Influencer Carla Balentina-Martina
Interview October 2022
Carla, could you share with us some information about your family life?
I grew up in a close-knit family with 11 family members consisting of 9 siblings of which I was the youngest one in the barrio Jan Doret. Our home was a meeting point for children from the neighborhood, and our upbringing was strict. My mother played a very important role in whom I am at this moment as she spends a lot of time in our education, so all of us finished High School and studied in Holland, which was not easy as we went to school in Punda as she considered that to be important for our education. She was a very entrepreneurial housewife. She is still alive and very alert and keen with her 90 years old in a wheelchair she knows exactly what she wants, keeps score of her household expenses, plays her crossword puzzles, always willing to work to help me achieve my goals. I have two sons, and two grandsons, so in the core of my family I am the only woman, and I dearly love them all.
Could you share something about any other aspect of your educational background and your experiences?
I started with Secondary Administrative Education after High School and started to work as a secretary for a former CEO of SETEL for only 1,5 years but then I left for Holland to study HRM in Eindhoven and stayed in Holland for 6 years before migrating back to Curaçao. I started working at the Central Government in the department of Personal Affairs and after that went to work for a Foundation that was managing four Boarding Schools for Youngsters in charge of its restructuring, but as I was always looking for other challenges I left after completing the restructuring in 2,5 years and went to work at the department of Personal A airs at the Island Government of Curaçao, in charge of labor conditions of the government employees and the government organization. I was responsible for starting the project to train internal Job Evaluation specialists in the FUWASYS system by recruiting an external expert, instead of keeping outsourcing this task to third parties.
During my time at the Island Government, I also attended a course at ICUC to become an Internal Advisor at the MBA level. I understood that a lot of recommendations in my thesis on How to make the Island Government attractive as an employer were taken over and implemented by the Island Government. After that, I continued studying at the ICUC and in 2011 I graduated in Consultant Management at the MBA level. At that time I left the Island Government and went to work at Aqualectra Distribution as an HRM manager and stayed there for 9 and a half years until politics got involved in Aqualectra and all of the Top Executives left and including me as the HRM manager. I opted to negotiate and good handshake to leave instead of using my energies to fight what was happening. I started to work as an independent consultant in 2012. This has been a defining moment as it helped define how I work nowadays as I became my own boss. It happened earlier than I thought and planned by the events and turmoil in the management in Aqualectra in those days. I have always intended to be free and independent when I turn 55 years, irrespective of where I would live in the world. My husband shared this same vision. For example, we managed to build our house without a mortgage, which we managed to do in a couple of years.
When did you start coaching and why?
For 4 years ago, I started with coaching, so I offer “Consulting and Coaching” to organizations and individuals to achieve their vision of what they want.
Working in companies on the other side of the table I experienced that companies were investing in systems, equipment, processes, and people needed to adapt to that. I was approached by organizations to them with their challenges. As a consultant, you are expected to search and detect the problem, present solutions and guide the implementations of solutions, with the focus still and primarily on systems, processes, regulations, and so on. It is expected that employees follow the new systems, but they are not being properly prepared to do that. The investment in the employees themselves always stayed a few steps behind and I became aware that companies were missing out on opportunities to earn more, and have better results because they are underestimating the value that investment in their human resources could bring and add to their companies and corporate results.
I saw the fallacy of the HR narrative over the past decade, always focusing to be part of the management, and getting a seat at the management table but then focusing on the hard instead of the soft side of the HR policies. But we HR-professional are for the development, well-being, and great performance employees and we lost that focus to the development of employees or the HR development, down the road.
