Travel Hero: Yin Koningin

Fatma Yin Koningin Cherry LAB

Cherry LAB’s passion for time well spent goes beyond boundaries! We are not only inspired by our own experiences, favorite gadgets and special places. Our inspiration is also stimulated by the unique stories of other globetrotters and people with a mission. That’s why we put a new Hero in the spotlight once in a while. These are heroes from all over the world and of course from our own country. Maybe you are next!

A career in acting, a spot at the table of the former start-up and current international WeTransfer, a move to the USA to put WeTransfer on the map there too: working hard was normal to Fatma Genç until a trip to Bali showed her that life is all about balance. Yin versus Yang. Fatma bundled her experiences, tips and theories in the book Yin Koningin – van zweven naar leven and now is a great source of inspiration to many! Because of this (and because her first Yin Koningin event will take place on Bali), she is our newest Travel Hero.

What makes you a true hero?

Preferably I’d turn it around. What makes me feminine or human is that I’m always curious and on the lookout – that’s where I get my energy and strength from. Because I’ve worked in multiple industries, youth politics, theater and films, start-ups and the creative industries in general I’m completely obsessed by the influence and impact of the media on us, humans. As we profile ourselves through the media, I’d say for 50% via social channels etc, the impact seems bigger than ever. And that’s where my current path is, to find the best balance for me, including ups and downs caused by let’s say social feeds. When I see gorgeous travel images – do I book a one way ticket to instagrammable location or do I decide to put away my phone for a while. To make my social channels more social I try to share these thoughts and it’s also the reason why I started writing Yin Koningin and my youtube series “Fat op de Wereld/ InFATuated.

What’s driving you and your success? What do you want to achieve?

As long as I can remember I have a drive and a need to do things, not always knowing the direction of it. Once I participated in all sorts of youth political organisations, on regional and national level. Organically I rolled into the theater world because of my adaptive character and because I enjoyed it I could live from working as an actress for almost 15 years. Being from Turkish origine it often occurred my background was more important than my talent, thus I started to research the impact of television and stereotypes on minorities in the Netherlands.
During my studies at the University of Amsterdam I started looking for a relevant job on the side. I started working at start-up WeTransfer. I joined a table of 7 other employees and got the freedom to express myself, through working in communication related projects. The freedom meant everything to me, I was able to build up the curation of our editorial partnerships but also the architecture behind it. Working on all sorts of different levels, editorial to PR I expanded my work experience within the entire marketing and branding scheme for 5 years instead of just a temporary period. November last year I decided the company could continue without me now it was with a team of 80.
As soon as I jumped into a cab after my last day at the office, I was too emotional to bike my way home, I realised immediately it was a good decision and it would all give me loads of time to start a true introspection. Time to zoom in, for something bigger than what I did before. I realised I was forgetting about myself for a long time, for the greater good of the company, industry or relationship – without representing my own thoughts, feelings or philosophy. Even when I had so much to share, in my mind, as I worked on 150 partnerships with all sorts of creative agencies, platforms, websites. And during these I realised there were so many like me, getting ahead of theirselves.
With this sense I booked a ticket to Bali, to start a roundtrip only with myself and my backpack (never did that before). During this trip I decided to script everything I experienced over the past years, including simple tips and tricks hatched in pink and red lines. I knew I would need these one day, in times of chaos and stress when I would lose myself again in my job, relationships, the chaos of performance. Eventually I bundled all these ‘lessons learned’ in Yin Koningin – a thin, easy-to-read-and-cary booklet with short stories, theories and tricks for moments when you need balance in a society driven by succes and performance. A thin booklet, because in times of chaos I always struggle with ready thick, complex psychological books.

What’s the highlight of your career so far?

Writing my book after a long period of introspection, developing a totally new mission and getting the acknowledgement from fantastic people. The moment I purely chose for myself and my deepest ideals, not for external confirmation like career, income or succes, I was heard and seen by so many people. Because they were interested in my story and even were inspired by it I received 1000% energy. A beautiful upward spiral in which I started talking to the ladies of 10DAYS, the team that helped me make Yin Koningin a reality.
In other news; a project I worked on (DearDTLA) received a SIA award for creativity and experimenting within the conjunction of advertising&art. I’m very proud of this project, as I worked on it from conceptualising until the execution.

What can we expect from you anytime soon? 

I’d love to continue to work upon the concept of Yin Koningin. Since a while we’re all living in a more yang-oriented society, where it seems we all should strive for a girl boss status. I understand and agree it’s important to emancipate and that Neelie Kroes advises women to start working full time in case we want to reach the tops of all sectors. But as long as the masculine dominates our daily lives – shouldn’t we first embrace the feminine side of things and increase the love for all of us. Perhaps a bit wishy washy, but shouldn’t we be okay with emotions in the workplace or maybe even feel free to share that we have an off day? Or maybe more important, shouldn’t we learn to express ourselves against sexist remarks and stand up for ourselves instead of just smiling and waving it away because it was just a joke?
I’ll start by sharing more stories like this via blog posts, videos, international events (November in Bali – subscribe to my newsletter for more info soon  to discuss these topics and start working on more partnerships with start-ups I help with brand positioning. My main mission is implement my Yin philosophy on everything I do. Inner connect. Outer control.