The Heroine’s Journey of Cynthia Jongerius

The best thing that I love about my job?

I love the connection I make with people, though my training and coaching sessions. I am sincerely interested in people and always curious to find out about their drives or hesitations. When people are committed and open to self-improvement, I feel privileged to be part of it. When in the end it results to personal development and growth, I feel a huge fulfilment.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

On a hot sunny day laying in a hammock, reading a book, while I am enjoying the sounds of nature combined with the enthusiastic voices of my husband and daughter playing soccer together.

What is my greatest fear?

My greatest fear is to get ill or even worse to get cancer and not being able to see my child growing up.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

That will be my lack of discipline for healthy things in life, such as going to bed on time, not to drink alcohol or practicing yoga on a daily base. I have seen the benefits of being disciplined when I was practicing yoga in India, for an entire month. The rehabilitating effect it had on my weak lower back spine was amazing but still I find it difficult to sustain in daily life.

Which living person in my profession do I most admire?

My teacher Roderik Benders at the Karin de Galan school of trainers and my brother in law Koos Vos, trainer at the EADA business school. I choose them because they are both champions in observing and listening to people, based on that they provide insightful feedback on a respectful way.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Spending money on fashion because I love it so much, I can always find an excuse to myself, why this pair of trousers or that pair of shoes would be sufficient to complete my collection.

On what occasion would I lie?

I try to be as honest as possible but occasionally I come up with a little lie. Mostly because I do not want to disappoint someone or hurt a person’s feeling. This can happen when someone shows me enthusiastically a new bought item, which is not my style. I then choose not to spoil their happiness and also think that my personal opinion in those situations is not relevant.

What is the thing that I dislike most in my work?

Admin tasks and data analyses, I find boring, although I know how necessary they are and what great insight they can deliver. For that reason, I plan my admin tasks in my agenda to give them important priority and delegate the analyses to others, to be aware of the impact of what I do and how to improve.

When and where was I the happiest, In my work?

I feel a lot of happiness by following my own career path, which led me to where I am now. The last 10 years where exiting, being part of a young start-up company, keeping up with the high pace of growing into a successful company called Rituals Cosmetics. At this company I had the opportunity to develop myself in many roles, to learn all the insights of retail, operationally and front of house, to have influence on the end result and the required behaviour. After living and working in New York, for 2,5 years, to help to set up the business there, I knew it was time for a change. To start working as a freelancer was a huge decision but still fulfils me with great joy.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

I would buy myself a new vertebral column which is flexible like a cat. I wake up stiff in the morning, already from the age of 16. Luckily, I like sports and try to improve it by doing exercises, but it would be a dream to jump out of bed without having back pain.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

I feel proud that I have fulfilled my task at Rituals Cosmetics to create a consistent high service level in all stores worldwide. I developed a strategy for training based on service and product knowledge combined with leadership and follow up on the shop floor to the ensure that the implementation took place. The achievement of this training program by the visible result of the return on investment gave me the courage to start up my own Training and Coaching Company called Simplementation. This with the idea that I can help other retail companies to achieve the same.

Where would I most like to live?

I love living in Amsterdam because everything is so convenient due to the fact that the city is so small which makes it easy to commute in all directions. Living for the last two years in New York made me even more aware of that. I keep my dream of having a house in a Mediterranean country, to spend long summer vacations doing nothing more than buying veggies on weekly farm markets, cooking and laying in a hammock reading books.

What is my treasured possession?

The pearl proposal ring of my mother, she gave it to me after she divorced my father. For me this is more than a beautiful ring it is as well a symbol for an individual, strong convinced choice. A picture of my grandmother and my daughter with their loving gaze, which melts my heart every day I look at it before I went to bed.

What is my most marked characteristic?

Waking up in the morning in a good mood and sharing my enthusiasm and energy with others.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

Foam since they have great photography exhibitions. My other choice would be the New Werktheater, a nice spot to drink coffee or to eat while enjoying their great seasonal exhibitions at their back wall. It surprises me every time because it is so well chosen and extremely creative.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink in my city?

