Nina Moroso is one of those intuitive souls who understands what needs to happen and finds a way to impeccably execute on it, even in complex and rapidly changing situations. With gut instinct as her compass, Nina has worked in small-town radio, a Crown corporation, a Caribbean paradise, and co-owned an electrical contracting company before landing in Metchosin, BC at Pearson College. Honed by a decade with the United World College (UWC) and driven by a desire to serve great causes, Nina joins Roy Group ready to focus on our priorities, keep our communication flowing and our HQ humming.
You started with Roy Group in 2020, but it feels like you’ve been here all along.
Yes! I was watching from the sidelines as Roy Group made its shift to scale up in 2019, and I was hoping for a chance to get called into the game. This is an amazing team and it is exciting to be part of it.
How did you first get connected?
I met Ian in 2010. At that time he was on the board of directors at Pearson College. He had just led a strategic visioning process to guide the organization for the next decade and beyond. It was an impressive piece of work that stakeholders enthusiastically contributed to and got behind. I figured if a strategic visioning exercise could generate that kind of passion, the guy had to be doing something right! But beyond that, I really appreciated Ian’s more subtle contributions: his ability to distill big ideas and strike the right balance between fun and hard work. We stayed in touch after he left the board and we’ve been on the lookout for other opportunities to work together ever since.
You’ve had a very cool, very eclectic path to excellence.
I attended a performing arts high school, and then created a beautiful mosaic of post-secondary education. No formal degree to be found, but I’ve spent years at university studying communications, sociology, and leadership. I have a college education that includes broadcast journalism and HR management. On their own, those pieces don’t seem very cohesive, but all those scraps together form a tapestry of learning, experience and wisdom.
This tapestry sets you up well for working with Roy Group, because you can draw upon different areas of expertise and knowledge depending on what the situation calls for.
Right. Especially when things get busy or difficult, I have a knack for holding things together and making sure people have what they need, whether it’s a set of tools or a shoulder to cry on. Given the global shift in how people work, what we prioritize as a society, and an unprecedented push to adapt quickly, Roy Group’s work is especially valuable and important right now. For us as an organization as well as for those we serve, we are faced with amazing opportunities. I hope my service enables the team to do great work and thus have a positive impact on our clients and their worlds.
My next question was about your values, and you’ve already begun to address it with the positive impact piece. What else do you value?
I believe that true success isn’t possible without integrity. You can’t compromise your integrity in order to reach a goal, either personally or professionally. Even in well-meaning organizations that are doing good work you might find yourself in circumstances where what is being asked of you doesn’t sit right in your gut. Ignoring that feeling might seem like an attractive option because it leads to an easier path. For me, though, there is no way but honesty — even though it means the ride won’t always be a smooth one.
Can you talk about your work with the United World College movement? Why is this so important in your heart?
The United World College movement (UWC) is a unique experiment that started after the Second World War. Several high-ranking officers who had attended sessions together in a NATO training centre discovered that as they spent time getting to know one another, their compassion, understanding and desire to work together grew, while their tendency to stereotype and dehumanize the “other” diminished. They hatched the idea of an educational environment for promising 16- to 19-year-olds from every background and corner of the world — the potential leaders of the next generation — where these youngsters would receive the kind of challenging but rewarding experiences that would help foster peace and understanding. Today there are 18 such schools across the globe. Students attend from over 160 countries based on their potential and desire to change the world, regardless of their ability to pay. From a business perspective, the UWC movement seems like an impossibility, but because of the transformative nature of the experience and the growing number of people working to keep that initial dream of peace and sustainability alive, it’s still going strong. I didn’t attend a UWC as a student, but it was a real privilege to work with UWC people and strive toward that noble mission for a decade. This world needs more of what UWC is trying to accomplish.
Tell me why purpose matters so much to you.
One of my first “real” jobs was in a small-town radio station — the only one you could get on the dial. It played a big role in informing, entertaining and bonding the local community. We had fun, and were allowed to be human and have personality on the air and in our programming. When the station was bought by a big conglomerate, the head office decided to use canned programming and less local content. I was called into the new station manager’s office and given the “honour” having the official launch of the new station happen on my daily show. He showed me the script I was to read, touting how this corporatization (and the elimination of all the character and flavour of the station, basically) was going to be great for the community. I walked out of his office and went to type up my resignation. Without being able to properly serve the community, I knew I didn’t have a purpose there anymore. I learned what motivates me and helps me do my best work. Ever since, I have endeavoured to work with people and in organizations where what I am doing is contributing to something positive and hopefully making the world better, even in some small way.
I think more and more people are joining you in that conviction to stand by one’s values. You are known for your positive outlook, and for being super adaptable.
Serving a talented team of people as you grapple together to accomplish something meaningful is my favourite kind of work, and I’ve had enough practice at it to know that it isn’t always a picnic. Every person walks into the office or starts a project with their own story, perspective and experience. I love it when my role on a team includes understanding and honouring those stories, and figuring out how to help people do their best work. Sometimes this means working around egos and making space for different viewpoints in order to bring forward the whole team’s finest contributions. Other times it might mean taking a hard line on how things need to be organized. Whatever it is, if it gets us closer to the goal and keeps people motivated, I am happy to do it.
OK, there’s this thing called the two-martini Molly Ringwald. What’s that about?
Ha! I need room in my life for dancing — literally as well as metaphorically. I seek out opportunities to celebrate my own existence…and for me this sometimes means dancing in my kitchen. Preparing good food for or with someone I love with groovy music playing is a joyful experience. So, when the feeling comes over me, I bust out my best moves — hence the Ringwald. I’ve been dancing in my kitchen for a lot of years, but it felt especially poignant during the COVID lockdown, since we couldn’t go to dances or festivals, or see our favourite musicians play live.
And when you’re not dancing like a fiend?
I love hiking, yoga, reading and spending time doing just about anything with my son. I yearn to explore the world around me and tend to categorize my best travel adventures by food, drink and places to swim. I might also be convinced to visit a museum or two along the way.
Any special hobbies, interests or weird competencies?
Huh. Well, I lived in a van and followed the Grateful Dead around in my misspent youth. And I’ll eat butter on just about anything. Is that weird enough?