But I found that I was missing more in-depth knowledge and expertise to make a greater contribution to an organization in the development of their Human Potential. So I decided to upgrade myself and do a Coaching Program. After a long search, I did a Crash course that was offered in San Francisco over one weekend. After that course I still didn’t know exactly what I was doing, so I kept searching and in 2018 I ran into iPEC, the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, in Miami. They offered three modules during one year. Every module had a duration of 80 hours of teaching, and 20 hours of individual coaching, mentoring, and group coaching. After the first module, I was flabbergasted and said WOW to myself. I went through a tough transformation and self-awareness process that people who I have spoken to after that very first module told me: “Carla, you have changed. I can hear it in your voice”.
A year later, I finished the Coaching Program, and I have chosen to make ‘awareness’ the foundation of my programs and activities. One week after I finished my coaching program I organized my first workshop about “The Power of Awareness’ on my birthday and it was my first ‘sold-out’ event.
We know you are to be a coach, facilitator of workshops, and organizer of events, where did this drive come from?
I have this from my mother, she always had a drive and still has the drive to do things perfectly well, so I got raised to be like that. I have lowered my speed and expectations a bit these last few years, although I still want some things to be perfect.
Furthermore, I love helping people, and I believe that we are capable of so much more than we think we are capable of. Because of the transformation that I went through, and now that I experience the value that awareness brings to my life, I believe that every single person on this planet has the right to know their true potential and who they are at their core. With awareness, you make conscious choices in your life, and everyone has the right to be able to do that.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
The coaching methodology that I use is called Energy Leadership Coaching. It is not easy to explain to clients that they need to change things in their life if they want to change. And with change in their life, I mean changing personally, growing, and developing personally. This is the challenge because people are focused to change external things and expect their lives to change.
How do I deal with this challenge? It takes time and effort to prepare them for the change that will be going through. But to get them started I need to help them see and visualize the results and outcomes first. This is true, both for individual clients and corporations. Although this has changed somewhat during and after the Covid-19 Pandemic.
On an individual level, people tend to approach a coach when they are deeply stuck. I get most of the clients through word of mouth of participants that have made use of my services. I do not market and post a lot on social media.
My focus is to make as many people as possible aware of the power of their potential and ability. That is why I also organize events, that I try to make as attractive as possible by attracting renowned speakers like Mo Gadwat that I had this year on the 31st of March during the First Caribbean Happiness Conference.
I always tell people to come with an empty cup to these events, so they are receptive to learning new things.
Furthermore, I have experienced challenges in my efforts to build an online Course Marketplace. The main issue here is to receive payment from international clients. I have invested a lot in courses to obtain the knowledge and skills to build this marketplace. Two years ago I traveled all the way to Scottsdale to participate in the online-course ‘implementation lab’ by Dean Graziosi. After that, it took me two years longer to find a solution for a workable payment method. This year I succeeded to post my first courses on “Mastermind.com’ from Dean Graziosi. In the meantime, I was using another digital learning platform for my course, but it wasn’t the best solution.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be who you are right now and do what you are doing now?
I want to help people because I believe in people. That is my BIG WHY. I am not a relationship coach, I work on “awareness” and every niche starts with “awareness”. I have noticed that everybody needs “awareness” and I want to help as many people as possible, so that people can reach their potential, be freed from, overcome and deal with their blocks. If we can, coaches, can join forces, help our local people to become aware of their true potential, get the right mindset, and based on that make conscious choices in their lives, Curaçao can change for the better and can become so much better.
What are your plans for the coming years, let us say 5 years from now?
I have worked very hard as a consultant and coach. 5 years from now I want to be enjoying the fruits of my work and enjoy my life’s freedom.
I want to be helping people as much as I can, digitally. I want to live a life of freedom non-attached to things. I want to have peace of mind and be able to help others to reach their goals. I want to be able to help people 55 years and older to realize that life doesn’t end when you turn 55 years old. There is so much that they can still learn and do, and have a life that is as meaningful as possible.
Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemmas show up? How does that work for you?
