Dare to have Bigger Dreams

Dreams do come true …. I would know because I’m once again living one. I won’t define it as luck, but simply a blessing and hard work.


This “story” goes all the way back to that moment (November 2015) when I came back after working abroad on the friendly island of St. Maarten for a year (a dream come true and my goal in life). I might share that journey in another blog-post. The first thing I decided to do once I reached home, was search for a job. A different type of job than the field I am in. It wouldn’t be too hard to find a job, I thought. Well, I was wrong. The results from the numerous applications I sent out were negative. It was either the fact that I don’t have experience in a different field or I was invited to the job interview only for the smooth running of things. How can one not be qualified for a certain job if one never gets a chance to gain the experience? Of course, this was starting to get discouraging. Months went by and I was still without a job. I started doing some freelance work, but by the end of 2016 I was so depressed that I felt like my life had no purpose (shocking maybe, but that’s how I felt).

The new year (2017)

Happy 2017!!! For me it wasn’t a happy start. I mean, I was healthy and surrounded by family and friends, but still depressed. Then suddenly, the 1st week of January I sat down and said to myself, I cannot go on like this. What should I do? I woke up one morning during that same week and started writing out of the blue. It only took 10 minutes for me to write down my feelings on paper. A 150 kg dumbbell was lifted off my shoulder. That was the beginning of something new. Something different. Something daring. Something I never imagined myself doing. It was on that day I decided to start my own company. I said to my husband I want to start a company, but not sure which kind. Those upcoming days he and I started brainstorming the ideas I had. During that time, I was working as a part-time floor manager at a restaurant where I provided not only hospitality consults but also coaching for the employees. Right then and there the concept of the company was risen. XpO Hospitality services was born — a company which provides services in the field of hospitality for businesses and individuals with services such as preparation, marketing and execution of (corporate) events AND recruitment, selection and training of restaurants and hotel employees. Not to forget consultancy services for hotels and restaurants.

New opportunities

I was happy again. I felt relieved, anxious, excited and satisfied. I had started my own company which would/will not only change my life, but also the people around me. I was doing something for my community, something different and unique for the benefit of my country. Those upcoming days were the best. As a member of JCI (Junior Chamber International), an organization for young active citizens, I was contributing my knowledge and skills within different committees. Even my company took part in the UNITED business fair 2017. In March, I read about a workshop “Stimulating Entrepreneurship and Innovation” at the US Embassy in Suriname. When I told a friend of mine that I would attend this workshop he started explaining about this fellowship program he took last year in the U.S. launched by former president Obama. I was immediately curious and only one word came to mind “WOW”. That was the first time I heard about the initiative YLAI (Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative), which supports youth development in Latin America and the Caribbean. During the workshop, we were informed about the 2017 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Professional Fellows Program by a representative of YLAI. I was astonished by her presentation which is why I instantly decided that I wanted to apply for this program. I joined the YLAI Network on social media, followed the program and participated in some of the online courses.


In April, I applied for the program where I had to fill in an application about my background, career and my business of course. I sent it in and went on with my daily activities. Not thinking about my application (of course I had it in the back of my mind). At the end of May I was selected as a semi-finalist. I did an online interview (I was so nervous). Again, not thinking about it when suddenly in July, an email popped up on my laptop. YES, you guessed it …….. I was selected as a 2017 YLAI Professional Fellow, one of the 250 finalists out of 4,000 applications. At this moment, I could not believe it. I read the email twice before I was jumping around in the living-room!!! It had to sink in. I couldn’t be happier.


I am overwhelmed with joy and blessings. As I embark on my YLAI journey to Atlanta, Georgia, I look back at 2016 and never saw myself standing here in this moment in time. I am thankful and beyond excited for this journey ahead. Sometimes we don’t even realize that believing in yourself and taking a bold move while appreciating the little things with all that comes your way will open doors for you with things you never ever dreamed of doing.

Dare to think

Dare to make a move

Dare to have bigger dreams

Dare to begin

Dare to be you

Join me on this journey called a “Daring Life”


NJN — 2017 YLAI fellow