Influencer Darryl Romijn
Interview December 2020
Could you share with us some information of your family life?
I was born in Aruba but we moved to Curaçao and I grew up in Curaçao for most of my life, so I feel “Yu di Korsòu”. I am now 29 years old and not married yet. My fiancée and I were planning to get married, but due to the corona crisis we postponed the marriage until next year. My mother is still alive and lives in Bonaire, but my father passed away and I have one brother that older than me. My parents are a big part and instrumental in whom I am now.
You have a special link will all three ABC islands, can you explain your family ties on all these three islands?
I have a link with all three islands, as I grew up on all three islands and I have relatives on all these three islands. My parents worked in the hotel business and this brought them to Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. We also spend quite some vacations on the different islands and I also have a lot of family heritages in Aruba for example my grandfather, Luis de Palm, was the founder of “De Palm tours” on Aruba. So these islands are special to me and I enjoy all the islands as I spend so much time on all the islands, so all of them feel like home and feel comfortable to me.
Could you share something of your educational background and your experiences?
I have studied International Business and graduated, but my education didn’t start in Holland. Yes, my academic education started here, but the way I was raised has been very important to me. My parents both were high energy people and they taught me a lot of moral and life lessons that I was bound to use in the future. I was educated and ready for life at a very young age. I am fortunate to have had that type of education from my parents.
We got inspired to interview you after we saw your podcast interview of Adric Walter. You are an entrepreneur and now also have a podcast. Where does your interest come from to be an entrepreneur, can you tell us more about this?
Being an entrepreneur at a young age, runs in my family. A lot of my family have been entrepreneurs and self employed, like both my grandparents, my father himself, so that this entrepreneurial mind set and attitude is normal for me, being self sustained and self sufficient. Growing up with a father in a leadership position, made it easy to decide to start to work or myself.
I was excited to get involved in the business landscape and develop a business. I was excited to prove the philosophy, that “if you are good at something, you can make money out of it”.
In what kind of business are you involved in as an entrepreneur and what is the name of your company?
We have a fitness company, it is a gym, also an apparel line and athlete coaching that offers fitness programs and we have developed this to be a great community that are loyal and stands behind me and my fiancée. I started to dedicate special attention to our successes so that we are now even in the startup phase of a second business, it is business coaching as we have learned ourselves so much from starting our gym and would like to share this with everybody that wants to start their own business and their company.
You also recently started a podcast to interview people mostly as a means for you to reconnect and connect deeper with your roots and heritage. It’s your personal way of celebrating the culture and the people. You want to learn from the experience and stories of others and let it inspire you to live up to what it means to be an “Antiano”, right? Where did this idea come from Darryl?
It came very clearly to me at the beginning of this year. Our business has become successful enough and it was so successful that we didn’t have to be there all the time. It was self-sufficient and this gave me more time than I used to have. Before this moment, we were working 6 days a week, working 70 – 80 hours a week. This was a deliberate choice, as we wanted to do this the hard way. We wanted to build the company ourselves and go for the quick success. It was tough, but it paid off. First using many of our own time and hours, gradually building up a team so that these team members could take some tasks over and this gave us some more time.
This gave me the time to focus back on my roots and my family. I was neglecting them as I was distracted while building up the business. I never felt home sick until I started reconnecting and went back to the islands. During all these years that I was in Holland, I only went to the islands for a 10 day’s period. I haven’t been back and now I started to feel home sick after all these years. I asked myself questions about my heritage and how I could connect back and at the same time with lot of my clients in the gym, I was constantly bragging of the islands telling them stories. I became aware there were a lot of other people of the islands doing many great things that most of my clients were unaware of. It was not common to be unaware of the great successes of people from the islands. So I decided to make a platform and share these stories this with these friends, acquaintances and clients.
My personal mission is: “To educate people of how people from the island are skillful, resourceful, capable people”. Usually when they talk about our people, it is with a negative connotation and we are twisted in specific categories, while we have so many amazing people. So instead of focusing on the bad eggs, that every society has btw, I started to dedicate special attention to our history. Remember, we are raised in a community where at the age of 12, we speak 4 languages comfortably. We are amazing and capable people, able to create great things, and we shouldn’t be underestimated.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now?
Simply said, I have been raised to know that I exist to serve others. My efforts in live should improve the lives of people around me. I serve to help others and my victories should benefit those around me.
