Applications for Spring18 Cohort closed. Contact us for Summer18 Early-Application

Allied Leadership Training for Embodied Resilience (ALTER)

Program Overview

Our work as artists, activists, healers, educators and community leaders is more important and more challenging than ever. This program is designed to support us in increasing our capacity to make a powerful, consistent and sustainable impact. We have studied the modern challenges we all face to create these 5 Focus Areas:

1. Values, Goals and Career Development
When we clarify what we value most, refine our vision and create focused goals, our success and contribution flow from us with ease. We will also work with “Life’s Intentions” and “Sequencing”. Like a strong tree, the many branches of our career flourishes upon strong roots.

2. Self-Care and Holistic Wellness
In order to sustain our work, we must break the cycle of burn-out. We will learn concrete day-to-day tools for centering, grounding and transforming energy from various wisdom traditions. We will develop our knowledge of nutrition, meditation and other forms of self-healing through breath-work, movement and more. 

3. Effective Communication
We will work with the core tools of Non-Violent Communication to deepen our relationships with our feelings and needs, as well as to empower those around us to support us with getting our needs met in collaboration and conflict. We will also dismantle some of the concepts, phrases, and metaphors in our language that do not serve our empowerment.

4. Productivity: Focus, Organization, and Management
We will learn tools and develop skills to enhance our management of time, priorities, and energy. Identify your learning style, the most productive times of your day, and task management systems that work for you.

5. Leadership and Facilitation
We will explore the many meanings of leadership to improve our ability to lead meetings, manage a team or run an organization/ business. Whether with crowds, community or individuals, we will expand our scope and enhance the skills that pervade through all arenas.

Dates, Times and Details

This program consists of 6 mandatory workshop-classes held bi-weekly over the span of 3 months, and one day-long retreat (02/10). There will be 2 monthly video seminars and optional online “learning labs” where you can review and go deep with your cohort. This is accompanied by a minimum of 6 one-on-one coaching sessions to support you in applying this material to your life. You may choose to continue for 3 or 6 more months of continued coaching, skill development and collaboration with Holistic Underground. The Deposit is due January 23rd.

02/07 02/10 02/21 03/07 03/21 04/04 04/18
Wednesday Saturday Wednesday Wednesday Wednesday Wednesday Wednesday
5:30-8:30p 11a-6:00p 5:30-8:30p 5:30-8:30p 5:30-8:30p 5:30-8:30p 5:30-8:30p
    Payment Due   Payment Due    

Workshops will be hosted the beautiful Mentor Garden (Sufi Ruhaniat International)  410 Precita st. San Francisco CA 94110. Across the street from Precita Park (Mission District/ Bernal Heights area) 

Thanks to the support of Grant Funding from the peaceful World Foundation, we are able to offer a subsidized rate for this course on a $500-700 sliding scale, with limited work trade opportunities to further lower the cost. The value of this 43-hour program is $700 per person. This covers expenses and fair wage to guest facilitators and teachers, space rental, snacks, professional coaching, the retreat, educational materials, and administration. A $200 Deposit will reserve your spot, and 1 or 2 more payments can be made before the dates listed above. Please contact us with any concerns about payment and for crowdfunding support resources; we are committed to ensuring that money does not stand in the way of this work!

Interested? Next Steps

  1. Fill out a brief application to learn more and begin the process
  2. Send an email to Kate or Mazin to let us know your interest or coordinate a phone call to learn more!,
  3. Pencil-in the dates on your calendar!


More Information

  • Think of this as a powerful incubation process for whatever amazing work you are already doing, regardless of what stage you are in your career. The tools, activities, and coaching are applicable to all contexts and we have no agenda for you besides creating a supportive and empowering community space for your growth and taking your next-steps, whatever they may be.
  • The guest facilitators we bring are visionaries and masters in their field, like Jihan McDonald, MA and her award-winning Allies For Life system of interpersonal allyship skills, or Maren Metke, MA and her decades of experience working with Non Violent Communication and Neurolinguistics as a consultant, coach, founder of a family camp, while being a successful artist and mother!
  • The concepts, tools, and skills we have curated are the result of 4 years of research: asking, observing and working with creatives, entrepreneurs, community organizers and wellness specialists to learn what common needs and core capacities are universally beneficial.
  • There will be plenty of movement, meditation, embodied practice, creative processing, and dialogue to give room for digesting insights and lessons. We make a clear distinction between healing focused work and transformational/ empowerment work. This program brings both elements but is focused on the second: getting so clear on who you are and what unique contribution your life represents, that despite all we've been through and will go through, nevertheless, we will be willing to achieve our dreams, and let nothing stand in our way. 

Course Leaders and Guest Facilitators



Specialization & Experience

Maren Metke, MaNLP, NVC

Guest Facilitator, Curriculum Advisor

Founder: Living Compass NVC (Nonviolent Communication) Family Camp (20+ years) and Healing with Compassion NVC and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). Maren Metke is a mother, artist, and healer who has worked with hundreds of clients, students, and families to bring more connection and understanding to the world.

Jihan McDonald, MA

Guest Facilitator, Curriculum Advisor

Jihan has received the Alpha Delta Leadership and Changemaker Fellowship Awards for their work in developing Allies for Life: pro-active interpersonal allyship skills. Jihan has worked with people ages 8-80 across many backgrounds on skills, tools, and capacities for assertiveness, empathy, self-realization, and social change.

Ksenia Shulzhenko

Guest Facilitator, Curriculum Advisor

Ksenia Shulzhenko serves as a business and strategy consultant to many thought-leaders in the fields of holistic health, deep ecology, spirituality and social enterprise. She is a leader, mentor, and manager for one of San Francisco’s finest community spaces: The Center SF and supports creative individuals in developing thriving careers.

Mazin Jamal

Facilitator, Curriculum Developer, Trained Coach

Mazin’s life-work is intersectional integration and innovation. As an artist, activist, professional coach, and co-founder of Holistic Underground, his most dearly held identity is that of "student". He brings his in-depth study and years of experience in communication, conflict resolution, holistic health, community organizing and development to facilitation and curriculum design within ALTER, and supporting hundreds of innovators, creatives, and leaders across 3 continents.

Kelly Elizabeth Ortega, RYT

Facilitator, Curriculum Developer, Trained Coach

Kelly Ortega is a community organizer, trauma-informed yoga teacher, nutrition specialist, professionally trained coach and creative curator. Her work is an embodiment of “self-care, earth-care, people-care, fair-share”, carrying forth the work of her ancestors and the return to indigenous lifeways.

Kate Hockett

Facilitator, Curriculum Developer, Trained Coach

Kate is a community leader, specializing in Earth-Based Spirituality and Moon Connection for all people. She’s a trained Doula, workshop creator and supports the heart + emotions of the cohort. Kate brings experience in Event Production, Self-Care and practices intuitive healing work while supporting the members throughout the course as a facilitator and coach.

John Fechter

Guest Facilitator, Program Administrator, Trained Coach

John Fechter, a co-founder of Holistic Underground, brings his experience as a student and teacher of mindfulness, various forms of body-work and energy-work, business development and as the administrative director of a healing arts school to supporting the members of the ALTER program.

Seo Michael

Learning Lab Host

Seo is a graduate of the ALTER program and the Membership Coordinator for Holistic Underground. He brings his deep study of NVC and experience in the intersection of Technology, Society, and Spirituality to hosting the online learning labs and video production for the ALTER Program.

Melanie Choi

Learning Lab Host

Melanie is a step-founder of Holistic Underground a graduate of the ALTER program, and a professional artist and healer.

Link to Document: ALTER Program Overview