Influencer Sidney Genoveva
Interview March 2019
Sidney could you share with us some information of your family life?
My name is Sidney Genoveva. I was born in Curaçao, I have 7 sisters and I am the only son in our family. My father is still alive and is 96 years old and my mother is 90 years old. I am happily married for 26 years. I have 2 daughters and 1 son. I also have 2 grandchildren.
Could you share with us some of your educational background?
I have a bachelor degree in social science; I have a degree as a head teacher ( fully credential ) that gives me the authority to teach at Hogeschools and Universities; I have a post Bachelor’s degree in Counseling and a master degree in Political Science at University of Amsterdam.
Sidney, I have come to know you over the years as a very knowledgeable strategic advisor and you have this keen ability to help executives take better decisions which are in their own best interest. But you also have this ability to be blunt and ruthlessly honest. Where does that come from?
I would like to start with a quote: “That which you are afraid off, will have power over you. So, if you are afraid of doing something, do it afraid, but do it anyway.” My mother was and still is a very outspoken person. So I got this from home. I have learned this at a very early age. Then, when you speak out your mind, people take your opinion into consideration, instead of compromising.
You have your own company and you don’t have employees? And you do collaborate with different professionals when faced with bigger assignments?
Yes, I have one employee, and that is my wife. She’s doing our company’s administration. She used to work with children and youth at Huize Sint Jozef and works for my company now, combining this with her work as a missionary. In this way she is still very much involved with working with children and youth at the kindergarten level and in after school education.
I also collaborate with different other professionals on bigger assignments, as I have my limitations and don’t master everything that clients require. I know my strengths, I also know when and how to involve other people’s strength to better serve the client’s needs. Most of those I collaborate with, used to work at KPMG Advisory, 10 years ago. Depending on the assignment we propose a strong team, with the best fit of competencies, skills and expertise, in order to add value to the client. This has proven to be a success formula. It is kind of a network organization and by working like this you share opportunities and complement each other. They say, that those whom can’t share, can’t multiply. That is why I give 10 % of my income to God, and because you share according to a biblical principle, God multiplies this.
You are a John Maxwell certified coach and you have been a managing partner at KPMG for some years. You have had different responsibilities in KPMG. Can you expand on this a little bit more?
I have worked for 12 years KPMG, 2 years as an advisor and 1 year as a director and about 9 years as managing partner untill 2008. I was partner in the US (KPMG Americas), when the consultancy department of KPMG Dutch Caribbean was sold to KPMG USA. I was partner in charge of Columbia, Venezuela and responsible for projects in Latin America, the Caribbean and the USA.
Sidney, we also know you as a person with high ethical standards. Where does this come from?
The education I got through my parents played such an important role in my life. I have been taught that: “Right, is right even if nobody is doing it; wrong, is wrong even if everybody is doing it”. This formed the foundation for my integrity and my ethical standards. This upbringing from home forces me to make choices, even in conflicting situations, without compromising. Either choose for how I was raised or go along with, to please friends. Especially on defining moments. Defining moments do not make character, but for sure they reveal character.
After I had finalized my master in Political Science, I came back to Curaçao and started working with the Federal government in 1993. In 1996, I was asked to join the private sector. I was involved with institutional strengthening of public administrations (in the public sector), good corporate governance issues in the private sector and programs to ensure the compliance thereof. And this what I came to understand:” Corruption is something that is strongly related with the heart and soul of a person.” As the saying goes: “As the man think in his heart, so is he.” Integrity is not about complying with rules and regulations. Integrity is about the motivation and intention of the hearth. It is an inside feeling expressed on the outside. And this is what I was taught at home in my family surroundings. In our life, we will be constantly confronted with (conflicting) choices and dilemma’s and not all of these choices are straightforward right or wrong. So one’s moral compass is very important, that is the baken based on what you need to decide. Integrity is not what I do (complying with rules), it is who I am, and who I am determines what I do. We have, I guess, 14 laws regulating good public governance. We also have principles of good public governance and laws regarding corporate governance. And this is very important, especially for those who we trust with responsibility in public positions. The lack of integrity is expensive for every community: police, prison, security etc. And still..
I firmly believe, that compliance to ethical standards and integrity, when the chips are down, it has less to do with rules & regulations, but everything to do with one’s moral (internal) compass.