My Inner Voice is very developed and it happens automatically. I will detect it coming up and before it starts critically talking to me, I will talk to it harshly. I will stop and react to what is going on and sense what I am feeling and then I will turn the narrative of that conversation into an opportunity. I even have a name for that Inner Critic, I call mine an “Ant” that comes and tries to annoy me. It would
turn the narrative of that conversation into an opportunity. The reversal of the inner critic uplifts me. That is why I intervene quickly and look for opportunities in the situation at hand. It helps me to stay resilient when things don’t go as I planned them to go, which happens to all of us in life.
How are you trying also to keep up with your knowledge and skill levels?
I am doing a lot, as I listen to motivational speeches, I meditate on Deepak Chopra’s daily meditation. I read his daily motivational App.
I read books and I search subject matters online.
I am a person that has learned bottom-up how to make videos and edit them myself, basically all the things I needed for my own company. I created my own website myself, just by googling and via trial and error learning how to do these things.
Every achievement makes me feel so great, as again afterward, I have proven to myself, that I am capable of so much more than originally thought I could. This experience I want to share it with others.
What are your strengths?
I see the upside in people and share my knowledge and skills. I love teaching and sharing my knowledge, like helping starting entrepreneurs get their businesses going, first by helping them with their personal development to get into the right entrepreneurial mindset, and teaching them to work on Social, making designs in Canvas, etc.
Do you have other hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
I love hiking as this gives me the feeling of “Freedom”. In Curaçao, we have so many beautiful hiking trails, be it our ‘mondis’ or the top of one of our mountains.
I love traveling and getting to know other cultures. In the past I would travel and stay in a shopping mall the whole day, now I might go to a shopping mall one day and for the rest of the vacation, I will go and explore the culture of that country and will meet the local peoplee and enjoy the country’s nature.
If you as Carla would meet a stranger on the bus (let’s say in Berlin or Bogota Columbia) and they would ask you to introduce yourself, what would you answer?
My name is Carla and I help people to achieve what they are missing in their lives. In every interaction, I would always leave behind something lasting. I would also ask questions like why are you on this bus, why did you approach me, how are you doing, and help them in even a small measure of sorts.
How would you describe Carla in one word or one sentence?
A visionary that brings happiness and peace into other people’s life. One can’t do anything without a vision. When I talk to a potential client, I ask them first what their vision is, there needs to be a vision. I take risks in life, and I am not afraid of taking risks and taking steps as a have a vision and that is my compass.
Who are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
In my life it is my mother, up until now she still tries to control our lives btw, ha, ha. Professionally it is Hubert Van Grieken that in 2019 at the age of 91 years passed away. He started Hucor Holding and one day before he passed away was still at work. He went from sleeping in his car to have this huge local company in the quick service industry today.
He talked to his workers and motivated and inspired them. He even inspired me as a consultant working for Hucor. He believed in people, he believed in his workers. He was always ready to help people and always expanded his business so that he could offer more people job opportunities.
Mo Gawdat originally from Egypt, was also inspiring to me with his Happiness formula. This formula states that: Your happiness is equal to the event minus expectations. When you approach things in life (events) with low expectations, the chance is very small that you will get disappointed and unhappy.
When I invite people to come to my events I request them to come with their cups empty so that they can be open to the new insights I am sharing with them.
I try to apply this equation as much as possible every day, and it works. That is why I invited Mo Gawdat to be the key speaker at our first Caribbean Happiness Conference this year on the 31st of March and it was sold out. There were 150 people present.
What is a trait that is still a work in progress?
Because of my upbringing, I have certain high values and this also means that at times I can react very impulsively when one of these values is passed. Like time, time is a valuable commodity. And I can easily be triggered when time is squandered.
What was a defining moment in your life?
I was a teenage mother. I got my first child when I was 18 years old. This was a defining moment. I missed out on part of my youth because of my child as I was forced to mature quickly. I started with Secondary Administrative Education and was advised to go to the day school instead of the evening school, despite being pregnant. I felt ashamed and was made fun of, but this made me stronger. The father of my baby is still my partner and husband up till now. He stopped going to school and went to find a job to take care of the family and this has defined me as a fighter, overcoming all of life’s challenges.
