Leadership Spotlight on Christine Souffrant Ntim
Each week the NAAHP highlights individuals who are making a difference in their communities as well as the business world. Christine Souffrant Ntim is an award-winning Haitian-American entrepreneur & startup ecosystem expert for emerging markets. She was selected and featured in Forbes 30 Under 30, AdAge 40 Under 40, Haiti Changemakers 1804 List, Singularity NASA, Entrepreneur Magazine, Huffington Post, Inc Magazine and more. She speaks on digital entrepreneurship, startup hacking, exponential tech AI, and personal branding at over 20+ global conferences a year- which includes former appearances at the US State Department Tours, United Nations, TEDx, SXSW, Startup Grind Global, SeedStars World, European Union Forum and more.
She started her career as the founder of Vendedy- a social network connecting people to street markets with the aim of digitizing a $10 trillion dollar black economy and centralizing the world’s 200,000 street markets. Today, Christine is the Director of Startup Grind Dubai Powered by Google For Entrepreneurs and a partner at the GlobalStartupEcosystem.com which hosts the largest digital online accelerator program in the world- graduating over 1000+ companies across 190+ countries a year.
Learn more about Christine at christinesntim.com.
10 Questions for Christine Souffrant Ntim
Dominique Elkind, NAAHP: Tell us a bit about your personal background.
Christine Souffrant Ntim: I grew up in Haiti alongside my grandmother and aunts as a street vendor. I got a full ride Bill Gate Scholarship to attend Dartmouth- the farthest ivy league on the east coast of the USA and traveled to 22 countries studying street markets. It became a passion of mine to understand emerging markets, entrepreneurship and the art of traveling. Hence the companies and projects I launched afterward.
NAAHP: How did you build your skill of speaking so engagingly in front of others?
CSN: Prior to 2014 (the year I launched my first company Vendedy) I did tons of presentations and projects for school and my first corporate bank job. Yet something changed once I started doing presentations for something that truly mattered to me. I started pitching my company at various international competitions and was featured at dozens of events for the memorable structure of my presentations. By 2015 I was speaking at 10+ events a year. My brand around public speaking about startups, ecosystems and emerging markets continued to grow. Now I speak at over 20+ conferences and events a year.
NAAHP: What is your strategy for creating a strong brand identity?
CSN: Consistency and authenticity. I am always giving away free tips and strategies consistently via social media, my newsletter and webinars. The trust I built from giving back to my community and global audiences led to strong relationships, reputation and ultimately brand identity as a startup ecosystem expert. The series of accolades and achievements just reinforce my efforts- from Forbes 30 Under 30 to features in 80+ media networks.
NAAHP: How do you motivate and inspire others?
CSN: By telling them the full truth of my journey and lessons learned. Social media is both a blessing and a curse. So many craft a story behind their lives and it is not truly factual. We have high cases of depression because people assume that people are living superficial lives on social media. I share the rock bottom moments and in turn, it inspires others to take the leap of faith and start their own journey even when things get rough.
NAAHP: What would you say have been your greatest accomplishments so far?
CSN: Motherhood, Wife, Business. Living my dream as a family person is the greatest accomplishment. Others range from making the Forbes list 30 Under 30 after learning how to code and launching my startup. That was a truly amazing moment.
NAAHP: What is the biggest challenge of your work?
CSN: Constant global changes. Sometimes the most seemingly random updates on one part of the world can drastically change profits and partnership opportunities in other areas.
NAAHP: Are there learning experiences you can share with us, such as takeaways from a close call or near miss?
CSN: Top learning experiences:
Learn how to optimize your productivity. As someone who is constantly on the road managing 3 companies and on the boards of several organizations, it is important to always optimize your ability to execute and manage. So monthly, I do a binge weekend on just learning about new tools via webinars on Skillshare, YouTube, and Udemy. I also sign up for webinars hosted by any tool I use often- Gmail, Zoom, and Canva.
Learn how to build your brand by giving back. Your community will always be there for you when you do. So I host monthly webinars and “Question & Answer” ask me anything sessions. Funny enough, I think I get more out of it in many ways because I get tons of ideas from the type of questions I receive.
Don’t take things personally. Business has a lot of up and down moments that will truly hurt. People have multiple things on their plate so don’t take things personally.
NAAHP: What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?
CSN: Glory comes with accountability. Our society glorifies leadership a lot but forgets that the leader also takes the fall for everything that goes wrong – even if they are not the one to blame. So I take my responsibility seriously because the best part of leadership is who you become post the tough moments, not the easy ones. Remember that.
NAAHP: How do you prioritize your time and what you focus on?
CSN: Easy- I plan my time based on projects and always research the best way to execute effectively. But mainly- family first- binge watching shows, dinner dates and just fun activities. It helps to keep weekends and evenings sacred for family and no work.
NAAHP: When you’re not at work, where can we find you?
CSN: Parks, on the plane to the next destination, or at home relaxing ☺️