Mary Johanna Brown '89, founder and president of Brown & Company Design and Big Brown Books, has been named the University of New Hampshire’s Paul J. Holloway Entrepreneur of the Year.
Brown, who graduated from UNH with a BFA in etching, will be recognized at this year’s Paul J. Holloway Prize Competition, UNH’s premier business plan competition that celebrates student entrepreneurs and innovators.
Brown & Company, a strategic design firm established in 1992, specializes in creating informed and inspired visual communications for local, regional, and national clients online and in print.
Brown was named to New Hampshire Magazine’s “Remarkable Women” list in 2009, Business New Hampshire’s “Influence Index” in 2014, New Hampshire Magazine’s 2018 “It List” and as an “Outstanding Woman in Business” in 2018 by New Hampshire Business Review.
As an active volunteer, Brown has served on several New Hampshire nonprofit boards and is engaged in many community activities throughout the Granite State. She is the Founding Chair Emeritus of the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, a merger born in October 2014 from the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative and the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire – bringing both entrepreneurial and communications skills into leading this effort.
As a guest speaker and writer, Brown has focused on advancing gender equality, showcasing women’s history and encouraging civic engagement. UNH keynotes include Women in Business, the CEO Forum, and various talks on both gender equality and female leadership. She has enjoyed mentoring young aspiring UNH entrepreneurship students through theMeaning of Entrepreneurship class since 2009. Mary Jo has recently dipped a small portion of her big toe into personal public storytelling.
An avid champion of the arts, Brown has both juried and curated local art exhibits, grants, and public work commissions. She and her eighteen-year-old daughter Haley co-created Brown’s Art Camp in 2012, a summer camp offered yearly to girls, with an intensive week-long immersion into various art mediums and local artists.