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 serving 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 lead 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, and upon my return to Seychelles, I started out 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 completion of 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, a strategic move, which 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. A position I still occupied.
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 equip people with the knowledge and skills, and foster the development of values, attitudes, and behaviours that prompted people to make positive changes in their lives. I strongly believe that the empowering of people is the key to building high-performance teams, high performing organizations and stronger communities. In 2017, I received the Country, as well as 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 normally I would be working with a specific team, mobilising leadership expertise, chairing meetings and ensuring that we make high-level decisions which add value to the Institute. I also spend time dealing with communications on behalf of the Institute. I sometimes have to deliver training, and developing training programmes with my team, as well as working 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 I am normally home by 7:30 pm. At home, I would take care of the usual house chores, 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 increased of opportunities to higher education, there are more courses on offer, and as for the future, we need to keep working on the quality of education which prepares the students with modern skills for the workplace, which help them to develop their career opportunity, and inspire them to be the change agent of continuous improvement for ‘self’, organisation, country and the global village.
I have really 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 to 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!”
Living life to the fullest, creating better versions of myself along the way and continue to give my best to my career. Being able to live my true life propose, and professionally, to continue to have a positive impact on the lives of people, and to 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, my family and my 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 about knowing who you are, the need to keep working on yourself and to be a better human being. My dad (My Tidan) taught me about working hard, helping others but also about 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 into football, a die-hard fan of St Louis FC and Arsenal. I also enjoy spending time alone in order 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.
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