As the leader of this novel practice, Hollis conducts disability strategy, policy development and engagement execution. The aim of this practice is to afford corporations solutions to leverage its Differently Able strategy to increase employee engagement, expand recruitment and connect with diverse customers/stakeholders. Government entities may also avail themselves of new differently abled policy, training and advocacy tools.
Hollis M. Cotton holds 30+ years of experience in Disability Advocacy, Disability Policy and Legislation, Disability Employment, Constituent Case Management, Counseling, and as a Chief Administrator.
He was a dual-major and earned the Bachelor’s degree in both Mass Communications and African History, with a concentration in the Diaspora, from the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) at Amherst.
He is also a Community Fellows Program graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and earned the Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological Seminary, Newton, MA, where he was the Claude Black Scholar, for the entire academic tenure.
A pioneer, Hollis was not only the first Black differently-abled student to graduate with a Baccalaureate degree from UMASS, but while there, began exercising his skills as an advocate and leader. He was active in several community and college organizations, which prepared him to begin working in the political advocacy arena.
Hollis served as a consultant and co-author of the legislation and passage in government sectors of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In fact, he authored several parts of this landmark legislation in its initial form, while also working for the Massachusetts Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities (MCCD).
Among his many positions of influence and insistence, he advocated for and provided oversight for the needs of the differently-abled– including assisting in establishing a statewide telephone service for the hearing-impaired. He has been a Paratransit Manager with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), routinely managing 100+ cases daily. His knowledge of specific aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was pivotal in determining membership criteria for the Paratransit Programs, and he was able to oversee safe and effective transportation services for a ridership of 50,000+ customers.
His political expertise includes managing the Roxbury district office in the 8th Congressional District of Massachusetts for Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy, II. The 8th District includes the cities of Boston, Brockton and Quincy, and 21 towns in Southeastern Massachusetts. He was the primary assistant to the Political Director and supervised all constituent caseloads in housing, transportation, education, health care policy, and economic development. He also served as a liaison to several different constituent groups in the district– which included the majority of the city of Boston.
Hollis has also served as a Coordinator for the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign during Governor Deval Patrick’s initial run for office. Mr. Cotton’s efforts resulted in unprecedented new voter registration, engagement, and ultimate participation. He strategically articulated several campaign themes, which resulted in a victorious campaign. He has served as Consumer Advocate with the Massachusetts Office on Disability, where he supervised the Governor’s Advisory Commission for Persons with Disabilities, and was responsible for agency oversight in policy implementation of all independent living centers within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Rev. Cotton has a distinguished career as a political consultant, fully licensed and ordained Methodist clergyperson and continues to maintain an exceptional national and global reputation as a Disability advocate and legislative advisor. He continues to serve on several executive boards in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in his current state of Connecticut. His level of expertise is especially needed during this time of legislative challenge against the Affordable Care Act and the global devastation caused by the pandemic of COVID-19.