Influencer Irene Barkmeyer: encourager and a guide

Interview January 2020

Could you share with us some information of your family life?
I come from a family of 9, of which 4 brothers and 5 sisters. My mother is still alive and is 83 years old. I was born in Curaçao. I am grateful for my mother whom had motivated me to follow the secondary level education, MAVO, despite of a teacher in the 6th grade whom had a different opinion. I later went on to finish HAVO and successfully followed different other courses on Management Secretary, Financial Administration and a course to become a Life Coach.

Could you share with us some past professional experiences?
I have worked as a management secretary at the Curaçaosche Wegenbouw Mij./Janssen de Jong, before I went to Holland. In Holland I worked as a financial- administrative employee at TU/Eindhoven. Everything was well in Holland, I went to church, I had friends, I liked shopping, only my work at the TU/e didn’t excite me anymore. In 2011 my family and I came back to Curaçao because my husband wanted to move from Holland. I agreed with that decision. Because as a wife you have to follow your husband. But I prayed to God to neither myself nor my son (he was 11 years old in 2011) would undergo any negative effect of this decision to come back to Curaçao and that we would lack nothing.

We have heard of you via one of the core members of the Share2Uplift movement, Jamir Barton, telling me that you were about to release a book on emotions. What is the title of this book and when exactly are you going to release it?
The title of the book is “Kreá pa ta Felis i Eksitoso”. It is in papiamentu. It will be officially launch on the 28th of January form 19.00 – 21.00 at Biblioteka Nashional di Kòrsou. You are all invited.

With this book I target young adults and young parents, as I am aware of how easy it is to get distracted, growing up in this day and age. A lot of these youngsters loose track, because most of them don’t read the Bible the word of GOD. The way they act, who they are, how they think, all of these have consequences for their lives later on. Lots of parents, as they are raising their children, forget to educate their children spiritually. I firmly believe that children need a balance between the secular and the spiritual aspects of their lives. Because, as we go through live, we will be challenged and it is good thing to have GOD’s words and wisdom to help in those instances. I personally don’t believe it to be wise to leave spirituality up to the child or youngster self to decide on, if they would want it or not. Because a lot of them, end up making wrong choices. I firmly believe that at an early age, children need to be educated spiritually with the Word of GOD. I have taken notice, that a lot of children and youngsters have almost no spiritual education as they grow up and they have no clue why they are in this world. They live day-to-day. They don’t know that GOD has a plan for them and I want to help them find that purpose. When you stick to the Word of GOD, this will guide you and help on your path through life and you will feel better and happy. We were not born into this world to become a failure, we were born to be a success. Yes, we will confront challenges, but by living in accordance to the Word of GOD, we will overcome these challenges. So, to conclude, this book is a reach out to the young adults and young parents in Curaçao.

What is the reason that you decided to write book and how important are “emotions” for you and your clients?
The reason I wrote this book is, to give some guidance in certain areas of life that the target group I aim at, will be confronted with and will have to deal with. By doing this I want to influence their ways of thinking and their behaviors, using the Word of GOD in a very practical way. GOD created us as human beings to be happy and successful in life. I want to prove to them, that this can be possible, if they apply the Word of GOD in all the different areas of their life. Doing this also requires that people know how to manage their own emotions and how to handle other people’s emotions.

You are a life coach, for how long now? Why did you choose to become a life coach?
As I was tired of the job I had back then and felt that I was at a dead end in my career, I started to study to become a Life Coach in 2011. I like to see other people advance in their life and GOD helped me to be able to help other people. Following the Life Coach course was exciting and a fun thing to do. So when we came back to Curaçao I started to use advertising in newspapers to recruit clients, but after some initial success the number of people stopped, so I changed my career.

What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now?
My BIG WHY is to help other people, because when I do this, it makes me feel great.

When do you consider that you have been successful in your personal and business/professional life, let us say 5 years from now?
When because of all my efforts, I see changes in the lives of people, when people achieve their goals and they feel happy and proud of their achievements.

What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
By being flexible. As I noticed that people we not interested in Life Coaching services, they are not willing to open up, I switched my focus and started something new, I am now in the management of vacation homes.

Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemma’s show up? How does that work for you?
Yes, I talk to the Holy Spirit and I get my answers and also get internal peace.

How does it manifests itself?
It just pops up or I might wake up in the morning with answer in my head. Not always immediately, but in time when I stick with my prayers, I do get my answers.

How are you trying also to keep up with your personal knowledge and skills levels?
I read books on topics that are interesting to me.

What are your strengths?
I have a beautiful tone of voice (not for singing btw). I am good at observing situations, helping, encouraging and guiding people.

Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
I love listening to spiritual messages that are interesting and elevate my Faith.

If you as Irene would meet a stranger in the bus (let say in Holland or the US) and they would ask you to introduce yourself what would you answer?
I am Irene Barkmeyer, I come from Curaçao. I am married and I have one son. I manage some vacation houses and I am a life coach. I love working and helping other people.

How would you describe Irene in one word or one sentence?
I am a serious and stable woman.

Whom are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
The late Dr. Myles Munroe (R.I.P)

What is something that you are working on, a trait or something that is still work in progress?
I want to leave a legacy. I want to write more books, for example for women and schoolchildren. Writing a book for women would be a challenge as lots of women are more independent in the way they think. I will have to bring up the time and discipline while combining this with my other obligations to make it work. So that is work in progress.

What was a defining moment in your life?
That was the day I got my book in my hand from the publisher for the first time. It was like yes… I have done it after all those years that I have worked on it “on” and “off”. It was only after I have prayed one day to GOD to send me the right person to help me to finish the book, that one day mrs.Luisette Kraal came to preach at our Church and as an author, whom lives with her husband and daughter in the USA, they were selling her books, that I found her book “A practical guide to writing a book.” I bought her book and immediately contacted her. She was willing to help and guide me and within 5 to 6 months later, I had finalized the book.

Where do you want to be 10 to 15 years from now with your career?
I want to be giving presentations to youth at the secondary school levels on topics related to my book. I want to guide women. I want to have my own TV program.

What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now on your birthday party?
You did succeed.

What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao?
There are children of GOD that are praying for Curaçao and I know that GOD is listening and will provide.

For more info:
Phone: +599 95152857

One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
Irene Barkmeyer is an author, life coach, encourager and guide for people. In her first book “Kreá pa ta Felis i Eksitoso”, her focus is on young adults and young parents explaining the importance to have a balance between the secular and the spiritual aspects of their lives. Driven by a strong Faith through this first book and her coaching skills as her way to the teach spirituality and the importance of the word of GOD, she is convinced that this will enable them to be better able to overcome challenges, that will inevitably cross their paths, in their life. Her reserved personality covers a strong determination, ambition and faith to make a difference in other people’s life, which will include women and schoolchildren. We will without any doubt hear more from Irene in the future and we consider her a worthy representative of the Arts and Cultural and Spiritual sectors and one of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao.

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