We had the good fortune of connecting with Patsy Dolan Bouressa, LCSW and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patsy, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind the success of the SIMS Foundation is summed up in a comment we are fortunate enough to hear from our clients on a daily basis: “SIMS saved my life.” For the last 26 years, SIMS Foundation has been, and continues to be, the only non-profit in the United States that provides the full range of behavioral healthcare supports and services to musicians, music industry professionals and their dependent family members. I will only feel that I have been a success at SIMS once we there is SIMS Foundation office in other cities across the nation so that our music industry is taken care of no matter where they live or tour.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have actually had two very full careers. I spent over 15 years in corporate America in Human Resource Management. It was a career I loved but after having to orchestrate my 16th lay off, I decided I had had enough. I spent time evaluating my next move and after much research, I settled on returning to school to get my Masters in Social Work. I had always intended to go into the mental health world and while HR would seem like a detour, I did a great deal of counseling over the years! But with Social Work, I gravitated toward the holistic nature of that path. As a Social Worker, you are trained to see the whole human and strive to understand all the various systems that the person is a part of that are impacting that person. That simply resonated with me. Once I graduated with my Masters, I went to work at a residential treatment facility for mentally ill children. I spent 5 years there and then moved on to create the only therapeutic re-entry program in the state of Texas while working for Travis County. This program was conducted at Travis State Jail where we worked with thousands of men over the next 4 years. I finally came to SIMS Foundation initially as the Director of Clinical Services and then two years ago, began working as the Executive Director. With each position I have learned more and more about our behavioral healthcare system, where it works and where it fails and have met amazing professionals who are all striving to improve the way these services are delivered, something that has been a passion of mine since becoming a Social Worker. I am most proud of my focus on partnering with other organizations to ensure that our clients have all their needs met and to ensure that each community in which SIMS Foundation is operating is able to get state and federal funding through collaborative grant writing between SIMS and community partners. I would love for the world to know that the SIMS Foundation is currently and has always been the only non-profit doing this work and to understand that those who provide the music that we celebrate with, mourn with and dance to need this support. The pandemic has decimated the music industry and the people who make up that industry are suffering. It has highlighted the need for our services throughout the nation but that, of course, takes a great deal of fundraising!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a tough one because Austin has so many amazing things to do! I love to run so I would start each morning with a jog around Lady Bird Lake, or for those of us who are either from here or have been here a long while, Town Lake. It is so lovely in the morning with lots of people out running and walking with their dogs and just enjoying nature. We would have breakfast at Kerby Lane or the Omelettry, two of Austin’s best breakfasts around. Of course, at some point we would have to try the many breakfast taco options. Will it be Torchy’s? Taco Shack? Tacodeli? In Austin, everyone has their favorite. Of course there would be many nights of live music. We would take a stroll in the Red River Cultural District and see bands at Mohawk, Cheer Up Charlies and Empire Control Room. Barracuda would have been on that list but sadly, the pandemic took them out. Hitting South Congress would be a must and that would definitely include music at the iconic Continental Club. Then there is Antone’s because you can’t come to Austin to hear live music and skip Antone’s! There are far too many of these to list them all, which is what makes Austin special. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would not be at the SIMS Foundation today if it weren’t for Carlos Tirado, MPH, MD. He asked me to apply for the Director of Clinical Services so I have him to thank for being at SIMS. But on a daily basis, I have the rest of the staff at SIMS to thank. Lily Courtney, LPC and Sofia Ramos are hardworking, compassionate, intelligent, funny humans who are the backbone of our Clinical Team. Without them, I don’t know where things would be. I have Betsy Boone and James Whelen who handle all of our development and marketing. It is such a relief to know that there are always eyes on this incredibly important part of maintaining a non-profit. Finally, Maria Maddocks our Business Manager. She is always the calming factor of the group no matter what is happening and seamlessly manages our budget, financial information, and is our resident SIMS historian!
The first picture of me with the striped shirt was taken by Julia Reihs. The second picture of me was taken by Todd Wolfsen. We do not have information on who took the picture of Sims Ellison. SIMS was founded in his honor. The black and white picture was taken by Dave Pedley. The picture of Gina Chavez was taken by Merrick Ales. The SIMS and Friends picture was taken by Studios at Fischer