20 Under 40 – Dr. Alice Ann Holland

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Children’s Medical Center Dallas
Education: Stanford University, UT Southwestern

During the summer after her sophomore year at Stanford, Dr. Alice Ann Holland did an undergraduate research fellowship in molecular neuroscience at UT Southwestern and realized what she didn’t want to do.

“The lab director, Dr. Colleen McClung, was studying the molecular mechanisms underlying bipolar disorder, using mouse models,” Holland recalled. “Among the many things I learned that summer was that I didn’t want to spend my life killing mice!

“That led me to seek out a career that would allow me to apply my love of neuroscience to helping children directly,” Holland said.

Now, as a pediatric neuropsychologist, she specializes in neuropsychological assessment of medically complex children, adolescents, and young adults, as well as those with neuro-developmental disorders such as ADHD, autism, and learning disabilities.

Holland’s work led her to become the youngest ever elected member of the Texas Psychological Association (TPA) Board of Trustees in 2013, then to be elected president of TPA in 2019.

“It was an honor to have so many of my colleagues trust me to lead this statewide professional organization at such an early stage in my career,” she said.

Over the next 10 years, Holland expects to continue her recent work as an expert witness in lawsuits involving possible brain injury to a child as well as her legislative advocacy on issues like mental health and education.

Q: Tell us about your involvement in the Park Cities and/or Preston Hollow communities?

A: I grew up in Old Preston Hollow, in the same house in which my dad grew up. I attended Lamplighter, Providence, and Ursuline, where I was Valedictorian. Currently, in addition to seeing patients from Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and beyond, I volunteer as a board member for Camp John Marc, a local nonprofit that operates camps for children with chronic medical and physical challenges. My husband and I enjoy taking our rescue dog on long walks through the Hockaday neighborhood and along the Northaven Trail. Fun fact: I actually interned as a reporter for People Newspapers after my freshman year at Stanford!

Q: What do you love most about your community?

A: I didn’t think I’d move back to Dallas after college, but now I can’t imagine leaving! You can’t beat Preston Hollow for a comfortable, livable neighborhood — we often walk to dinner — combined with such easy access to the perks of living in a big city. My husband and I are big Stars fans and love being able to quickly pop down the Tollway to games. It’s also nice living so close to family and lifelong friends.

Q: What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

A: My parents’ neighbor, Vatana Watters, was kind enough to hire me to do odd jobs one summer at the headquarters of her wedding gown design company, Watters & Watters….I’m very grateful for the customer service skills I learned there, which are really valuable for any medical professional. It also was inspiring to work at a company where the owner/ CEO and most senior leaders were all women.

Q: Which leadership skills were the most challenging for you to develop and why?

A: Public speaking used to terrify me! I was fortunate to have mentors in graduate school who really pushed me to step outside my comfort zone by presenting workshops at conferences and giving lectures around the hospital. I never anticipated it would be an important skill for my career, but I now have spoken to large groups, been interviewed live on all of the local news channels, and routinely present workshops at conferences (including one that I present annually on the actual topic of public speaking!) with little to no anxiety. I never dreamed I would become so comfortable with public speaking. I want to encourage anyone out there who has that very common fear—you really can overcome it; it just takes practice!

Q: What is your favorite local store?

A: Interabang Books has great staff selections that are so fun to peruse. They also bring in some fantastic authors for book signings and discussions. I was so glad to see them quickly open up a new location on Lovers after the tornado devastated their original location at Preston Royal.

Q: Where is the best place in the Park Cities or Preston Hollow for a power lunch – what do you order?

A: My criteria: I don’t want to have to yell over the noise, and I have to be able to get a table without a reservation, because my lunch hours can be pretty unpredictable. I’m reluctant to share this because I don’t want it to get mobbed, but Mesero at Lovers/Inwood offers a quiet, attractive environment for a working lunch. Don’t miss the chicken and tomatillo soup!

 

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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