[Entrepreneurs Impact 20] Journey Frans Eersteling

Childhood of Frans Eersteling

Born on February 27, 1963, Frans Eersteling came into the world in Paramaribo. His mother is Albertina Eersteling, and his father is Siegfried Rellum. He is the eldest in a family of five younger brothers and one younger sister. Frans is married, has one daughter and is an actively professing Christian. These are some of the sayings he applies in his daily life:”Piano Piano,” which means ‘gradually’ or ‘little by little’. Another quote he often uses is: “There must be a difference,” which can be interpreted in various ways. ‘As an individual, you can choose to stand out or be unique in a positive way’. ‘Just because everyone does something doesn’t mean you have to do it too’. And finally, “Think before you act”; for him, it means ‘Don’t react, respond’. When responding instead of reacting, you take some time to think. Hence, you remove much of the emotion and replace it with more rationality.

His hobbies include enjoying jazz music, reading, gardening, and exercising. Frans has a weekly routine where he exercises with his wife under guidance. They also try to walk about three times a week in the morning. Frans played basketball in the past for the ‘De Schakel’ team. As an active athlete in the past, he played for over 10 years and participated in competitions.  With ‘De Schakel’ youth team he became a Youth basketball champion. Over the years he played for a short period in the veterans’ team. From time to time, he shoots hoops with his daughter, who also plays basketball and volleyball.

Frans attended primary school at the Richard Voulaire School in Paramaribo. During the intense strikes in 1973, when Suriname was still a colony of the Netherlands, the Richard Voulaire School caught fire. That year saw the largest wave of strikes, during which 13 union leaders who had called for a strike against the ‘Sedney cabinet’ policies were arrested. As a result of the fire, Frans had to attend school in the afternoon. He found this less pleasant because, while everyone else was going home, he had to get ready to go to school in

the blazing sun. Fortunately, he only had to do this for a year. He then attended the Zuiderstad School for a year, followed by a return to the Richard Voulaire School. After finishing primary school, he continued his education at the Frowein School, a secondary school. In High school,  the Algemene Middelbare School (AMS), he had a life-changing and wonderful period. Frans made lifelong friends and had a whole lot of fun. One of the highlights was meeting people who also listened to and loved jazz, who drew him in.

He continued studying History at the Instituut voor Opleiding van Leraren (IOL), the higher teacher training institute. He had completed all the exams and was about to start his thesis when he began working, which prevented him from finishing his studies. After taking a year off, he started the doctoral study in  Public Administration at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname, which he finished in the late nineties. He later completed his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) at the FHR Lim A Po Institute for Higher Education (FHR).

Frans had a unique upbringing. His mother was raised by his godmother, and as his mother’s first child, he benefited from his godmother’s upbringing. With her, he enjoyed much more freedom than in a typical Surinamese upbringing. His godmother had studied in the Netherlands in the 1950s and had very different ideas about parenting, which she applied to Frans. His childhood was very enjoyable, filled with freedom, self-discovery, sports, music, and more. At a young age, he was allowed to attend shows & concerts. He became a teenager during the disco era, so there was a lot of dancing and frequent visits to discos.

His Impact

It all started at the Ministry of the Internal Affairs with the Central Staff Office & Efficiency unit, an arm of the government responsible for job descriptions, job evaluations, etc., for two years. He then worked at the Ministry of Finance in the Postal Services, now known as Surpost, for another two years. In 1990, the journey of a lifetime began at Telesur, where he served for 33 years and 7 months, experiencing growth in various roles across different departments. Frans has now ushered in his retirement from Telesur.

He started working in this company as an Information Analyst in the Automation Department. He then had the opportunity to move to a newly established Telecommunications and Marketing Department, which was initially focused on marketing activities. The department later transformed into the ‘Marketing’ and subsequently the ‘Business Development & Marketing’. When the company prepared for and entered into the era of competitiveness in telecommunication, a special project group was established. This ‘TeleG group’ played a crucial role in readying Telesur for stark competition. Being part of and co-managing this group with regard to mobile, marketing, branding activities and everything related to these, was an exciting, intensive learning experience.   Some time hereafter, Frans was appointed Manager of the Business Development & Marketing department.

