Representative Sandra Hollins was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and has been a Salt Lake City resident for the past 30 years. She and her husband David currently reside in Fair Park and have two daughters, Jaynell and Canice.
Rep. Hollins is a licensed clinical social worker, and the primary focus of her career has been on substance abuse treatment and advocacy services for Salt Lake City’s homeless population. Sandra received her bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah.
As the first Black American woman elected to the Utah House of Representatives Sandra proudly serves District 23. She serves as a member of the Social Services Appropriations Committee, the Health and Human Services Standing Committee, the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standing Committee, and the Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel. Notably, she sponsored H.J.R 8/Amendment C on the 2020 ballot to remove the exception for slavery from Utah’s constitution, and in 2016 sponsored HB460, a School to Prison Pipeline bill which requires cultural training for student resource officers.
Sandra is a member of the graduate chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., is a graduate of the Westside Leadership Institute, and has served on numerous boards and councils.
On November 19, the Salt Lake Chamber will recognize Rep. Sandra Hollins as a 2021 Pathfinder Award recipient at the Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon. This award is given to community leaders who “create new paths” and promote the development and recognition of women in business.
We asked her a handful of questions to get to know her a little better:
- What are you passionate about? I am passionate about my family and best friends. They have been my support system and provide me the space to be my authentic self. They are my truth tellers who always provide a safe place for me to just be me with no expectations. I’m passionate about being the voice for those in our community that are often forgotten or those that are afraid to speak out. I want to be that voice for those who customarily are denied a chance to exercise their political voice.
- Describe how your experience and contributions as a licensed clinical social worker have gone hand-in-hand with serving in the Utah House of Representatives? Being a LCSW has allowed me to meet the most resilient people with amazing stories. It is these stories that I remember when I’m creating policy or voting on bills. Social work opens my eyes to other forms of social injustices that need to be addressed in Utah. It is where I learned how to advocate for people and how policy can change someone’s life for the better or worse.
- What is your most rewarding professional experience? My most rewarding professional experience is when young people tell me that they are thinking about politics as a career because they see someone who they can identify with and someone who has similar life experiences.
- What do you see as the biggest challenge women face in business today? How do you think it can be overcome? One of the challenges that women face in business today is lack confidence and assertiveness when we are given an opportunity in leadership. We immediately think about all the reasons why it’s not the right opportunity or the right time. I believe that we need to start with our daughters. Teach them how to lead, how to dream big and think outside of the box.
- What does having grit and grace mean to you? Having grit and grace means having passion and courage to live out your dream but allowing yourself the grace to be imperfect.