Introducing Our Chief Happiness Officer, Industry Champion Holly Kickliter

If you know Presence, you know our happiness team.

They’re the folks who support our campus partners around the world every day. They send you funny gifs, support you when you’re struggling, and work with you to develop awesome student engagement strategies.

Here at Presence, we believe there can never be too much happiness. We also believe that happiness doesn’t just happen; it’s developed. It takes strategy. One of our favorite quotes says that “happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it’s something you design for the present.” 

That’s why we’re so excited to announce our latest addition to the Presence team: Holly Kickliter, our very first Chief Happiness Officer.

introducing Holly Kickliter (she/her), our new Chief Happiness Officer at Presence

As Chief Happiness Officer, Holly will guide the strategic vision of, well, customer happiness at Presence.

She will lead our customer success, advocacy, and quality assurance teams to support our campus partners across the nation in accessing, on-boarding, operating, and optimizing the Presence platform to achieve their missions.

Presence (and our campus partners) are growing quickly. Holly will ensure that each and every one of our 130+ campus partners — regardless of size or name — has the tools that they need to provide a world-class experience to their students.

This task isn’t an entirely new challenge for Holly. She comes to Presence after over 15 years in higher education, most recently serving as the Vice Chancellor of Enrollment, Marketing, and Communications at the University of South Florida – St Petersburg.

Holly and USF bull

During her tenure, she launched campaigns that increased new student enrollment and increased student retention from 60 to 76% over two revenue cycles, all while championing the importance of measuring student success KPIs. She also served as the point person between the institution and various software services, so she knows what it’s like to be on the client side of a software implementation. 

In 2013, she was a nominee for Businesswoman of the Year in the Tampa Bay Business Journal, and in 2018, her team’s work at USF – St. Petersburg won a gold award for higher education advertising. One of her favorite USF System team initiatives was building and launching the regional FUSE partnership with six state colleges (including our campus partner, Hillsborough Community College) to create clear learning pathways from orientation through commencement.

In short, she knows what it takes to help institutions and their students succeed.

Our Founder and CEO, Reuben Pressman, has been lucky to have worked with Holly in the past:

“Holly has a serious reputation for driving results in student success. I’ve had the opportunity to work directly with her and have seen her passion for students, building meaningful relationships, and solving difficult problems first-hand. It’s humbling to have a higher ed leader like Holly joining our team this week to help us provide the world-class experience we’re known for with our customers around the world.”

We can’t wait for you to get to know Holly, too, so why don’t we get started with some Q&A?

Q: What lead you to Presence?

The amazing team! Presence is absolutely passionate about student affairs and its mission. The team knows the student affairs professional experience and has built an extraordinary tool to help our colleagues and campuses meet their goals.

Q: What are you excited to bring to the Presence team?

Coming from enrollment management, I’m lucky to have partnered with so many extraordinary colleagues in admissions, academic affairs, and student affairs throughout the last 15 years. Most recently, I championed student success in the University of South Florida System at USF St Petersburg — from pre-admission engagement to orientation to FYE and beyond — and all the metrics in between. I’m excited to bring that perspective to my work here as Chief Happiness Officer.

Q: Where did you attend school? What was your student experience like?

War Eagle! I majored in Journalism at Auburn University in “the loveliest village on the Plains.”  I wrote for the Plainsman and was in Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. True story: our Hall Director and my first-year roommate guided me to my undergraduate major after watching me restructure Composition I papers for friends on our floor.

I didn’t yet know about student affairs as a profession, but I definitely experienced its impact! After that, I earned my Master’s degree in Mass Communications at the University of South Florida where I also started my doctoral program in May of this year.

Q: What’s one thing about your new role that you’re really looking forward to?

One of the best aspects of higher education is its best practice-sharing. The chance to work shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues across the country to support their students’ experience is so exciting.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

Travel! For spring break we ventured to Flagstaff for Sunset Crater, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon. While we were hiking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, it started snowing and the temperature dropped 20 degrees. Magical! If you happened to be there, we were the Floridians shooting videos of the snow.

Q: What’s something new you want to try?

Lately, I’ve been on a quest to map the most scenic bike route to our HQ. I’m looking forward to cooler weather so I can put the best route into action!

Reader, give us a hand in welcoming our new Chief Happiness Officer, Holly Kickliter, to the Presence team!

Cassandra Corrado

About the author: Cassandra is the Director of Marketing at Presence. She's passionate about storytelling, fostering student leaders, and a bunch of other things that won't fit in this text field. Learn how we can help get your students involved.

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