Rani Dabrai

Rani Dabrai is CEO and owner of the Moneypenny Group, an internationally-trading remote support and global concierge company founded in Ireland, which partners with a number of international agencies, chambers and embassies. Rani has been CEO at the Moneypenny Group for 10 years.

What has been your career highlight to date?

A recent highlight was the successful management of a project to bring a number of senators and other government officials from the USA to Dublin. We had to handle every last detail, from travel, accommodation, dining and entertainment all the way up to gym access, corporate gifting and sourcing specialist footwear for a site visit. As a result of the success of that trade mission, our client won a significant amount of funding from the US government.

What qualities do you need to succeed in business?

The list is really endless, but for me personally, I think that the key things are adaptability, relentless optimism, and a good head for numbers. A good business owner needs to be able to pivot if they need to, smile through adversity and to understand the numbers to be able to make fact-based decisions for business development. 

Who or what are your main influences?

I spent the first five years in business being told that the business would never work and that there simply wasn't a market. Being brave, bold and making a difference - these are key drivers for me, and to that end I watch the behaviour of entrepreneurs who go out there to make a difference, doing things differently, positively, with a bigger picture in mind. Elon Musk is a great example of this. I would rather be ahead of the curve than behind it. 

What is the most challenging part of your role?

We are extremely selective about who we work with. I find it hard to make a decision about who we say no to in any given month because there are so many brilliant people and organisations that come our way. Making those choices and breaking the news isn't easy.

What, in your view, is the biggest challenge facing directors in Ireland today?

I think that finding brilliant staff is harder than it used to be. Job permanence is not desirable any more. People now crave change, mobility and freedom. I believe that a big challenge for business owners is to understand the new mentality, and weave it into their business in a way that works. A lot of companies struggle with this, and as a result miss out on opportunities to retain talent.      

What, in your opinion, makes a great leader?

I think you have to leave your ego at the door and understand that the only way to be brilliant is to hire a brilliant team. I see leaders who get so caught up in being right, being better than everyone else, that they lose sight of the big vision. Being a leader means serving your team, allowing them to be their best and shine, so that they can do their best. 

What do you hope to gain from your membership with the IoD?

I am looking forward to networking with other director/CEO level individuals as I think there's a lot to be learned from shared experience.