Gina Marescia – Director & Catalyst Leader, Catalyst Consulting HK

Meet Gina Marescia, Director & Catalyst Leader, Catalyst Consulting HK

Our interview with Gina:

Can you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences?

Former APAC Talent Head for Salomon Smith Barney and Change & OD Consultant for both Accenture and DDI, Gina is now the Practice Leader for Catalyst Consulting HK, a management consulting firm she founded 14 years ago. She has lived in HK for 20 years and brings over 24 years of talent and leadership development knowledge. Her purpose is (still) to be a “catalyst” and making a positive, sustainable impact on the state of leadership operating from inclusive, equal workplaces. She is a key expert for Hong Kong-based, regional and global organisations looking to make a “ding” in their culture. As an Executive Coach, Organisational Psychology practitioner and professional Facilitator, she loves to innovate and blend methodologies with science and business to unlock human potential. 

When did you first get involved in gender equity and why?

Being a catalyst and finding a voice to advocate for gender and racial equity has been an important personal cause her entire life and is a core foundation to the leadership programs Gina – through CatalystHK and her global partners – offer today. Gender, cultural and racial equity will not be achieved in the workplace without: 1) all individuals finding and having a voice, 2) the necessary leadership culture and, 3) policies to support/govern that.

Coming out of personal experiences, she first got involved through directly challenging social and gender inequality in the late 80’s when she ran pro-bono creative English and expression classes for African teenage girls unable to go to school during an Apartheid South Africa’s state of emergency. In the 90’s she drafted and presented the first equity and Affirmative Action papers when working at the largest bank in Southern Africa against opposition and push-back. Since 1997, Hong Kong examples include initiating the first Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) conversations as the L&D head at Salomon Smith Barney for Asia Pacific in 2001; challenging non-inclusive, western-centric definitions of Leadership, VP and MD readiness in L&D and promotion processes with MNCs and Asian conglomerates. In 2008 she defined an inclusive, gender and culturally relevant Impact & Presence model (C-A-B-I™) that has enabled over 4,000 Associates, VPs to “find their voices” at work and be seen as leaders. As an organizational practitioner, Gina auditing HR decision-making processes and training  consulting firms and Firms on how to be more objective behavioural assessors when making hiring and promotion decisions is a way of giving access to the profession in the region.

How are you currently involved in gender equity initiatives through your company / position?

As an expression of her commitment “to be a catalyst” and practically contribute to inclusive cultures she does this through leadership frameworks:

-Informally, simply listening, learning and participating in conversations and debates at Forums, on Panels, Conferences, and interest and research groups.

-Formally, she delivers and is involved the following key programs and initiatives help to “shift the needle” at three levels

@ Female Leadership Level

@ Org/Executive Level

@ Community/Social Level

“Unlocking Your Career Potential” Workshop:  1-day program that has positively impacted retention, engagement & promotion (as tracked by 1 Banking client over 3yrs years). Proactively addresses the underlying reasons for the female leadership fall-off. Leadership Readiness Assessments for Clients: Validates external & internal promotion readiness for executive’s regional/global roles.  Pro-bono Facilitation & Mentoring:

The Women’s Foundation (TWF, 5 years), Community Business (8years), English Schools Foundation, Chinese University Psychology students (12yrs).     

Return To Work: supporting RTW initiatives with an empowering Orientation, RTW Workshop & Coaching program to Assimilate- Reinvent-Redefine. Executive Team Performance Coaching: aligns inclusive leadership behaviours with business results. NGO Board Support: Justice Board, Child Development Centre (CDC)
“Leadership Impact & Influence Program” is a mixed gender regional 4-mth program for hi-potential Directors/VPs. Includes a D&I session to challenge myths, re-educate an inclusive leadership mindset & applies Catalyst’s unique C-A-B-I™ model & comprehensive resilience framework. Speaker/Panellist/Event Facilitator:

Examples-BNY Mellon’s International Woman’s Day Events (2016), Women’s Talent Conferences, Authentic Leadership panel moderator (2017); various Women’s Networks Forums.

Grassroots: HK Alternatives to Violence Project/HIPP, New Day Asia (women/girls in crisis in Asia).
“Impactful Leadership with C-A-B-I™ Workshop”

The workshop “cracks the code” across gender & culture to make it possible for all professionals to find their voice, leadership and impact a more diverse workplace. The licensed workshop has been updated in 2018 and the book “Impactful Leadership

Unlock Your POWER with                  C-A-B-I™” by Gina Marescia

& Chérie Carter-Scott (a #1 New York Times bestselling author) is due for release. 

The “Discovery Series” for Management: provides a practical, behavioural based approach to smarter, objective decisions making by working with unconscious, naturally occurring bias to positively impact inclusive work places. Exco members are empowered to run “Discovery Sessions” themselves with their teams, role modelling and involving all employees. 

What are you doing to inspire young, high-potential talent?

Predicting leadership potential in a changing world and inspiring young talent has been expressed both personally and professionally. Gina is known for the design of some of the best Management Trainee Graduate programmes over the last 20 years in HK and has dovetailed with being a mother for 19 years to two teenagers both born and raised in Hong Kong.  Locally, she has done pro bono work with English Schools Foundation (ESF) on how to develop resilient young adults, the Child Development Centre (CDC) and New Day Asia (NDA) to provide access to education and positive role models. Additionally, she has been a mentor and summer internship employer for local Organisational Psychology students of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) for the past 12 years.

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