Influencer Mishane Arrendell: passionate and never gives up

Date of interview: November 18, 2018

Mishane is a very dynamic person. She was born in Holland and she has lived there for 15 years including when she went back in Holland for her studies. She has one sister and one brother.
“I am the middle one, my sister lives in Jacksonville Florida and my brother lives here in Curaçao. Both of my parents are still alive. Last but not least I have one child, a daughter 10 years old, but it is always full house as we have 6 cats, 2 dogs, 2 fishes, and 2 guinea pigs. So, I have my hands full.”

Mishane you like reading books and you want Mensing’s Caminada to be a trend setter in different areas. Mensing is now more than just a book shop.
“I love meeting different kind of people, we are very active in branding Mensing as a business that is bigger than a bookshop. Books were my life as a child and young adult, unfortunately, I have less time to read right now so I try to keep up by attending workshops and other book events. I try to meet as much authors as I can or people that love to read. That is one privilege I have working here in Mensing. I would like Mensing to become a meeting place for the whole family and be a platform for writers or anyone with a good idea. To give them the opportunity to showcase their book or idea. It is also very important for me that Mensing is a place where you can learn, develop yourself and where information can be shared. Hopefully this effort will bring “like minded” people together for all age groups, like children, teens, parents, adults, but also our seniors.

You are of the opinion, that you can master your own destiny and should not wait things to fall in your lap. By deciding to be like this, it also means working long hours at times. Where did that come from?
”I was raised that way, to give a lot of yourself and be involved in order for something to succeed. My parents worked long hours, so I don’t know better.”

You are trying also to keep up with your skills and you enable other to grow. Is this part of your social responsibility as Mensing?
For example Steven Coutinho the former regional director of RBC Caribbean shared with us, that you were the one that made him transform his original draft of his book “Breaking Rank” to become more accessible for a broader audience.

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“Yes, I consider this a part of our responsibility. Breaking Rank changed my life, even though the first draft was not an easy read, but I enjoyed the journey the book took me on and it gave me the opportunity to meet such an intelligent and inspiring person. We do promote a lot of products to help people grow in all kinds of areas, for example some would like to grow spiritually, another one wants to increase their productivity or to be more happy. To keep up with this, I grow personally and I am better in understanding the needs of our clients. Another example of our social responsibility is, that Mensing is offering speakers involved in personal development, to address audiences from all walks of life enabling them at the one hand, but at the other hand also attracting different audiences to visit Mensing.”

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You are also very supportive to the ideas of Share2uplift to “Connect dots and align efforts of 250 ethical leaders from all walks of life”. Is this a deliberate policy?
 “This is a deliberate policy. I want Mensing to become a platform for speakers (authors or others) and I want people to grow in all areas of their lives so I will support any organization that wants to connect people and I will always seek ways and means, to work together. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”.

If you as “Mishane” 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?
“That is a good question, because I will always skip myself and focus on the person in front of me and ask “WHO are you?” But if I have to, well….. I would tell them about my work, I love my work and my daughter, the two things I get out of my bed for, every single day.”

How would you describe Mishane in one word or one sentence?
 “Passionate and I never give up.”

Your leadership capacities are obvious, but where did this come from?
“I like to lead and be an example for others. But I don’t like to lead all by myself or in the traditional ways. If I am in a job where they expect me to lead traditionally, I won’t succeed. I want people to be involved and try to give back the responsibility wherever I can. I look for the strengths and good qualities in people and try to give them the freedom to develop that quality or qualities. This comes from within, it is hard to explain. But it has always been there, it is something natural.”

Whom are the persons, that have inspired you the most in your career?
“I meet so many people in my career that inspire me, but I am inspired the most by people whom have persistence and that belief in what they want to achieve and just go for it and do it. The one person I would like to mention is my very good friend Arthur Kibbelaar, he has been my guide and coach throughout my career and personal life. Lately I have been inspired by some authors like Steven Coutinho the author from the book “Breaking Rank” and Gerry Lewis author of the book “Shine”. But also people like Haydee Hermans from “Soul Garden”, whom inspired me to consider the concept of Mensing being more than a book store and Emeli Colen from “Black Curaçao”. They just do their thing and follow their own course and they have made their passion their work.”