Here is where the church comes in. The church works on the internal compass, on the heart and soul. And this is in alignment with what Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, did. So if you follow your heart according to the biblical principles, for sure you will act correctly. I can imagine that some people will say that they know someone going to church who does not behave correctly. Do not let that trouble you, that person knows what is waiting for him/her in this life and beyond. Working with the issues regarding good governance taught me, that this was in alignment with what I was taught by my parents. In the year 2004 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I started going to the church and attended Bible studies and learned to know the word of GOD. Before I knew about God, but I did not have a relationship with Him. This has helped me and still is helping me to become a better person on a daily basis. If I am on my way to the airport early in the morning and I have a red light, I respect this, although others don’t. A very important question is:”who we are when nobody is watching’? And I know you have people attending church masses, whose behavior you may question. They know they are behaving wrongly. Do not let that behavior distract you or what you believe. But I choose to think and act differently and I do my utmost every day to walk my talk and I can go to bed with a clean consciousness.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be as passionate as you are?
My BIG WHY is to enable people to have perspective in their lives. Becoming free of strongholds (thinking and behaviors) that may prevent them to become what God wants them to become. God wants us to have a purpose driven life. Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life. We are made to have meaning. For me, without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope. Hope is essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope. Many people are driven by resentment and anger. Many people are driven by fear. Many people are driven by materialism. Many people are driven by the need for approval. Nothing matters more than knowing God’s purpose for your life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing it. Not success, wealth, fame, or pleasure. I have discovered my identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ. God was thinking of me long before I was thinking of HIM!
I want to encourage them to serve others around them in their lives: purpose. The big question at stake is, “How to?” First of all, I walk my talk and try to be consistent in my behavior. I want to reach all of them with God’s help. I don’t want people to lose their bearings and waste their lives. That is why every Friday and Saturday afternoon, we go in the “barrios”and help people to become part of what we stand for, instead of just being around them. Like right now, we are involved in projects in Gibraltar, Fuik, Seru Fortuna, Heintje Cool, Otrabanda,etc.
How are you trying also to keep up with your skills? Do you like reading books, follow courses, invest in networks and people that might help you further your knowledge and skills level?
I read a lot. I still buy lots of books. I have an ample library at home. And I read more books at the same time. Because at times I just look for a specific topic in a specific chapter in a certain book. And as I go along, I continue reading them and at times I am reading 3 books at the same time. I follow lots of Bible based teachings and I am gaining wisdom in a prudent manner. I travel a lot, like I just came back from Holland and was in New York last week. Within 3 weeks I will go to England and Scotland as part of a study. I travel with my wife sometimes with the children. I have coached a lot of executives in Curaçao, in the region and still do and I want to transfer this wisdom to my children. I recently shared three book titles with my son, whom works at KPN in Holland on teams and teambuilding and I feel honored and blessed to be able to do this and this gives me satisfaction. I am also following lots of teaching via You Tube. I am a great fan still of the late Miles Monroe, John Maxwell, Ravi Zacharias, TD Jakes and others. These teachings are 99 % bible based. And during my travels I meet so many interesting people, where we share so much wisdom with one another.
What are your other strengths?
Family is very important to me. The way I was raised played such an important role still in whom I am at this moment. My father used to be involved in our education and school assignments and my mother was a baken of wisdom. We were taugth to take care of one another for example with home work assignments. My mother also always taught me to treat my wife well. We came into this world with nothing and we will leave this world with nothing. It is God that gave us life and we are only one breath away from dying. In between, in those moments, take good care of your family. You cannot be successful in the community without being successful at home. If you cannot lead your home, you cannot lead anywhere else. Sooner or later you will fail. No matter how many degrees you have.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
I take care of both my body and spirit. Lots of people spend so much time on the way they look and neglect their soul. Furthermore, I live as healthy as I possibly can, so I eat and drink healthy. I swim every single day at least 1 kilometer because this is a sport where you can’t get injured, I hike regularly. Every Saturday I hike 12 kilometers. It is ingrained in my lifestyle, and I work in the garden. I have lots of fruit plants (mango, papaya, coconuts etc) and some vegetables (ginger, parsley etc). We do have someone helping us with this. We use these for our own consumption, mostly by blending them in a mixer with coconut water.
You are very much involved in the House of Worship church, what drives you to be that involved?
When I arrived at House of Worship 15 years ago, my body was tired. I needed to revalidate. I started hiking and eating healthy. My wife and youngest daughter were already visiting the church. One day a sister called and prayed for me and she invited me to attend church. After 3 times attending the church, House of Worship, I accepted Jesus Christ in my heart and soul. This was 15 years ago by now. My pastors took good care of me and are still guiding us spiritually. We are very grateful to God and to our pastors. Because of this I have grown so much over these years and I have managed and still managing to keep my ego balanced and things started to happen, it was like doors started opening for me. I am aware, that it is the grace and favor of GOD that is still with me. I have coached so many executives and leaders in the region. And I also started noticing the needs within our society. So I started to do what God wants me to do. God uses the body He wants, opening doors I was not able to open and that no man can shut. If you are willing and obedient. As there are so many distractions enticing us to misbehave, I feel so blessed to have been saved by Jesus Christ and continue to receive lots of blessings since I accepted Him. It is not my strengths, nor my degrees but the favor of God.
