Influencer Kristy Niessen: sensitive and creative

In this week’s blog (28th of March – 4th of April): an interview Kristy Niessen; we will invite you to our next MYM Book presentation on the 12th of April 2022; we will invite you to our next Personal Journey “Emoshon, kiko e ta?” our 13th, that starts on the 7th of May. We share some short videos based on “Elderly Care”. We will upload one of these videos every day on our page.

Kristy, could you share with us some information about your family life?
My parents were very important to me. My mother is from Curaçao and my father is from Limburg, The Netherlands. I am grateful to have been able to experience both cultures at home. Both my mother and father have provided us with a good childhood. I come from a very stable family, and if there was a difference of opinion among them, they were very good at keeping it out of our sight. They really protected us from negative energies. So, I grew up having rose-colored glasses and this changed when I got a reality check the minute I moved to Holland for my studies. The first week in my studio I realized that I had left a glass of pineapple juice on my desk and nobody was there to take it to the kitchen and wash it! I had to do it myself for the first time! I was definitely spoiled! Ha,ha,ha..

My mother was always very organized, neat, always trying to do this to the best of her abilities, always happy, caring, positive, willing to help, and always in for a party. My father taught us to watch and understand the news, and he assisted in our overall education.

Could you share something about your educational background and your experience?
As I left the primary school level, I started going to Marnix College (MAVO) and I didn’t feel that accomplished as most of my friends and their parents were focused on going to the HAVO. After some years I did go to the HAVO at the Peter Stuyvesant College and after my graduation in 2006, I moved and went to Holland to study Law. Soon afterward, I realized that this was not something for me. I was too naive and not long after that moment I became a mother and dedicated a lot of time to my children. In 2011, I started working at the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino as a Sales & Marketing Coordinator. Marriott is an organization that invests a lot in the training of its employees, and this helped me grow a lot. I loved working in the Sales and Marketing department of the Marriott, but after some time I wanted to start my own business as I saw different niches in the local market. So I took a leap of faith and started as an entrepreneur.

I am also a painter of murals, that is the creative part of me. Tomorrow I am starting this project where I will paint a mural for Coca-Cola.

When did the entrepreneurial drive in you, manifest itself?
It started while I was working at Marriott. I am very grateful for the opportunities they had offered to me to grow professionally but I became very aware of the fact that I wasn’t free to express my ideas and thoughts to better the situation at work. I was eager to share contribute on a higher level and felt limited all the time. I felt like here was always someone else that held my destiny into their hands. My manager, my supervisor or even a colleague. After a while, I began to notice that I am different and that I cherish my artistic and creative freedom a lot. And I wasn’t going to let someone else decide if my performance was good, bad, or ‘almost’ good enough.

Here is where my drive to become an entrepreneur started, I wanted to do things my way and take responsibility for my success and failures.

We know you to be very active as an entrepreneur in elderly care, can you expand a little on what you are doing with Grand Hill?
Grand Hill has become a brand and I am very proud of it. It all started when I got a call from Bharat Bhojwani way back in 2018. He is one of my partners in Grand Hill. They were considering buying Parrot Hill and restarting it as an apartment complex for the elderly. I was very happy with this call, as this meant offering me a chance to make one of my dreams come through. I agreed to become a partner but conditioned my participation, to amplify the concept.  So apart from stating an Assisted Living Resort Facility, we also included an Elderly Day Care and a Home Care Servicesthree types of care to private elderly clients.

This became a very successful venture, and we also decided to buy the adjacent land lot behind the resort as part of our plans to expand. We started in 2018 and officially opened in 2019. As we were finalizing the restoration to open the “Pasadia” (daycare), Covid came in 2020. But that didn’t stop us to work even harder to make it a success, as a result, we grew even more during Covid these past two years. In hindsight, we had a delay, but now we are working on 58 new units for elderly and care tourism. This is a niche market for us and Curaçao. In the pre-covid era some elderly from Holland, with rheumatism travel to warmer countries due to the pain they experience because of the cold. Most patients used to go to Greece and Turkey during the wintertime and their stay is financed by their respective Health Insurance.

