Alaant Influencers: 

Susan Hollister, Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Pioneer Bank

Alaant Influencer Susan Hollister Pioneer Bank HR
+ About Alaant Influencers

Alaant Influencers feature regional influencers and local luminaries sharing their career advice and secrets to success—in their own words. These influencers are the people making a powerful impact for good across the community.

Her backstory:

At Pioneer Bank, Susan leads the development and implementation of a human resource strategy to support the business plan and strategic direction of Pioneer Bank. She has more than 30 years of professional HR experience serving in various roles at local financial institutions, including First Niagara Bank, Hudson River Bank & Trust Co. and National Savings Bank of Albany.

She currently co-chairs the Pioneer Bank Charitable Foundation and serves on the Board of Directors for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Susan resides in Kinderhook with her husband. They have two grown children.


What’s your superpower? 

I was recently told by a colleague that I have a superpower. Since I don’t wear a cape around the office, I didn’t know how to take the comment. She elaborated and said, “you are a connector.” Now that resonated. When I would sweep hair in my father’s barbershop, I’d watch my father— the ultimate connector—in action. I was always amazed at how intently he listened to his clients and asked questions while always demonstrating a sincere interest in their families, career and their opinions about the day’s events. It was with this knowledge that he became a natural connector. Over the years, the outcomes he influenced based off his ‘mental rolodex’ were astonishing. His prowess at matching people with job opportunities, new homes, resources and helpful information is second to none.

It was his example that inspired me to keep a keen eye on the authenticity of my relationships and motivates my intention to bring great people together. Our society is so over-connected by social media, blind emails, robo calls and so called “friending,” to name a few. As much as we all love the chance to be in the know, it can dilute the human connection that comes from building meaningful networks and relationships. Here are some tips to help reduce the 6 degrees of separation between people and build stronger connections:

  1. Develop your listening skills

  2. Ask questions, be inquisitive

  3. Learn something new

  4. Visit, go on-site: face-to-face is best

  5. Look for like-minded synergies amongst your network

  6. Ask for help, advice, guidance

  7. Do the warm handoff (a virtual introduction works), but don’t just forward an email

  8. Know when to step back and let your connections evolve on their own

  9. Be grateful: never take your relationships for granted



Connect with Susan on LinkedIn.  

About the Author

Miriam Dushane

Miriam Dushane, Managing Partner, Alaant Workforce Solutions

Miriam is all in when it comes to doing whatever she can to help the area grow and thrive. She is passionate about the work she does helping talented professionals find the right job opportunity and her work in the community is focused on furthering this area as a center for economic growth and vitality. Miriam likes to garden and take care of her pets and animals. She is a member of an adult only skate group where she roller blades every week. She loves the Mets! And she is completely obsessed with vacuum cleaners; she really likes to vacuum and has 6 right now.

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