Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 September 2019

Off hours: Dubai Consultancy founder rises to new heights

The entrepreneur Flo Janin heads to Dubai's Kite Beach to go kitesurfing when she needs to unwind from work.
Flo Janin likes to get away from her life as a consultant and entrepreneur to go kite surfing. Antonie Robertson / The National
Flo Janin likes to get away from her life as a consultant and entrepreneur to go kite surfing. Antonie Robertson / The National

Flo Janin is the managing partner and co-founder of Brave Strategic Consultancy Dubai, a communications company with a portfolio of brands ranging from international blue chips to start-ups. The French-Australian, who has 20 years’ experience in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, has been based in the region for the past 12 years. The 44-year-old lives in Dubai with her husband, daughter, six, and son, three. She says Brave is her third child.

How do you spend your weekend?

For me, weekend is family time. Given the nature of my husband’s work – he is a musician – we do not see each other much during the week, so Fridays are dedicated family days spent together with the kids. We often head into the des­ert for an adventure or two, or have a movie night at home, but we make sure to stay well away from the malls.

How did you become a managing partner and company founder?

I co-founded Brave in 2014 after a long career on the client side. What has been refreshing so far is being involved across a number of sectors and brands, as opposed to being single- minded in one specific industry or brand. Becoming an entrepreneur has been an amazing journey, with some tough times when you least expect them, but all in all, I love it. It keeps my adrenalin running high, which I thrive on.

What is your go-to gadget?

My iPhone. As an entrepreneur, work never stops; even when I sleep, thoughts and ideas are running through my head about the next client launch or new market entry. I dread dropping it or the kids hiding it.

What was the lowest point of your career?

I just wish I had become an entrepreneur earlier and before my dad passed away, as he was my confidante and adviser, and I miss him very much.

What advice would you offer others starting out in your business?

Make the jump and take the risk to cross over earlier than they feel they are ready. You learn so much along the way and it makes you stronger and wiser. It is hard not to fear failure, especially if you are the main income earner, the pressure is immense, but it is all part of the learning process. If the first business or idea does not work, learn from it and build on it, and move forward. My company’s tagline is “Fortune Favours the Brave” for a good reason. At times, it can be tough to keep on being brave, both at a team and client level, but it is all about moving forward, one step at a time, big or small.

What is your most indulgent habit?

I am a self-confessed kitesurfing addict. I learnt here in Dubai and then became an instructor in Boracay, Philippines. When I can get away and the wind is good enough, I pack my car and head to Kite Beach. It allows me to experience ­total freedom on the water, and looking back at the beautiful Dubai skyline from the sea, provides much-needed thinking time away from the kids and the company to ensure I don’t burn out. This sport is packed with fun and adrenalin, and is also very social. I highly recommend it.

What can’t you live without?

My family. Being a mother is truly the best job in the world. It is a constant and never-ending learning curve, but the love is unconditional and every day is a new adventure. My son was born here and my daughter has lived in Dubai since she was one. It has been an amazing home for us and we are very thankful.

What do you have on your desk at work?

I actually spend most of my day on the road visiting clients with the team, or working from coffee shops in between. So my Macbook is my office and my best friend is my Wi-Fi hotspot.

What car do you drive?

My trusted steed these days is simply an FJ Cruiser. I love its unique back door opening feature, which is great extra safety for the kids, especially during school runs. Its initials matching mine is pure coincidence.

How do you achieve a work-life balance?

As a mother, achieving a work-life balance is one of the hardest challenges; mothers forever have to juggle this and learn to live with feeling guilty about never spending enough time with our kids. For me, it is about focusing on the right things in both life and work, to enjoy what I do to the fullest and avoid burning out. Having kids has made me a lot more mature and helped me ensure I always put things into perspective.

If you could swap jobs with anyone who would it be and why?

I love what I do right now, so I would not swap it for anything else at this point. However, I am truly inspired by the female entrepreneurial spirit in the UAE and cherish the fact that I work with some of the best and I can learn from their success. On my wish list though, is a CSR-oriented retirement.

business@thenational.ae

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Updated: January 12, 2017 04:00 AM

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