IWD 2019 Scholarship recipient Maria Simonelli – one year on

A year after being awarded an inaugural GGI International Women’s Day scholarship, we caught up with author, entrepreneur and creativity consultant Maria Simonelli to discuss how corporate governance training is supporting her career aspirations.

Maria is the founder of The Creative Catalyst, which supports individuals and organisations to discover creative approaches to problem solving, build core competencies, and then integrate them into their lives and workplaces to facilitate positive social and cultural change.

“I’ve been involved with the non-profit sector across environment, sustainability and social services for 20 years. While I’ve worked as advisor, committee member and an employee, I knew I still had a lot to learn about governance structures and particularly navigating the legal role and duties of becoming a board member,” she said. “That’s why I applied for the GGI governance scholarship and was so humbled to be selected.”

“The content is exceptional, and I was immediately hooked on the course units and the way they related to the reality of today’s challenging corporate world. The six units all gave a very modern take on governance. Course units like entrepreneurship were spot on in terms of framing the reality of strategy and risk in the context of what’s it’s like in this emerging arena.”

Maria is now completing her first book, ‘The Creative Advantage: How science is redefining creativity to reveal life’s ultimate advantage’, which is due for release in mid-2020.

“The world needs imaginative solutions to solve our economic, environmental and social challenges to create viable, equitable and sustainable communities. This book is my contribution to help build creative capacity and focus on the task at hand to affect that change.”

Maria said that having a solid knowledge of corporate governance has increased her understanding of the pressures faced by directors, which has proven valuable in shaping her book.

“It’s not enough to say that change is needed. Sustainable, practical and realistic change has to be considered through the lens of organisations and directors who will need to be onboard to drive change. They have a range of pressures from stakeholders, employees and regulators, which they need to balance with the commercial realities of their business. Having formal corporate governance training has given me a better understanding of my stakeholders so that ultimately the work I do will be much more relevant and likely to be a catalyst to change.”

Maria speaks highly of her experience with GGI.

“The format is an easy online approach, in discrete units with a good mix of interesting articles, podcasts, case studies, questionnaires and tight concise, yet informative and relevant topics,” she said.

“The content included very topical examples. The course developers do not shy away from the important role a board member can play in these times of both corporate and non-profit organisation misconduct. I really appreciated the overall honest and fresh approach to issues that can make or break an organisation and the fine line board members must navigate.”

“The various voices of content specialists meant the views expressed were based on personal and professional experience. This enabled me to be fully engaged in the various challenges boards need to face. Best of all is the fact I can access this information when I specifically need to use it. I’ve already dipped back into the materials on numerus occasions to get a refresher on the subject matter.

“The GGI course’s affordable price, rich and relevant content and ease of use make it a course that’s very easy to recommend.”

To contact Maria or find out more about The Creative Catalyst, visit https://www.mariasimonelli.com/


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