Spark Speakers 2016

Keynote - 2016

Colleen Geske, 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. Since its start in 2011, Stuff Dutch People Like has now grown into a highly-read online magazine - with a soon-to-launch product line - celebrating all-things-Dutch.  

Alongside her own entrepreneurial endeavours, 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 improving life and working conditions for expatriates and internationals in the Amsterdam area.

Colleen is passionate about building highly engaged communities, being a #girlboss, and over-analyzing the behaviour of the two tiny people who share her heart and home.

Video recording of Spark Amsterdam 2016 keynote speaker Colleen Geske (video recording by Alessandro Felici).

Empower your Mind Through Healthy Food Choices

Joyce Bergsma

The systems in the body are connected to each other as we are connected to our fellow entrepreneurs. My passion is to make people realise they can help themselves and each other through food and the community around food. I provide holistic nutrition advice that focussed on increasing understanding and knowledge on how to be happy and healthy. Influenced by mental illness in my family, I'm committed to the prevention and management of depression and anxiety. I'm registered in the UK and NL and give private consultations as well as workshops for organisations to improve employee health and wellbeing.



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The Voluptuous Brain: How to stop squeezing ourselves into size 2 business models and start reshaping our economy. 

Sara Bobkoff
Little Big Mouth 

Sara Bobkoff, founder of, is a voice and message mentor and success story coach for clever, compassionate, creative, and ambitious mothers, lady bosses and leaders.

She is on a mission to empower those who have slammed their heads one too many times against glass ceilings or are tired of squeezing their voluptuous brains into Alpha Male business models.    

Why? Because she truly believes we are part of a new, feminine economy built around compassion, collaboration, authenticity, sustainability and shared abundance.

Are you ready for your Superwoman’s Journey? Contact Sara for a free discovery session. Our Universe depends on it.

Global Female Entrepreneurship Panel

Nassira Boudhan
Fashion for Education

In 2012, Nassira Boudhan the entrepreneur behind FFORE, quite her job as marketing manager at an international bank so she could focus her career on long-term empowerment of women & girls. Nassira was born in a small village in Northern Morocco, where education for women & girls was not a priority. But her dream was to go to school and enrolled herself in primary school at 6 years of age. Nassira is making the dream, which she had as a young girl, come true. Helping to support the self-reliance of women and  girls is that dream.

From Passion to Profitability to Break-Even: An Entrepreneur's Case Study

Allison Hamilton-Rohe
Daily Outfit

Allison Hamilton-Rohe is a Personal Style Coach with her own company, DailyOutfit.  She created a unique formula to help you discover your personal style.  From New York, Allison is living in Leiden with her husband, two kids, dog and rabbit. To learn more about Allison or DailyOutfit, check out her site, follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Using video to get clients for your business

Moriam Hassan Balogun

Moriam is a entrepreneur and recently author, with a passion for all things digital. In 2010, Moriam founded the Planetfem Network of 25 international sites focussed on women's interest subjects. Planetfem reaches millions of women monthly, world-wide. The growth of Planetfem lead to a curiosity of how women in particular, could be brought together via the world-wide-web to further develop personally and professional and inspired Moriam to set up other digitally based projects and concepts that would achieve this.

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Global Female Entrepreneurship Panel

Kanak Hirani

Kanak is a partner at Pashm and textile brand KARIGAR, where she works with rural Indian artisans on translating their traditional skills into contemporary textile products. 
Ten years ago, she moved out of India to the Netherlands with her husband, after quitting her career as a journalist for a leading English newspaper. Life has never been the same since. She has learnt how to ride a bike, cook, run the Dam to Dam, taken on a sales job, managed a team of 25 multicultural people, had 2 kids and her third baby - her own company and brand!


How to Join the Media Circus

Samantha Lyster
Twenty Years From Now

British journalist with 20-years experience as a writer and editor for publications including national newspapers, B2B, and consumer magazines. An early adopter of digital media content, launching one of the first fashion blogs for The Times. Her portfolio includes covering the 9/11 terrorist attacks from on the ground in New York, to interviewing leading business figures, politicians, among them the former president of Costa Rica, and celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker. Currently studying a masters in environmental resource management at VU University, where she is a member of the CONNECT project researching climate change coverage on social media.

How to turn 'cold calling' into 'warm calling'

Marie-Claire van Poelje
Driven Sales

Marie-Claire van Poelje is Dutch but lived and worked abroad for many years as Account and Sales manager, Business Development and Acquisition before starting her own company: “Driven Sales and Support” in 2011.

She has guided countless clients through all steps of the Sales process, from mapping potential clients to getting that first contact, following up and maintaining the link.

Reinventing Your Career for the Female Economy

Colleen Reichrath-Smith
Career in Your Suitcase

Colleen Reichrath-Smith, co-founder of the Career in Your Suitcase Way, is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator with 18 years' experience supporting career journeys, first in Canada and since 2005 in the Netherlands. She believes that skills taught in the "Career in Your Suitcase" are essential for international career adventures.

Committed to equipping people for their career transitions, Colleen believes in and practices the power of community and collaboration to achieve business success.


