Shella is a self-confessed die-hard supporter of Arsenal and St Louis FC (Seychelles) and an advocate of lifelong learning. Her dedication earned her an award; Africa’s Most Influential Woman, in recognition of her achievements in Education and Training.
Shella is originally from St Louis, Seychelles, married with a 19-year-old son and was recently appointed as the new chief secretary of the Public Service Bureau. She has served as the Executive Director of The Guy Morel Institute, a training institute in the Seychelles. She chats to Cosmocreole about her career and how her passion has led her to do great things to empower others.
Where do I start? It all started in 1991, as a science trainee teacher, after A’ Levels before I went to Australia to pursue further studies in Secondary Education, specialising in Applied and Biological Sciences. Upon returning to Seychelles, I started as a Biology teacher at the Seychelles Polytechnic. In 2000, I was promoted to Senior Lecturer of Biology and Head of the Science Department, and three years later, I was appointed as the course leader, a position which required me to deputise in the absence of the Head of School. After completing my Master’s Programme in School Leadership and following some education reform in 2006, I was appointed as the Director for the newly created School of Advanced Level Studies. In 2010, I joined the Seychelles Institute of Management as its Training and Development Manager. This strategic move required me to support my team, following a merger between the University of Seychelles and the Seychelles Institute of Management. In 2013 I became a Dean of Faculty at the University of Seychelles. Four years later, I was given the lead to create an in-service Institute called The Guy Morel Institute, and its board appointed me as its first Executive Director.
I joined the teaching profession because I was very passionate about the empowerment and education of people. Twenty-nine years after I started, the passion has only grown stronger. I have dedicated a good part of my life to equipping people with the knowledge and skills and fostering the development of values, attitudes, and behaviours that prompted people to make positive changes in their lives. I strongly believe that empowering people is the key to building high-performance teams, high-performing organisations, and stronger communities. In 2017, I received the Country and the Indian Ocean Awards for Africa’s Most Influential Woman in recognition of my achievements in Education and Training. That was a proud moment.
A Typical day at Work
I am not a morning person, so it takes about three snoozes to get me out of bed. (laughs) It is a long drive from Port Glaud (home) to Ma Joie (work), so it is window up, full Air Con, and loud reggae music all the way- this is the highlight of my morning.
My day varies, but I usually work with a specific team, mobilising leadership expertise, chairing meetings and ensuring that we make high-level decisions that add value to the Institute. I also spend time dealing with communications on behalf of the Institute. In addition, I sometimes have to deliver training and develop training programmes with my team and work on our business plan and budget. I also make sure that I engage with the learners at the Institute and our stakeholders. So, as you can imagine, no working day is ever the same. I am out of the office, usually by 6:30 pm, and home by 7:30 pm. I would take care of the usual house chores at home, including cooking, and bedtime is usually 11 pm. My weekends are all about family, football, and self-care.
Further and Higher Education in Seychelles
The greatest change has been the increase of opportunities for higher education. There are more courses on offer, and as for the future, we need to keep working on the quality of education — preparing the students with modern skills for the workplace, helping them to develop their career opportunities, and inspiring them to be the change agent of continuous improvement for ‘self’, organisation, country and the global village.
I have enjoyed the journey so far. I see challenges as opportunities – opportunities to grow and learn. Struggles and hardships were many, but they have made me stronger, wiser and more resilient. So I guess I do not want to change anything in my journey so far.
We join this profession to work with people, to provide people with tools for self-empowerment. We are in this field of work to help others realise their full potential and develop a passion for lifelong learning. We nurture in others a willingness to think in new ways, to solve problems and to help them create new opportunities for their future, to be better citizens, so ‘Join the profession to make a difference!”
To keep living life to the fullest, creating better versions of myself along the way and continuing to give my best to my career. Being able to live my true life proposes, and professionally, to continue to have a positive impact on people’s lives and empower and transform lives through my profession. To keep enjoying my work and my passion. To be happy and have peace of mind. In all, my ability to combine all the things I love – my son, family, friends, and my career, which has become my passion,
My parents – I have been blessed with the best. Mum taught me about having a purpose in life and knowing who you are, the need to keep working on yourself, and being a better human being. My dad (My Tidan) taught me about working hard, helping others, and living life to the fullest.
When I am not working, I spend quality time with my family. I love music, and I love to dance. I am also a die-hard fan of St. Louis FC and Arsenal. I also enjoy spending time alone to recharge my inner being. I work hard, so I have to care and look after myself, so I can give my best to my country instead of what is left of me.
Find out about lifelong learning courses here.