Women’s History Month Profile: Esther Hollist

  • Published
  • By Denise Elbert, AFNWC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility
  • Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center
For Women’s History Month, we would like to recognize one of our own as a modern day history maker.

Esther Hollist embarked on her federal career in 2000 as a Life Cycle Logistics PALACE Acquire intern and has since served in a variety of logistics and program management positions within the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center’s Minuteman III and Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program offices.

In August 2021, she transitioned to the GBSD Workforce Development office, leading the effort to develop and deliver a six-part training plan, which included procedures to successfully onboard and in-process new GBSD employees.

She also serves as the GBSD mentoring program manager in partnership with AFNWC and is an Air Force resiliency training assistant.

One unique practice she brings to the GBSD workforce is providing a weekly “Monday Mentoring and Motivation” email, with bite-size personal and professional inspiration and mentoring principles and practices.

Her educational background is in psychology, sociology, family studies and human resources development. Also, she has several certifications in holistic wellness, nutrition, essential oils and as a family herbalist. She is continually learning and growing her knowledge base.

In her words, “I love to do everything in a way that honors my desire to think and learn, connect with the right people, and ensure things are done the right way. To accomplish that I don’t need to be recognized as significant in the eyes of other, instead I get to be deliberate in way I make decisions before taking action while trusting in the connection, meaning and purpose in and with all things.”

Hollist is one of the leaders that supports Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and  Accessibility efforts through self-awareness and improvement sharing in her emails.

In our dialogue she answered a few questions for us:

What has been your greatest challenge(s) in federal services and how did you overcome it (them)?

I am my own greatest challenge. I want to show up and do my best. Yet there is self-doubts and uncertainty I at times come up against as I do the work that needs to be done. Do I really have the knowledge, skills, abilities (KSAs) to do what needs to be accomplished in the way it needs to be accomplished? How I have overcome it? It’s an ongoing challenge, and is part of the reason I love doing what I do with Workforce Development helping to encourage and develop people the GBSD workforce. Awareness of my mindset and utilizing the “tools” I have to manage it has been very beneficial. It seems to be human nature to one degree or another to question or doubt ones skills and abilities, yet we wouldn’t be where we are, in the positions we’re in, without having shown somewhere along the way that we could do it.

Based on your weekly self-awareness/improvement messages, what are some of the best responses you’ve received?

The most common response is something along the lines of “thank you, I really needed this message or reminder today.” Or I’ll get follow on questions about any additional recommendations or resources I have in my tool box of knowledge. Occasionally I have been vulnerable and honest in what I share. Inevitably someone responds in kind about their own related experiences, struggles, and triumphs. I’ve also had a few folks send back messages, “you have such great insights, were made for this.”

What advice would you give women specifically in navigating their civil service careers or life?

Figure out what really interests you and feeds your soul, not just your bank account. You spend so much of your life working in some capacity or another so find work that is meaningful to and for you, something that aligns with your primary interests, desires and needs. If you need to, invest in some assessments, books, or training to help figure out your personal strengths, interests, talents, etc. To loosely quote Stephen R. Covey, as you climb the ladder of success be sure it’s leaning against the right wall for you because, if it’s not ,every step just gets you closer to the wrong place. And in the words of Earl Nightingale, success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.