How would you describe Sidney in one word or one sentence?
A son of God, all the degrees are worldly things secondary of being a family man who loves God.
Whom are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
There were different people like my 8th grade French and Spanish teacher when I was at the secondary school once told me: ”You are going to be an important person in our society one day.” That stayed in the back of my mind. I used to have a Track and Field trainer and he used to push us to the max and this helped when I went to Holland for my advanced education. When I used to go to the Social Academy for Social Work in Holland I met a Surinam teacher called Frits Corsen. This guy was awesome, because when we were doing an assignment, he used to invite us to come to his house. And his living room was like a library full of books. He use to tell me, just like my father use to when we were kids (my father did his utmost to enable us to read a lot), that if I really want to be good, I should read books. Frits borrowed me books and I needed to promise him, that I would bring them back and when I had finished reading the books for my assignments or project, he would borrow me some other books. This really impacted me.
Then I met in my first job, Jan Veneman, born in Aruba working as the coordinator for the Stichting Progreso Antiano and this Jan really loved people and he did his utmost to enable Antillean to integrate in the Dutch society, his humanity really struck me.
And then in 1983, I went to work in Curaçao at Stichting Reclassering and the director there was the late Kees Grootens and he was passionate about serving others. He started Radio Curom and he did so much to help ex-prisoners to re-integrate in our society. He visited their homes and was very dedicated and we used to live in Groot Kwartier and I didn’t know about these kinds of situations as I grew up. Then I went back to Holland and I met Fred Budicke, author and teacher in Amsterdam together with the late Brigita Cratz Meijer, whom was a top executive in her field. Brigita liked whom I was and what I wanted, so she enabled me to position me strongly among all those different diverse forces involved with dealing with immigrants, political agendas and government policies in Amsterdam. Through her, I became president of the movement of immigrants dealing with immigrants and we spend hours and hours analyzing situations, political developments and she has also inspired me.
Fred Budicke, who was a teacher, author and trainer, was always asking me to join him in different trainings, educational sessions, debates and dialogue sessions, that he was offering to for example Police Departments, he was very passionate and as he was all these things so I emulated some of the things that he was offering. He invited me up front and we discussed what he was going to offer in the training and he mentored, supervised and later coached me. That is how I got into mentoring and coaching btw. I also worked with Peter Grootens he is an entrepreneur in all his cells and veins. He is bright and has guts and he took over an international organization. After he moved to Florida, he used to invite me to come and visit him. And he inspired me also a lot.
Of late I have been inspired by Pastor Raimy Juliet because of his focus on the family, his tireless love to help people and his dedication to Jesus Christ and God. The church has a steady amount of visitors every mass of 1000 people attending the service and he invests all his time, love and money into in winning souls. He has a special focus on children. He doesn’t have a masters degree, has a proven track record of mighty achievements, a strong and effective leader, he is a man of integrity, consistent in well doing, a family man, he loves Jesus Christ, a man of wisdom and prudent in manners. He has such an enormous passion to serve. A man with drive, that God loves and does mighty things through him. We pray for him and his family. I am glad God connected me with him. We have a lot of good pastors in Curaçao doing an outstanding job. Do not be fooled by distractions!
Where they always positive role models, or where there also negative role models that you didn’t want to identify with?
You know regarding the negative role models, that is a good question, along the way I was privilege to meet people that I looked up to and learned a lot from, but indeed I also met people that triggered me to say to myself, “no”, I don’t want to emulate them and they didn’t influence my life.
What was a defining moment in your life, a setback that later turned out to be a great blessing?
Defining moments don’t make character, but they for sure reveal character. Your competencies may get you far, but character will make you stay. I was divorced from my first wife in 1988 and was re-married in 1992 and we are now 26 years happily married. The divorce, btw, didn’t make me a bitter man. I decided to go back to Holland and took up studying at a Master Level “Political Science” (and public administration) at the University of Amsterdam. I also started my own company and then afterwards there were two other defining moments. In 2004 my body was tired, I was going to all sorts of places, flew lots of air miles and then suddenly it hit me.
While sitting at home and reflecting on my life. I decided to leave the corporate life I was living up until that moment, one thing was sure,… I didn’t want to continue with the corporate life I had been living up until that moment, that in a sense was very successful according to lots of people, but enough was enough. I still have a huge network of people in the US, Europe and Latin America that I know from those days. I stepped down as a senior partner in 2006 and became a director. In 2008, I stopped working at KPMG. I trusted in God to guide me and on my way home after handing over my resignation letter, you (Ivan Kuster) as you were still working in government called me. This was for sure some kind of Divine intervention. I knew God was with me. You and Geomaly Martes then talked with me for some assignments in government, and the rest is history.
