Sunday, September 18, 2011

Register for Rainmaking Curacao 2011 - September 27

Thank you for your interest

Register for September 27 seminar at Renaissance here

Payments can be made in favor of
MCB 12567805

Friday, September 16, 2011

Featured Speakers

Born and raised on Curaçao, Tamira La Cruz, MBA, CEO of MarkStra Caribbean, started her career as a marketing executive with a leading banking group in the Netherlands Antilles, working throughout the Dutch Caribbean. As a consultant, she has completed research, corporate strategy, marketing,   trade development and internet/e-commerce assignments for both domestic and global firms throughout the Caribbean, in the U.S., Belgium, Spain and Chile. 

She has lectured and published extensively on strategy, marketing, management and global business issues, both locally and elsewhere in the region. Selling knowledge services and innovation across borders holds her particular interest.

Ms. La Cruz holds an MBA degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BSBA degree from Boston University. Ms. La Cruz is a Burke Certified focus group moderator, a board member of the Curacao Chamber of Commerce and Industry, former president of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Curacao. 

Mirto Murray, esq., has practiced law in the Dutch Caribbean and Surinam for the past 15 years, using Curacao as base, most recently as partner of SMS Attorneys. Early in his career he served  as Vice-President and then President of the Curacao Bar Association. His law degree is from the University of Amsterdam.

He has served on numerous important committees and board, often related to legal issues in the Dutch Caribbean and Surinam. He has been the trustee for the bankruptcy for  the Dutch Caribbean Airlines N.V. and an observer on behalf of the Curacao Minister of Justice to the trials related to the "Decembermoorden" in Surinam.

He is a prolific writer, whose work has often been published in legal and scientific publications, as well as local newspapers. His most recent publication is the "Two Masters" written with Karel Frielink, esq.  

Mr. Murray, who hails from Surinam, has also lectured law to numerous full-and part-time students in Curacao and has made many media appearances to speak on legal issues.

Clark Russel is the CEO of IBIS Management Associates Inc. the leading international banking consulting and technology company in the Caribbean and Americas.  IBIS Management helps major banks in more than 25 countries to become "profitably efficient" in their operations.

Clark founded IBIS Management Associates Inc. back in 2001, as an advisor and provider of Straight Through Processing solutions for the international banking sector. IBIS Management is the creator of the award winning Alchemy Payment Processing suite of products that provide Internet Banking, Mobile Banking and a back office payment processing infrastructure for banks. Banks that use the Alchemy solution transform their manually driven back-office departments into highly efficient and fast paced operations with increased profitability.

After completing his Engineering studies, Clark began his career in the Netherlands where he joined the international systems department of the ABN AMRO Bank in Amsterdam.  In this role, he laid down the initial blue prints for the Global Access Network of the Bank, a proprietary integrated communications network connecting all world wide ABN AMRO Branches. He went on to hold Sr. positions in the Bank where he played leading roles in the creation of regional ATM and POS payment processing networks for the Bank in the Caribbean region over a six year period.

In 1998 Clark continued his career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers as a Sr. Management Consultant, where he was involved in implementing cost management models at major national telecommunication companies in countries such as the UK, Israel, Holland and his native Dutch Antilles.

Clark and IBIS Management associates are members of the International Financial Services Association (IFSA), the Caribbean Association of Indigenous Banks (CAIB), SWIFT, and actively provide thought leadership and best practice to leading Central, Private and Commercial Banks.  Clark and IBIS Management are constantly at the forefront of leading innovative projects in banking technology while at the same time making contributions to the local and regional community through the Banks-4-kids charity foundation.

Clark is a native of the lovely island of Curacao in the Dutch Caribbean, is married and the father of three sons and a passionate sailor. 

