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MUSCMedical LinksCharleston LinksArchivesCatalyst AdvertisersSeminars and EventsResearch StudiesPublic RelationsResearch GrantsMUSC home pageCommunity HappeningsCampus NewsApplause


Assistant to president master of multitasking

by Dawn Brazell
Public Relations
There’s a great scene in the old television show “I
Love Lucy,” when Lucille Ball and her friend Ethel are in a chocolate factory and the assembly line speeds up. It gets to the point that they are stuffing chocolates in their pockets and down their clothes just to try to keep up.
Judy Holz with her three giant rolodexes.

Judy Holz, who has a quick wit and high-wattage smile, used the analogy to depict her job.
As administrative assistant to MUSC President Ray Greenberg, Holz has made multi-tasking into an art form. She comes into work with the typical to-do list, but then knows she’ll adjust to all the extra activities Greenberg wants added to an already packed schedule. Holz joked that the job has taught her to have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
“It’s a lot of juggling. Every day is different, and every day goes by really fast.”
Holz is one of eight women at MUSC honored this month as part of the National Women’s History Project. The university solicits nominations for women to be featured during the month of March who exemplify leadership qualities and who make significant contributions in their fields.
  Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., described Holz as a dynamo.
  “She is smart, caring, loyal and compassionate,” he said. “She is the kind of person you would want for your best friend.”
  The two enjoy a fun camaraderie. Her rule for filing is that if it gets higher than Greenberg, it’s time to do it, she said, her accent revealing her Midwestern roots. Standing up—even very tall—she comes to five feet, as compared to Greenberg’s 6-foot-4-inch frame. Other than getting neck strain looking up to Greenberg and the president snickering when she stands on a stool to file, it’s the perfect job for her.
“I love the people I work for. He’s a great boss. He’s a true visionary. He works like a dog and generates a lot of work.”
Holz, who holds a masters of arts in English from the University of Cincinnati, came to the university 17 years ago when her husband, Anthony Holz, became rabbi of  Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, Charleston’s Reform synagogue. Having grown up in Chicago and formerly worked at the University of Minnesota for the dean of the College of Science and Engineering, it was nice to move to a warmer climate, she said. She got a job as a research assistant in MUSC’s Department of Psychiatry, and then began working for Greenberg in 1995 when he became the vice president for academic affairs and provost.
One source of her energy comes from her strong family ties. A picture of her three daughters rests beside her desk. Her face lights up at the subject of her four grandchildren. She’s been married 43 years and enjoys her role as a rabbi’s wife. She and her husband still love doing activities together, she said. One of their favorite pastimes is The New York Times crossword puzzle. “It’s as if we are one brain. Between the two of us, his half and my half, we have a complete brain.”
Holz said she’s an Olympic-quality worrier and is learning to rein that in. Her life philosophy is to enjoy the good times and focus on being with the people she loves. “My husband is a great optimist. Life goes fast, and there are some bad things that happen, so you just have to focus on the good stuff.”
Her family is her greatest accomplishment, she said. “Motherhood is much tougher than any other job. Some people don’t realize how hard it is.”
Her other great joy, though, is her job. Holz, who mans three giant rolodexes on her desk, said she loves being the liaison between the president and the vast diversity of people and groups he interacts with daily. Greenberg said she does that well.
“Judy is a good listener and knows how to make other people feel comfortable and appreciated,” he said. “These are very important skills for someone who interacts as much as she does with a wide range of constituents, many of whom call this office to ask for help.”
Greenberg said his wife, Leah, is the most important woman in his life, but Holz runs a very close second. “Judy makes me better at what I do at work and in life. I am very grateful that she is always there looking out for me.”

The National Women’s History Project, founded in 1980, is a non-profit educational organization committed to recognizing and celebrating the diverse and significant historical accomplishments of women. The national theme this year is “Writing Women Back Into History” in honor of the 30th anniversary of Women’s History Month celebrations. For information, visit

Friday, March 5, 2010

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