35 1/2 W. 8th St.

Ste. 8

Holland MI 49423

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A Piece of Maria's Story

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Meet Maria Venter; she's a hard-working gal living in Hoboken, NJ at Unilever. Read all about her favorite parts about living and working near the Big Apple and what keeps her laughing without fail. Thanks for sharing Maria!

WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW? ARE YOU IN SCHOOL, WORKING?

I’m currently living in Hoboken, NJ and working at Unilever in their Unilever Future Leaders program, which rotates me through a variety of positions in Customer Development and Marketing over the course of three years. Whenever I’m not busy at work, I’m doing something with my church’s worship team, shopping, or visiting with friends.

WHAT'S YOUR DAILY ROUTINE LIKE? ANY MORNING RITUALS?

On average, my day involves getting up early to drive into work while drinking a breakfast smoothie, working until 5:30 or 6, and then heading home to make dinner, run to a workout class with my gym buddy, attend a Bible study, or head to practice for worship team. My evenings really vary day by day! As far as unique morning rituals…I’ve lately been getting up earlier to read a daily devotional called “The Songs of Jesus” by Tim Keller. I’ve also started incorporating smoothies into my mornings for a quick, easy and healthy breakfast!

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED ON A DAILY BASIS? IS THERE A PLAYLIST OR A PERSON OR A PLACE THAT KEEPS YOU GOING?

Living right by New York City is really incredible—the culture here is very unique. Everyone is very career-oriented. Further, the company I work at has a great culture in which everyone is outstandingly friendly and personable, but also very driven, intelligent, and cooperative. It’s easy to thrive and stay motivated when everyone around you is doing awesome things!

But overall, my main motivation and drive comes from my relationship with God. I think the only thing that keeps me grounded—especially living in this fast-paced culture—is the knowledge that my worth doesn’t come from advancements in my career, my intelligence, the number of friends I have, or my level of involvement at church. My worth is found in God, who loves me perfectly and unfalteringly regardless of my shortcomings. Resting in that knowledge gives me deep joy and peace, allowing me to stay motivated and move forward irrespective of any circumstances.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT LIVING AND WORKING NEAR NYC?

My favorite part of living and working near NYC is the convenience! It’s like living in a college town, only we’re all a little older. My gym is right across the street, there’s an abundance of delicious restaurants and unique shops within walking distance, and my friends are all right around the corner. On top of that, it’s super convenient to get into the city and explore the boundless activities and restaurants there as well!

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FOUR PERSONALITY TRAITS AND WHY?

  • Funny: I grew up in a family that taught me there’s humor in any situation, so I’m always joking around and generally being ridiculous. I love to laugh and make others laugh!
  • Loyal: I love my family and friends and care so deeply for each of them. They’re each unique in incredible and beautiful ways. Because I value each of them so much, I always try to be there for them whenever they need me.
  • Creative: Creative outlets are my way of expressing myself, whether that be through writing a song or taking pictures. I try to explore new avenues of creativity whenever possible—right now I’m trying my hand at calligraphy!
  • Hard-working: I’m always working to learn and grow, whether that be in serving on my church’s worship team or developing in my position at work. Acknowledging your own potential, practicing self-discipline, and constantly challenging yourself is important in every area of life, so I try to consistently exercise those traits in my day to day life as well!

WHAT'S THE BEST PART ABOUT WORKING FOR UNILEVER? HOW DOES YOUR PERSONALITY FIT WITH THE WORK YOU'RE DOING?

The reason Unilever stood out to me when I was interviewing was because of their incredible culture. The people who work at Unilever are all very intelligent, but also very personable. I’ve met and continue to meet so many incredible people in my job, and the relationships I’ve formed are definitely my favorite part about working there.

My job is also great in that it fits my personality very well—not only do the relationships allow me to enjoy and balance the work, but my actual position also requires me constantly challenge myself to grow and learn at a fast pace. It definitely has taught me discipline and allowed me to develop professionally and personally.

HAVE YOU HAD ANY OBSTACLES RECENTLY, AND HOW HAVE YOU OVERCOME THEM?

I think my biggest obstacle recently is learning to healthily balance all my responsibilities while still allowing for enough down time. This is a constant struggle! It’s required a lot of prayer and intentionality to be honest with myself about how much I’m capable of, but pulling back where necessary has allowed me to be present and give 100% in whatever I do.

    WHAT NEVER FAILS TO MAKE YOU LAUGH?

    My family! I really believe my family is extraordinarily hilarious. Everyone’s personalities mesh in a perfect way that results in constant laughter.

    ANY UNIQUE, INTERESTING HOBBIES YOU WANT TO TELL US ABOUT? HOW DID THOSE HELP SHAPE YOU TO BECOME WHO YOU ARE TODAY?

    I play cello, piano, guitar, and sing! I’ve always been really musical, and it’s the main way I work through emotions and express myself. I think these hobbies have allowed me to balance the responsibilities of life with creativity and relaxation through exercising a different part of my brain.

    DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR YOUR YOUNGER SELF? WHAT ABOUT YOUR FUTURE SELF?

    I think I have the same advice for my younger and future self: worry less, and trust your gut. I spend too much time overanalyzing and worrying about any given situation, but it doesn’t really change anything or get me anywhere— it just results in unnecessary stress. I hope that going forward, I can continue to get better at taking each day at a time, worrying less about things I can’t control, and trusting my gut when hard decisions need to be made.

    Check out more from Maria below!

    Twitter | Instagram

    PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT:

    Alastair Arthur | Mile Square MomentsKylee Smith | Nancy Elise Venter