When do you consider that you have been successful in your personal and business/professional life, let us say 5 years from now?
I am already successful and happy with whom I am. My mission is to continue to be happy. I have to achieve things in the future as well.
I want my current company to run completely without me.
I want to have my second business to reach the same level of impact as my first business has. I believe that if I can do it once, I can do it twice.
I would also want to have recognition of what I had given back to the islands. Just that one moment of acknowledgement by fellow countrymen.
I want to have done those things or have done everything I needed to do in life and enjoy doing it.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
Staying ahead of Corona crisis, just by being strategic with all regulations up here.
As this crisis is a Force Majeur, for me it is by making sure that even though the world is going into a complicated phase right now, I can still provide great service to my customers. It is a challenge as I still have to keep figuring out my next steps.
Furthermore, I am now at a place where I have a number of options, but I need to choose one thing and focus on it. It is difficult to know what is best. It is a personal dilemma which one I will choose, as I am going to choose the one who is going to make me the happiest, if I choose it.
What is fascinating is that at your young age you are so deliberate in the choices you are making. Where does that come from?
At a very early age I became very aware of my decisions in life, as my father became ill when I was very young. I grew up fast because of that. I was taught to be deliberate in my choices, as the more deliberate I was, the sooner I would find happiness in my choices. My parents always reminded me of this. I was fortunate enough that my parents explained to me what setting goals really meant. A goal also needed to have an emotional value. Not only striving for material things per sé, but also striving to have peace of mind and feel save with my money. I wanted my efforts to determine my successes. It meant for me that I didn’t want a position in a company. I wanted to start my own business. I was taught that I can choose what is important to me. And as I grew older, my decisions matured. I can decide about the future and I can decide how I want to feel happy and safe doing something positive.
How do you tap into your inner voice and intuition, for example to solve dilemma’s, how does it work for you?
My inner voice is my outer voice. I prefer to be honest with myself as much as possible. When I face dilemma’s I start with my favorite quote “this too shall pass”. Then I think of the “end user” the person who is counting on me to solve the problem. The solution should be in their best interest.
How are you trying also to keep up with your personal knowledge and skills levels?
I spend a lot of time on a combination of things. I have a short list of books on “leadership development”, and also on “mindset” and on “perception”, that I am reading. I have an App of Blinkist that I use that has summaries of a lot of books. Going through that I can see if I need to dive deeper into a book and after reading it, later on apply it.
I am also aggresively watching a lot of You Tubes on line to hone my personal skills. I could be business skills, public speaking, skills on creative thinking, on drawings and making videos. So I am involved in learning different skills from different perspectives. But my biggest excitement I derive by having a lot of “face to face”- meetings with different people from different back grounds that attend our gym and having open and honest discussions with them. So I am busy reading books, talking to people, doing the podcast and listening to podcasts, this I do as I go for my numerous daily walks with my dog.
Another way I learn is that once I have made a mistake, I will not make it a second time. It is a one-time only thing. I never forget the correct answer. So: “..The more often I am wrong, the more I will be right in the future..”.
What are your strengths?
I am a very proud of the person. I always want to speak up and I am not shy of expressing my opinions.
I also am OK with making mistakes and learning from these mistakes. This will not discourage me and I am excited when I make a mistake, as I know that I can use this lesson for the rest of my life.
I am a people’s person and I tend to always find a way to be compassionate with what I do. I feed of my passion of getting people excited and on board. I enjoy doing this. I love when all of us focus on the same goals and decide to go for it. I encourage those with similar feelings and I inspire them to “not be shy” about their ambitions.
That is very much leadership, Darryl.
Yes it is. I am passionate about this learning by example leadership style. My father has been the general manager of hotels in Curaçao and Bonaire. I have always watched how he dealt with people, either if it was in having a difficult conversation, or at a party to be the first one on the dance floor. He would always tell me, that if you had to scold someone, always let it end with a joke or something positive. You can be strict but also be people focused, create a safe environment in your organization.
Your father appeared to be ahead of his time?
Yes, he was.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
I am passionate about Leadership and I have my business goals.
A hobby would be photography. I am learning this from others and learning how to capture a feeling or an emotion in a picture. I love it.
I also like spending time with people, be it cooking or taking pictures. I like to know something that I didn’t knew before. I am a busy person, but I am still able to make time to dedicate to photography or having conversations in my scarce spare time.
