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Poole College Advisory Board Spotlight: Christine M. Holmes, BA ’88

By Caroline Barnhill

While Christine M. Holmes ‘88 spent most of her youth in the Raleigh area, her work with Big 4 accounting firm Ernst & Young has taken her all over the world. She hopes she can use that experience to strengthen the college as she steps into her role as the chair of Poole College of Management’s Advisory Board.

“I completed my accounting degree at NC State and joined Ernst & Young (Whinney) in Raleigh upon graduation. Ever since I have maintained a connection to Poole College via recruiting for EY – we love NC State grads –  in the cities where I was living early in my career, Raleigh, Atlanta and Greensboro,” Holmes says. “When I moved to the Netherlands in 2008, I maintained my connection to the college by leading a case study for the Poole master of accounting class over Second Life.”

Holmes, who currently serves as a partner in the financial services division of EY, credits former Poole College board member and now-retired EY partner Mike Constantino for encouraging her to maintain her connection to the college – wherever her career brought her.

“When I returned to the United States, I moved to Des Moines, Iowa. From Iowa, I became involved as a judge for the college’s Leadership and Innovation Showcase – which was a great reason to make a trip back to North Carolina,” Holmes shares. “From Iowa, I moved to Chicago and ended up joining the college’s advisory board.”

Today, she maintains a permanent home in Raleigh and another in Des Moines, Iowa – where her largest client is located. Being back in the Triangle has allowed Holmes to not only invest her time on the Poole College Advisory Board, but also on the NC State Foundation Board and NC State Investment Fund Board.

However, her role as chair on the Poole College Advisory Board is particularly important to Holmes.

I love having a deeper connection to Poole College and learning more about how we continue to innovate the programs for the students, reach out to the business community and work to ensure the college is funded in a sustainable way.

“I love having a deeper connection to Poole College and learning more about how we continue to innovate the programs for the students, reach out to the business community and work to ensure the college is funded in a sustainable way,” Holmes says. “Watching NC State climb the ranks in business education has been very satisfying, and I want to help ensure the college continues to be competitive at this level going forward.”

During her time on the board, Holmes has contributed her perspective to various topics discussed during the meetings, while also learning about how the college operates and is funded. As the new chair of the board, she hopes to encourage fellow board members to take a more active role in the initiatives that the college is trying to drive. 

“I hope to form committees that will meet in between board meetings to help engage the community in fundraising and developing programs for the business community as a funding source,” Holmes says. 

Holmes brings with her a unique perspective she hopes will serve the college during her time on the board.

“I’ve completed two overseas assignments – six months in Japan and four years in the Netherlands  – and have worked in the financial services industry most of my career,” Holmes says. “I am also the Diversity and Inclusiveness Leader for EY’s Financial Services Office Assurance practice. I believe the combination of my international experience and D&I lens brings a different perspective.”

Having stayed connected to Poole College – and the university at-large – over three decades, Holmes has a keen ability to see the college’s strategic advantages. She sees how the college takes advantage of the broad range of technical expertise offered by NC State, which brings a diverse perspective. Additionally, the college’s partnership with businesses through case studies and the Leadership and Innovation Showcase provide career-building experiences that ensure Poole students are able to begin contributing value to their employers on day one of their careers.

“Poole provides a steady stream of career-ready graduates that is a strong attraction for businesses in the Triangle and throughout the state. Additionally, Poole provides a leadership series on a broad range of enterprise risk topics to executives in the area – which is another attraction for businesses to locate in and around the Triangle,” Holmes explains. “My hope is that we, as a college, continue to leverage our partnerships with the business community to provide actual business experience to our students and focus on future skills to better prepare our students for careers that may not exist today.”