Hollie Hollister

My day job is Founder of H Cubed Group, LLC. I describe myself as a social entrepreneur, a coach and a pragmatic visionary. Although one might assume the company is named after me, it’s not: It comes from the three “h’s” of heart (passion), head (planning) and hands (doing).

H Cubed Group works with heart-based small business owners and solo entrepreneurs to help them discover their assets and strengths, distinguish themselves and tell their story with intention. I often describe my role as working shoulder to shoulder with my clients to help them trust and own their own brilliance—I don’t see myself as a consultant.

I came to this role after years in the corporate world: I often joke I’m a Fortune 500 refugee. If you’d met me 20 years ago, I was focused on feminism with a gold “F.” Although I saw myself as the sum of my masculine and feminine leadership skills, I found the corporate workplace only cared about my masculine ones—I had to be Xena, Warrior Princess, every day.

Eventually, my soul started to die in that environment and after 9-11, I did a bit of a walkabout and decided to leave the corporate world. I volunteered at the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation and it was during this time I began to embrace the idea of being a social entrepreneur. I define that as finding a middle ground that allows for transparency, inclusion and leading from a place of great intention on one side, while also helping people make a profit. In short, the idea of “doing well while doing good.” Those messages were all very kumbaya when I started, but they’ve become more commonplace now.

I’ve worked to create a space where your personal and professional self are all the same. If you hire me, you’re going to see the full Hollie!

Not every organization is going to be a good fit for my model. I like to start things off with a discovery session—and that process is as much about filtering out as filtering in. My clients often say I trick them into doing things they didn’t think they could do. I think what I’m really doing is helping them understand their loves, their passions and their skill sets. I’m helping clients build teams, create equality, collaborate, create systems and processes that work for them. In short, helping them find and follow their own North Star.

My most memorable caffeine was hot chocolate and beignets at Café Du Monde in New Orleans.

I used to attend an annual trade show for work in New Orleans. The first year, I was just dreading it. This was a long time ago—pre-Katrina—and I was one of the first females on my team. But I decided I’d try to check my biases and some of the salespeople who were natives of New Orleans showed me such amazing things. I just fell in love with the city and especially with Café Du Monde, even though it’s very touristy.

The next year I decided to treat my mother to a trip, and we went to Café Du Monde together. It was an experience for all five senses.

My current caffeine of choice is a chai latte. I love the Indian herbs and spices.

My favorite places for caffeine are Madison Sourdough, Macha Tea Company and my “little secret,” the lobby at The Madison Concourse Hotel. Go to the Starbucks there, get a drink and then claim a spot in one of the little sitting areas out in the lobby area. The Concourse has big chairs, a fireplace. It’s all very decadent and says, “This coffee conversation is significant!”

The people I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with arethe three members of my own very selective advisory council: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Maya Angelou and Richard Branson.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the champion of gender equality, but she was so much more too. She saw the long game; she was the voice of reason. It would be a great gift to sit with her. And I hope I could be a gift to her too.

Maya Angelou. She had so much under her hood: poet, teacher, writer, activist. How do you suffer through your own incredible wounds, yet find a way to be the rainbow in others’ cloud?

And Richard Branson? He’s energy on warp speed and I’m ok with that! People know him for Virgin Atlantic, but they may not be familiar with Virgin Unite, his philanthropy. He had this powerful concept of The Elders, enlisting Nelson Mandela and a group of partners to bring it to life.

The combination of those three would tap into my extrovert and introvert sides. It would be the most exhausting and exhilarating coffee ever—but I’m ready for it.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine: To answer that, I’d borrow from the Alice Walker quote: “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

I would like each of us to hold our space, trust our own brilliance and know we’re enough individually. And I’d also like us to examine the beginning of The Constitution of the United States, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”

How can we live that—what is a more “perfect Union”?

And how can we aspire to be global citizens, to focus on “We the people.”