We are aiming to attract these elderly to come to stay in Curaçao, because although the flight is longer, once they are here we have this big advantage that we speak Dutch. We are collaborating with an organization in Holland that offers Curaçao as an alternative, and we have also spoken to CTB and CHATA about this niche market. Glenn Helberg from OCAN is also willing to promote Curaçao in his networks. We are seeing that this group of relatively younger elders are growing and are willing to come and stay for 3 to 6 months in Curaçao.

There are also some generational changes that we have analyzed. When we look at my grandmothers (85) generation, the women used to stay home to take care of kids and elderly on both sides of the family. There wasn’t much space to educate themselves or go to work. On a relatively small group stated to have a career at that time. My mother’s generation of woman really started working and having careers. Here is where the group of working moms started growing significantly. What this means is that the group of elderly that can afford to pay for private services is growing.

We also see that some young professionals have their jobs in Holland and don’t plan to return to Curaçao but they are willing to help co-finance the stay of their elderly in affordable elderly care resorts like Grand Hill. So, we believe that there is room for further growth in our concept, as we cater to the needs of the market.

What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be who you are right now? 
My BIG WHY is my legacy. For me, it is not about the material things in life. I always self-reflect and ask myself if I have contributed enough to the world before I pass away. Your real legacy is the way you treated other people on this earth. The way you made people feel and the way you contributed to make this planet a better place. At the end of the day, it’s the only thing you take with you when you die. Your legacy.

My children are also a big driving force to me. The moment I became a mother, I became aware of the responsibility that came along with my children. This meant never giving up and keeping myself focused and sharp at all times.

What are your plans for the coming years and when do you consider that you have been successful in your personal and business/professional life, let us say 5 years from now?
Coincidentally, I have arrived at a crossroad at this moment in time. I am realizing what really matters in this life. I would say that the upcoming 5 years I would want to focus more on my personal development. I have been focusing on this for some time now.

My dream is to travel to every corner of the world. I would like to franchise Grand Hill, offering private elderly care in the Caribbean – that would be awesome!

I also would like to have more time and space to dedicate to my abstract paintings. There is where I want to be in the coming 5 years. 

What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
My biggest challenge is the balancing act between being a single mother and running my business. I try to spend quality time with my children and when I am with them, I put the cellphone down and I dedicate my undivided attention to them. As a single mother, I am continuously having this guilty feeling that I am not doing enough or that I am not present enough in their life.

Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemmas show up? How does that work for you?
I always follow my bliss. If something goes against my principles and my positive hunches, I won’t do it. I aim to treat people and situations I am confronted with, as honestly as possible. It is part of my legacy of the person I would like to be. If it feels right, and I believe that we are allowed to trust our “gut”, I will act accordingly.

How are you trying also to keep up with your knowledge and skills levels?
My best investment ever has been my Kindle. I read books via my Kindle. I read a lot of self-help books and I listen to a lot of motivational speakers. If I had the option to watch a movie or listen to a motivational speaker, I would mostly prefer listening to motivational speakers. I am also obsessed with all kinds of documentaries. Expanding my knowledge became my hobby.

What are your strengths?
I am very good at Human Resources Management. People are pleasantly surprised by my ability to keep 20 plus employees happy and motivated to be working at Grand Hill. I always try to help get the best out of my employees, rather than making them feel insecure or unfit for the job. Appreciation and trainings go a long way!

My little secret is that I have promised myself to be as non-judgmental and as compassionate I can be towards others. This makes my relationships with others so much easier, be it privately or in business relations. I don’t judge people quickly, as I am very aware that every one of us has baggage they carry with themselves that I am not aware of.

I am very stress-resistant, which means I can take on a lot which also has its disadvantages btw.

I am an optimistic person and some call it “naive” but I refuse to, upfront, assume that people are out to hurt me. You attract what you focus on.

Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
I love to paint and make murals. The Grand Hill logo was developed by a pro, but I make al digital flyers myself.

If you as Kristy would meet a stranger on the bus (let’s say in New York or Santo Domingo) and they would ask you to introduce yourself, what would you answer?
I am always very intentionally promoting Curaçao wherever I go, either in Curaçao or outside of Curaçao. Most people don’t know where it is, so I will explain this. I will explain that we speak 4 languages on the island at a very young age and most people then are shocked by this. In October 2021 I made a solo trip to the Dominican Republic and met all kinds of people from different nationalities, like the USA, Canada, Peru, and Egypt in a group and I was the only one able to communicate with all these nationalities and that was a cool moment. I firmly believe that we need to keep on investing in all these four languages in both written and spoken form. It is really what makes us unique in the world.

