Matt Ross is a program facilitator at Green Hill. We sat down with him to learn more about his background and his experience working in our field.
Could we get some brief biographical info from you? Hometown, previous experience, education, etc.?
I was born and raised in an NYC suburb. I’m 1/2 Canadian. I have a BA from Bates College. I majored in Chinese (Mandarin) Studies. Additionally, I took a lot of coursework in Asian Studies and Theology. I spent over five years in the enterprise software industry in a sales capacity. As it pertains to the field I am currently working in, I have over 1 1/2 years of work experience as a mental health technician at a large psychiatric hospital in Raleigh. I worked with young adults and the youngest patient demographic at the hospital, 7-12-year-olds. I have been employed at Green Hill since July 2021 as a Program Facilitator, and am currently an MSW candidate at the University of New England (UNE), which is 100% remote/online. I anticipate finishing this degree in roughly 2 – 2 1/2 more calendar years.
I plan to continue to add as much value to Green Hill and its sister companies as I can over the coming years and complete my MSW. Recently, I have become particularly interested in social work policy advocacy and macro social work. Therefore, over the longer term, I intend to apply and enroll in either a DSW (Doctorate of Social Work) or JD program potentially to contribute to my skills and knowledge in making positive impacts on those I will serve and society as a whole. This would come after working as a therapist or clinician for a couple of years.
What is one thing your hometown could be known for, and why?
Pizza, mainly because of my hometown’s proximity to NYC. Although I may be a little biased, I would venture to say that NYC and the surrounding area have some of the best pizza in the country.
What made you want to work in this field?
Wow, good question! It took me a good amount of time to realize that I wanted to take on a career in this field. I think for me it partially happened organically. Originally, I got an awesome job at a psychiatric facility and knew at my core, almost instinctively, that working in addiction/mental health was both a good fit and that I had a passion for it. Then, almost by chance, I started working at Green Hill at the same time I began my MSW. Because there is a logical overlap between my professional and academic life, it was and is a natural progression for my personal growth.
What do you believe makes GHR stand out in its field, and why?
I think Green Hill stands out in the field through the community they have built-in their transitional living program, alumni, and employees. To me, the opposite of addiction is connection and relationships. Green Hill leverages resources in the greater triangle community to help clients develop and maintain invaluable relationships in the surrounding area. Another way Green Hill separates itself from other programs is the fully integrated approach to treatment. In other words, we have direct care staff, dually-licensed therapists, clinical case managers, other mission-critical staff, and highly experienced medical providers all working towards the same goal – which is improving client outcomes and equipping them with the tools and resources they can use to pursue their dreams.
What does your ideal day look like?
Wake up. Rigorous lap swim. School or work obligations during the day. AA meeting and fellowshipping. Dinner. Great TV show or movie to finish the day. Bed. Rinse & repeat. Simple enough!
Can you name one role model you have, and why that person has had such an impact?
I have had many fantastic role models in my life. Without naming the person by name, someone who has had a massive impact on me and my life is an MD in the Raleigh area. He is one of the people that inspired me to apply and enroll in an MSW program. Additionally, he has given me advice, tips, and tricks to do one’s best in academia and the professional world. He has taught me that in life the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Just like in my sobriety – a day at a time.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? How has that advice affected your day-to-day?
Someone who I greatly admire told me once, “Matt, life and the emotions we will invariably encounter on a day to day basis are like an EKG. There are going to be plenty of ups and downs. The best way to ride the highs and lows is to try to stay centered.” Being in recovery and having learned a ton from the person who told me this, I have experienced ups and downs. That said, I try to be mindful of staying centered and grounded regardless of what is, has, and will happen in my external environment. It has served me well, and I believe it is one of the best pieces of advice someone has ever given me in my entire life.
What is your favorite GHR memory?
In the summer of 2020 we had a beach day trip, literally in the middle of the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic. Idiotically, I didn’t wear any sunscreen and had one of the worst sunburns of my life. It was a truly epic day though!
What’s one message you wish our clients would always take with them?
Look at Green Hill and the experience as an opportunity to initiate change. As a previous client, I can say that it altered the course of my life for the better. There are tons of unique resources to utilize as a vehicle for change. In my experience, it started with surrounding myself with caring people who were there from the beginning of my journey. By the way – they are still alongside me.
Favorite Movie: Shutter Island
Favorite Food(s): Japanese & Mexican
Hobbies: Lap swimming, running, reading, spending time with friends, watching movies
Favorite Album: Legends Never Die – Juice WRLD
Favorite sports team: Carolina Hurricanes
Pets: Thinking about getting a kitten or puppy but currently do not have any pets
Dream Vacation: Cabo San Lucas, Baja California
Favorite Book(s): Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Favorite Podcast(s): Huberman Lab hosted by Dr. Andrew Huberman