Biomedical scientist Sentini Grunberg is a jack-of-all-trades with a mission: to inspire people. She is an expert in the field of networking, sales and presentation, internationally active as a business coach, and has recently started interviewing the rich and famous.
By ACE/Helen Couwenberg
You started up your first business during your studies. What prompted you to start an enterprise? “During my second year of biomedical science, I started up a dance school. I didn’t actually realise that I was being an entrepreneur, I just thought it was really nice to do. During high school I danced at a professional level. I wanted to pass on my knowledge to other young people and thus keep them off the streets; a form of social enterprise, so to speak. Eventually, children also started coming to me with other questions, and my boyfriend could help with those – for example, with their questions about mathematics.”
After that, you started up your next company, InMovement. Did that also ‘just happen’? “I started InMovement during the Rabobank/ACEEntrepreneurship Summer School in 2008. The dance element was still part of it at the beginning, but I ended up focusing more on the vitalisation market and advising people on healthy ways of working. The emphasis became coaching, sales and presentation. I’ve worked with Rabobank and Accenture, among others, and I kept getting asked how I had managed to get involved with these big name companies. As a result, I started giving more workshops on networking, in which I was “unconsciously talented”. I’ve also read a lot to learn more about it: “Never eat alone” by Keith Ferazzi is well worth reading if you want to know more about networking.”
What is your mission? “I really want to inspire people to use their full potential. That sounds very abstract, but in a concrete sense it means that you start listening to small voice within and taking steps. Using your full potential means really doing what makes you happy. So for example, you might be a pilot but you are also good at drawing comics – then draw comics too! By doing that, you will also work better as a pilot. That’s the motto that I like passing on to others, but I have to do it myself too. For example, I’ve just started writing songs again, and I’ll be off to Los Angeles soon for two months purely to work on creativity by taking dance and singing workshops.”
What do you most enjoy about your work? “The interaction with the audience when I’m speaking. For me it’s about the connection I make which is unique every time, whether I’m standing in front of a group of Rabobank employees, a group of entrepreneurs or a large conference. So, presenting to a large audience, hosting and being interactive, and making an impact on my audience. Also, the idea that the people go home with a feeling that they can apply one or two points in a concrete fashion and by doing so, make a difference.”
What is a working day like for you? “As soon as I get up, I do my workout and often also write something in my gratitude book. After breakfast I get my food ready for the whole day. By making good preparations for the day ahead, including meals, you can organise your day more efficiently and react to and deal with things more quickly. After that I leave; I often have appointments (including phone appointments) in the morning and afternoon. In the evenings I’m often speaking at events or giving workshops.”
At the moment you’re interviewing all kinds of business people, including Stedman Graham [Oprah Winfrey’s husband, ed.]. How did you manage to arrange that? “In the first place I was well prepared and I invested in this interview format myself. For example, I paid for a cameraman myself. I’d also already done a number of interviews. I came into contact with Stedman Graham through Charles Ruffolo [professional networker and speaker, ed.]. I had only twenty minutes to interview him, but because I’d already developed a format that worked well, I got everything I could out of this conversation. It’s extraordinary to get the opportunity to speak to someone like this, and to make a connection with them in a short time.”
Where do you see yourself in five years – what are your dreams for the future? “InMovement will be a little more in the background. I want to focus more on my personal brand. For that reason, I have developed my new website in order to focus more on online videos, among other things. I’d also like to speak to a more international audience. There are still so many things to do; I can’t just stick to one thing, Since I also have multiple layers. I am also still searching. And yes, I also want to become a mother, I just don’t know when yet.”
Sentini Grunberg’s business tips:
‘Relationships are the lifeblood of every successful person’
- Build a network before you need it. “I did that at the Entrepreneurship Summer School, for example, where I talked with all of the speakers. I made a connection with those people and they are people I can still fall back on. Go to conferences, workshops, training courses and Christmas and New Year’s parties to meet new people. Volunteering at an event or on a project also helps to expand your network. If you’re shy and don’t like going to events alone, then take someone along with you who is very outgoing.”
- Make sure you have a sounding board: “Find someone or something you can learn from. This could be a coach or fellow entrepreneurs, but also YouTube, for example. You can find all kinds of motivational and inspiring speakers on YouTube, such as Anthony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey. In this way, you can receive free coaching. Do that frequently, once to three times per week.”
- Take action: “Get up off your chair, out from behind your desk, leave your house. If you’re on LinkedIn, send a message and reach out. Get in touch with people – anyone could be your future client or even employer. Relationships are the lifeblood of every successful organisation and every successful person. If you’re going to build a team as an entrepreneur, if you want to grow… you always need people. A book worth reading is ‘How to win friends and influence people’ by Dale Carnegie. This is required reading for entrepreneurs – go and get a copy!”
Born in Amsterdam in 1987 | 2005 Secondary school diploma obtained at Helen Parkhurst Dalton School in Almere | 2006 Established DanceFlava Dance School | 2008 sold DanceFlava, started up InMovement | 2008 Bachelor Biomedical Science at the VU, second place in the Entrepreneurship Summer School finale | 2010 Master in Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship at Health and Life sciences VU | 2012 Co-author of ‘Entrepreneurship in Context’ | 2013 Co-founder of Zaai | 2014 Co-author of Freelancing Yearbook 2014/2015.