Maria Bakari, MSc in Organisational Psychology
National & Kapodistrian University of Athens
University of Nottingham, U.K.
Founder & Co~Creative Partner at Synergy ~ Συνέργεια ~~
Maria was born in Rhodes, the largest of the cluster of twelve main islands of the Dodecanese in the Aegean Sea, a pilgrimage & cultural crossroad (hence: CrossRhodes?!) in the region of three continents, three religions and many more tribes and heritage backgrounds. She studied Philosophy, Pedagogy, Psychology for 3 years and then moved and deepened in Psychology at the University of Athens just as the University initiated the new Department of Psychology. She conducted her research dissertation on Cognitive Science and the Flexibility of Mental Representations of Abstract Concepts. In the summer of 1998, thanks to synchronicity and an invitation that caught her eye/heart, a period of traveling starts with participation in international youth projects and involvement in European NGO work in the fields of intercultural & experiential learning, diversity and unity. These journeys were enriched by her moving to the U.K. for Postgraduate studies in Organisational Psychology (MSc at the University of Nottingham, Institute of Work, Health and Organisations) having been granted a scholarship by the Hellenic National Employment Agency. The focus of her MSc Project was learning itself and its evaluation, especially in multicultural settings. Following her studies, Maria was called to dive into and serve educational leadership and school systems transition as senior programme co-ordinator at the National College for School Leadership in Nottingham, U.K.
Her 4-year experience in this field opened up a pathway in her practice on learning organisations and transformation, collective intelligence, innovation and participatory methodologies applied in personal and organizational change contexts and life-long learning.
Upon return to Greece, Maria has worked as director in the newly established Life Long Learning Centre for the Dodecanese Region, as a Counselor and Vocational Guide in Education and has been co-founder of initiatives and projects for the Systemic Social Innovation in Greece, Environmental and Organisational Sustainability, member of the Advisory Tourism Think Tank of the Regional Chambers of Commerce, Mentor in Programmes for Youth Entepreneurship, Counselor and Host/Facilitator for individual and team counseling as well as workshops co-ordinator at the University of the Aegean, Rhodes Campus and member of local and translocal taskforces for health and change in organisations, active citizenship, family and community.
Synergy was founded in 2009 and since then nourished as a field and hub of collaborations and actions sparked from the essence and efficiency of synergy itself. Maria is the key-founder and energiser of partnerships, collaborations and blossoming connections in contexts both local and international that serve the purpose of re-modeling, re-birthing work, world, humanity...
Maria practices counseling, coaching and mentoring, designs and hosts participatory group-processes and larger intervention spaces (i.e. gatherings, retreats, consultations, big scale public events), meaningful conversations and dialogue in "rocky places" and invites people to discover, deepen and expand potential with special interest in the community, the next stage of organisations and organising, parenthood and family as well as governance systems. She is committed to serve humanity in its journey to the next level of consciousness from the radical awareness and connection to her roots, wisdom, heritage and language and their universal resonance and interaction with the world. She loves Philosophy, Poetry and the Arts and she is constantly craving for learning, what the Greeks have named as "Φιλομάθεια"/Philomatheia, friendship/intimacy/love for Learning. She has recently together with friends and teachers co-created a new container for exploring the relationship of Ancient Greek Practical Philosophy, Mindfulness and Buddhist Dharma Practice and the value of this enquiry in todays humanity, organisations, life, the world.
Part of the "large scale intervention practices" is her work with/for the ~ Lihnari ~ Radio (for more than 9 years now) broad~casting stories of innovation and humanity in Greece, Europe and the World touching large audiences and mapping the "Stories of the New Earth" locally and translocally. The broadcast amplifies stories and initiatives of creative pareas, social innovation, collective creativity and courageous projects strengthening humanity and solidarity, breaking through from breaking down along this global shift and transition. Every story is then further radiating through the web as a podcast.
Maria is a founding member of the Art of Hosting Global Network and Community of Practitioners, who practice and expand the Art of Participatory Methodologies and Leadership across the World, integrating into existing systems and/or setting up new organising principles and practices, discovering and adapting while reinforcing the collective power, intelligence and leadership -so key for a positive future.
Since 2016 Maria is part of the Next Stage World, an initiative calling, designing and hosting a Global Gathering of Organisational Leaders and Teams from Organisations that are thriving and evolving towards the Next Stage with innovative practices, spaces, functions and ways allowing the wellfare of everyone and courageously stepping forward for healthier, happier and more creative workplaces. This unique gathering happens in Rhodes and the neighbouring islands of the southeastern Aegean Sea every spring.