In 2015, after being removed from this position along with 14 other managers, he was transferred to the Strategy department. After several months he was appointed Policy Advisor to the CEO.. He was then requested to manage the transformed department of Business Development.

One year prior to his retirement, Frans made his position as Manager of Business Development available to the management. He did this to allow someone else sufficient time for transitioning into this management responsibility and if necessary to receive adequate coaching. This purposefully stepping-back was looked upon in the company as very daring, but Frans was content that the department could continue its work without any management gap or problem. During what was meant to be his final working year in Telesur, he was appointed Policy Advisor of Innovation. Upon a fairly sudden departure of an employee, Telesur needed a manager for the Business Relations Management department, and requested Frans  to fill this role, which he did for almost a full year. Hence, he ended his career in Telesur as Acting Manager of Business Relations Management and his retirement started one year later than initially intended.

Frans also has a consultancy, EnGo, which is still in the startup phase. He is currently working on further developing and shaping the business. EnGo Consultancy focuses on leadership development and coaching. Additionally, he collaborates with JA-Coaching and Training, where he serves as a coach and trainer. He is also Management Advisor at One Shot International . Frans engages in several social organizations related to fostering societal values and norms, men’s health, well-being and their functioning in all areas of life.

Growth through Experience

A low point in Frans’ career was the period when he, along with 14 other colleagues were removed from their management positions, andthe then director and commercial deputy director, were laid off. It was a very painful and difficult time. However, the situation also taught him valuable lessons. One of these was to bring more balance into life and focus on other things besides just work. This led to a rebalancing in his life, which he has maintained ever since.

The highlights at Telesur are numerous. To name just a few: the opportunity to  personally develop by being able to attend many training sessions and conferences; to be involved in the introduction of new services in Suriname e.g. the Internet and Prepaid Mobile. Also it was very exciting and satisfying to be part of the process to strengthen Telesur in such a way that when the market opened up in 2006 , Telesur held its ground and was not overwhelmed by the competition. Another highlight was the introduction of BlackBerry. In Suriname, Telesur was the last of the three telecom companies, to introduce BlackBerry. Still, to everyone’s surprise, within two months of initiating BlackBerry sales Telesur was able to achieve, the minimum annual selling quota. This remarkable result got the executives of BlackBerry visiting Suriname, to view with their own eyes what was actually happening in this small country of Suriname.
Other memorable moments include the celebrations of Telesur’s 25th and 30th anniversaries. The jubilee years were filled with many activities that have stayed with Frans. Another special moment was a farewell party he received upon his retirement. When he arrived at a “meeting” he was supposed to have with his manager, he saw his wife and daughter along with employees from almost all the departments he had ever worked in, and part of the C- level management team. With speeches, jazz music, and video messages from friends and family in Suriname and abroad, it gave him a warm feeling and a sense of appreciation.

Closing Remarks from Frans

‘Be Good to People. Treat others the way you want to be treated.’ ‘Remember that people will treat you differently based on the position you hold. Once you are no longer in that role, their treatment of you may change.’ ‘Do not identify your personality with the position you hold. People often look at the position and not necessarily at you as an individual.’ ‘Do not think that the position defines your personality, because it does not.’

Entrepreneur’s Impact

Entrepreneur’s Impact: Your weekly source for entrepreneurial stories, insights, and inspiration by OneShot International. Join us for impactful founder stories. expert advice and solutions to global issues.

Stay tuned for our weekly blog covering Entrepreneur Impact, Ideas & Opinions, and News & Media. Thank you to our OneShot community. Don’t miss our next story next Sunday!

Visit the digital platform here www.oneshot.sr, and join the International community of entrepreneurs making an impact.

With appreciation,

OneShot International

Suriname: (+597)8205555 | USA: +1(323)3642608

Email: info@oneshot.sr | Website: www.oneshot.sr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *