Colleen Geske, Advisor


Director, Head of Social Media Iamsterdam, Co-founder of EdenFrost Communications, and author of Stuff Dutch People Like

Colleen Geske is the founder and best-selling author behind the brand Stuff Dutch People Like. Originally from Canada, Colleen has called Amsterdam her home since 2004. Described as "blunt, provocative and wickedly funny" her blog and books offer a satirical look at Dutch culture as seen
 through the eyes of an outsider.

Built entirely from scratch, Stuff Dutch People Like now reaches a combined audience of over 20-30 million individuals each month and is hugely popular with expat, international and Dutch audiences alike.

Alongside her own entrepreneurial endeavors, Colleen has worked as a strategic advisor for the City of Amsterdam since 2008 combining her love of the city with various initiatives aimed at attracting and retaining internationals to the Amsterdam area.

Get in touch!

Emmy McCarthy, Advisor


advisory board member & Spark conference event partner 2015-2017

Emmy McCarthy Consulting

Emmy is the founder of Stichting Amsterdam Mamas and owner of Emmy McCarthy Consulting. Emmy is a gentle nudge over the cliff's edge for businesses who are on the tipping point of good to outstanding. Because it is much more fun to leap into the next phase with someone by your side. 

When she's not digging around in other people's businesses you can find her growing her village in the city by connecting you with the information and support you need to live the life you want in Amsterdam. If you would like to get to know Emmy better, make sure you are registered for her fortnightly Notes for the Curious, a jam-packed blast of tips and tricks for building your business. 

Somaye Dehban, Advisor Fundraising & Sponsorships

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Somaye Dehban, Spark Fundraising & Sponsorships

Your Funding Network

Somaye Dehban, who is responsible for Spark's fundraising and sponsorships, brings valuable experience through her business Your Funding Network. She currently holds the position of Fundraising Officer at Fair Wear Foundation which works with brands, factories, trade unions, NGOs and sometimes governments to verify and improve workplace conditions in 11 production countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.

With a life motto of “Sharing is Power”, Somaye sees possibilities where others see problems. Her excellent interpersonal skills and ability to quickly interpret clients’ requirements, enables Somaye to develop effective connections among unlikely-allies and various stakeholders at all levels.

Somaye is the Director of TEDxUtrechtUniversity, 2018 edition, and writes frequently for various media outlets; in her latest interview with, Somaye shared her level of “Dutch-ness” with the readers.

Steph Panther, Advisor Community Outreach

Advisor, Community Outreach

Founder of My Mindset Coach

Steph’s passion is to inspire and empower people to be the most authentic expression of themselves.

A ‘professional expat’, originally from Melbourne Australia, Steph has travelled and lived in various different communities around the world. She understands the challenges involved in setting down in a foreign land and having to build a life (& business) from the ground up.

This is what inspired her to build My Mindset Coach, an online coaching business for young ambitious professionals who are leaping into a big lifestyle change. 

She works with clients 1:1 around the globe, helping them to stay accountable and achieve their personal and career goals in less time. 

Steph is very passionate about the Spark community and knows the positive effects of having an inspiring network.

As our Community Outreach advisor, Steph loves to bring like-minds together to collaborate, learn and grow together in a supportive and fun environment.

Question for Steph?  Connect/ Chat with her here.

Melissa Curran Kalker, Advisor

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Melissa Curran Kalker serves on the advisory board of Spark for 2018. She brings a wealth of ideas and knowledge based on her own experience setting up her business in professional organizing in the Netherlands, Sorted.byMelissa.

Before starting sorted. she worked for 20+ years with non-profits, corporates and start-ups managing information and systems, creating and improving processes and coordinating events and office moves. 


Mirna Džindo, marketing and communications team


With background in psychology and hands on experience in business and marketing I’m happy to contribute to the Spark marketing and communications team. My current job includes online marketing activities (mostly focused on LinkedIn and email marketing campaigns), I have experience and strong interest in Instagram (I have an Instagram account devoted to healthy food) Additionally, I completed extra courses/workshops to gain insights in the field of marketing and growth hacking (Google workshop & Growth Tribe Academy course).Devoting my time and energy to what I find truly meaningful is very important and fulfilling for me. I see Spark as a supportive environment full of opportunities for progress where my work would help others and contribute to a bigger picture. I plan to become a female entrepreneur myself one day, and what can be better than surrounding myself with successful and like minded women from the very beginning.

Martha Garcia Gomez, marketing and communications team


I am originally from Mexico City, but have lived in Vancouver Canada before moving to The Netherlands eight years ago. In the past eight years, I have received so much love, help, empathy, and compassion from foreigners and people from The Netherlands. Now, is time for me to give back some gratitude to this society, to my HOME. That’s why I volunteer for Spark as a marketing/communication team member. I’m happy to contribute to Spark’s cause, collaborating with my knowledge of graphic design, passion for interacting with people and organizing and hosting events.