Project: National Skills Development Strategy for Tanzania
I had the privilege of working in a team that was led by Simone. The assignment, which was sponsored by the World Bank, was to help the government of Tanzania develop a National Skills Development Strategy to as a response to the country’s fast-growing economy. I observed Simone, in a very short period of time, build capacities of individuals and groups from various sectors who played crucial roles at the different stages of the assignment. I attribute the phenomenal success of the assignment to Simone’s great skills in bringing people of diverse backgrounds together and helping them to become high performing teams. Simone is a deep listener who treats the differences in cultures (beliefs, values and practices) as the raw material from which to craft creativity and innovation. Simone is a talented systems-thinker who has made working in the present moment her second nature. This combination of system-thinking and working in the moment, gives Simone the rare capacity to fluidly and seamlessly lead both from the front and the collective, depending on need.
Simone is a wonderful team player, with a keen sense of group dynamics. She is curious about people's interests, needs and wishes, a keen listener and kind facilitator. She has a broad knowledge of facilitation techniques that she gladly shares with her collaborators. She worked with us to design an emergent governance structure, as well as design our future program using Lego Serious Play. She co-facilitated several workshops with us, all of which greatly benefited from her expertise and presence. Working with Simone on designing these workshops was a smooth and co-creative endeavor, from with we both learned a lot.
Finally, as a board member of The (Impact) Hub Brussels, I had a chance to experience Simone as an initiator and leader, who brought together and hosted a diverse group of people in a beautiful space for a couple of years, before deciding to become a journeyer and develop her skills in different cultures and contexts.
Maja Kuzmanovic, Principal Invigorator, FoAM
Strategic Planning Session
I was looking for someone who could facilitate a strategic planning session with my team. I needed it to be interactive, engaging, fun, and cover a lot of material. In the first prep session with Simone I could tell that she had the experience and the skill-set to meet all of these needs. Simone helped me hone in on my priorities and develop a series of group and individual sessions that allowed my team to flow through a process that was natural and energizing. I have since referred Simone to other clients that have indicated their happiness working with her. Simone is professional, caring, empathic, intuitive, skilled, and easy to relate to. I would hire her again in an instant.
David Yusem, Coordinator | Restorative Justice, Oakland Unified School District, www.ousd.org
Project: Diversity and Inclusion at a large Public High School in the Bay Area
I've worked with Simone in the context of a public-school system mired in racial and socio-economic division. What I appreciate about Simone's skill in these contexts is that she can honor multiple perspectives in the room and attendants. She sees the partial truth in all the points of view, allowing her to give the participants a deep experience of being seen while also weaving a more complex picture for all. Her empathy and flexibility of mind simply can't be taught! She's a natural.
Gabriel Wilson, Chair of the Diversity Initiative, Ten Directions, www.tendirection.com
Project: Co-creation of Culture and Office Space Design
As head of Siemens Energy Belgium, my challenge was to move my 100 person team from an "one employee - one desk" landscape to an open office concept where desks were shared among the employees based on projects and presence. There was a lot of resistance to change in my team. I saw this spatial redesign as a chance for us to become more functional, more flexible, more like what we aspired to be as a team. I knew I needed help and that a combination of different qualities was required to come up with a concept that would be perceived as an improvement: Respect for the people and what had been their environment for many years. Fresh thinking, a good methodology and courage.
From our first contacts, I felt that Simone and her colleague were the people with whom I could team up and dare to try something new. So we did.
In record time, we embarked on a human centered design journey. The results were amazing and the effect on the team very positive. The motivation and cohesion of the group increased as the colleagues felt genuinely involved in the decision making process. The success can be explained in many ways. From my perspective, three main aspects emerge: trust, the right people, the right questions.
Alain De Cat, CEO, Powerdale
Project: Cultural Direction Setting for Residential Black Rock City (Burning Man)
Simone has been a transformative designer, leader, and facilitator of our multi-year visioning and change process. She's brought her expertise, theory, empathy, and intelligence whole-heartedly to dozens of meetings. She is able to thoughtfully craft and facilitate a process that unlocks the group's ability to meet our goals. She's also notices what's needed and is flexible in shifting gears to ensure we get the best possible work done. She's an insightful and generous collaborator and I can't imagine leading this complex, uncertain, very important process without her.
Victoria Mitchell, Associate Director, Operations Leader, Burning Man Project