Program B2B Marketing Strategy and Innovation Seminar

Rainmaking Curacao 2011

September 27, 2:00pm-5pm

Renaissance Resort and Casino Curacao

200pm-230pm Registration followed by opening

230pm-300pm Tamira La Cruz- CEO MarkStra Caribbean, on Marketing
                     includes hands-on exercises

300pm-315pm Mirto Murray, Partner SMS Attorneys
                    as interviewed by Karyl Bertrand, lawyer, SBA Advocaten
                    on his experience in marketing himself and his firm as a lawyer

315pm-335pm Coffee break

340pm-410pm Tamira La Cruz – strategy and innovation

410pm-430pm Clark Russel – CEO of IBIS Management on specialization 
                     as a strategy for international growth

430pm-500pm  Panel discussion

500pm             Networking 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mystery Shoppers Wanted

A mystery shopping program enables companies to measure the quality of their service and therefore the satisfaction of their customers. Read more about Mystery Shopping.

Mystery shoppers pose as anonymous customers and go to assigned stores on assigned dates and carry out an assigned transaction. Thereafter they fill in an evaluation form which is sent to the MarkStra's client. Shoppers are reimbursed for the expense (of buying something) and/or receive a fee.

Mystery shopping is also referred to as secret shopper or shop audit.

Because of our increased load we are now looking for mystery shoppers. We are looking for serious, responsible people with a cellphone and internet access. If interested please fill out Mystery Shopper Application and we will get back to you via email.


Un programa di mystery shopping to sirbi pa yuda kompanianan midi kalidat di nan servisio i satisfakshon di nan klientenan/kumpradonan. Pa mas informashon, por lesa Mystery Shopping.

Mystery shoppers anonimamente ta bishita un establesimentu predetermina riba un fecha predetermina i ta hasi un transakshon (kumpra algu, hasi un pregunta, etc.) predetermina. Despue snan ta yena un formulario di evaluashon ku MarkStra ta manda pa dono di e establesimentu. Nos ta paga nos shoppernan pa e gastu (di a kumpra algu) i/of nan ta hana un pago apart.

Na e momentu aki nos ta buskando algun mystery shopper nobo, hende serio i responsabel ku telefon selular i aseso na internet. Si bo ta interesa, por favor yena nos Aplikashon pa mystery shopper i nos lo tuma kontakto via email.

Support from the Curacao Chamber of Commerce and Industry

We are grateful for the support of Curacao Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Rainmaking Curacao 2011 on September 27, 2011.

Register for Rainmaking Curacao 2011

Why a B2B Business Development (Marketing) Seminar in Curacao?

With more than 120 participants, our B2C Seminar Reaching Curacao 2010 of May 2010 exceeded expectations. Soon afterwards people started asking us about a B2B Seminar which discussed business development/marketing tools that were effective in Curacao's small market. 

Some of the specific challenges in a small market are:
  • a 'small to medium' B2B firm easily means a practice which just one professional, where this same professional is also the main marketer, something that is not his/her core business
  • securing acceptable ROI on the investment in time and financial resources
  • how does one achieve growth in a the local market which is limited and local and global competition that are growing?
  • how do you specialize? Is it worth it?
  • where does one find and guide suppliers (advertising agencies, copywriters, graphic designers, etc.) specialized in B2B tools and is that essential
These are the questions we seek to address in Rainmaking Curacao 2011.


What does "Rainmaking" in Rainmaking Curacao 2011 refer to?

Rainmaker : An employee who creates a significant amount of business for a company, often used in the context of law or financial services firms, but increasingly so for other B2B service firms.

Most of us know the term through John Grisham's 1995 bestselling novel The Rainmaker or the 1996 movie based on the novel, directed by Francis Ford Copolla and starring Matt Damon, Danny de Vito Danny GloverClaire DanesJon VoightRoy ScheiderMickey RourkeVirginia Madsen and Mary Kay Place

Since there have been many books, seminars and blogs carrying this title, including The Art of Rainmaking by Guy Kawasaki, perhaps best known as the former chief evangelist of Apple.

So, let's get to some rainmaking in Curacao and internationally in Rainmaking Curacao 2011, Tuesday September 27 starting at 2pm at the Renaissance in Curacao.

Seminar B2B Marketing, Strategy and Innovation Rainmaking Curaçao 2011

You are the owner or senior executive of an accounting, architecture, advertising, bookkeeping, consulting, design, engineering, IT, law, tax law, media,  notary, recruiting, event planning, private health care or other professional business service firm.

