I learned a lot about myself, being flexible in the midst of unexpected stress and the beautiful teamwork spirit in others last week. This confirmed my continued passion to mentor and coach people of all walks of life.
My coaching colleague, Alice Bonhomme-Biais (formerly Team Lead of Google NY) and I had planned a much anticipated coaching trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Large companies, non profits, family legacy businesses were all on our much anticipated calendar. Then suddenly, due to nationwide violent political unrest, and a Travel Advisory Level 4 issued by the US Embassy, we decided to change our trip plans within 24 hours and head to Miami, Florida instead. We felt so bad for our colleagues in country, many having to close business activities for over a week due to rioting. And truthfully, we felt bad for us too. The countless hours of pre-coaching, planning and preparation, not to mention complicated trip logistics and customized seminars designed for the Haitian marketplace now needed to be put on hold – for the time being.
But, our collective professional relationships built on trust over a period of years really paid off. Our Haitian business and tech colleagues quickly connected us virtually with their trusted colleagues in the Miami area letting them know that we were on our way. This resulted in a featured Tech Teamwork seminar at prestigious Venture Cafe Miami, a coaching session with Empower Tomorrow and brainstorming session with Caroline from Caribbean Media Group and Haitian American Chamber of Commerce. We also had great introductory conversations with Dell Technologies Inc., who share our passion for positive empowerment and coaching of people. We even landed an interview with a two time Emmy award-winning producer from Speakqnetwork, the talented Reizel Larrea-Alvarez.
My Takeaway: I have to be flexible and not give in to stress when my agenda gets thrown off. I must always be prepared for opportunities to share my work and hang on for an adventurous ride! Our client base continues to grow in a brand new location we did not expect and gave us the opportunity to share our passion for business and technical coaching with others. The saying: ‘God is doing 10,000 things in your life right now and you may be aware of about 3 of them.’ really rang true for me personally and gave me renewed energy for wherever the road takes me next.
Tonight NBC – WGAL featured my work in Haiti in the 2018 “8 Who Care Awards”. I am one of eight winners in the region recognized for outstanding community and global service. So blessed!
From the moment that Alice Bonhomme-Biais and Kristen Hertzog sat down for breakfast
together at the Haiti Tech Summit in Montrouis, Haiti, they knew they were on to something
innovative. Haiti Tech Summit attracts hundreds of international leaders, entrepreneurs,
marketers and creatives interested in transforming countries like Haiti through challenges in
innovation and sustainability.
Alice, a Software Engineering Coach with 12 years of software engineering as a team leader at
Google New York and a Ph.D. in Computer Science (France), Alice has also been involved in
the Haitian Tech community for over 10 years.
“I know how to help develop and build tech teams with a culture based on software
engineering best practices, collaboration, and innovation. But companies are also asking for
high level, soft skills training or empowerment seminars to complement the tech education and
create a more holistic approach. This is not my focus area.” explains Alice.
Enter: Kristen Hertzog, a dynamic business leader and award-winning speaker with a
Leadership Coaching Strategies certificate from Harvard University and 25 years of business
experience including 10 years in Haitian development partnerships, Kristen specializes in
customized soft skills workshops and one-on-one remote executive coaching.
“Soft skills are important attributes that enable someone to effectively work with other
people. My passion is to bring a greater sense of empowerment, problem-solving, with a goal
towards healthier work environments and more effective leadership. This brings sustainable
growth within the company.” says Kristen.
Together, these influential women are joining forces to combine great technical leadership as
well as soft skills training and executive leadership. They will travel to Haiti together in
January 2019 and are currently accepting inquiries for hourly, daily and weekly seminars and
workshops, based on location, company needs, and budget.
“Although our areas of expertise are very different, what we have in common is our desire to
support Haitian entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses. Our skills sets are so different,
yet so complimentary. Together, we can offer more to those interested in going to the next
level in their organizations.” explains Kristen.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kristen Hertzog, International Performance Coach and the Business Professionals Team invites you to the Transform 3 Day Business Seminar on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, January 10-12, 2018, CHOOSE TO COME MORNINGS EACH DAY: 9 AM – 12 PM OR AFTERNOONS EACH DAY: 2 PM – 5 PM.Located at Institution Puit Jacob de Pistos (IPJP) in Montrouis, Haiti. Kristen Hertzog is the former Executive Director of Haitian Connection Network.
Join us and learn from professionals who work in their field about:
* Secrets to Help You Budget Your Money
* How to Start Your Own Business
* How To Move on From The Past to Have Greater Future
* What Every Small Business Owner Needs To Know
This 3 Day Seminar, taught live by American business people is open to all Haitian men and women. A certificate of completion will be available at the end of the three-day seminar. Cost is 300 Gourdes, or $6 USD. Please be on time and bring a pen and notebook with you. Contact Pastor Gessner at 36058864 for more information.
Question: Do you think missions groups have helped or hindered sustainable work in developing countries? I was honored to chosen as a consultant for the International Fine Arts Fund and their upcoming documentary film “Haiti, Children of the Promise“, a retrospective on Christian Missions in Haiti. Check out the trailer here: https://youtu.be/EyXYCcl
Last evening, I spoke at an event about how to give towards causes that you are passionate about. So many organizations have great websites and inspiring photos and videos of the work they do. November and December are two of the biggest months for charitable giving and organizations are preparing now for their final push to their networks. If you are a discriminating giver, here are Kristen’s tips that can help you choose wisely:
Get out there: I always encourage people to get involved and see an organization in action. You can learn a lot by being involved and donating some time to help out, prior to significant financial giving. Before giving to the local food bank, spend some time dishing up soup. If it’s an international nonprofit, I encourage you to take a trip to see the work firsthand, it’s leaders in action, and if there are holes in fulfilling the mission and goals.
Recently, I was doing consulting work for an international documentary film and traveled to Haiti along with the film crew. As a business development professional who has worked in nonprofit and for-profit sectors in Haiti for many years, I had the opportunity to tap some of my colleagues to contribute to this film.
To witness an organization’s work on a “regular day” level can be telling. It can be inspirational and empowering to see the results a well-facilitated organization. Asking questions not only about the leadership, but those being served and their perspectives on the work of the organization can sometimes show holes in the infrastructure and where financial giving could be designated in the future. It could also show gaping chasms in infrastructure, transparency, and organization that may make you grateful to walk away after the visit and before investing financially.
Do your research. Guide Star (www.guidestar.org) has records of close to 2 million nonprofit organization’s registered with the Internal Revenue Service. There is a free section of this website that allows you to check out non-profit organization’s Form 990, which is the basic filing document for all nonprofits. Here, you will be able to see the charities income, spending, mission and leaders salaries.
We all want to see our charitable funds go towards causes we care about, and more importantly, that are making a sustainable difference. Get involved and do your research. There is nothing wrong with “shopping around” for the organization that’s right for you. Once you have done your due diligence, give generously to causes that make a difference and make a difference in the lives of others!