Oklahoma City Business

People To Watch

Leadership in Oklahoma

November 30, 1998

Oklahoma City Business - Page 11

The NFL’s man in Oklahoma isn’t just another ex-jock

By Nancy Kamp

Rick R. Hollis, founder and CEO, serves as the Director of NFL Post Career/Life Development and Planning for the National Football League Player Programs. He is a nationally recognized consulting expert who finds new careers and life for former football players, professionals and executives.

Finding his own niche was a logical outgrowth for this football enthusiast with a twelve-year history in the transitioning field. In 1993, Hollis, along with 3 other firms, began working with the NFL Players Association. The goal was to discover new career/life opportunities through strategic planning.

The company's approach was so successful that Rick Hollis was able to engineer his own transition from the Players Association directly to the NFL League. Today, Mr. Hollis is football’s career and life transitioning service for NFL players, and Rick Hollis is the active consultant to the Kansas City Chiefs. Currently, Hollis is developing a team of consultants to support NFL Teams and Players. With an average football career of only three to four years, most players are going to need transition help.

Rick Hollis works out of an Oklahoma City office minimally decorated with pictures of sports heroes and framed articles about his company. There are eye-catching photos of Hollis with President Bush and major Republican Party figures. Rick Hollis has been active in the Small Business Coalition and is the current President of the International Association of Career Consulting Firms. He has received numerous professional awards and is better known outside of Oklahoma.

Hollis is a highly respected industry watchdog who has not limited his firm to athletes. Down-sized executives and transitionists flock to his company and its sister firm of Haven Scott Associates in King of Prussia, PA where Hollis is also CEO.

His staff is dedicated and creative. The outplacement department was started by vice president Tamra Scoggin. There is even a senior economist, Mike Wiloughby, Ph.D.

Mr. Hollis is “the only firm in the nation that universities outsource their entire life and career planning to,” says Hollis. Talk with a staffer in Oklahoma City University’s Planning Center, and you will be speaking with an employee of Mr. Hollis. Rick Hollis believes that getting a degree isn’t enough. He says, “Total education is gaining a degree and knowing where to use it.” He urges students and career transitionists alike to “go after careers, not just jobs.”

Mr. Hollis condemns the concept of “wandering generalists” as a waste of time and of the economy. People who begin with the right careers upon finishing school advance farther and contribute more to the economy. Taking any job just to get experience leads to career frustration.

The traditional path to employment is searching the want ads, networking and seeking professional help. Employment agencies and recruiters have job orders to fill. Like the want ads, these candidate descriptions mean that you must tailor yourself to suit the position. Too many square pegs are altered to fit round holes. Traditional career counselors do tests and assessments and teach you how to fit round holes.

Mr. Hollis’s concept is different. Hollis and his staff start with basic needs first. They ask: What do you want from life and the job? Where do you want to live? What do you want from a company? What income do you want? Then the choice of career is considered. Hollis says it is “very difficult to find your profession in corporate America.” Many people simply react to job circumstances they’ve fallen into. They hope to end up in a vague somewhere of success. By determining what clients want first and then targeting those companies who could give it to them, Mr. Hollis and his staff gives its clients an edge. The next step is the cutting edge use of CD-ROM and online databases to uncover a list of targeted prospects. Hollis believes that “shotgunning credentials out to 5000 companies” is a waster of time and money. He has often been quoted as saying, “It isn’t who you know or what you know. It’s who you don’t know and you’d better get to know them in a hurry.”

His staff develops a detailed marketing plan for each client and writes the required material. This lets the experts do what they do best.

Clients are talked through each interview because general interviewing techniques are not specific enough. What works for a Fortune 500 corporation won’t be as effective when most companies employ less than 50 people. Rick Hollis says that all interviews should be “two way, honest, (with) each party having great concerns. When Mr. Hollis becomes your campaign manager, people achieve what they want to achieve in their careers and it’s not hype.

Mr. Hollis did not admit to turning down clients, but he did give that impression. Clients must be willing to pay a retainer up front. They must change their mentalities from the reactive to proactive. They must be open to direction lead by experts in the industry of career consulting.

Mr. Hollis encourages people not to mold themselves to the jobs they see in the want ads or to the job orders recruiters need to fill. Quality people who don’t fit job orders can fall through the cracks. Mr. Hollis’s services are successful because Rick Hollis thinks outside the box. He and his staff serve an international clientele because they’ve thrown the box away and developed their own rules to life and career transitioning.

Some potential clients decide to do it themselves when they understand Mr. Hollis’s methods. Sometimes they get lucky. Hundreds of the downsized continue to rely on the assistance of Rick Hollis. His approach works for his clients. They believe in him. The NFL believes that nobody does life and career transitioning better.

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