Is your goal to:
·         Start a business development (marketing) program that you can maintain?
·         Differentiate yourself from your colleagues to get more business?
·         Have your associates bring in more revenues?
·         Re-package (innovate) your services  for more revenue?
·         Get some inspiration and share experiences?

You will leave Rainmaking Curaçao 2011 with:
·         Marketing tips and techniques from which you can choose based on your strengths and resources
·         Parties who can help you implement the marketing actions under our guidance
·         Strategic moves to consider to specialize, innovate, or carve out a niche locally or internationally
·         Real life examples of local B2B providers who have done the same

Place:    Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino
Date:     Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Time:     2:00-5:00pm followed by networking
Fee:       ANG 375,-- (including Syllabus and OB)

Featured Speakers
·         Tamira La Cruz, CEO of MarkStra Caribbean
·         Clark Russel, CEO of IBIS Management
·         Mirto Murray,  Partner at SMS Attorneys At Law


·          For more info: or call (5999) 767-3085 (after 2pm)

Join us!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Making do with less leads to Innovation

Interesting. This journalist makes the case that since resources in Africa are limited, Africans are inherently innovative because they have to make do with less. I have previously made the case that since resources in small economies are relatively limited, we are inherently innovative for the same reason.

Innovative Avenues for Business between Curacao and St. Kitts

Speech for the Rotary Club of St. Kitts, July 14, 2011

My grandmother was born in St. Kitts.. Together with her mother, uncles and siblings she later moved to the Dominican Republic. In her twenties she left all her family behind to follow my Nevisian-born grandfather to Curacao. Of her arrival in Curacao she says: “I was still on the boat when I saw them put my Singer sewing machine on the dock”. At age 100 she was still sewing. She died later, still a Kittitian or “British”, as she would say, not having consciously experienced the independence of her country.
As you can imagine, it’s a deep honor for me to be stand before you today. I bring you greetings from the Rotary Club of Curacao, as well as a more personal greeting, and thank you for this opportunity.

As you know, since 10 October 2010, the Netherlands Antilles no longer exist. Instead there are, on the one hand, the countries of Curacao and St. Maarten. And, on the other hand, the BES islands- Bonaire, Statia and Saba, which have become provinces of the Netherlands. Curacao is not independent. We are all still Dutch citizens and we are still Caribbean with all the opportunities and challenges these bring.

Talking about opportunities in Curacao. You know, or can Google, the standard list of opportunities in Curacao: tourism (including long-stay and real estate), international finance and trade, harbor, logistics, oil refining. But permit me to take a road less travelled, based on my professional background and interest.

My company, MarkStra Caribbean’s, key words are research, strategy, competitiveness and innovation. We help companies grow through research, strategy and innovation in products, services and markets, particularly Caribbean markets. I am personally doing academic work on competitiveness of small state economies. That’s essentially where ‘competitiveness’ comes in.

So, today, permit me to highlight some innovative avenues for the growth of Kittitian and Curacaoan businesses, particularly knowledge-related businesses, which most of your businesses are.

What could be the added value of Curacao’s businesses to Kittitian businesses? In other words, what are the relative strengths of Curacao and Curacao business?

1. Anything with language, diversity and multiculturalism. Just about every Curacaoan can make himself understood in at least 4 languages: Papiamentu, Dutch, English and Spanish, with growing sprinklings of Brazilian Portuguese (which is a lot like Papiamentu) and French. Between 1920s and 1950s, we had a large influx of British Caribbean nationals. In the past 20-30 years we have become particularly popular among the European Dutch, Dominican, Colombians, Venezuelans, Haitians and to a lesser extent Jamaicans. Twenty percent (20%) of our labor force of 55.000 people is born outside of Curacao. Think translation, advertising, communication, but also the interpreting and understanding of other cultures. For instance: I have done preliminary research among Haitians friends in Curacao before going to the field in Haiti.