If you as Darryl would meet a stranger in the bus (let say in Mexico or the US) and they would ask you to introduce yourself what would you answer?
I am overly excited dude trying to find fun things to do in life.
I am excited of everything.
I have lots of fun with my business, my photography and my podcast.
How would you describe Darryl Romijn in one word or one sentence?
Overly eager, for better or worse.
Whom are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
My father by far. I am one of those rare children that have their personal hero to be their father. I always say that every smart decision I have taken, it was because of my parents. And that every ambitious decision I have taken, it was because of my father. I am moved and inspired by my father.
What is a trait that is still work in progress?
I have to learn to downscale my ideas and wants in life. I am always taking too many steps in the future and decide what the end goals should be, but don’t take the time to be more realistic. I am overly eager and excited. I dream big without taking enough time related to the pragmatic steps that need to be taken. Luckily enough my fiancée is just the opposite of me. She is very strategic and at the same very good in the NOW decisions and the steps in between that need to be taken. So we complement one another perfectly. I am the dreamer and she is “do-er”. I need to calm down from time to time, to find the logical steps we need to do, to achieve all the things I want to do in live.
What was a defining moment in your life?
On the positive side, it is when I decided to start my own business and definitely decided not to work for someone else. On the negative side it was, the day my father passed away. The moment I knew he was going to die, I grew up very quickly and I had to survive growing up quickly.
How old were you?
I was 18 -19 years old on my way to leave to Holland for my studies.
Where do you want to be 15 to 20 years from now with your career?
I never think of being 50, but as I have said, I have learned to give every goal an emotional value. So it would be that everyone in my life can be enjoying the fruits of my life, everyone being my children, family, friends and employees. The circle of people in my life, that they be happy and safely taking care for. If that is true, then I am satisfied. I guess this is supposed to be the answer for everyone, this answer shouldn’t be any different for anyone answering this question, right? Because if you are successful and your brother or sister is poor or miserable, you are not going to be happy about it, right?
Business wise I want to be in a position to teach people everything I have learned, as it would be fun sharing all the experiences we have had starting from zero. I would be fun helping them to grow their business as I talk to them. That would be really great.
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you, let’s say 20 years from now?
Definitely, it will always have to be something funny or stupid. I have always had a smart mouth. I am always this weird guy that always has something weird to say. If they say that, I would be more than content.
What makes you stay optimistic about the future of the islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao as we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, recession and in the middle of growing environmental challenges because of the global warming consequences?
Up until a year and half ago I would have answered you something totally different. I was busy with my company and disconnected from the islands. As I started learning what was happening, which is the big motivation behind my podcast btw, I started taking notice of all these wonderful people making efforts to take positive steps on the future of the islands. Like Stephen Garcia, David Van Delden and Luuk Weber. As I started talking to these young driven intelligent people, it made me see the islands and their future totally different. We have everything we need within ourselves. It is not a lack of talent nor creativity. It is just a matter to build the house. We excel in so many areas be it in cooking, arts, technology, in blockchain, in Bitcoins. We have so many people from the islands that are shining, so there is no reason, why we will not be able to create a brighter future.
One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
Darryl Romijn is a focused, ambitious, vibrant, intense entrepreneur that knows what he wants. Born and raised with family in all the three islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, makes him have closed ties with all the three islands. Raised in a family where an entrepreneurial mindset was normal, he started his own business. At an early age, he learned from his parents that goals needed to have an emotional value. His choices needed to aim at what is important to him and significant for others. He aggressively has worked with his fiancée to make their first business successful enough that they didn’t have to be there all the time and they in the start-up phase of a second business. It is business coaching, as they have learned so much from starting their own business from scratch while he is constantly honing his skills and knowledge levels in Leadership, Business, “mindset and perception”, talking to different people. As his business required less time, Darryl “re-discovered” his roots and started a podcast interviewing people, mostly as a means to reconnect and connect deeper with his roots and heritage. Interviewing all these wonderful people from “Antillian” descent making efforts to take positive steps on the future of the islands, convinced him that the islands have everything, to create a brighter future. It is not a lack of talent nor creativity, it is just a matter of building the house.
For all these reasons we dearly love and deeply respect Darryl Romijn and we consider him one of the 250 Influencers of the island representing the business sector. His efforts to interview people from the islands in his podcast are 100 % aligned with the goals of Share2uplift.