Tuesday, Aug 16th

You are here: Supplements Out and About Check Me Out Hotseat - Shirley De Boer-Serbony


Hotseat - Shirley De Boer-Serbony

802_Hotseat_Shirley_2Shirley De Boer-Serbony is an energetic and inspiring woman who spends her time helping others find themselves. She currently works as a Behavioural Instructor and Standardized Patient Trainer at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine. She also has her own coaching company called Secure Coaching on Curaçao and organizes workshops for women's empowerment on both islands. She takes great pride in her work and the difference she makes, and believes that everything happens for a reason and that it's our job to make the best of what we're given in life.

How would you describe yourself?

I see myself as someone who wants to be busy on behalf of others; someone who jumps in where help is needed.

Where were you born?

I was born in St. Rose Hospital on St. Maarten. At eight months, I moved to Curaçao to live with my grandmother, and I returned to St. Maarten after a few years to live with my mother and sister.

Where did you go to school?

I attended St. Joseph School, then St. Dominic, and then St. Maarten Academy. I would say I really did not enjoy going to school. The first couple of years in elementary school, I was bullied and I felt very insecure. I was told I was a slow learner and that really did something to my self-esteem.

What was college life like?

I would honestly say my college life was much better than elementary and secondary school. Somehow, I found learning was more enjoyable. All my teachers in the Netherlands were very positive and motivating. It was difficult to decide what I really wanted to study, there were so many options and all I knew was that my study had to have something to do with helping people.

What was the hardest part about returning home?

Starting from scratch and adapting back to how things work on an island as opposed to a bigger country where everything is actually arranged for you. My return home was a disappointment in the first month. I initially came back to work for government; but to my surprise, nothing had been done or arranged. But I believe everything happens for a reason – I was given a far better possibility which opened new doors for my own development. In 2010, I was hired at AUC and I just kept growing there. I learned so much from the doctors/professors, the students and my boss who believed in my potential and taught me so much in four years.

How did you get started with counselling and coaching?

I believe I was coaching/counselling people during most of my life without even knowing it. While in Holland, I found myself working at S4 (St. Maarten Student Support Service) as a mentor for students; it was then I decided I wanted to go into counselling and coaching. My background was that of a social pedagogic worker but my calling was always with teens and women.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love my work. It is my passion. I am able to combine my acting background and my coaching skills while learning at the same time about the medical world.

What kind of people do you try to reach out to and why?

I seem to attract a diverse range of people. When it comes to my work, I come across various women who are stuck in whatever phase in their life and need a push or guidance to help them throw whatever they are going through. I sense what other people feel.

What is it that makes you good at what you do?

I am passionate and seek a positive outlook, and my own life experience helps me relate to others in one way or another.

What/who motivates you the most and why?

At this moment, my husband and son motivate me. They are my cheerleaders. They know how much I love my work and they give me the freedom to do so. I travel back and forth and they support me. After a week's work on St. Maarten, returning home to Curaçao and having the two of them pick me up at the airport with hugs and kisses just makes me feel special and supported.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I see myself becoming a motivational/inspirational speaker and having a retreat centre where people can do yoga, meditation, counselling, holistic healing, workshops and book club, etc., on St. Maarten.

What would be your alternate choice as a place to live and work?

Right now it seems like I am living in two countries which is nice. I make myself comfortable wherever I go. A safe home, my family and good friends are all I need. My life is awesome!

If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be? What would be the one question you would ask and what would you prepare for them?

I would actually invite Oprah Winfrey, Mother Theresa, and Maya Angelou. These are the women I have always looked up to. They all share a quality I admire: being humble and inspirational. My question to them would be: "How do you see the world and the role of women then and now; and what advice do you have for me?" I would prepare my famous tuna lasagne for them with my favourite wine.