About Amy Holdsman

President and CEO, Essential Leadership, LLC

Amy Holdsman is the Founder and President of Essential Leadership: a leadership coaching and philanthropic advising firm based in the Philadelphia area. Essential Leadership was established to help guide clients in their philanthropic endeavors and to amplify their voice, vision, and values to make strategic and impactful investments. She coaches individuals and families as they are establishing, expanding, or refining family foundations and/or involving the next generation in philanthropic activities.

Amy is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP ®), a 21/64 Certified Advisor for Multigenerational Philanthropy, a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaches Federation and has earned a certificate in Applied Positive Psychology with The Flourishing Center. Amy’s recent speaking engagements have focused on topics including, “Embarking on Your Philanthropic Journey”, “Managing Difficult Conversations in Philanthropy”, “Using Tools to Create a Vision for Your Philanthropy” and “Engaging with Purpose- Identifying and Using the Four T’s”. She has immersed in the study of Family Systems at the Council for Relationships and the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family at Georgetown University.

Amy is currently Executive Director of the Green Family Foundation. and served in leadership positions in the Greater Philadelphia nonprofit arena for thirty years, including five years as the Executive Director of the Maguire Foundation and eleven years as Executive Director of White-Williams Scholars and the Charles Ellis Trust. Prior to assuming leadership at White-Williams Scholars, Amy worked for seven years at Leadership Philadelphia where she introduced the concept of board service to hundreds of executives and placed them on boards of directors. It was there that she became familiar with the nonprofit landscape and invested herself in meaningful service to the community.

Amy has held various roles in the community including being a mentor to young women through Mighty Writers and Philadelphia Futures on navigating the college going landscape. She is a past Board Chair of Philabundance, and past board member of The Farmers Market Trust (now The Food Trust) and Congregation Rodeph Shalom. She proudly served for more than a decade as the Pronouncer in the annual Philadelphia Tribune Spelling Bee. She is the 2018 Give Back Award winner at the Baird Women’s Lifestyle Conference.

“I had the privilege of working with Amy for five years, during which time she was an effective and loyal colleague in helping to build and execute my vision for philanthropy. This vision represents the values and legacy of my life, which Amy intuitively understands and embraces.”

— James J. Maguire, 
Founder and Chairman, Maguire Foundation

Amy earned her MA in Urban Studies from Temple University and her BA in Journalism from The George Washington University. She is a registered yoga instructor (RYT-200) with the Yoga Alliance. Amy lives in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia with her husband Kenny. They have two sons living in Los Angeles, Greg (27) and Danny (25) and two dogs, Rosie (13) and Reece (6). She is forever grateful for the eleven years that she and her family shared their lives with their beloved dog Raffi.


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