FREEDOM IS THE ANSWER

Santiago My Favourites December 2, 2016

JANA SINKOVA-COURTIN

 

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My job gives me the freedom to do what I like rather than to do what I must.

Currently the CEO and founder of Secret Spirit, a luxurious line of swimwear, resort wear and accessories, I have a Master’s degree in International and Business Law. I have held positions in the United Nations, worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as for the Ministry of Justice. I have had the opportunity to work with renowned politicians and business personalities, with whom I maintain close ties even today. Additionally, I have practiced international law extensively, in both Europe and the United States. I personally like challenges very much and I’ve always been a real perfectionist. Whenever an opportunity has presented itself, I’ve always made a point of seizing it right away. Every opportunity in my life matters to me. Another principle I live by has been building atop past experiences, and that’s helped lead to a solid and stable career in the business world. Today, my name is my personal brand and professional guarantee, whether in event management, lobbying, or in coaching and consulting on an international level. On top of that, I’ve been able to balance my working life with my longtime passion of designing clothes and accessories. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but today my brand Secret Spirit really says it all: dreams do come true, and real victories actually do happen, and I’m living proof of that.

Do you feel like you’re a French woman?

France has adopted me, I must say, and for that I am eternally grateful. So it should come as no surprise that it’s my second home. At the same time, I’ve always felt like real a cosmopolitan girl. I love to travel, and in fact I travel regularly—basically all the time, since my job requires it. Not only have I had the chance to travel around the world, but living in France has meant that I’ve been lucky enough to live in a foreign country for an extended period of time, and that is incredibly exciting. In being here and traveling so much, I’ve learned a thing or two about who I am too, including why I love to travel and explore, so that’s why I can feel pretty much at home everywhere.

That said, Slovakia will always be a part of me: my eternal childhood memories that seem to have passed me by so quickly. It truly is an indescribable feeling to go back home and find my room, and to see my old box full of mementoes and old photos.

As a business woman, what role does the family play in your life?

My family and everything related to it will always come first in my life. I couldn’t be more blessed in that regard. I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful daughter. Thanks to them I feel I can say that I understand what real happiness is, a happiness that has nothing to do with success or a career. In fact, it’s my family specifically, as well as their support, that have made me the successful woman I am today. I was brought up to believe that family is everything, and that without it, we aren’t even half of what we could be. My husband has avowed that I am his other half, and he too completes me. Without him, and the missing armor of our love, my daughter, I could no longer go on.

You travel around the world, where do you organize your business meetings?

In the beginning it was somewhat challenging but eventually we found a nice compromise, although fairly well-known. Some of the dilemmas that travel can present are not always easy to resolve, but at present I hold client and business meetings in a centralized location, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, in Geneva. We’ve always been met by a dedicated and highly experienced conference planner who ensures that our meetings and events run smoothly. It really is a beautiful environment, I must say. The staff, as well, are very friendly and always ensure a sense of absolute privacy.

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You are the founder of the luxury brand Secret Spirit. When was the
idea born?

When I was small I was mesmerized by hummingbirds, and sometimes used to watch them for hours. I remember gazing at a charm of them one day and realizing that the bird’s elegance and beauty are due in part to the fact that throughout its life it only ever rarely touches the ground. Personally, I have always loved the heat, the smell of summer and the rays of the sun, and whenever I see a hummingbird in flight, it’s hard not to notice the colors of its feathers, like some magnificient work of art. So, maybe it was that brilliant iridesence and coordination of flight that inspired the foundation of my company. A kind of symbiosis, if you will.  Travel has also played a huge role in my life, quite like the hummingbird, incidentally. Not just because I love the joy and excitement of travelling, but because when I fly, to me it means I am realizing my dreams.

We’d all like to have wings, of course, if even for just a short while. I was lucky enough to find mine when I was young, thanks to the gentle hummingbird, whose speed and agility have propelled me toward success and innovation.   

At Secret Spirit, that has meant fitting my clothes to every silhouette of the female form, itself yet another masterpiece. In turn, this has led to the integration of high-quality material and remarkable comfort, which allows each and every woman to feel chic and stylish no matter the occasion.

Secret Spirit is a synergy of innovation and creativity. My launch collection is characterized by modern colors and a chic design, and includes a large range of swimwear, beachwear, and
accompanying accessories.   

