Influencer Karel Tujeehut: self-assured and innovative

Interview February 2019

Can you tell us something about your family background?
“My name is Karel Tujeehut and I was born in Curaçao, I have 5 sisters; one recently past away and 5 brothers. I am married to my lovely wife Lorraine and I am a father of one daughter.”

We have come to know you as a very committed person, socially involved and dedicated person focused on sustainable development. We know each other since the early 2004 when you worked at Aqualectra, but we met in the Curaçao Leadership Forum activities we used to organize from 2004 till 2012. You were always interested in energy issues and I belief you are still involved in that, right?
“Yes that’s the case …at this moment I am helping Government with energy policy and implementation here of. I am busy at this moment specifically with three projects. 1) Developing a new energy law, 2) Chairing a deep sea water industry platform to develop this new potential on the island and 3) I am also chairing a Waste management team, in finding a sustainable solution for our waste issues.”

You are now involved at the Ministry of Economic Affairs with the designing off or updating of the energy policy as the world is rapidly changing because of global warming issues. Can you expand a little on that?
“I was responsible for realizing a sustainable energy policy for Curaçao. The policy has been accepted by the government and stakeholder and is now in effect. I am now helping the government to implement the policy, execute necessary projects and set-up institutional structures to sustain the policy objectives.”

How do you help people?
Helping people is not about me, but it is about them. You can only help people if they want to be helped. You can share knowledge and ideas, but if people are not open to receive it is worthless. So the essence of helping others is trying to get them into a state to want to receive.”

I have met someone an entrepreneur who calls you an Influential Innovative Coach? Can you resonate with this?
“It’s nice to hear that, but I have never considered myself an innovative coach. What I try to do is to inspire people to make use of their own potential.

Are you in some way or the other involved in the Blue Economy, if so what is this Blue Economy and how does this correlated with your involvement in the three projects you have mentioned were you are involved in??
Yes, I am involved. Blue economy started as sustainable use of marine ecosystems to support economic development, but has evolved over the years as people realized that sustainable use of the marine ecosystems is not possible without being sustainable in a broader sense, for example also on land. People tend to confuse “Blue economy” with cradle to cradle concepts within communities. I am committed to sustainable development in general and in this respect, we have a long way to go on this island. Every way I can contribute to move our living environment to a more sustainable state is one more step in the correct direction. Each step counts.

We can learn a lot from nature with respect to sustainability ….. Nature itself is very sustainable. I glad to see that more and more people start to realize that we need to change our ways. But regretfully we still have a long way to go.”

As an engineer you have always been interested in alternative and more sustainable energy, innovation in general and leadership issues. Where does your drive comes from?
Innovation and energy has always fascinated me, but it also triggers me to want to know and do more. If you really understand the energy cycle you realize that the beauty of nature and live itself and the way it sustains itself. Sustainability is a logical choice, it’s a pity that many people still do not see that.”

You have worked for 28 years at Aqualectra, In what department you used to work or still work?
“I have mostly been active in innovation for Aqualectra and have also occupied different management positions. For example, I was the driver for the implementation of personal computers in Aqualectra, wind energy and solar energy developments, prepaid meters, water bottling and much more.”

What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now?
My father inspired me to develop my technical skills which allowed me to convert thoughts in to physical things and it also inspired me to do sports. I was always good in all kind of sports due to the fact that I understood the technical reason why and the energy fact behind everything.

My general driving force and passion for everything I do is obtained from the lessons I learn from nature and my environment. Nature contains a higher energy source that directs my passion and know-how. Some people call this source God.”

Is your thinking and how you deal with your environment as an advisor and translating policy into tangible outputs, based on Quantum Physics? If so were you educated as an engineer in Quantum physics when you were majoring as an engineer? If you later on evolved in your thinking in terms of Quantum Physics can you expand on this a little bit, because this school of thought is rather new…?
No, this is not based on Quantum Physics (QP), I did not major in QP and no I do not act on the basis of QP. All these kind of theories like Relativity, Quantum, Newton’s law etc. all describe the reaction to an action, but not really describe the reason for the action. I was talking about the reason, the why, of taking certain actions.”

You are trying also to keep up with your skills? Do you like reading books?
“Yes, I do keep up my skills. I don’t like reading books. I only read books if it’s necessary, most knowledge you get from your surrounding, just be open for this information. I like to watch informative films and love following courses, invest in networks and people that might help me further to share my messages either of energy topics or other topics. People are in this world because we need each other and we are stronger and better together. Yes networking, in my own way, is one of my main activities.

What are your other strengths?
“One of my greatest strengths is that I know what my weaknesses are. Furthermore, I think another great strength is that I can visualize the future and have the skills to convert this vision were necessary into a tangible reality.”

Do you have other hobbies or interests that you are passionate about?
I am a nature lover, like to watch golf and love to help people to develop.”

If you as Karel, 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?
“Hi, I am Karel Tujeehut and I would wait to see how they would react. Based on their reaction, I would engage in a conversation.”

How would you describe Karel in one word or one sentence?

Whom are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
Nobody really. It seems like I always knew what I wanted and most of the time, somehow I created it. I have met different people in my live from whom I have learned a lot, and I really appreciate what they have done for me.”

What are some of the challenges, lessons learned, that you have encountered in your life when you ultimately discovered your talents and strengths?
“Everything happens for a reason. Don’t worry, be happy, it will be fine. Bad does not exist only the opposite. Opportunities are everywhere around you, you just need to open your eyes to see them.

What was a defining moment in your life, a setback that later turned out to be a great blessing?
“My career at Shell international was the most defining period in my live. I learned a lot, it shape me for the future and during this period my daughter was also born. It’s what they call a miracle, the transformation I experienced. And at the end of this interesting development period, I also learned that everything that looks like a setback is actually an opportunity in disguise.”

What was exactly the defining moment in your life, or the miracle when your daughter was born? If I may ask that?
“The combination of the birth of my daughter and the experiences around this, my career developments at that moment and my experience shortly afterwards enlightened me to realize that we are taken care of, we have everything surrounding us, we just need to open up to receive.”

Where do you want to be 5 to 10 years from now with your business(es)?
“I hope that I have helped and can still help people to develop themselves.”

What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you let’s say 30 years years from now?
We loved him, may he rest in peace.”

If to predict your reality, you have to create your reality as you said and you mention the importance of visualization, have you always had this mindset or is it something that evolved and you mastered during the course of your career?
When meditating and reflecting back on my live, I realized that this was always a part of my being, but I only realized this during that defining moment in my life. I do not see this as something special. Everybody has it, but not everybody realizes it. It’s part of being a human being.”

The best way to predict the future is to create it

What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao?
Why not? Everything that looks like a setback is actually an opportunity in disguise.

Do you want to share anything else that might be relevant for those reading this blog?
I see more and more people who are really negative and do not believe in the future. Please understand that the best way to predict the future is to create it. If you predict a negative future, you are in fact creating it. So be positive to create a positive one for you and all surrounding you.

One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
As the core group of Share2Uplift we love and deeply respect Karel Tujeehut, whom as an engineer has always been and still is influencing, implementing and enabling the implementation of innovative energy policy. We definitely consider him one of the 250 ethical leaders of our Island, that continuously works at influencing people’s mindsets in our society aimed at achieving sustainable development in general.

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