Joseph Holland (josephholland.com) is an author, attorney, speaker entrepreneur, and ordained minister with outreach ministries to the homeless and other needy people, and an acclaimed community servant.
As a diplomat’s son, star athlete, and Ivy League scholar Joseph had a world of opportunities awaiting him in corporate America. Instead, he moved to Harlem during the nadir of its blight and endeavored to contribute to a neighborhood that was tough in every sense of the word. A five-year sojourn became a three-decade commitment, as his career morphed from practicing law to empowering the homeless, to running small businesses, to writing plays and books, to serving in politics, to building housing—all aimed at making a difference in the lives of individuals in need.
Mr. Holland has also served as a government official in legislative and executive capacities, as vice-president of the Harlem Business Alliance, and as a co-founder of the Beth Hark Christian Counseling Center.
Holland’s writings include an inspirational self-help book “The Touchstone Tools: Building Your Way To An Inspired Life”; his spiritual memoir – “From Harlem With Love: An Ivy Leaguer’s Inner-City Odyssey”; his first stage play – “Cast Me Down”, which enjoyed a Off-Broadway run; and his second stage play, “Homegrown,” which experienced two extended runs at Harlem’s landmark – The National Black Theatre. He has also created a motivational video series, “Holistic Hardware: Tools That Build Lives”.
Holland is also a graduate of Cornell University, where he earned a B.A. and M.A. and was an All-American football player. Holland has served as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees since 1988. He holds his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.
Joe has over forty years of experience working throughout New York State, and has served as an attorney, government official, writer, entrepreneur, and ordained minister.
He began his government career as Director and General Counsel to the New York State Senate Committee on Housing and Community Development. He then served as the New York State Housing Commissioner where he managed over 1,500 employees and orchestrated the planning and funding of thousands of units of affordable housing in various locations across New York State. He was also a gubernatorial appointment to the boards of the Harlem Community Development Corporation, the Municipal Assistance Corporation and the Empire State Development Corporation.
Over the several decades of his professional career, Joe has operated a solo NYC-based law practice. He also worked at Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, where he helped to build the firm’s real estate law practice. Additionally, he innovated on the business side of real estate, launching companies that used faith-based air rights to develop mixed-use housing.
In his entrepreneurial work, Joe has been a trailblazer, establishing businesses in the community when few others dared to risk it. He started the first inner city Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor and American Express Travel Office in the U.S. He was also instrumental in setting up a Body Shop retail store in Harlem.
In the non-profit sector, Joe founded and ran Harkhomes, a homeless shelter whose residents found work in these businesses. He also served as Vice-President of the Harlem Business Alliance and co-founded the Beth Hark Christian Counseling Center, which has been serving the neediest of the Harlem community for over thirty-five years.
Joe is a published author, and playwright. His writings include a memoir and inspirational self-help books: From Harlem with Love, The Touchstone Tools, and The Vigorous Virtues.
Joe is a graduate of Cornell University, where he earned a B.A. and M.A. and has been a member of the University’s Board of Trustees since 1988. He was an All-American football player there, in the footsteps of his father Jerome “Brud” Holland; the high school football stadium in Auburn, New York is “Holland Stadium” in honor of the family’s legacy. Joe holds his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. Joe enjoys serving as an Elder at Bethel Gospel Assembly, one of the largest churches in Harlem. Joe is the happy husband to his wonderful wife Jacqueline and a proud father of three young adults.