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Unapologetically You: Bavan Holloway

by Cory Wilmarth | Jan 09, 2019
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It takes confidence and convictions to be a great leader. Bavan Holloway, CPA, vice president of Corporate Audit at The Boeing Company, approaches life with the philosophy that one’s uniqueness should be cultivated and celebrated. With that in mind, Bavan mentors those around her to help them become their best selves or, in her words, “unapologetically you.”

Born and raised in Chicago, Bavan’s bold and outgoing personality stood out at a young age. “I was probably a bit of a tomboy,” she said. Bavan loved to play sports, namely basketball, baseball, softball, and a bit of track. She still enjoys sports now as a spectator, college football being her main interest.

Bavan graduated with her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Tulsa, with a focus in accounting. Though she initially pursued engineering, it was clear after one semester that accounting was a field much more true to her skills and nature. She earned her CPA not long after graduation and, after 12 years of dedicated work, was made partner at KPMG.

Now at Boeing, Bavan finds the most rewarding part of her job to be “helping employees understand and develop their unique skill set and how that adds value to the company, whatever it is.” She also serves as head of Boeing’s Enterprise Auditor program, a mid-career development opportunity designed to develop future leaders.

Outside of work, Bavan still strives to bring out the best in others. “I’m the mother of three, wife of one, so family is really important,” said Bavan. The three pillars of her life are family, faith, and community and she demonstrates her devotion to each. She is also a board member at the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish.

At the YWCA, one of Bavan’s favorite events is Shades of Leadership. This event provides mentorship to young girls of color with an interest in the STEM field, particularly programming or robotics. She serves also on the People of Color Executive Council, which partners with local organizations to hold the annual Stand Against Racism. Last year’s event focused on addressing mental health issues and the impact they have on communities of color.

One way that Bavan expresses her values is the collection of tattoos she has amassed over the years. On her left arm, there is an inscription of the word “strength.” The tattoo on her right arm reads, “She’s clothed with strength and dignity and she speaks with wisdom.” Bavan got her first tattoo at the age of 49. She contemplated getting one for a long time, only wanting one that would be meaningful.

Going forward, Bavan hopes to find more ways she can mentor her colleagues and influence others through faith-based leadership. She is also considering the possibility of getting another tattoo, but she is in no hurry. Recently, she got a tattoo depicting a phoenix with the words “still I rise,” echoing the words of Maya Angelou.

Whatever the future holds, Bavan will approach it with the courage of her convictions. “You have to know who you are and what’s important to you,” she said. “It is critically important to be true to yourself, to be who you are and not someone else. Don’t allow yourself to be compromised, even while you’re still learning and growing.”

Cory Wilmarth headshotCory Wilmarth is the Communication, Design, and Social Media Coordinator for the WSCPA. To nominate a member to be featured in the next member profile, you can contact him at cwilmarth@wscpa.org.

This article appears in the winter 2019 issue of the WashingtonCPA Magazine. Read more here.

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