded in who you are.”
To learn more about your CPN ancestry, contact the CPN Cultural Heritage Center at 405-878-5830 or visit potawatomiheritage.org.