About Hollis

People fascinate me. I love helping people to learn, and it's tremendously rewarding to see people unlocking their capabilities. We're all learning all the time, but I've found that small adjustments often make big differences in how hard people have to work to learn, and that little shifts often have far-reaching effects in joy and satisfaction as well.

I work as the Hotline Coordinator at Reachout of St. Lawrence County, Inc., a non-profit crisis hotline based in Potsdam, NY up near the Canadian border. I've worked there in one capacity or another since 1993, and I'm presently charged with recruiting, training, and supervising our corps of volunteers. I served for four years on the national board of Contact USA, where I wrote the national standards for core competencies in crisis center workers, helped redesign accreditation systems, and organized several national conferences. I've also given presentations at national conferences for the Alliance of Information and Referral Services, Convening, and the National Association of Crisis Center Directors.

I've done a lot of work on suicide intervention, prevention, and postvention. I'm a Master Trainer for LivingWorks's ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and safeTALK curricula, and I also teach QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), suicideTALK, NAMI Connect, and New York's Disaster Mental Health curricula. I was a founding member of New York's SIST Coalition (Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and served on its statewide board for four years, during which I organized three of the annual training conferences and served as lead instructor for them. I've written many grants for suicide-related programming and have consulted on developing a bunch of targeted suicide intervention training programs in New York. In 2012, I was honored for my work with the NYS Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Center of NY's Excellence in Suicide Prevention Award.

I earned a Master's degree in instructional design and technology in 2011, with an additional specialization in training and performance improvement. I focused primarily on adult learning and performance improvement, which (in instructional design land) means "the stuff we do when training isn't the solution we need". I was the 2011 winner of the national NSU Award for Outstanding Practice by a Graduate Student of Instructional Design from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, based on my work developing training programs about the laws for involuntary hospitalization of the mentally ill in New York.

When I'm not at work, you'll often find me playing music: bagpipes, flute, whistle, guitar, mandolin, and voice. I spend most of my time playing Scottish and Irish music for contra dances, but I've spent time in musical theater, opera, orchestral music, and choral performance. I wrote my undergraduate music thesis on Gabriel Fauré's Requiem Mass, and retain a fondness for its lush harmony. I lived in Glasgow, Scotland from 2003-2004, working and teaching at the National Piping Centre on a Watson Fellowship, and I spent a lot of time performing with the Lomond & Clyde Pipe Band, leading the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland on several international tours, and playing with Carlos Nuñez and the Chieftains.

These days, I mostly tour with Frost and Fire, and I maintain a private teaching studio (currently all bagpipers). I've been an instructor several times for the Pipers' Gathering, and I love working to help musicians play with less pain, greater ease, and more joy.

I love helping other people to create and achieve their best work, and I love working with complex questions. I look forward to talking with you!

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