Interview with Saybrook Creativity Studies Specialization Student Gloria Chance
Tell us a little about your background.
I have had a 25 year career as a Business Technology leader in healthcare and financial services for a number of fortune 100 companies. As a transformational Business Executive I led strategic projects integrating core new business functions that leveraged creativity expertise to drive unparalleled enterprise success. Using next-generation technologies and operational excellence, I led teams that created one of the first electronic medical records in the 90s and one of the first mobile applications in financial services in the early 2000s along with many other innovations. I am currently a Ph.D. student in Psychology with a focus on Organizational Creativity.
What made you decide to apply to the Creativity Studies program at Saybrook University?
I was interested in finding a degree that would integrate technology, business and the human experience. The Saybrook degree in Creativity was the only advanced degreed program I could find of its kind. The program’s focus on Creativity along with a deep and rich humanistic approach allows me to integrate theory, tools and experience in a way that I believe will bring tremendous value to the field of creativity and innovation and to the organizations that I work with.
What do you plan to do with the knowledge and experience you are getting in the program?
I continue to actively use all that I am learning in my daily life and work. I currently use techniques learned with my clients in individual coaching sessions and with leaders during organizational strategic planning sessions. I am currently producing a documentary (a spin-off from a short I produced last year) that will explore and introduce key messages and perspectives of creativity, how it helps every day, and saves lives.
What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity for me is about creating the best you. From the best that we can be, we help to inspire others to create their best. This creates a positive, energized, sacred space in which miracles happen.
Are there any particular areas of creativity that you've been interested in?
I am focused on organizational creativity. My dissertation question is what are the conditions/capabilities that organizations use to foster effective, repeatable processes to make breakthroughs in innovation?
What do you do for fun?
Fun can be a challenge in a PhD program. I love to travel, spend time with my Shitzu Shady and close friends. The biggest new hobbie/project that I hope will be fun is my foray into filmmaking. As it relates to fun, I plan to make my vocation my vacation.
How does creativity inform your day-to-day life?
I believe that when open, one can experience creativity to solve, think and to impact experiences daily. Meditation, imagery, dreams, thinking are everyday events that allow us to let creativity in.
What is a piece of advice you would give on how to enhance creativity?
I believe that play and laughter enhances creativity. Creativity is about getting out of our own way, out of our head and into the imagination of our minds and souls. Try throwing away a rule or a way of being that you can’t recall what purpose it serves. Meet yourself—know thyself….
How is studying for your MA or PhD a creative process?
I am using what I learn to morph how I have approached and thought about work in technology and as leader. The humanistic psychology portion of the degree has helped me to better understand human nature, which only helps to make me a better person and a better leader. The technical skills of research and creativity tools combined with the ability at Saybrook to customize my learning has made this degree program a very special creative process. I am thrilled that this program allows me a very specialized degree specific to augmenting my work experience, while building on new and emerging skills that I need for the next challenges I choose to tackle in my career.
Which creative person do you admire? Why?
My mom is the creative person that I admire the most. My mother, a stay-at-home mom in the 1960s and 1970s, exemplified the notion of expressing creativity in a way that was socially acceptable. Using her Singer sewing machine, she designed and sewed all the clothing her four daughters wore. It was a regular ritual: We would go window shopping at department stores, choose what we liked, and then she would go home and create the exact replica from memory. Her talent of creating fashionable clothing for her four daughters meant, for us, the difference between suffering the embarrassment of wearing shabby clothing (reflecting poverty) to having pride about our creative and fashionable attire. The joy she felt in creating the clothes and the joy we felt in wearing them led to a mutual joy and celebration of her creative talents. Moreover, my mom, who never completed high school, set a profound example for me to believe that I could do anything I set my mind to, especially if I possessed an education.