Holly at Podium

Defense of the Water Commons

CHALLENGE: Using easily understood language, communicate to general audiences about the threat posed by corporate takeover of freshwater resources and its impact on local communities and individuals.

RESPONSE: Co-founded Sweetwater Alliance and developed public speaking programs on the issue.

OUTCOME: Spaulding became a recognized voice for the protection of freshwater resources in Michigan and internationally. She spoke throughout the United States as well as in Japan, South America, and Africa about the importance of protecting the freshwater commons and was featured in the documentary film, "Flow".

Destruction of Oceanic Fisheries

CHALLENGE: Explain to general audiences the interplay of government policy, fisheries regulations, and societal misperceptions of the limits of Nature implicated in the destruction of global fisheries since 1950.

RESPONSE: Developed a customized speaking series targeting the needs of different audiences including high school and college students, sportfishing enthusiasts, conservationists, scientists, and members of the general public. The series engaged listeners by emphasizing the adventure of exploring true wilderness, and combined video with visual stills, explication, public reading, and Q&A.

OUTCOME: Invited to present at universities, book stores, and libraries from Maine to Florida, as well as for professional groups, at the Florida Aquarium, and the Zoological Society of Florida. Interviewed on radio and commercial television.


Poetry Forge

CHALLENGE: Create a space for published and aspiring poets to develop their work while also deepening their understanding of the world of contemporary poetry.

RESPONSE: Create a hybrid format that is part critical feedback writers' workshop and part graduate-level lecture on modern and contemporary poets ranging from Jack Gilbert to Jane Hirschfield, to Issa.

OUTCOME: Since 2012 Poetry Forge has operated in western Massachusetts and Michigan. Holly Spaulding's clients have published individual poems, chapbooks, and entire books. A number of her students have won poetry awards including, on three occasions, the Michigan Writers' Chapbook Prize.


CHALLENGE: Master the art of giving and conducting interviews and coaching interviewees in a range of situations.

RESPONSE: Develop interview coaching approaches that serve individual and situational needs by understanding the specific context of every interview and the nature of the questions really being asked, including what the observer audience wants to know.

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OUTCOME: Matt Rigney and Holly Spaulding have been on both sides of the interview desk, appearing on radio and television discussing subjects related to the environment, entrepreneurship, education, and activism.

BACKGROUND: Rigney worked for, one the country's largest online college and graduate school application coaching companies, and at the Smith College Career Development office, coaching students on job search and interviewing strategies. He's given interviews in Florida, Maine, Connecticut, and Massachusetts for radio and television. Holly Spaulding has given interviews throughout the United States and has conducted interviews as a journalist, teacher, and researcher.