Dr. Alice Holstein is at a stage in life of harvesting the fruit of an interesting journey, including breaking gender barriers as an Air Force Intelligence briefing officer for satellite photography and the first woman to run a combat intelligence shop at the bomb wing level for the nuclear B-52 bomber mission. She then was the first woman sent overseas to brief pilots and command staff on Guam and Okinawa as they flew Vietnam missions. She left the service a 6 months early because of being bothered by that war.
In 1971 Alice leaped into graduate school to pursue her passion for Humanistic Psychology, which led to a self-designed doctoral program in Organization Development that enabled her to work on creating participatory, humane organization change. During graduate school she worked full-time at 3 successive community development type jobs. (Assistant Manager of a Chamber of Commerce, Director of a Retired Senior Volunteer Program and Human Resources Director for a Council of Governments.) In 1977 she earned a doctorate in education in Organization Development and began a career as a self-employed consultant and adjunct college instructor for a MA program in administration. In 1983 she published a team-building, management development manual, System 7: A People Approach to Productivity, then another book in 1992 that reflected her joyful discovery of transpersonal psychology and inner growth. Beyond Turmoil: A Guide Through Deep Personal Change was designed to help executives and managers do the work of the inner journey. It received kudos from Ram Dass and John Renesh, the latter a well-known author and leader in the field of business transformation.
Alice served some 85 clients, large and small, and of many types, including Frontier Airlines where her intervention prevented a strike by the flight attendants union followed by a year of team-building and teaching participatory management methods. She also worked for five years with the Solar Energy Research Institute before moving from Denver to Tucscon, AZ in 1986 where she began writing about the inner journey and continued some consulting. She succumbed to the ravages of manic depression in the 90s. 12 horrific years of suffering followed, now chronicled in her book, A Tough Grace: Mental Illness As A Spiritual Path which features a revolutionary way of viewing mental illness. As she redefined and rebuilt her life, she returned in 2008 at age 65, to work part-time as a Peer Support Specialist at the La Crosse Department Of Veteran’s Affairs mental health clinic. She shares her story as a frequent community speaker and was a keynote speaker at the 2016 National Alliance on Mental Illness state conference in 2016.
She continues her work as a mental health champion by serving on several community Mental Health boards. “Retirement’ has brought the freedom to pursue her writing and the “Spiritual Guidance and Companioning” services that are based on a 3-year intensive training program in Spiritual Direction. Her book-in-process, We The People: Blueprints for the Revolution, has yielded a key essay, “A Movement That Can Shift the World: The New Civilization Movement” that she is actively taking out into the world. Its content comes from her more than 50 years of varied experience in systems theory and applications, humanistic and transpersonal psychology and work/personal study that have contributed to her passion to help transform the world.
So many of us do not know our own story. A story about who we are, not what we have done. About what we have faced to build what we have built, what we have drawn upon and risked to do it, what we have thought felt, feared and discovered through the events of our lives. The real story that belongs to us alone.