Once she was the frantic mother of a toddler working full-time for someone else.
She tackled the chaos and challenges that confronted her with zest and humor to become successfully self-employed in a unique industry: the balloon entertainment world!
Holly Nagel, based in Chicago, Illinois, is an award winning balloon artist, decorator and sculptor with nearly 30 years professional experience in the communications, customer service and entertainment industries. In addition, she is a successful entrepreneur and has owned her own company since 2002.
As her business grew, clients began asking Holly to speak at their conferences and meetings about topics she was familiar with, namely having fun, creative problem solving and nonverbal communication. (Yes, balloons are used, of course!). She offers programming for the corporate arena including Balloon Lady’s Guide: Simple Lessons for Rising through Life.”
Through a series of events Holly ended up living a life (and making a living in life!) by doing some of her favorite things. She did not plan all this (who could?), it all grew out of her combined passions.
She has always had the gift of gab and in elementary school would constantly get in trouble for her chatty ways. She would get punished and sent to the back of the classroom, but always managed to make new friends back there, too. Her report cards included teacher comments that said: “Holly is an excellent student, but she is too social in class.”
Never underestimate the supposed weaknesses of youth, sometimes they become our greatest attributes later in life!~~Holly-ism
In college as a cultural anthropology/journalism major, she got a part-time job as a dancer in a Polynesian revue entertainment group where her love for the Hawaiian culture, in particular, was fostered and has steadily grown.
After 30 years of touring libraries and schools, Holly retired her Hawaiian programming for youth “Aloha to You!” which was geared towards early elementary children and families. She met ISBE standards so the kids could learn and meet educational objectives and have fun at the same time. (Her program for seniors was called “Going Back to My Little Grass Shack!”) The links will stay live for awhile.
She also developed and currently performs another interactive children’s program “Let’s Get Silly!” because, frankly, nothing beats the energy of kids, especially silly energy! Here she combines several things kids love–balloons, stories and songs.
In addition, while in college, she started working as a stringer, or newbie reporter. She then cut her print journalism chops for years in a variety of capacities from researcher and reporter to editor for numerous newspapers and magazines, continuing with writing for online sites where nearly 50,000 readers have enjoyed her work.
Life’s journey presents dreams and possibilities so numerous, it is impossible to choose only one lane to travel.~~Holly-ism
Pursuing all her passions has allowed Holly the unique privilege of living a truly wonderful life, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Along the way to creating her company, raising a son, and otherwise being involved in a millieu of endeavors, projects and relationships, she’s learned a few things, and not always easily or quickly. In an effort to help others shorten their learning curve she shares some tips in her blog Minutes to Remarkable and e-newsletter (sign up for this semi-regular quick read on the home page link.)
Based in the Chicago area, her company, once called Twist n Shout, has been able to offer the creative and colorful world of balloons, the exotic and exhuberant culture of Hawaii, and the power and persuasion of stories.
Her welcoming personality and easy-going demeanor endear her to all types of crowds and clients, from the corporate breakout session to the casual lunch and learn or backyard bbq. Her unique and upbeat style leaves attendees and guests energized and uplifted.
Giving back to her community is very important and Holly has been a volunteer recreational therapist at Allendale Association for years, encouraging the kids in various entertainment and workshop formats, from balloons to writing.
Not only is she a business owner and entertaining speaker, she was voted Member of the Year by the National Speaker Association-Chicago chapter, and is an active Toastmaster. She has separate inside shoes and outside shoes, makes laughing a priority, and considers butter it’s own food group.