Pivot: On A Roll – Why Luke Holden (B’07) Left Wall Street for a Lobster Shack
When Luke Holden (B’07) graduated from Georgetown McDonough, he moved to New York and began his professional career on Wall Street. One sunny, Sunday afternoon, Holden was missing home in Maine where he spent his summers lobstering with his father.
“Something that reminded me of home was a super high-quality, quintessential, similar-level service as a lobster shack lobster roll,” he said. “And that didn’t exist in New York City.” So Holden dusted off an old business plan from Professor Will Finnerty’s entrepreneurship course and started creating a plan for what would soon be known as Luke’s Lobster.
As a third-generation lobsterman, Holden’s new business idea felt more like returning home than a career pivot—but that didn’t mean it was easy. Holden was still working full-time on Wall Street when the first Luke’s Lobster opened.
“I was doing the books, cleaning the restaurant at night, and running it on the weekends when I wasn’t working at the bank,” he said. In May 2010, Holden left his job in finance and began working full-time at Luke’s Lobster after opening a second location. He has grown his lobster shack into a fully vertically integrated process from the lobsterman and fisherman to the cooks and servers, and he now has locations on both U.S. coasts, as well as in Japan and Singapore.
In 2018, Luke’s Lobster became a certified B Corp (for social responsibility and transparency) and was recently re-certified last year—earning the highest score ever by a seafood company or restaurant in the United States. From sourcing sustainable seafood to using 100% renewable energy, Luke’s Lobster has embodied the ethos of a certified B Corp, and Holden is committed to making Luke’s Lobster and his entire team the best it can be.
“The concept of cura personalis and taking care of the whole person is the type of leader I want to be,” he said. “We apply that principle across our entire business.”
This story was originally featured in the Georgetown Business Spring 2023 Magazine.