Where do you want to be 10 to 15 years from now with your career?
Although it is difficult, I am noticing that slowly, but surely I am moving away from the corporate world and my significance in the spiritual world is growing, locally as well as in other countries. I am giving and sharing teachings to leaders, to youngsters etc… as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. God opens the doors and allow us to travel. As we travel, my wife accompanies me.
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you, let’s say 20 years years from now?
First of all, that I have added value to them and enabled them to live a purpose driven life, where they love God. That they know where they will go when they die.
Secondly, that they would say, that I am a family man and I deeply respect my home that I have spend lots of time with the family. I will turn 65 years old in April and I will celebrate it with my children and grandchildren in Holland. I still coach my children regularly and I take my time to serve them, to give and share my wisdom with them. That I am not perfect and that whatever I have achieved in life, that my children will take it over and continue doing what I do, that is to serve GOD. I have earned 6 degrees in the course of my studies. The most important title to me is, son of the most high God. I did lots of projects, I had the honor to contribute in equipping lots of leaders. I have given lots of training, was and still am present in many boardrooms today, but I also have served and am still serving GOD in lots of ways and I give teachings where ever I go when I am out of the country. And I am very passionate in what I do and there is nothing more beautiful and fulfilling than, to enable people to develop themselves, to serve and be used by God.
What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao?
Arrogance and pride is all about selfishness and doing things for ourselves. I have come to understand the Biblical principles and values as I accepted Jesus Christ in my life, and at the other hand I see our society is leaving these values behind. As we leave these values behind, our challenges in the community become complex. Once you accept Jesus, your meaning of life becomes different and you can understand the bigger picture. In our church, we offer day care, and after school education. We offer school education, soon up to the 8th grade at the primary school level during daytime in this coming school year.
Our venue, where we have our masses, is now being expanded with an additional 300 seats.
The Police and certain teachers that are confronted with youth that lost their footing, are referring these youths to our church. So there is hope, as we offer them the word of God.
And all what we offer through the Church is being financed by those members of our church community attending the church, giving their time and part of their income as they have found the meaning in life as it begins and ends with God. It is all written in the Bible. And those members of our church, like our youth, lots of them are blooming as professionals and entrepreneurs.
We see an increase in integrity among youth, because of the education that churches are offering them, where we work on their inner person.
For example, we reach out to children based on a Billy Graham initiative called “Samaritan’s Purse, International Disaster relief” aimed at disaster relief. This organization for example was the first to reach St. Martin after the last hurricane. We aim our focus at youth from 4 to 14 years old. We, as volunteers, invite them for a so-called event of Operation Christmas Child. This is a course and when they attend we explain that we were created by God and in His image. We teach them about the creation, Adam and Eve, the Arch of Noah, God’s plan for their life and teach them Bible principles during a period of 12 weeks. They get a certificate and we offer them a party at their graduation with all the formalities surrounding such a graduation, because of their acceptance of Jesus Christ in their lives and we give them a present tailored at their age. For children and youth from Fuik, Boca Sami and Zapateer, they are so overwhelmed, because they don’t know what is happening to them.
They really transform during along the way and at the graduation party, the parents are also invited and as this course improves their children’s self-esteem, parents at time cry to see how much their child has changed and they also open up for help. In Fuik there was party where in 12 weeks about 160 children participated. In Seru Fortuna 60 participated. So this is really impactful. As we speak, every Friday, we go to the barrio’s and we pay for the use of the neighborhood centers, whom are happy to rent us their venue. It helps to give this youth perspective and keep them from doing bad things, on their way to becoming honest and respectful citizens.
The church is also growing in Holland, since we started 2 years ago. Most of the attendees are youth and they are performing very well in their studies and careers. So I see all this happening and I am myself pretty much involved in the work the church is doing. All this makes me optimistic about the future of Curaçao. To God all the glory.
One of the 250 Community Influencers
As the core group of Share2Uplift we love and deeply respect Sidney Genoveva, for his what he has done and still doing in the corporate world as one of the Dutch Caribbean’s most acclaimed strategic business advisors, a man who has a proven track record for delivering results. For his integrity, but of late also for the work he is doing as a missionary, especially in our barrio’s. His passion and love of GOD, is making his every growing influence reach further than only in Curaçao.
We definitely consider him one of the 250 ethical leaders of our Island, that continuously works at influencing people’s mindsets for the better in our society.