If you’ve ever hosted an event, created content geared toward locals, or even been part of an island initiative, then you most likely have heard of, or seen Glenda Valies. With a video camera firmly placed in her hand and a YouTube channel full of her videos highlighting others, she’s the head of a smaller team of creatives who focus on locals and support others through her content.
Find out more about her and GCY Initiative here in the Hot Seat.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Glenda. I am a wife, a mother of one, and the creator of GCY Initiative. It is a destination marketing initiative based in Sint Maarten. We have a website, YouTube and other social media platforms, which we use to push creatives to the forefront with our brand.
What do you do on your regular days?
On a regular day, I am planning and creating content, assisting my husband with his business or entertaining my daughter. It may sound plain, but when curating content, it involves a lot of planning ahead of time, before we even get a chance to film. We have to scout locations for pictures and making sure our video shots can work in advance; lighting is everything. Then once we know what we want to do, we go to the location, and that also includes doing short interviews and making sure the audio works right. All of this starts with planning.
How do you use social media to reach out to other people?
I use social media to connect with other Sint Maarteners, to highlight their content, while sharing my own media that is usually focused on something local. The platform is growing slowly, but surely, thanks to the social media presence.
How has COVID changed how you do your job?
It slowed down my production of content. Part of what I put out is interviews with local entrepreneurs, entertainers and persons making a difference. So when the lockdown happened, that slowed down what I could do and delayed my rebranding. As of right now, it's just slowed down the places that I go based on the venue and number of expected persons.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I'm hoping in the next few years to grow more of a presence. I want when persons and businesses think about their media tour, they think about GCY Initiative as one of the stops to make.
What are some of the things you're most proud of achieving?
I've been running this Initiative for about six years now and have built quite a catalogue in the process. This year especially, I challenged myself to be more consistent with releasing my content. Of course, I've had some dips, but I'm still very okay with my progress. I've also pushed myself out of my comfort zone when reaching out to persons for interviews; that can be a little unnerving at times.
Outside of social media, how do you spend your free time?
I like to spend my free time interacting with my family and enjoying quiet alone time when I have it.
If you could have a Facebook Live with any three people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?
I can't think of three specific persons, but my questions would be around finding and executing their passion, maintaining their sanity while pursuing said passion, what drives the work they create and how they keep their eyes on the prize.