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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Ann Masur

Interview with Kiana Holley: Chick-fil-A Spouse with Hawaiian Roots

Q: Hello, Kiana! Can you give us a little introduction of who you are and what kinds of moves you've made over the last several years?

A: My name is Kiana Holley! I have been married to my husband, Paul, for almost 9 years. We have an almost 3-year-old daughter, Olivia, and another little girl due this summer! I was born in Honolulu , Hawaii, and lived there for about 10 years. I also called Mississippi home for 5 years, Southern California was home for 2 years, Georgia was home for 8 years, and Texas was home for 3.5 years and is now home again for us! My husband was just selected to be a Chick-fil-A Operator in Laredo, Texas and we are so excited to settle down and plant roots in our new community!

I love being able to have experiences with my family. A perfect day for me would include an experience or activity to do with my family. We enjoy going to the beach, going on a hike, trying a new restaurant or seeing new sites!

Q: What was it like moving from Hawaii to California as a teenager?

A: When I was 14 my family moved from Hawaii to Southern California. It was a shock at first. Hawaii was my home and where my family and friends lived - it was familiar and safe.

My aunt told me that if I wanted to come back to Hawaii for college that I’d have a place to stay with her! I didn’t see this as a hinderance or something to keep me focused on moving backwards. It was a reminder that even when we take big risks it helps when you know you have support to fall back on if and when you need it! After a few weeks of getting used to the idea of moving, I realized this move could be an adventure!

When we got to California there were some adjustments. The pace of life was faster and there were bigger buildings, more people, and so much traffic! I was homeschooled with two of my siblings when we moved to California, which made having to get used to a new school a non-issue. But being homeschooled made making new friends and finding a community difficult.

We were incredibly blessed to find that our new church had several homeschooled families with kids near our age. During the two years that we lived in California, we developed strong friendships and a tight knit community. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed with finding something familiar in a new space. I try looking for the things I have in common with those around me and use that as a starting point to develop friendships.

Q: Tell us about your (many!) moves with Chick-fil-A:

A: Paul and I have moved 21 times over the past 6 years. Ten days after Paul and I got married we moved to Laredo, Texas, for an opportunity to pursue a career with Chick-fil-A. Three and half years later, Paul was accepted into the Chick-fil-A Leadership Development Program, which is a two year, full-time traveling commitment.

He went all over the country to assist operators with the opening of their restaurant. He also operated corporate owned restaurants while new operators were being selected. Our assignments usually lasted 6-8 weeks in lengths with the shortest one being 10 days and our longest one being 9 months. When we finished with that job (three years later) we moved back to Georgia to be closer to family. And then we moved to Corpus Christi, Texas this year, and in a few months we will move to Laredo, Texas.

We had our daughter 22 months into our 36 months of traveling! She lived in a hotel for the first year of her life and flew on an airplane 15 times in the first year as well. She doesn’t remember any of it but it’s fun to look back at pictures and see all the experiences she has had with us.

Q: After all of the moves you made with Chick-fil-A, what did you learn about friendships and kindness to those around you? It had to be challenging at times to continually meet new people and then say goodbye. Could you tell us more about that?

A: As we traveled to each assignment, we were usually paired with 1-2 other people with the same role as Paul. Paul’s colleagues were either single, married, or married with children. Each assignment provided a different combination of people with different experiences, interests, and needs. At first I found it hard to decide where I should look for connection and community. I felt overwhelmed looking for volunteer opportunities at schools, churches, community projects, etc. I think I was trying to find the opportunity with the biggest impact, the most meaning or what I thought would be the most valuable.

Then I realized that God was providing a unique circle for me to engage with and connect with. My circle was a small group of people we traveled with and worked alongside at each assignment. These were the people we saw each morning at breakfast before our spouses left for work. The ones we sat next to in the hotel laundry room as we waited for our laundry to finish. Because of our close proximity and the uniqueness of our lives, I found my community in these wonderful people. We would have “breakfast club” in the mornings and eat together. My husband and I would host “family dinners” in our hotel room and invite everyone to join us. Or weekly game nights to play card or board games together. There were times that we even took road trips with other families!

Q: Sometimes it feels like the older we get the harder it can be to make new friends in a meaningful way. What tips do you have for those who have a hard time connecting with new people?

A: It is so hard to put yourself out there and share your life with strangers. It’s even harder when you have to keep doing it over and over again! As we get older, we have more experiences, both good and bad. Sometimes those experiences can keep us from stepping out and putting ourselves into uncomfortable and unfamiliar spaces. My advice is to start in the circle closest to you. Maybe it’s the gal working across the hall from you, your next door neighbor, or the lady you stand next to in your exercise class. Ask questions that require a deeper answer than “yes” or “no." It also helps to know what is important to you and what you enjoy doing. If cooking is what fulfills you, find a class or schedule time to cook with a friend. If exploring new areas interests you, plan a hiking trip with friends. When you have common interests or are pursing the same goals, doing them alongside someone who is likeminded helps!

Remember, things can be challenging. Use every resource you can. Find Facebook groups and if you can’t find one, start one! Connect with old friends through email and zoom. Look for opportunities in your church, your kid’s school and local government. And most importantly, don’t give up!

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I’m Audrey Ann—a writer who treasures the gift of travel, and I’m a mama who endeavors to love where I live one playdate, grocery trip, and sunset at a time. An island girl with heartland roots, I currently live in the Cotswolds of the United Kingdom. 

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