And when do you call it quits and fine time to relax?

After a heavy day’s work, the best way I have found to relax is doing exercise and fitness. When you exercise, the brain releases a kind of compound called endorphins, which help to relieve stress and reduce depression. That’s what physical activity does for me: it gets rid of mental stress. And, I’ve found that a clear mind is essential for successful business, so that’s also why I love getting in a good work out! I tend to hit a fitness center situated right in the heart of Paris in the Hotel Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris, and then I finish up in their spa, called My Blend by Clarins. They recently transformed the interior into a kind of modern Palace, infused with French spirit, specifically because of the spa, actually. Everytime I work out I always end up there, it’s just so relaxing and peaceful. It may as well be a temple of well-being and beauty!

I also like to ski, and to play tennis and golf. I’ve even tried car racing. In fact I have to tell you that I am a pretty big fan of extreme sports. Aside from all that, another way I like to relax is spending time with my daughter. We love to go to the theater, cinema, opera, to see look at architecture and to visit museums, which I’m also very passionate about and delighted to share with her.

What is your favorite holiday destination?

In the summertime my favorite place to go to is Saint-Tropez. I spend the whole time there with my family and in our house near the beautiful beaches. I love to be with my family, surrounded by my best friends there. It’s amazing atmosphere, the  people, the unending parties, and the all-around good vibrations make it so much fun. I don’t think there is a place where I feel better, and freer. In the wintertime, Thailand is an absolute must for us. Phuket may as well be my very own private piece of paradise.

For our next holiday we’d really like to visit El Oued. A friend of ours is an owner of a new Hotel there, called La Gazelle D’or and since he’s invited us, it’s pretty much a given that we’re going to go. Apparently the absolutely breathtaking decor and Arabian Nights ambience make it a real retreat! He’s said that for some time to come I’ll be able to survive all the adventurous tales that queen Scheherazade narrated so well, so, that will be our next holiday.

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Why is charity important for you?

All sorts of people work for charities and for all sorts of reasons, but the one thing that unites us all is that we find it challenging, rewarding, and exciting. For most people, it’s a chance to try out something different from everyday life and work. As well, it gives you the power to change somebody’s life. Millions of children around the entire world are born into really harsh realities that a lot of us never even know about. There are so, so many kids who don’t get even the basics, like a quality education where they can learn and develop. All children around the globe, no matter where they come from, should have the right to an education, and a right to health! And so that’s why I try to help through charities. Children are our future!

Outside of charity work, I try to help my husband with his Arthritis Foundation. It’s a nonprofit organization supported by Clarins and funded by donors who are trying to make a differece for people inflicted with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMDs). I can’t tell you how proud my family makes me, and what it means to be a part of them.

You work in fashion and are a businesswoman. What does your wardrobe look like?

I would be lying if I said I do not like luxury. My favorite fashion brand has got to be Mugler. His Couture is both an art and a science. Mugler’s cut and perfected silhouettes are distinct, ultra-feminine, and instantly recognizable. He could literally change your attitude from a businesswoman to an extravagant diva or a glamourous, fairy-like star in just minutes. I wear his line both for business meetings and for my VIP evenings.

In the summertime I’m more or less always in my very own Secret Spirit. And, to go with it, I generally choose an absolutely stunning brand, called Hedera, which is a line of watches and jewelry by the very talented Pierre Koukijan. If you know his work, you know he is basically the free electron of everything that is excellent watchmaking. I don’t know a woman whose beauty wouldn’t be accentuated by his work. As well, since he’s an entrepreneur, his attire really has a different story to it. I simply love it!

What about yours goals for the future?

My long-term goals involve growing with and expanding my own company, wherein I can continue to learn, take on additional responsibilities, and contribute as much value as I can to all the avenues of my life. I see myself as a top performer in a well-established organization. I plan on enhancing my skills and continuing my involvement in similar professional associations. My future projects will therefore most likely be in emerging countries. In 2017 I would like to have my own charity project specialized in rescuing women subjected to domestic violence in the UK. In all though, my future is my family and primarily my loving daughter. I will spend the rest of my life protecting her, teaching her, caring for her, worrying about her and doing all those annoying things my mom does for me.

Next, more than anything, I would like that she follows her dreams as well; whatever they may be and no matter how far-fetched they may seem. I am confident that she will accomplish so many things that will make me proud…

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