Maiya Holliday, Mangrove Web Development

I don't like to speak in hyperbole but in this case I really mean it: Maiya Holliday is changing the name of the game when it comes to women in business. She's a business founder and owner, a global team leader, a developer and coder, a mother, a wife, an explorer, and a leader in the movement of businesses as a force for good. She's built a solid and diverse team around her that can support her mission, gracefully welcomed a son into the world while at the helm of her business, and continues to work while becoming a thoughtful role model to her son in a world where we can rarely escape our screens, which in Maiya's case (and so many others), is our main business platform.

Mangrove Web Development is a company that I admire, not only due to Maiya's leadership, but for their genuine care about what they do and how they do it. They are a certified B Corp—an movement close to my heart—which means that they've made a commitment to thoughtful and transparent business practices that actively create social and environmental benefits for others. Read more about their commitment and get to know Maiya below. If I can say so myself, she's a force for good.


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Name: Maiya Holliday

Company: Mangrove Web Development

I’m a believer in a powerful Mission Statement, what’s yours? "Websites that make it easier for good people to do great work.” AND, also from Mangrove, but more applicable to all areas of life:  “We love what we do and care about how we do it.”

Why web development?  It’s a great mix of understanding people, being creative and then methodically problem solving. I feel like web development found me in a way, as I got into it by just playing around with the website at a nonprofit I was working for in 2006—turns out I really enjoyed it, which feels like somewhat of a happy coincidence. I didn’t know anyone who knew how to code at the time, but when I ran into a problem, I googled my way out of it and just kept learning and working on small projects. Eventually the side gig became the real gig and I couldn’t believe the industry that resonated with me so much was also one that was lucrative and allowed me to travel and be flexible with my work style. Over the years I’ve spent time traveling and working from Panama, Australia, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, England, and a handful of areas in the US. My team is also completely remote and based in New Zealand, Poland, Germany, Colorado and California. Everyone works hard, but on their own schedules while making sure to find time to be away from the screens to find some balance.  I think that’s a pretty amazing way of collaborating and being productive. 

What are two truths about your career that you want neophytes and followers to know?  
You have to have a hunger for knowledge to succeed in web development, as it’s an ever-changing beast. And, the better you can listen to clients and hear their needs from a non-technical perspective, the more you will succeed. You can always learn or find the code to solve the problem, but you have to understand the problem first.

What’s one thing you’re doing now that you hope changes the status quo, or something you’ve made or done that will outlast you? I’m proud that in the earlier days of doing web development, I was one of the few female developers that I knew. That was only 2006, so I’m certainly no pioneer in the “Women in Tech” movement, but being a woman coder was and still is definitely the minority. Our team is made up of five developers and two of them are female (I don’t code much anymore, but I would be a third). I don’t think everything plays into gender stereotypes necessarily, but I can definitely say that the lady coders on our team bring a different perspective and see things differently than the guys. And, the guys absolutely have their own strengths. Having diversity within our crew is an important factor in approaching problems more effectively as a team.

What’s the first thing you do every day? Since March, feed my baby (much earlier than I’d ever like to wake up!).  Otherwise, I usually roll over and check Slack (our chat app) to see how my team is doing, as many of them in different time zones have been working for hours already.  Someday I hope to train myself out of looking at my phone so readily from bed.

What’s your greatest extravagance? These days, sleeping in. Or, a night on my own watching Game of Thrones or Girls while curled up on the couch (without a computer or phone in sight).  

I would love a day in the life of... My family’s golden retriever Carmela

Name a living or imagined hero: Al Franken

What virtue do you value most?
In yourself: Being straightforward and opinionated yet compassionate
In a friend: Brutal, hilarious honesty

In the future I’ll be… In the near future, getting more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep at a time? And hanging out by the Truckee River, living in our new house that my husband has been working on for the past year. In the slightly more distant future, I foresee living for a year or so back in Australia (my husband Shaun’s homeland), taking at least 3-6 months road tripping and working from all over the map in a decked out bus or van.

What’s the last book you read? Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Your record player is stuck one one song for all of perpetuity—pick your poison: Anything from Arcade Fire’s first album “Funeral”

Try to imagine ten days away from a computer with no wifi in sight—where are you headed and what are doing? Backpacking or camping somewhere in the mountains, near a river or lake. We actually did this near Lake Clark in Alaska a few years back—longest non-internet time since starting my business in 2009! I was pretty proud of myself for that.

What are you most afraid of? My son Terner growing up overly attached to screens and distracted from the rest of the world.  

Happiness is… A really delicious meal and beer with friends on a sunny deck at the end of a long hike or backpacking trip. 

Success looks like...Having time to truly relax while also feeling accomplished. Knowing you have a solid, motivated, loyal team who will happily carry on when you need a break.

Quick fire:
Coffee or tea: Coffee
Quiet or riotous: Quiet
Introverted or extroverted: Intro, with a hint of extro.
Fiction or reality: Fiction
Wine or cocktail:  Bourbon & soda water or rose
Last meal: (last meal I ate, or ever?)  Either way, most likely stir fry with lots of veggies and some protein

Where did your last adventure take you and what did you learn along the way? This year our adventures have been different and a lot more local than years past, as we’re figuring out life with a little human to take care of.  Recently we went camping at Gold Lake near Truckee, CA (where we live) which was Terner’s first camping experience at 4.5 mos. I re-learned that staring at tree branches or ripples on the lake can take up hours of time for good reason. Running a business that’s computer based can make you forget these things sometimes. 
I also learned that Woodrow Wilson was the president during WWI—my husband was studying for his citizenship test and we quizzed him around the campfire. I’m happy to report he just passed and will be participating in his oath ceremony soon!

You’re out for an evening walk and run into the White Walkers. Jon Snow is nowhere to be found (bummer). Their leader, The Night King, wants to sit down for a chat (that’s an unexpected twist). What’s the one thing you want to tell him about your time on earth? 
I might try to explain the internet, but it would be a tough one to capture in a short amount of time for a creature that’s never even seen electricity. Would be an amusing conversation though if I lived through it.  


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