Polishing your Personal Image

Jenni Ryynanen
I on Image

My name is Jenni Ryynanen and I am an image consultant at my own small local business, I on Image -Image Consulting. I am passionate about making positive lasting first impressions on- and offline. My business combines my passions, my interests and my drive to guide and coach people for better results. For me it has never really been about individual trends that change every season but about building a life-long lasting style that tells your story. Everyone deserves to be the I on their image!


Failing: A Gift in Disguise

Vassia Sarantopoulou
The Anti-Loneliness Project

I am a counselor-psychologist working with clients in one-to-one sessions but also organizing group workshops to help brave people find their courage again. My clients’ well-being, self-pride and empowerment is my mission. The most common issues I have dealt together with my clients have been: anxiety, depression, time management, family issues (divorce, adolescence, conflicts, infertility), panic attacks, self-development.

 I keep expanding my horizons by participating in workshops, conferences, seminars, but also through travelling, meeting new people, reading books and practicing photography.


Community Art Project

Eleonora Spagnuolo
The Creativity Project

Creative entrepreneur, teacher, graphic designer, and visual artist, Eleonora is a multitalented professional with an eclectic experience in a broad range of interests, with one thing in common: finding her personal, authentic voice, learning how to express it and teaching others how to do the same.
She firmly believes that everyone has an unique energy that needs to be translated into action, shared with others, and put at use in the professional and personal life. Her favorite way of expression is through visual arts, and the thing she loves more is sharing knowledge and creating connections between people and ideas.

Check out a time lapse of The Spark Community Art Project here.

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E-learning for Entrepreneurs: learn & teach online

Renee Veldman-Tentori

Renee Veldman-Tentori loves to connect, share, create, learn and teach. She is passionate about co-creating and contributing to communities, both online and offline.  A Dutch Australian who has travelled the world and lived in several countries, Renee has now settled in The Hague and is raising two little bilingual global citizens.  Owner of Zestee Social Media and both a lecturer and student at The Hague University, her areas of expertise include elearning, social media, networking, culture and marketing communications.

Check out Renee's ELearning Explosion Presentation here.

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Pricing & Packaging Tips to Create a Business Model that Serves You and That Your Clients Love

Stephanie Ward
Firefly Coaching

Stephanie Ward is the Marketing Coach for Entrepreneurs who want to create a meaningful and prosperous business. Stephanie is known for helping business owners get clear about their businesses and then generating marketing ideas that are a perfect fit for them.

Her passion is to help small business owners grow their businesses into long-term sustainable enterprises and have a great life at the same time. She does this by combining her business and marketing background, her coaching skills, as well as her own personal experience. Visit her website for a Free Special Report, 7 Steps to Attract More Clients in Less Time. 

Spark Program 2016

8.30-9.00   Registration & Coffee, 4th floor

9.15-9.25   Opening Remarks by Hannah Huber of Amsterdam Academy

9.25-10.00 Keynote speaker

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

10.00-10.45   Break-out Sessions, Round 1

  • Stephanie Ward, Pricing & Packaging Tips to Create a Business Model that Serves You & That Your Clients Love
  • Vassia Sarantopoulou, Failing: A Gift in Disguise
  • Colleen Reichrath-Smith, Reinventing Your Career for the Globalized Economy
  • Allison Hamilton-Rohe, From Passion to Profitability to Break-Even: An Entrepreneur’s Case Study
  • Hands-on session: MUIS software: Bookkeeping Made Easy & Moriam Hassan Balgun of Planetfem on Using video to get clients for business

10.45-11.15   Coffee break & vendor stands open

11.15-12.00   Interactive Session When you thrive, your business thrives: Best practices for protecting your most important asset, led by Saron van Diemen of Total Self in cooperation with;

  • Kate Berger Expat Kids Club
  • Debby Port of Yellow Wood
  • Joyce Bergsma, Eat Live Love Food

12.00-13.00   Lunch provided by BahnMiGirls & Cropbox. Vendor stands open during lunch include;

  • American Book Center
  • MUIS software demo for bookkeeping
  • Spark Community Art Project by Eleonora Spagnuolo
  • Podcasting for business by Donna Bardsley
  • Rudi Wells photography: free business headshots
  • Lieza Roben, DocYouMentary

13.00-13.45   Break-out sessions, Round 2

  • Sara Bobkoff, The Voluptuous Brain
  • Marie-Claire van Poelje, Practical Advice: Cold Calling into Warm Calling in 3 easy steps!
  • Samantha Lyster, How to Join the Media Circus
  • Jenni Ryyanen, Polishing Your Personal Image
  • Hands-on session: MUIS Software: Bookkeeping Made Easy & Renee Veldman-Tentori on E-learning for entrepreneurs: learn & teach online

13.45-14.00   Coffee break & vendor stands open

14.00-14.30   Global Female Entrepreneurship Panel

  • Maneuele Damant, Open the Door Leadership
  • Nassira Boudhan, FFORE
  • Kanak Hirani, Pashm and Karigar          
  • Q&A/Discussion

14.30-14.40   Closing remarks by Emmy McCarthy of Emmy McCarthy Consulting

14.45-15.30   Networking drinks  

                Vendor stands open & sign-ups for future future off-site workshops by Spark community members

15.30-16.00   Optional feedback session

In short, you don't want to miss this incredible day, helping you take your business to the next level or just get started.