Interview with Ivana Brutenič and Kristína Cichý Kováčiková, owners of SUNDAYFLIES

Ivana Brutenič, PhD and Kristína Cichý Kováčiková, PhD – called LinkedIn Sisters Powerhouse – are owners of a leading global boutique consultancy SUNDAYFLIES; they partner with companies globally to launch and maintain successful employee ambassador projects.

Their Book The Magic of Employee Influence is a deep exploration of how businesses can recruit their employees as ‘Ambassadors on LinkedIn’, those who not only wax lyrical about the brand’s merits but authentically show them in action.

What is your career background?

Ivana: My first taste of entrepreneurship was selling theatre tickets to family members who had to watch me play and pay for it. At 22 I started a headhunting company, all from the cozy chaos of our university library as the first clients were coming before having an office. I have a Master’s and a PhD in Marketing and Business.

During my 15 years in headhunting, I have interviewed thousands of people and learned what drives people, what brings them joy at work, and what they need to perform their best. Since childhood, I have had the ability to get people on board easily with ideas and projects. What brings me joy is naturally lead them to the next level of accomplishment. 

Kristína: I am a creative soul and love to paint. Since I can remember, I have been creating something. I love to make sure projects are rooted in systems, tools, and processes so that people can fully express creativity without waiting for the muse to strike.

I have a Master’s in International Trade and a Ph.D. in Management. I have diverse experience across various industries, from small companies to multinational corporations, including a Big4 consultancy, one of the region’s best advertising agencies, and a premium car importer for Mercedes.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Ivana: The clients started to ask how it was possible that we could fill vacancies they were not able to fill for many months. One of the tools we used was LinkedIn. At that moment, I saw how it can be used not only for recruitment but for employer branding and sales.

At that time, companies were using simple catalogues, Yellow Pages, or they had to buy databases of contacts. The business world was full of gatekeepers. On LinkedIn, everything was free and you could reach high-level leads directly. It was and still is the largest business database in the world. And free. 

Kristína: We are from an entrepreneurial family, and we saw an opportunity and joined forces in 2015. We have the luxury of a supportive family that said, of course, go for it. So we did. We created the first LinkedIn consultancy in Slovakia and rebranded it to SUNDAYFLIES in 2022.

For several years, we hosted the largest LinkedIn event in our region. Now, we focus on creating global LinkedIn architecture, keynotes, and LinkedIn training for innovative companies. 

What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?

We specialize in the B2B sector; our primary marketing strategy centers around leveraging our favorite platform, LinkedIn, in two key ways: content creation and what we refer to as ‘soft sell’ outreach. Our approach emphasizes authentic engagement, providing value, and building meaningful connections. Whether through personalized messaging, insightful content sharing, or interactive workshops, our aim is to foster genuine relationships rather than push sales pitches.

We also actively engage with large audiences through speaking engagements and workshops, aiming to share our expertise and connect with industry leaders. Our visibility has been further enhanced through features in publications like Forbes, which have helped expand our reach.

In the world of B2B marketing, every lead is precious. 

Real connections and genuine conversations lead to big opportunities. Sometimes, just one connection can open doors to deals worth millions. By keeping things real and focusing on genuine engagement, we’ve found success for ourselves and our clients who are using the same strategies. 

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Kristína: The biggest challenge we’ve faced? Imagine trying to write an inspiring book while running a busy consulting business and raising four energetic boys. Sounds almost too tough, doesn’t it? But we managed by tackling it ‘piece by piece,’ just like the saying goes, ‘How do you eat an elephant? Piece by piece.’

Ivana: Breaking down this huge task into smaller parts made it feel more achievable. It wasn’t just about planning well or keeping to a schedule – though those were important. It was also about getting support from everywhere we could.

Our family was amazing, offering both encouragement and hands-on help. We also had a fantastic book coach who guided us through the writing with lots of experience, wisdom, and patience. Working with ReThink Press, a publishing house that really got what we were trying to do, helped bring our book to life in the best way possible.

What really helped us keep going? A mix of good planning, hard work, and being open to getting help from others. Taking things step by step, celebrating the small wins along the way, and keeping our eyes on the prize helped us get through this big project. More than anything, this journey showed us how much can be accomplished with determination, focus, and the right support, making the success of our book a shared victory.

And your proudest moment so far?

Reflecting on our journey, nothing quite compares to the launch of our book ‘The Magic of Employee Influence’ and the overwhelming support it received. Bringing this project to fruition in just a year, amid the lively dynamics of raising four small kids, was a monumental achievement.

The launch event itself was an incredible celebration, with a diverse group of family, friends, clients, and business partners – around 100 people – gathered to share in our success.

The moment our book became an Amazon bestseller felt amazing, and having our work featured by LinkedIn in their Book Club and covered by Forbes added to the thrill, amplifying our message of empowerment and strategic influence of employees across the globe. 

Engaging with audiences on three continents has allowed us to share our insights and methodologies far and wide, supporting our mission to inspire companies to empower their employees´ voices for mutual benefit. 

What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?

First, let your curiosity lead the way – it’s your key to amazing discoveries. Think of it as your personal treasure map, guiding you to exciting places. Dive deep into learning, meet people who’ve done great things, and never stop exploring. Keep your mind active, but do not forget to follow your heart. The feeling of joy will show you your path. In business and life. 

Next, don’t be afraid to be yourself. If everyone else is going one way, what about going another? Being different isn’t just about getting noticed; it’s about creating new paths. We have always loved to be pioneers and work with them. It’s your chance to change the lives of others.

And here’s something important: the adventure is way better when shared. Whether you’re teaming up with family, sharing ideas with friends, or learning from the top industry experts and advisors, it’s this sharing that makes everything more fun. 

Find out more about SUNDAYFLIES.