How would you describe Kristy in one word or one sentence?
A sensitive and creative fighter, that never gives up.

Who are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank. She used to be married, and her ex-husband cheated on her with his secretary. Her ex-husband thought that he was the one that made her the person she was and without him, she would be nobody. Barbara proved him wrong and after leaving him, borrowed USD 1000 from her parents and the rest is history. She built a multi-million real estate company, and she exemplifies how a disappointment and heartbreak can be reversed and make a person become their best version of themselves. I love reading the life stories of self-made millionaires.

What is a trait that is still a work in progress?
I’m working on being less sensitive and not taking everything so personally. All passionate people are sensitive and I don’t see this as weakness but strength. But I have come to learn that the world we live in, is not ready to see this.  

I also want to spend more time on my self-care to recharge myself and fill my bucket. I tend to keep on going and I need to learn that at times it is okay not to be in a “Doing”- mode, that it is fine to be more in “Being”-mode, without feeling guilty about this.

What was a defining moment in your life?
When my niece died from breast cancer. This niece was like a sister to me, and we grew up together, although we separated physically for a while when she went to Holland for her studies. When she returned to Curaçao, we picked up our close relationship, but she died at a young age. Life is very short and her passing away inspired me to speed up, think about whom I wanted to be in this life, and take the necessary actions to become the “Kristy” that I started to create after her death.

Where do you want to be 10 years from now with your career?
I want to be doing only the things that I want to do.

What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends, and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now?
I want them to say that I’ve worked hard and intelligently to achieve my goals and still managed to stay my authentic self. I want to stay close to my core self.

Achieving lots of material success at the cost of sacrificing my authentic self, would mean that I have missed my mark and goal. I only want to change for the better and don’t want to develop nasty habits, as I see happening with a lot of people that are personally and materially successful, but they end up compromising their core self.

What makes you stay optimistic about the future of 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?
I am focusing at this moment on what my contribution could be to Curaçao. I can promote the island in every way. By doing this and just being positive, I hope for the best for the island.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Yes, I would like to suggest to you, to also do audio and video interviews, because most people don’t have a reading habit. You can then reach a larger audience.

More info:
Facebook Grand Hill
Website Grand Hill Curaçao

One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao

Kristy Niessen is a dynamic, young, optimistic, energetic, sensitive, visionary, and creative entrepreneur, that never gives up. Combining her creativity, her pro-activeness, and her people’s and leadership skills, made her develop a niche market in the elderly in Curaçao in collaboration with her business partners. Exemplifying, how to make the best out of a crisis, Kristy capitalized on one of the most significant crises of our times causing economic, social, and health mayhem, but it also presented opportunities as Grand Hill weathered the storm combining living opportunities for the elderly, with daycare and home care and now has expansion plans. Her ability to keep employees enthusiastic and enable the best out of themselves; to be non-judgemental and compassionate, making her relationships with others be it privately or in business relations special; to refuse to, upfront, assume that people are out to hurt her; her resilience and her BIG WHY to leave a legacy not only developing herself to be her best self, but also to serve humanity as such a young age, makes her stand out. That is why we deeply love and respect Kristy Niessen, and we consider her one of the 250 influencers of the islands representing the NGO sector focusing on the “Health & Elderly care 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;
• Compassion;
• Respectfulness
• Integrity;
• Responsibility.

As we will progress towards this goal, we will update you on the progress.

Next MYM-platform session via Zoom

Our next MYM-platform session will be on the 12th of April (the 2nd Tuesday of the month) via Zoom, where we will present the book “Do it scared” and the book “De Zeven Vinkjes”.

Do it scared,
Finding the courage to face your fears, overcome adversity and create a life you love, by Ruth Soukup.

This book will be presented by Haydee Hermans.

