As we celebrate our 50th Living Zoku Edition, we reflect on some of the best answers we have received over this past year and compiled them into the ultimate interview! Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
What path has your career taken?
Oh geesz, how many characters are allowed in this tweet, I’ll try and condense…My career has had many twists and turns in it and a slew of highs and lows. I moved to NYC in 2002 after graduating university and had about 30 jobs in the 17 years that I lived there. Wishing that was an exaggeration, but no, it’s the truth. I started as a front desk clerk at a posh hotel and parlayed that into a host at a local restaurant, a 2 week stint as a waiter at the former number one restaurant in the world then somehow over time seamlessly moved into marketing and events. I have done everything from being the Creative Director of a frequent-flyer centric website to being the handler for Mariah Carey for a party in honor of Karl Lagerfeld. You name it, I’ve done it. I’ve recently relocated to Vancouver, Canada using it as my home base to travel from to help produce events for everyone from Angry Birds to the Wall Street Journal and even Miss Universe. Lets see what 2020 has in store…
What brings you to Amsterdam?
I just love the city. There are 1000 things to do every day and I love the diversity of the city. I frequently run into this man, wearing only a g-string, who travels around on his inline skates. I love that we have the freedom in Amsterdam to just do the thing that suits you.
How long have you stayed at Zoku Amsterdam and what were your thoughts?
I was a long stay resident at Zoku Amsterdam for six weeks when I relocated to Amsterdam. I explored the local neighbourhood using a 5k running route I found on the Zoku app, and the team put on community dinners and community events for residents, which made me feel at home instantly. I also met my best friend Julia there – she was staying in the Loft next to mine and was also new to the city, so we bonded straight away! Concepts like Zoku make you realise the world is your oyster: that it’s not that scary after all to move to a new city and start your life from scratch. I often take visiting friends for a coffee or a drink on the Rooftop Terrace, to show them where my Amsterdam story began.
What is your craziest career story?
I vividly remember arriving for my first internship in Mexico on the only plane to land a day after a Category 4 hurricane had beaten up the town of San Jose del Cabo. I remember walking in with my two suitcases, to a hotel lobby with the whole staff in full frenzy trying to take care of hotel guests and damage to the building. The looks on the faces of the reception staff were priceless, “Hi, I am here to start my internship”. I spent the remainder of the week helping to clean up, only to find out the hurricane had turned around and was coming back.
What’s a life-changing song, film, event or book you’d like to recommend to others?
Wow, big question – The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, is an outstanding book, because it helps you identify the negative impact that the little voice in your head can have. I’ve always been fairly positive, and those who are not as much can really gain from this book. It provides tips on how to find inner calm, and how to change your perspective on life around you, for the good. Also, Lucky Man by The Verve is a cracking song – “I’m stood here naked with a smile on my face, feel no disgrace!” What a line…
What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Go easy on yourself in your 30s. Perhaps do a sit up or two. Drink more water. Get some sleep. Learn an instrument. Things will get easier. Things will get harder. Nothing in life is that serious when you consider the big picture. Oh and shave off that fuzz from under your lip.
What’s your current go-to product, service or app you would recommend to others?
Creatives for Climate is a new crowdsourcing platform that’s calling on creatives everywhere to use their network, power and creativity to collectively amplify awareness of the climate emergency. It has been set up by two Amsterdam entrepreneurs from the Humblebrag – Lucy von Sturmer & Jessica Hartley.
Which book/product have you gifted the most?
Ok don’t judge me here…but the album Purpose by Justin Bieber (ideally the acoustic version). It’s actually been somewhat of a spiritual guide for me the past few years, and it’s helped me find my passion and purpose in life more than I could have ever dreamt!
For the book lovers out there, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It’s an oldie but a goodie – even if you hate reading just do yourself a favor and read this one back to front. You might not know it at the time but it will stick with you.
If you could pick one project to work on for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oh, that’s tricky. I’m not a make-a-decision-forever-and-ever person. I actually enjoy the fact that we are always changing and that life is a big collection of many different moments, events, people and projects that all leave a mark on you and help you grow in ways you never imagined. Trying to control life is like trying to nail custard to a wall.
Has your time at Zoku Amsterdam helped you in business of in life?
Being on the road as much as I am, it’s difficult to find comfortable, accommodating, affordable housing everywhere I stay. Zoku Amsterdam has made my life easier outside the opera house while I’ve been here. I’ve made new friends and I actually feel like a member of the Zoku family. It’s made it a better experience to do my job singing in front of 1700 people each night at the Dutch National Opera.
What is one piece of advice or tip in your field of work that you want to give to people?
Humans are capable of so much more than we think. Just stay focused, disciplined, and surround yourself with like-minded people who inspire you, push you to be your best, and support you in your growth.
What does home mean to you?
Home is an Airbnb investment where I can stash my book collection.