How well do you remember the financial crisis of 2007-2009? Stock markets plummeted, big and small firms went out of business and the housing market suffered strongly worldwide. Fairly named by many economists as the worst financial crisis since the 1930’s Great Depression, it sure did a number on me.

During the late nineties, I became greatly interested in international real estate. Working within the Prudential Real Estate Network at Isthmus Realty, I spent several years travelling for work, until finally settling down in Europe. The market was great in the southern European regions at the time, and business was a success. I enjoyed living in a warm beautiful country and I was happy doing work that I loved.

That is, until the financial crisis hit. And boy did it hit hard. Southern parts of Europe, which is exactly where I was located at the time, suffered the most and I found myself struggling to keep afloat. As bad turned to worse, I had no other choice but to leave the real estate market and close this negative chapter with a heavy heart.

But as any boxer learns early on, no matter how many times life knocks you down, what matters is how often you get back up again. And even though I went down to what felt like rock bottom, I gathered all of my strength, learnt from the tough lessons that life decided to throw at me, and got back up again, more confident than before.

I went back to doing what I knew best – advising companies on marketing strategies and sales, and slowly but surely, business picked up again. By 2010, most traces of the financial crisis have evaporated as I spent more of my time working as a consultant. Creating new business strategies, attracting finance, those were my topics of interest at the time.

My recent activities evolve around rebranding and marketing strategies of midsize firms, in particular a renewable energy finance platform and a global wellness and hospitality brand.

As well as that though, I have decided to branch out and do a bit more for the world, besides my work. I have recently founded a children’s charity called Sleijster4Children, which focuses on bringing fitness education to children from less fortunate backgrounds. I will write about that in more detail in another blog post.