2. Anything European, particularly Dutch. We have better access to European markets for products to which we add value (not so much commodities). In addition, Curacao is probably the destination of choice for Dutch visitors and business people.
But there is also the more intangible. I am an exception –I studied in the U.S. - but most of my peers studied in Holland and still have close ties. An example: There is a company in Curacao which recruits employees for Dutch companies to work in Holland, based on the time difference- candidates can be called after their work hours. But more importantly, they make use of the Dutch network of recruiters who have moved to Curacao.
What else have we learnt well? Organization, structures, rules & regulations, directness, on-time performance and reliability. We stress ourselves trying to imitate and please the European Dutch and sometimes it has its benefits, a fact sometimes mentioned by regional clients.

3. Anything related to Spanish speaking Americas. I mentioned the large and increasingly professionally diverse diaspora from Colombia, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, who have to our shores for many reasons. Today they have been in Curacao long enough to have become duly settled. Their new businesses thrive, many based on ties with their home countries. So, if you want to sell to or source from these markets, Curacao can provide the network.

4. Resources. With a population of 140.000 and a GDP of USD 20.000 per capita, Curacao is a relatively large economy among the really small ones. We have more consultants, architects, doctors, engineers, etc.. Perhaps we can offer more specialization, or just more choice. In this specific case, our professionals probably have a different perspective from our CARICOM colleagues, which can add value. And… we are farther away. Some clients value the resulting objectivity, real or imagined. We also all know that, for some, an expert is someone-who-arrives-on-a-plane.

What is St Kitts’ relative added value to Curacao and its businesses?
It’s my 5th time in St. Kitts in 20 years. I first came here at the start of my career to explore business opportunities for a financial institution. Later I came to explore family ties. I have landed here a couple of times with a sailing boat with friends and this time I am here to celebrate family.

1. Caribbean or CARICOM hinterland. We are not allowed in, on our own. And perhaps, because of size St. Kitts cannot take advantage of the Caribbean market of 20 million, on your own. Perhaps, we can succeed together.

2. Programs, projects customized for the Caribbean often by Caribbean people, which may be suitable for us also. Perhaps you have more access to them or you are more aware of them. Remember, we are not independent. Therefore we are excluded from many programs from the WTO, IDB, etc. Sometimes it is possible for us to get access in partnership with an independent country. In addition, generally our focus has been Holland, so we are less aware of what is possible in and for the region.

3. Canada. Canada is perhaps to you what Holland is to us: a country we are quite familiar with, where we have a large diaspora and whose opportunities we can make much better use of. Curacao is interested in Canada. Perhaps you can help. On the other hand, perhaps Curacao is further along in exploring its Dutch-based diaspora. Perhaps there are some learnings to share there in your relation to Canada.

4. Every time I come here I marvel at the choices in Caribbean children’s books at the bookstore. Our education is not in English – it is in Papiamentu and Dutch. But rather than writing our own Caribbean based children’s books, we can translate yours. I think we have some translated African children’s books. But I know our children would be better able to identify with stories of beaches, tourists, slave history, etc.

So, the message is: there are many opportunities ahead, if we work together. But this is just some food for thought till next April. I invite you to come explore for yourself. April 5-7, 2012 is a good time to do so as the two Rotary Clubs in Curacao will be hosting our District’s Conference in Curacao. Our club is celebrating its 75th anniversary, so it will be something special. The Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee is scheduled to come, as are several other prominent Rotarians. And it would be a personal pleasure to welcome you to Curacao.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Watch your words, even when they are written

I have a home-office, so leaving my house early enough to get somewhere at 8am is a rarity. But, today I did. I was having an early morning coffee with a colleague. I arrive at my favorite coffee place. There is a paper stuck on the door.

Temporalmente sera pa motibu di problema ku kassa!!!!

Translated: temporarily closed due to problems with the cash register!!!!

So I wondered:
1. Why all the exclamation points?
2. An apology for the inconvenience would have been nice.

Practicing what I preach

Marketing 101 for consultants:
1. Join organizations and be active in them
2. Be a speaker whenever possible

So, I joined the Rotary Club of Curacao last November. In May I went to the Rotary International Convention in New Orleans. This month, while essentially on vacation, I visited the Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle and spoke for the Rotary Club of St. Kitts.

Met some wonderful people, several with ties to Curacao and Aruba. When I invited the Kittitians to come to Curacao for Rotary's District Conference, they reminded me that, before that, they had to come to the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival. Did I know the line-up?