By Sean Meyer
Maureen Spencer Golovchenko has found herself in an enviable position, drawing upon both past and current experiences to help bring greater attention to students looking to embrace the spirit of innovation.
Maureen worked for three years as community collaboration program manager for Pillar Nonprofit Network, a role that allowed her to assist in building the community connections that would ultimately lead to the creation of Innovation Works.
These days, she is embracing her staff writer role on Fanshawe College’s corporate communications team — finding good news stories that help raise the profile around student experience.
Utilizing what she has learned in both roles has allowed her to promote awareness and understanding of social innovation to not only her campus colleagues, but the students of Fanshawe College too.
“I’m really excited because I feel I’ve helped Innovation Works and Fanshawe, both institutions I love. I’m in a unique position at this point in time,” she said. “I can help Innovation Works and Fanshawe by being the bridge between two organizations I love. I can help build that co-tenancy involvement. So that’s what I’ve been doing.”
When Pillar was working to create what would become Innovation Works, Maureen was asked to be the person to “put their hands on the wheel and steer” the direction of various community conversations.
One of the people she talked with was Dan Douglas, who is the Dean of the Centre for Research and Innovation, at Fanshawe.
Describing Dan as an “early adopter” of the innovation philosophy, he quickly committed to the college becoming an Innovation Works co-tenant.
That moment is one that has stuck in Maureen’s head.
“I got very excited. I got to know Dan as a person, as a colleague, never thinking I would one day be at Fanshawe,” she said. “Being a Pillar-ite, I carry this place in my heart, I feel I have a hand on the wall here. I feel really privileged, really lucky, to have been brought into the circle that helped push forward some new ideas.”
Fanshawe’s connection to Innovation Works has extended beyond Dan’s original commitment.
For example, his department no longer pays for the two Fanshawe desks, but instead the college itself has adopted them. That movement came, Maureen said, after seeing the merit of what Innovation Works could offer the college.
Innovation Works attracts, “some exciting live wires,” as Maureen describes them.
Quick to acknowledge her pride for young people who are utilizing the space, not to mention those who are showing social consciousness and the ability to collaborate in different ways, Maureen said she understands why the spirit of innovation works so well with the audience she is dedicated to writing about.
Perhaps ironically, she sees it in the gaming world many young people are often lumped into.
Many people, Maureen explains, think about Millennials as a generation brought up on gaming, which can be isolating, “just you and this screen.” However, at the same time — and it is born out in some other comments she’s heard — because of working with those games, young people have learned how to collaborate to create better outcomes.
“If they draw that analogy to society, they know no man is an island, that whole thing. They know everybody has a voice, but when you bring those voices together, it’s a stronger voice,” she said. “I just think Innovation Works is sort of this incubator for great things. It incubates ideas, social change, it incubates financial independence and prosperity for all. It just has so much potential.”
For more information, visit http://fanshawe.ca.
To spend your time around people just like Maureen, consider joining us at Innovation Works!