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends, and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now?
They would say: “You have always inspired me”. This inspiration has helped them in their lives and they will be able to share their experiences with me.
What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao as we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, and recession, and in the middle of growing environmental challenges because of the global warming consequences?
I believe in people and we need to invest in our human capital, and invest in their mindsets. This is where
I want to invest my attention and energies, to contribute in this area. Because the Hospitality sector is so important, the service level we provide in our economy. We need to work on the awareness of the importance of service and that is where I want to focus next year with the second edition of the Caribbean Happiness Conference.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Grateful for the opportunity to be able to inspire people to believe in themselves and that they are capable of doing more and to take their fears and doubts away. Fear is a natural emotion, but you can’t go through life with emotions like fear because they hold you back. Fears and doubts and that kinds of emotions have a reason in your life, and you need to be aware of their reason and thus be able to overcome these.
Connect or more information
One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
Carla Balentina Martina is an inspiring people-centered consultant and coach, that loves to help other people. As a lifelong learner, she has always embraced changes and challenges. Being influenced by an entrepreneurial mother who prioritized “Education” for all of her children, has taught her at an early age to see opportunities in what seemed like setbacks. Being a teenage mother made her an even stronger person; being released from an important HR function of a company forced her to start her own consultancy business ahead of what she planned. Working for company clients as a consultant made her realize that companies are overlooking potential by underestimating the added value an investment in Human Resources could create for the company. This triggered her to become a coach, adding more services to her already broad package of services. Her deep-seated drive for freedom has made her build her own house without a mortgage and strive to gain even more “Freedom” to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. She is now focusing on “Awareness” as she wants to help people as much as possible to reach their potential, free from their blockages, combining this with the recognition that they have superpower potential that is being unused. According to her Curacao can change for the better and can become so much better if we would change our mindsets, and attitudes so that we could deal better with life’s challenges. For all these reasons, we consider Carla one of the 250 Influencers of our society, representing the “Consulting and Coaching”-sector. Look at the list of the Influencers we have interviewed or reported on, up to now.
The goal of the core group of Share2Uplift for 2022
The goal of the Share2Uplift movement is to: “Identify 250 leaders from all walks of life to connect, align and create impactful changes in all walks of life, which includes intergenerational collaboration by the end of 2022.” We will use interviewing Influencers, meet-and-greet events, “train-the-trainers”-programs on “Emotional Mastery” and “Intentionality “as national intervention strategies, to reach this goal on top of our goal to scale up the possibilities to connect, align and create impact via a virtual platform. We believe that by collaborating with Miguel Goede on the virtual Vision 2030 platform, we will accelerate the possibilities to connect the diaspora and others elsewhere in the world and on the island willing to constructively create impactful changes in Curaçao, to join.
As Share2Uplift, we are fully trying to align with this thinking of Center for Curriculum Redesign to promote this agenda in our educational systems and workplace. So, in that sense, we fully support any initiative to make our educational system 21st-century proof.
Share2Uplift aligners are those that:
– Create an inspiring vision of the future;
– Motivate and inspire people to engage with that vision;
– Manage the delivery of the vision;
– Coach and build a team, so that it is more effective at achieving the vision. These criteria are now being polished.
We also consider these 5 values the most important ones for Share2Uplift aligners. They are:
• Peace from within;
As we will progress towards this goal, we will update you on the progress.
This week we will share some short videos on “Awareness”. We will upload one of these videos every day on our facebook.com/share2uplift page.
Test Your Awareness: Do The Test – YouTube
How Aware Are You? – Situational Awareness Test – #1 – YouTube
How Aware Are You? – Situational Awareness Test – #2 – YouTube
What is Situational Awareness | Explained in 2 min – YouTube
Situation Awareness – YouTube
How Aware Are You? – Situational Awareness Test – #3 – YouTube