Pioneer, visionary and revolutionary describe Alice Holstein, Ed.D. In the 90s she broke gender barriers as a U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer, the first woman to run a combat intelligence shop for the B-52 nuclear mission and the first woman sent overseas with the bombers for Vietnam operations.
IIn 1992, Beyond Turmoil: A Guide Through Deep Personal Change defined an inner journey path that could produce enlightened leadership, based upon a 25 year career as an Organization Development consultant. Endorsed by Ram Dass, The Spiritual Emergency Network and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the book was described as ahead of its time.
In 2011, Alice developed a revolutionary way to look at mental illness---A Tough Grace: Mental Illness As A Spiritual Path. Based on her experiences with bipolar mood disorder, it proposed mental illness as a hero’s journey versus the stigma and negative experiences encountered. She received several awards for bringing mental illness to the forefront in a positive way.
Reframing Mental Illness: Affirmations of Hope (2022) continues the theme with a series of 160 vignettes that redefine the grueling aspects of mental illness as gifts, lessons, courage and challenge. Personal work to achieve these results comes from reflective questions that help create wholeness and fulfillment.
Alice is an elder now, proud to continue living a life of service. After the Air Force, she became a journalist reporter before leaping into graduate school to pursue a passion for Humanistic Psychology. This led to a self-designed doctoral program in Organization Development. During graduate school, she worked full-time at 3 successive 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 Alice earned an Ed.D. in Organization Development and opened her own business as a consultant while being a part-time 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. It pioneered participative management approaches in organizations.
She served some 85 clients, large and small, including Frontier Airlines where her intervention prevented a strike by the Flight Attendants Union, followed by a year of team-building and installing participative management methods. She also worked for 5 years with the Solar Energy Research Institute before moving from Denver to Tucson, AZ in 1986.
Alice succumbed to the ravages of manic depression (bipolar mood disorder) in the 90s. 12 horrific years of suffering followed, now chronicled in her book, A Tough Grace. As she gradually rebuilt her life, she regained a new work life at age 65 as a Peer Support Specialist at the La Crosse Department of Veteran’s Affairs mental health clinic. She became a frequent community speaker and was the keynote at the 2016 National Alliance on Mental Illness state conference.
She continues as a mental health champion by serving on several community Mental Health boards. “Retirement” has brought the freedom to pursue her writing, which include opinion editorials for the local newspaper. Alice also provides Spiritual Companioning services based on a 3-year intensive training program completed in 2017. Her resume follows this description.
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.