I’m Alice Chen
I ASPIRE TO PERSONAL & SOCIETAL LIBERATION.
I believe that the modern world is messy & complex and that the pressure to always be busy & productive often disconnects us from our inner wisdom & instincts and shackles us to lives of efforting & achievement rather than meaning & connection. I think this keeps us small & stingy with ourselves and with others and contributes to many of the social ills we see today – racism, sexism, brutality, and the destruction of our environment to name a few.
I also believe that there is another way to live – one that is more generous, generative, and joyful. And I know from personal experience that the path to this life requires each of us pause, look inward, listen, reconnect with our inner wisdom, and live from there. It requires us to learn how to discern the timbre of truth from the phonetics of fear and the distractions of social pressure.
It’s not an easy path to walk. It’s one that requires us to turn towards the things that scare us & learn how to work with & through them…over time, through hard work & consistency rather than through silver bullets. It’s a path that requires courage & conviction.
I’ve spent my life walking this path and learning how to wayfind – how tap into my own inner wisdom and use it as a guide to navigate the ups & downs of my workplaces & homespaces. Accessing my courage in moments of fear, listening, observing, experimenting, & iterating consistently over time is how I come to clear action & discover what’s right for me. It’s how I learn my way forward, make decisions, navigate through challenges, get things done, show up for others, and exercise my creativity to go beyond the status quo.
It’s also my purpose – I want each of us to liberate ourselves from the self-imposed limitations we place on ourselves and the socially imposed limitations that we place on others in the service of changing the systems & structures that oppress us from generation to generation. I aspire to a more conscious, creative, and connected world, and I believe that that requires us to nurture more wayfinders – individuals and organizations who value inner & outer wisdom, who turn towards & walk into fear and who see listening, observing, and experimenting as critical to personal and societal liberation.
A Little Bit About Me
I’ve lived & worked all over the world – from New Zealand to Scotland to Hawai’i and places in between.
I’ve often lived “in between things,” and have decades of personal experience finding my way across cultures, continents, and careers.
I come from a mixed-race AAPI family and live daily at the intersection of who I am and who I am perceived to be.
I’m constantly unpacking the social expectations that I’ve internalized about who I am supposed be as a result of my race, class, gender, and other identity markers…and engaging in the practice of liberating myself from those internalized expectations.
I’ve developed a toolbox that helps me see myself and my experiences at multiple altitudes – this aids me in deciding which voices to listen to and which to ignore, and how to hold awareness around how my individual choices impact those around me.
Each day, I practice embracing and integrating the complexities of my diverse identity, drawing on my personal and cultural history as a constant source of personal insight and power…and grappling with the many ways in which my history has and does liberate and oppress others.
I embrace the philosophy of “strong opinions loosely held” and seek to hold what I think I “know” about the world firmly, but loosely, so that I can hear and integrate the perspectives of others.
I’ve learned to integrate the wisdom inside and around me by experimenting and testing my way into a life of meaning, impact and fulfillment that honors my interconnectedness with others, yet is truly mine.
My mission is to make the most of the time I’ve been given by learning, growing & experiencing all that I can. I want to support others to know & love themselves and contribute meaningfully to the world. I want to leave people & places more healthy & whole than I found them, and to have fun doing it all.
2020 is the year of “being fully alive”! I’m taking physical and artistic risks and committed to fully feeling and embracing the highs and lows. I’m getting married this year, challenging myself to do some road biking centuries, to sing in a cabaret show, and to get out from behind my director’s chair and audition for some plays and commercials, as well as to continue to grow my reach & impact as a coach and consultant!
B.A. Wellesley College, History and Geology
- MEd.T. University of Hawaii, Elementary Education
- Coach Training: Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching
- Professional Coach Certification (PCC): International Coaching Federation
- Yoga Teacher Certification: Southtown Yoga Loft (San Antonio, TX)
- Other Certifications: Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, StrengthsFinder, Immunity to Change
Previous Professional Roles: Curriculum Designer, Instructional Coach, Managing Director of Leadership Development, Public School Teacher
My Grandpa immigrated to the US during World War II and taught me the value of humility, the power of resilience, the importance of life-long learning, and the need to make choices with a multi-generational lens.
Nainoa Thompson (Master Navigator & Activist) has modeled for me what collective leadership and community empowerment looks like and taught me the power of leading through action and the importance of cultivating symbols of liberation in the fight to end cultural oppression.
Maya Angelou (Writer & Activist) has been a model for me of grace, strength, and humor under harsh conditions and taught me about the power of art and the written world to inspire and connect.
Brene Brown (Researcher-Storyteller) has taught me about the power of vulnerability and storytelling and the value of appreciating that you are in the arena even when you wish you were more skilled in navigating it.
Susan Point (Coastal Salish Artist) has inspired me with the beauty of her art and taught me that images are as powerful a way to communicate, reframe, and validate identity as words & actions.
Rigor & Joy: I believe in doing hard things and having a good time in the process.
Experimentation: I believe in trying things on and seeing how they fit and feel and learning my way over time into the relationships, environments, & choices that are right for me.
Interconnectedness: I believe we are all connected and that it is our responsibility to make choices that leave the world better off for future generations.
Relationships: I believe that people matter, that humanity matters, and that we access our best selves in community with others.
Liberation: I believe that there are many forces inside and outside of us that try to make us small and scared and that it is our responsibility to interrogate & disrupt those forces so that we can create a healthier ecosystem for ourselves & future generations.
- Hand-building ceramics
- Acting, improv & singing cabaret music
- Anything outside on the water
- Keeping plants alive
- Traveling to places not that many people have been
- Binge watching shows on the CW
WHAT I’M READING
I’m currently into memoirs and biographies. I just finished Educated & The Great Alone…am loving On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. I’m also reading a lot of plays by women and people of color – I just finished American Son, Burned, The Slave Play, and The Thanksgiving Play. On the lighter side, I’m reading Sarah J. Maas’ Court of Thorns & Roses series (I love a good YA fairy novel).
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO
Generally, I love jazz and classic lounge music, Broadway, & songs you’d sing in a dive bar. That being said, Spotify tells me that my top 5 songs of 2019 were “Coming Home” by John Legend, “Never Give All the Heart” from SMASH, “Being Alive” from Company, Love You Done Me Wrong by Rosemary Clooney and “Tornado” by Little Big Town. What to make of this?