First Words from the New Executive Director

From the office of Bill Holston:

After completing my first week as Executive Director, I have a few observations. My first thought is just how fortunate I feel to be able to spend all of my professional time working with such a great organization. It is a rare thing indeed to be able to spend your entire day working on a mission as compelling as the mission of HRI: which is: “(T)o promote international human rights through local service to refugees and immigrants who have suffered human rights abuses.” When I left my law partnership of the last 26 years, I wrote my clients to say:

“It is with mixed emotion that I leave the excellent lawyers and staff at Sullivan and Holston and I do that only because the work I’ve done with HRI is the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done.” Being here now, I realize just how true that is.

I, of course had a very high opinion of the staff, because I’ve worked closely with most of them as a pro bono lawyer and volunteer advocate for the agency. But, my opinion of the staff was raised several notches in just one week. It began when I asked the staff at my first staff meeting, ‘Why are you here?” All of our employees gave very moving accounts of what brought them to HRI, which in sum was to help people. We are a diverse group in age, race, background, religion  and gender. But everyone sitting around that table had two things in common. We want to work for human rights and want to do it in a very competent and professional way. Watching the staff up close, I can see that is exactly what they are doing. I wish you could sit around a table with our legal team as they sort through the very difficult first decision, which is whether we accept a case. It’s an extraordinary view of professionalism and compassion meeting in a perfect blend.


It’s a privilege to join with this staff and I’m excited to see what the future of this organization holds.


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