“Entrepreneurship is like a rose garden, there are many beautiful moments but the path is filled with thorns”
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Deniz Cerinan AlGhawas. I am a multi-passionate entrepreneur. I am the founder of Kuwait Bachata Club, Cerinan’s Exotic Textiles and Smyrna Blue: Events & More. I’m also co-founder of Learn Turkish Kuwait and Mommy and Me Market. I have been in Kuwait for nine years now and am happy to call it my home. I’m a mother of two adventurous boys. I am a traveller at heart and some of the sparks in my life include chocolate, music and dancing.
Tell us about your education.
I studied International Relations in Turkey and recently completed my Event Management master’s in London. I also received an ESL certificate from Temple University and earned a Marketing Management certificate from Wharton Business School.
Tell us about your career journey.
I started out my career in Turkey in the Marketing department of Baxter Pharmaceuticals. After moving to Kuwait, I worked as a Marketing Manager in corporate companies while establishing my businesses on the side. Finally, I took the leap into full time entrepreneurship and started Smyrna Blue: Events & More and co-founded Learn Turkish Kuwait.
How do you manage your time? Describe your average day.
My daily planner, along with my Google calendar, is my magical wand. Usually I start my day with a workout and meditation session in the gym which keeps me energized for the rest of the day. Most of my day is booked with meetings, classes and trainings. Occasionally, I am lucky to find an opportunity for a quick lunch or coffee with my friends or husband which is a great refresher during a hectic day.
What is your biggest strength?
I have two key strengths – time management and my deep passion for developing new projects and watching my ideas become reality.
Do you have any weaknesses?
Although I have tried many ways, unfortunately I am still trying to learn Arabic. But there is no giving up. I am starting a new Arabic language program in April and I hope this new program will be the best yet.
Have you made any mistakes that have made you stronger?
Entrepreneurship is like a rose garden, there are many beautiful moments but the path is filled with thorns. Along the way there are many ups and downs that can inspire you and motivate you if you have the right mindset.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced during your career?
Finding the right people to work with has been one of the biggest challenges for me. The synergy you create with the people you work with is one of the key elements of success. I feel so lucky to have Lutfiye as my partner. The chemistry we have and the energy we create together is one of the reasons I am so excited to start each day! Unfortunately, she will be moving to another country at the end of June. So, I will be flying solo until I cross paths with another co-pilot. But I work best as a team, so I hope my next business partner won’t take too long to find!
How do you stay motivated during challenging times?
I listen to and read inspirational and awesome people such as Marie Forleo, Sheryl Sandberg, Ariana Huffington, Tony Robbins and Oprah. They help me see things from a different perspective and remind me of what entrepreneurship is all about. You have to stay focused on your goals and take each challenge as it comes.
What do you do to relax?
I start the day with a brisk workout at the gym and meditate using the Headspace app. I explore new places with my friends and of course enjoy the beach with my boys, especially on Friday mornings.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
I can’t choose one moment, there are so many to be proud of. A few that come to mind would be co-founding Learn Turkish Kuwait and Mommy & Me Market. What makes me proud is seeing our students go from a simple ‘Merhaba’ to being able to have a genuine conversation in Turkish. I am also proud when mothers and children come together at Mommy & Me Market, an event that gathers the newest and best products, services and organizations related to motherhood and family life under one roof. To share the happiness and satisfaction of those mothers and kids is priceless.
What is your biggest fear?
Losing my curiosity, passion and drive for growth.
What is your favourite quote?
When your soul is singing in joy, then you know you are doing it right.
Name one item in life you can’t do without?
My day planner.
What’s the best advice you have ever taken?
Follow your passion! Create the business and life you love. Be ethical in everything you do.
Share three books on your nightstand.
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, Cosmos by Carl Sagan, and The Prophet by Khalil Gibran.
In your opinion, what are the three keys to success?
Persistence, loving what you do, taking smart risks.
What is next for you? What would you still like to achieve?
I am focused on continuing to develop and grow my existing businesses. Every day is a new opportunity to reinvent, rediscover and re-energize. Looking forward, I have a few interesting ideas that I can’t wait to get started on. For example, I recently set-up The Professional Women Network of Kuwait and my goal is to bring all the businesswomen in Kuwait together to empower and support each other with monthly growth and development sessions.
What advice would you give to young women starting out in their career?
Most important of all is to know yourself. Know your own strengths and weaknesses; what motivates you and what you are willing and happy to sacrifice your time and energy for. Stay positive and accept constructive criticism. Be honest and realistic with yourself and remember that having strong support from friends and family is priceless.
How does it feel to be a CP Woman of Substance?
It feels incredible to be recognized for doing what I love. It is yet another unforgettable milestone along the winding journey of entrepreneurship.
Your message for the team at CP magazine:
Thank you for supporting and recognizing the work done by the entrepreneur community. It is wonderful to get insight from other active people and to feel the pulse of Kuwait’s dynamic business environment. Thank you for the inspiration.