For a coffee and a lunch, I would go for a nice cosy place called The Cottage in the east part of Amsterdam. Their atmosphere is just perfect, their service is relaxed even when it is super busy, and their food is fresh and made with love. For diner I would go to Gebr. Hartering in the centre of Amsterdam where everything comes together. For me this is dining in Amsterdam on its best: situated at the waterfront with the little bridge next door, with good quality food and relaxed service.

What books influenced my life and how?

There is one book I carry with me through life, which is Siddhartha, a roman of Herman Hesse. This book I have read when I was 18 years old and I could still read these another 20 times, it is a beautiful story of an Indian Brahmin who wants to find the meaning of life. On that early age it inspired me to have a better acceptance of things in life. Nowadays it truly impacts me to live a life full of purpose.

Who are your favourite writers?

I do not have favourite writers but do have favourite books: Benoite Groult (Zout op mijn huid), Haya Yanagihara (Een klein leven), Johan Harstad (Max, Mischa en het tet offensief), all great novels written by writers who know how to get under your skin.

You only die once. What music would I listen on my last day?

My playlist would definitely have a mix of Nina Simone songs combined with Ramses Shaffy, Marvin Gaye and Charles Aznavour.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Meryl Streep because she is able to transform herself constantly into her role, her performance is convincing in each and every role.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My husband because he stays genuine and calm no matter what the situation is. My daughter, already on an early age she developed a strong own identity and now on the edge of becoming a teenager she still has not changed it. My in-laws because they show that love and kindness and respect for each other, keeps a relationship healthy.

Which movie would I recommend seeing once in a lifetime?

Most movies of Pedro Almodovar I would recommend because of their great characters, passion combined with sensuality and great plots. Another one is A single man, directed by Tom Ford, not only the story is beautiful but the house, the styling of the main character is for me personal an aesthetic masterwork.

What role plays art in my life and work?

During my international career I always tried to combine work with visiting museums all over the world. During the 2 years I lived abroad I went to all the great museums and many exhibitions New York had to offer. These visits touched my heart and fulfil me with an intense feeling of satisfaction and being aware that traveling for my work has allow me to benefit from this.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My family because they have supported all my choices, respected that I was sometimes nearly not at home, directly agreed on moving to New York and have given me confidence to start up my own business.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019/2020?

With Retail companies with a mission, high on my list is Scotch and Soda, I love their fashion and stores, unfortunately, their eccentric mission has not reached me on the shop floor. I would love to work on training their teams because I truly belief that could have a lot of impact on their sales result. Ace and Tate, I admire their entrepreneurial approach and see their rapid growth. I would love to work with them to share my training strategy insights, to ensure the consistency in their stores to avoid the drawback of a fast-growing, successful company. Hutspot, because I admire the unique mix of fashion and design they offer, these type of stores like XBank need a very personal approach. It would be great to train the teams on how to create a personal connection with the customer in order to sell. Body Shop, a brand that lost many customers who went shopping at Rituals Cosmetics their brand message and values were not visible enough. Now this company is under the new owner “Natura”it would be great to train their teams on how share the message to return to its activist roots. Hema, a Dutch retail company due to their planned US expansion. I would like to share with them my recent US expat period insights and knowledge because I have seen the difficulties of the Dutch approach compare to the US way of working, which is not comparable to my experiences of working in any other country in Europe.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2019/2020?

With inspiring and authentic people in retail who understand the importance of training and coaching to implement their company mission. This year I had contact with Isrid van Geuns and Nicolette Meijer, both great personalities who understand the importance of creating a connection, with a strong belief that being passionate and authentic, will impact the results.

What project, in 2019/2020, am I looking forward to work on?

I am going to train and coach the X Bank team, a fantastic project where my passion for fashion, design and retail come together.

Where can you see me or my work in 2019/2020?

Online you can follow me on my journey to see which retailers I will train and coach. Hopefully you will see and feel the result yourself by having a great retail experience in one of their stores, being served on an authentic way fitting the mission of that particular retail brand.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

All the things I do and choose in life I do with passion, for me it is my heartbeat so I cannot live without it.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Helena Lizari (choceographer and dancer), Elke Kunneman (artist and owner of Motif concept and design), Astrid van Sterkenburg (Photographer).

How can you contact me:



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