Equal parts inspiration and tough love, “Do it Scared” combines practical, easy-to-implement strategies for overcoming fear and resistance in your life, along with the motivation and encouragement to start making real changes that lead to big results. 
From identifying your unique Fear Archetype™ to adopting the Principles of Courage, and then, most importantly, learning how to take focused action in the right direction, it is the “the” book designed to help you not only face your fears head on, but create a concrete action plan that will help you move forward, so that you can finally start creating the life you’ve always dreamed of–a life you love. 
It is the go-to-guide for anyone who has ever felt stuck, or who feels like you are sitting on the sidelines of your own life, afraid to truly dive in and go after your goals and dreams wholeheartedly.  It’s for anyone who has ever said no when they wished they dared say yes.

De zeven vinkjes
Hoe mannen zoals ik de baas spelen, Joris Luyendijk.

This book will be presented by Ivan Kuster.

Stel: je kunt niet gediscrimineerd worden en je hoeft je nooit ergens aan te passen, omdat iedereen zich altijd aanpast aan jou. Stel dat je vervolgens ook nog de meest prestigieuze opleiding van het land hebt, zodat je ook daarop niet gepakt kunt worden. Dan kun je dus niet weten hoe kwetsbaarheid voelt. Maar omdat je alles mee hebt en niks tegen, is de kans wel maximaal dat je het ver brengt in de samenleving. Joris Luyendijk behoort tot deze groep van ondiscrimineerbare en sociaal onkwetsbare Nederlanders: een witte autochtone heteroman uit een ‘goed nest’ met aan de muur diploma’s van het Gemeentelijk Gymnasium te Hilversum en de Universiteit van Amsterdam. In De zeven vinkjes probeert Luyendijk te begrijpen wat zijn uitgangspositie heeft gedaan met zijn zelf-, mens- en maatschappijbeeld. En wat doet het met een land, wanneer mannen zoals hij er de dienst uitmaken? Want op ontzettend veel plekken helemaal bovenin de politiek, de serieuze media, het openbaar bestuur en het bedrijfsleven wordt de baas gespeeld door een man zoals Joris Luyendijk.

Date: 12th of April
Time: 7.00 – 9.00 PM
Entrance fee: Free

Subscribe by emailing us: and we will send you the Zoom link so that you can participate in our presentation of this book.

New workshop of 15 weeks in Papiamentu on Emotions Personal Journey 12, starts in May 2022

Gran majoría di nos komo ser humano, ta pasando diariamente den un fluho konstante di diferente pensamentu i emoshonan. Esaki ta konta mas aún awor ku nos ta den e gara di COVID-19. Emoshon ta nos kompas interno. No tin emoshon malu ni bon, emoshonan tei pa guía. Nos tin ku atende ku nan i no neglishá, reprimí ni suprimí nan, pa nan no kausa efektonan negativo despues ku ta inesperá. Emoshonan por ta un insentivo pa nos desarojá e potenshal inlimitá ku kada un di nos tin komo persona.

Nos ke yudabo den desarojá esaki, dor di ofresé bo un “personal journey” di 15 siman: 
• maestría di bo emoshonan:
• kon di deshasí di emoshonan atrapá;
• biba un bida mas intenshonalmente;
• skucha bo intuishon mas mihó pa asina bo por ta mas kreativo i
• kon di laga loke bo a sinja bira un kustumber i transformabo komo persona.

Tuma kontakto ku un di nos ku ta e 3 fasilitadornan pa inskribi for di tempran:

Haydee Hermans Soul Garden na telefón: 5639848. E-mail: soulgardenCuraçao@share2uplift 
O’dennis Daal Master Your Mind na telefón: 5130409. E-mail: 
Ivan Kuster Uplifting BV na telefón: 6986437. E-mail: ivan@upliftingCuraç or sixtaivan@share2uplift.

Personal Coaching tips

We will share some short videos based on “Elderly Care”. We will upload one of these videos every day on our page.

What is Adult Day Care? – YouTube

Adult Day Care – YouTube

Agrace Adult Day Center Virtual Tour – YouTube

Dagbesteding De Koperwiek – Woonzorgcentrum de Koperhorst uit Amersfoort – YouTube

Thuisbij Uitgeest dagbesteding voor ouderen met dementie – YouTube

Thuis bij Mientje, dagopvang voor eenzame ouderen – YouTube

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