Meet Jennifer Randive - the Maverick CEO

Written By: Sandi Saksena
Dubai Updated: Jan 28, 2020, 06:03 PM(IST)

Jennifer Photograph:( Others )

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Crisis, Challenges, Change 3 words that characterise the multilingual Jennifer Randive

Jennifer Randive is the Maverick Visionary at Focus Direct Management Consultants based in the Dubai UAE, a company that she has owned since 1999. 

Just as Jennifer has evolved in her personal life so has her company, Focus Direct has morphed from a premier boutique executive search and selection firm for over 20 years.  In her own words  “It’s now about - be the change that transforms you and your results!” 

Jennifer facilitates B2P and P2B Strategies Creating Change within businesses and in their people simultaneously. She designs Engagement Models that assist and accelerate people into their own individual awareness which transforms and enhances their performance and productivity. 

Crisis, Challenges, Change 3 words that characterise the multilingual Jennifer Randive, who speaks Arabic, French, Tamil in addition to English and Hindi  

Behind the façade of continued corporate successes is a woman who faced physical and emotional challenges who grows stronger and more resilient with each ordeal. Her first jolt at age 2, a victim of a head-on collision with a rickshaw and a bus she escaped unhurt but the post-traumatic stress paralysed her waist down.

What has unfolded in her life would have knocked many down but Jennifer is the proverbial Phoenix who rises better and stronger every time!  

Why did you start working at such a young age?  

I wanted to go to university, get my degrees, perhaps get a job till I got married, settled down with a family of my own. Love and nurture my babies. However, the Universe had some other plans! A few really hard knocks were in store  

Lack of funds meant I had to shelve my desire for a college degree,  I never let go and have funded my education and international mentoring and coaching certifications. Kuwait was home to me at that time I entered the workforce and soon rose to be the youngest purchase manager in the Meridien Chain of Hotels worldwide at the age of 20. I was headhunted for all the roles I worked in.  

23, Assistant General Manager of an Exclusive French brand of chocolate Marquise De Sevigne. Later I went  to work for the prestigious high quality, largest and only Department Store at that time - Al Khaleejia. Later headhunted to be a Buyer for Mothercare of London, working with the Al Shaya Group. 

You mentioned you wanted to marry settle down start a family?

Yes, I married at 27 and was blessed with Sacha when I was 28 I was living my dream - career, my own family I felt blessed! However, my idyllic world crumbled, everything changed, my precious daughter Sacha was Downs Syndrome Trisomy 21 -  born with 5 defects in her heart. Misadvised to wait till she was age 5 to have open heart surgery the Universe worked in wonderous ways to save my baby’s life. On a visit to Delhi when Sacha was 18 months I consulted a leading cardiologist, after reviewing Sacha's reports he declared that  Sacha's case was too complicated for him to handle, he referred me to Dr. Ganesh Mani a renowned pediatric cardiologist, who upon checking Sacha said she had to be operated on immediately. Yes, time was of the essence as with each day her heart condition was deteriorating and in weeks she would be inoperable. I recall being totally present with what was going on and in full surrender. 

I flew with Sacha and my mom to Chennai. No Contacts, but people from there started showing up to assist us in every way possible and we got taken care of Blessings all the way. Sacha went in for her cardiac catheterisation  
So, things were looking good? 

I was asked to buy the surgical equipment. I felt as if I had been punched in my solar plexus. Me, the mother, going to buy surgical equipment. I even had to organize 9 bottles of blood for the surgery, I  didn’t know anyone to ask for this, yet 9 students showed up who donated blood  Blessings Time and again 

Day of the surgery I recall numbness, no expectations, total surrender just being present in the moment .My mind was not involved anymore, it was surreal  

Sacha's surgery was over 5 hours doctor said we had to wait to see is she would pull through. I visited Sacha  in ICU. I felt crushed, my 18-month-old baby was hooked up with tubes that were sticking out from her neck, her hands, her lungs, her feet, she looked almost like she was on a crucifix. I said to myself she is God’s child.  

How far was my faith to be tested?  

3rd day, a frantic call from the ICU, Sacha was not responding she had gone into a coma, her eyes had flipped and the readings on the monitors were going haywire. In the next 15 minutes, the doctor arrived, worked on Sacha for over an hour she stabilized!  

*Sacha is now 33 years old and is a permanent employee of HSBC in Dubai for the last 12 years 

That must have been a major relief for you?

Yeah in a way but what would you say to a person who steps into crisis after crisis? Flew back to Kuwait to start afresh. 15 days later the Gulf War started, no communication with the outside world.

There I was with Sacha who had just undergone 2 heart surgeries and an appendectomy. I chose to prioritise stuff for Sacha who with God's Grace was in perfect health. I managed to get on a mercy flight operated by the Indian air force, allowed only 15 kilos, I took just Sacha's stuff, I landed in Delhi penniless just with the clothes and shoes I was wearing a refugee however we were blessed, we had mum’s roof over our head.   

Without money or clothes the next day my job search started, I landed a job as manager of the flower shop at the Meridien Hotel in Delhi.  

 In 1992 came to Dubai, job hunting again. Got the job, l made my first placement on the first day of being at work.  At 39, working for IIR Exhibitions and Conference, Now Informa, as their Sales and Sponsorship Manager, I was informed that I must have a hysterectomy, it was urgent if I wanted to have a healthy life. My surgery had failed. 

My 3-week ‘vacation’ turned into a 6 months nightmare, I lost my job. The specialist urologist declared he couldn’t do anything for 3 months as I had to heal. 

Later, I was offered a job as Marketing Manager for an Events Company, I worked there for 1 year and then pursued my passion. Recruitment!  I started Focus Direct Management Consultants in 1999 a Boutique Recruitment Firm. Many advised against doing this as there were many in the recruiting business. 

Why did you go against advice of the majority and market trends? 

I was in love with the idea of recruitment. I had been on the other side of the table I knew what it felt to get the job the relief the elation, I wanted to give job seekers that joy. I relished the experience of assisting candidates to find their ideal career and clients to find the match to take their business forward. 

In 2012, I sensed change on the horizon. I had created a robust recruiting practice. I wanted to add another dimension- people and business being more engaged with one other. I witnessed many situations where people were unhappy at work, companies firing people. A major gap existed I started bridging the gap as my next mission and target.  2013 I shifted to Change and Transformational Consulting, helping organisations and individuals better engage, empowering them collectively to enhance and transform as a single unit!  People are changing, Businesses had to be open to change! 

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