What are some challenges, lessons learned, that you have encountered in your life when you ultimately discovered your talents and strength? Or what was a defining moment in your life, a setback that later turned out to be a great blessing?
“I took some time before I could find my strengths. After finalizing my secondary school exams (VWO diploma) I wanted to become an accountant, can you believe that? But I knew that after going through the first study year, I knew that this would end in a failure, so I switched to a more general curriculum, that contained “Economy” as a Major and that went well. But at the end of my studies, I ended up working for a firm of auditors. But again, I knew that I wouldn’t end my career here. Then a friend of mine, recommended me a job, that was available at that moment and I ended up becoming a GM for a large brand in Curaçao. So, after 3 months of working at the firm of Auditors, I made a switch and went to work for retail company and this really felt good. This was someone external that from the outside in, saw my strength and just like that it “clicked”. The biggest challenge at that time was to convince everybody else, that I wasn’t out of my mind, switching jobs and go from a renowned audit firm and go to work for a retail company. But then I learned an important life lesson. I should follow my internal compass and gut feelings and not worry too much about what other people think I should do. Because I was happy at that job and it was a success. If I had stayed at the audit firm, I would have become a miserable and frustrated for the rest of my life. So, I thank my friend Michael Oleonor for what he saw in me at that time of my life.”

We have always experienced you as a very dynamic and opinionated person? You influence a lot of people while you work as the director at Mensing and you have very good people’s skills. Where does that come from?
 “I like to connect with people and like to meet new people. It gives me the opportunity to learn and grow.”

What are your other strengths?
“I am very persistent and flexible (yes, I believe that being flexible is a strength) and I am a good communicator. And just being myself, I think nowadays it is very difficult to be yourself as everybody is expecting you to be something or do something. People like to label other people. You are the director so you have to do this, you have to do that. I don’t want this and I don’t have to do anything. I don’t want to be part of that show or any show at all. I just want to genuinely be myself.”

What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now?
Well, I am still looking for my BIG WHY.

What do you love doing? And maybe that is what will where you can identify your BIG WHY and meaning in life?
• “I love selling products personally to people and make them satisfy their needs. This really makes me happy;
• I went from a renowned audit to a retail firm because I could combine serving customers with meeting people and helping them to fulfill their needs. This makes me feel very fulfilled;
• I feel great and accomplished when I reach the goals that I set myself to do;
• I feel my best and I feel free, when I am at the beach, close to the sea, reading a book. My dream house would be a house close to the sea;
• I feel at my best when in the morning after dropping my daughter at school I have a timeslot of about half an hour, that is exclusively for me, to either read a book or call and talk to a friend.”

Where do you want to be 5 to 10 years from now? Or can you share with us what are your personal goal for short and long term?
“One of my personal goals is to get my daughter through our old fashion educational system as good as possible, and by that, I mean, I sincerely don’t want her to lose her way because of the heavy burden and pressure that nowadays is being put on our children.

On the other hand, education (the way children are now being taught) doesn’t say anything of whom you really are and what you can achieve.

Our educational system labels people. I believe it is important that my daughter starts appreciating her own talents and that she will be able to see herself as whom she really is and not as the society expects her to be. This is one of my most important personal goals in my life for the coming years and I believe that I will busy with this venture the coming years. 10 years from now, I want my daughter to be an independent, self-confident person.”

What would you want your daughter, your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you let’s say 15 to 20 years from now? “That I have always stayed loyal to my core values and principles, no matter what.”

What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao?
Oef …that is a tough one… Of late, we have to make a lot of efforts, to stay optimistic, but I believe that with the right people and the right mindset, we can make Curaçao a better place.

Do you want to share anything else that might be relevant for those reading this blog?
“Take away: The best day of your life is the one where you decide that your life is your own. No apologies, no excuses, no one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift of life is yours and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.”

As the coregroup of Share2Uplift we love and deeply respect Mishane Arrendell deeply, because of whom she is, genunely being herself. But we also love her for serving our community by offering authors, speakers and innovators via Chit Chat Mensing’s Caminada a platform for like minded people. But also aiming at reaching all age groups. We definitely consider her one of the 250 ethical leaders of our Island, that continuously works at connecting dots and creating value for the whole of the society.

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