The ShadowBox team would like to share some memories about one of our founding team members, Helen Altman Klein, who passed away this week. Helen was a thought leader, mentor, and one of our biggest supporters, especially in the very beginning stages of ShadowBox LLC. More importantly, she was the beloved wife of Gary, mother of Devorah and Rebecca, and grandmother of Jacob, Jonathan, Ruth, and Harold.
Helen’s contributions to the idea of ShadowBox were fundamental. In fact, the very first ShadowBox project was led by her company, MacroCognition. She nurtured and encouraged ideas about developing expertise through what became the ShadowBox methodology, which eventually led to the establishment of ShadowBox LLC as its own company. She continued to look for new areas to enhance ShadowBox and to dovetail it with her areas of expertise, such as cross-cultural psychology and studying the concept of trust. In fact, it was Helen’s idea to incorporate a perceptual skills component to ShadowBox training, which ultimately led to the ExpertEyes capability in our software. In addition to being a sounding board for project and paper ideas, she provided a valuable critical eye and certainly kept some of Gary’s more far-fetched ideas in check. The entire team benefitted from her kind frankness and willingness to share her opinions about the subject at hand.
Helen was a mentor to many students during her years as a Professor of Psychology at Wright State University’s Human Factors & Industrial/Organizational Psychology program and also at Wayne State University earlier in her career. She was also a mentor to a few of our team members who had the privilege of working with her, even for a short time. Helen hired Joseph and Emily N. as research assistants with very little background in Naturalistic Decision Making. It was evident that she enjoyed introducing young people to the world of NDM. Helen’s high standards, her personal warmth, and her passion for the work made working with her a pleasure. Those of us who worked with Helen in the Yellow Springs office remember how she used to pop her head in our office, ask an “outside the box” question merely to stir things up, and immediately leave to go back to her office without waiting for an answer. We all appreciate how she made new team members feel like their insights were valuable. We hope to carry on this tradition in her honor.
Even as her health began to decline, Helen remained steadfast in her overwhelming support for ShadowBox, our team, and the work we all love doing. Despite not always being present for our day-to-day, we all felt her cheering us on. She continued to come to NDM conferences and ShadowBox annual meetings. The entire ShadowBox team, including Helen, shared a rental house for the 2017 NDM conference in Bath, UK. Fond memories of that trip include taking walks together, sightseeing, and attempting to cook meals together using non-intuitive British appliances.
Our thoughts are especially with Gary and the entire Klein family. Helen was a great personal support to Gary throughout their marriage of over 50 years.
May Helen’s memory be a blessing.
– The ShadowBox Team
John, Joseph, Emily N, Emily F, Laura, Adam, Kari, Micah & Jared