08 March, 2024

Slovakian interview
Voices unleashed: the empowering journey of the ‘LinkedIn Sisters Powerhouse’ in global business
An insightful interview with two female entrepreneurs from Slovakia.

This is the story of Kristína Cichý Kováčiková and Ivana Brutenič, the dynamic duo and business partners behind SUNDAYFLIES - a consultancy specialising in global employee advocacy and social selling on LinkedIn. By combining their talents and efforts, they have made a global impact, organising the largest LinkedIn event in their region and providing cutting-edge solutions to companies such as Generali, Lidl, and EY. The LinkedIn Sisters Powerhouse, as they like to call themselves, share their unique perspective as female entrepreneurs navigating the obstacles of the business world, the origin story of their journey and the critical role intellectual property plays in their global expansion. Join us as they discuss the empowerment of women in business, the important influence of female role models, and their vision for the future to help hundreds of thousands find their voice over the next decade.

  • Can you tell us about yourselves and your backgrounds?

We are Kristína Cichý Kováčiková and Ivana Brutenič. Sisters and business partners in SUNDAYFLIES – consultancy for global employee advocacy and social selling on LinkedIn. People also call us LinkedIn Sisters Powerhouse 😊.

Ivana: I have a Masters and a PhD in Marketing and Business. My entrepreneurial journey began at a very early age selling home theatre tickets to family members. At the age of twenty-two, I founded a premium headhunting company and worked out of a university library while studying for my final exams. The last 17+ years have been a wonderful entrepreneurial journey.

Kristína: I have a Masters in International Trade and a PhD in Management. I have experience in a variety of industries, from small companies to multinationals , including a Big4 consultancy, one of the best advertising agencies in the region and a premium car importer for Mercedes. We joined forces with my sister Ivana 10 years ago and it has been a journey.

We have hosted the largest LinkedIn event in our region for several years. We now focus on creating global employee advocacy and social selling programmes for Lidl, dm- drogerie markt, EY, Henkel, ING Hubs, Generali, SAS, CloudTalk and many others.

The patterns we saw over more than a decade led us to create and implement our signature Employee Ambassador Framework. It works across various business models: B2B, B2C, B2G, large corporations and small businesses, worldwide.

  •  What motivated you to start your company, and how did the idea for your business come about?

Ivana: Clients of our headhunting company often asked us how we managed to fill vacancies that had been open for months. We knew how to fill positions that others had found difficult to fill. You need a great team, a proven system and a lot of creativity. Over the years we became really good at finding people who didn’t want to be found and weren’t looking for a job. One of the tools we used was LinkedIn and that’s when the concept of a LinkedIn consultancy was born in 2013. We have heard so many cool stories and anecdotes from the business world where not even colleagues sitting in the next office knew what was happening. We help your clients have a platform where they can share those stories and what matters to them.

  • How does intellectual property fit into your business goals and objectives?

Kristína: We are located in the heart of Central Europe, Slovakia, but we have clients from all over the world. Many of our clients started LinkedIn projects from tiny Slovakia and have expanded them across Europe and globally.

We saw an opportunity to share our expertise and help others navigate the world of LinkedIn and talent acquisition through employee advocacy. As we look to scale our services globally, intellectual property protection has become increasingly important to us.

We have developed proprietary frameworks to launch and maintain employee advocacy and social selling projects quickly and efficiently. Instead of having to think about it for months or even years, clients can get started in a matter of hours. This is a unique solution and we have decided to protect our intellectual property, even though the cost is significant.

Ivana: We invest heavily in our training, mentoring and systems to provide the best possible experience. We also specialise in premium consulting services and having the right intellectual property protection sends the right message to our clients.

  • What IP rights do you have? Ηow did you find out what IP is and what you need to do to protect your business(es)/brand?

‘We have several trade marks protecting our main brand ‘SUNDAYFLIES’ and our logo. As our business grew, we expanded the territorial coverage of our trademarks. Today, we have trade mark protection not only in Slovakia, but also throughout the European Union, the UK and the USA. In addition to trademarks, copyright plays a key role in our business. We create a lot of content online, we train and give lectures, and we have even published a book in the UK. This combination of protecting our activities through trade marks and copyright makes sense to us. As we understand it, copyright protection does not require any special investment or action, but trade mark protection, especially outside the EU, is quite expensive and we could not do without expert advice.’

  • As female entrepreneurs, have you faced any particular challenges? How do you overcome them?

Kristina: We are proud to be women and believe that this enables us to work with clients in a particularly effective way, bringing a unique energy and working style to our work. We focus on employer brand and soft social selling, and our female perspective is something we are proud of.

Our female perspective, rooted in empathy, nuanced communication, and a holistic understanding of human interactions, underpins our strategies. It enables us to make genuine connections, build trust, and tailor our solutions to suit our clients’ specific needs.

Our pride in being women in business is not just about gender but about the valuable perspectives, qualities, and insights we bring to the table. We see these attributes as assets that facilitate positive change in our world.

Imagine a room full of businessmen wearing grey suits. A handful chose blue or brown. And there we are in our matching magenta outfits. The advantage is that you stand out.

  • What do you think can be done to empower and encourage female entrepreneurs?

Kristina: We have worked with thousands of women and they tend to have something in common. Imposter syndrome. In fact, we did a survey of 200 women and asked then what the number one problem was when it came to creating content and 83 % said imposter syndrome.

In our experience, imposter syndrome does not need to go away, time and action will silence that voice.

Ivana: In society, women are often raised to think of others before themselves, to be quiet, to listen, to be humble and to ask for permission. Once a woman finds a mentor who shows her that she can be bold, ask for more, choose adventure over hustle, nothing can stop her.

Having worked with thousands of clients, we believe that women entrepreneurs need a supportive ecosystem – investors who back female entrepreneurs, communities that celebrate success, logistics (such as kindergartens near offices and co-working spaces) and other support that enables women to balance their business and personal lives.

Almost every pivotal moment for our business is linked to a significant investment in powerful mentors and advisors who help us achieve our goals faster and with more joy.

  • Who are some of the female role models that have inspired you on your business journey?

Our mom is a huge inspiration. She is resourceful, supportive and guides us in a way that it is ok to act or be different from others. She has an incredible system for everything and we often use what she has taught us when creating systems for ourselves and our clients.

Marissa Murgatroyd, who certified us in Experience Product Creation, introduced us to gamification and the behavioural aspect of our consultancy. We are proudly using gamification to achieve that our clients love our project and are willing to create content for years to come.

Kate Northrup is a powerful mentor who constantly asks how we can make things simpler by honouring the cycles of business and life, which has been a guiding principle for us. Because when you feel real joy as an entrepreneur, you are unstoppable.

We are inspired by women who are successful in both their business and personal lives. According to them.

  • What are your plans for the future? Where do you see your business in ten years?

For over a decade, we have empowered our clients to use their voice to systematically attract opportunities and talent in record time, while having fun. We are keynote speakers at top business conferences and regular interviewees on podcasts and in the media, including Forbes. We are proud of what we have achieved and excited about what lies ahead.

Whether we are working with entrepreneurs to help them scale their business through social selling or with an organisation with tens of thousands of employees, helping them find the voice of their employees  to boost sales or attract top talent. Our long-term vision remains the same. To partner with professionals to find their voice.

We are excited to announce that we will be publishing a brand new book with UK publisher ReThink Press in early 2024. It has been a year in the making and we are now ready to share our insights and expertise with a global audience.

In 10 years’ time, we see ourselves helping hundreds of thousands of people find their voice.