I'm a woman who cares deeply about young people and nature.
I am a professional who's dedicated to improving the world we live in.
I'm an author who has stories to share.
I conduct research on the affective dimensions of climate change and collaborate with community based, governmental, and non-governmental institutions. Together, we build knowledge that has real life applications.
I collaborate with young people of all ages to amplify their voice. I work with adults so that together we become better active and empathic listeners of young people's voices.
I design and deliver evidence-based courses and webinars on active empathic listening and the psychology of climate change.
I provide guidance and support to students and young professionals.
I write academic research, technical reports, and science fiction for young adults.
I share my struggles and accomplishments hoping to inspire people of all ages to thrive in historical and personal times of crisis.
I was born in Milan, Italy in the late 1960s. I left my beautiful, complex, imperfect home, when I immigrated to Canada in 1994. I was 27 years old then, and brought with me nothing more than a couple of suitcases, a handful of cash and the dream of an independent and fulfilling life. I had no idea how difficult leaving a familiar language, my culture, and all my friends and family behind would prove to be. Thanks goodness for that, or I would have never left!
When people ask me: “Why did you leave such a beautiful country?” I smile and say,
“To find a good job.”
But the truth is that I needed to
distance myself from a not so great childhood.
It is only looking back with my adult eyes that I could finally see how profoundly I suffered growing up.
I experienced various forms of abuse from a
young age. I remember being in high school and having the impression that time had stopped and that I was stuck in hell for eternity. Mostly I felt that way because of school where I was struggling academically and socially. But also because I experienced the loss of a parent at a key time in my development. My father died when I was 14 years old of a sudden illness, and the anxiety I experienced at that time was all consuming.
I didn’t have much going for myself then. Except that I had a vivid imagination, and a mother who believed in me.
Somehow I made it through high school. Yes, I had to repeat a year and be in remedial summer school in every single grade, but at the end, I persevered and did not drop out. In my final year, I had made up my mind that I wanted to go to university to study child psychology. My mother consulted with the principal at my school, just to see what advice she might have for me, and this is what the principal told her: “Miss Maggi, your daughter is no material for university. You’ll waste your money if you send her.”
Since then, I earned a BA Honours, a Masters degree, and a PhD from prestigious universities. Today, I am a respected professor at a Canadian university and a productive researcher.
This begs the question, how did I get here, considering where I started from?
I believe the turning point for me was that my mom didn’t listen to the principal's advice, but choose to believe in me instead.
Largely because of that, I committed to never give up working towards what really mattered to me. The path that led me where I am today has been mostly uphill, and filled with detours, twists and turns, and challenges so big that would make me question whether I had what it takes to become the person I was so committed in becoming.
Today, I have come to realize that the path to self-actualization never ends; that is it all about the journey. I've also became a better traveller, so now it feels less painful, less scary, and less exhausting. I have acquired skills and knowledge that allow me to make my life's journey also more rewarding, fulfilling, and exciting than it has ever been.
I have dedicated my career to improving the lives of young people. I have a feeling that my choice of work has something to do with where I come from. Having experienced adversity first hand, I have a strong personal motivation to making sure that young people are given what they deserve to grow into the person they are meant to be.
I use every means I have to try and make a difference in young people's lives. I do so in my work as a researcher and educator; with my company as an entrepreneur; and as an author, writing stories about the future to inspire young people's minds and hearts.
My past is a very important part of my journey and I will never deny it. But I choose not to be defined by it and instead to re-orient myself towards the future.
We live in extraordinary times, and with that comes opportunities and great potential for change. I want to be part of the change that humanity must undertake if it wants to thrive. And I am committed to contribute any way I can to the becoming of a better humanity.