Holly Rose

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Holly Rose’s mentor, inspiration, first boss and aunt were bundled in one passionate package.

Darlene Jones, the late co-owner of Bug Express, hired her niece to work as a sales rep for the pro indoor football team she also owned, the San Angelo Stampede Express. The proximity to her aunt in action was “exhilarating” and “exciting,” Rose said.

“My Aunt Darlene was an amazing woman,” she said. “She cared about her community. I had always wondered how people get that passion for their community – what drives them. She didn’t hold anything back. I was in awe of her. She drove me to want to do more in my community.”

Jones would be proud of the mark she made on Rose. Today, Rose is assistant director of Downtown San Angelo, Inc., a “solopreneur” with her own online business, a Leadership San Angelo graduate, and a community volunteer.

Each of her endeavors, she said, is also fueled by passion.

“Leadership is showing your passion and inspiring others,” she said.

Although Rose grew up in San Angelo, her participation in the 2016-17 class of Leadership San Angelo opened her eyes to the inner workings of her community and to its struggles. The experience enlightened her on “how to be a better citizen.”

As a result, she has helped lead the charge for a new-and-improved Safety City. Safety City is a miniaturized replica of a town where schoolchildren learn bicycle, pedestrian and fire safety. The facility’s community board is looking not only to expand and improve the physical plant, but grow its programming to include other safety concerns, such as fraud targeting the elderly.

 “I think it’s going to really happen,” she said of the expansion.

Recently, Rose joined Downtown San Angelo, Inc. To play a role in downtown’s skyrocketing revitalization is exciting, she said.

“So many say there’s nothing to do in San Angelo,” Rose said. “But if you go downtown – even on a weekday during lunchtime – there are people everywhere.”

About a year ago, Rose launched her own marketing venture, Cactus Rose - Social Media Gardening. The idea for the business sprang from her advising customers about social media advertising while working for a television station.

“Just like my aunt built a business from the ground up, I finally had an opportunity where I could do the same,” she said. “I just went all in. The most rewarding thing is when you truly are helping a customer.”

Rose said she becomes so focused on helping customers market their businesses, she sometimes fails to do the same for her own endeavor. That realization has helped her recalibrate to ensure greater balance in her life. She seeks to do so by taking care of herself in healthy ways.

“When you enjoy life, you tend to enjoy your work more,” she noted. “There was a point where I thought, I’m going to have to stop my business. But I realized it’s OK to take a breath, to enjoy life and not work all the time.”