In this episode of Magical Mornings, we featured Nicole Rodrigues who is an Indian entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Dubai-based Diva Group of Companies. She launched Diva Modeling and Events in 2003. After the success of her modeling agency, the company branched out into real estate by starting Diva Holdings. In 2010, the company established NM Investments and further expanded its horizons by venturing into consulting and accounting services. By 2011, Nicole added two more business lines, Diva Laundry and Diva Salon. Nicole has been bestowed with several awards over the years. In 2015, she was recognized in the Outstanding Category at the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards. In 2014, Nicole was acknowledged as one of the Forbes Top Indian Leaders in the Arab World. She also won the CEO of the year at the CEO Awards in 2014. Today, Diva Group of companies is capitalizing on its home grown success and expanding its operations to Qatar, Kuwait, Doha, Bahrain, Turkey, India and Pakistan.
Here’s the interview of Nicole Rodrigues with UnitePod.
Nicole: Hi, good morning to the magical mornings and thank you for having me on the show. This is Nicole Rodrigues, the founder and CEO of Diva Group of Companies, Diva Company of modeling, Diva Salon, Diva Holdings. I have been in UAE since 2003. Mother of 2, I have a son and a daughter born in Cochin in India and I love living in UAE. I am a serial entrepreneur and I love new businesses and innovation and creativity and the ability to create opportunity in the region. I am super blessed to have met many successful, wonderful, smart individual in my lifetime and built great network and relationships that have got me where I am today. So Diva modeling and events was founded in 2003 and it started off as a modeling agency and then we expanded it into other verticals like Activation promotion, Fashion events, Films and films productions and we soon are expanding into PR and digital Marketing. With Diva Holdings, we owns a few assets in the region that we manage and look after in real estate. And then we got DIVA Salon in the beauty industry where I work very well with the modeling events and where we work with people and try to help them look better. I like to believe that I am a fun person and I am transparent, loving, kind, understanding and try to work on my value system and stay positive and passionate. My goal in life is to be able to add value in every relationship that I create and build along the way and to be of service to everyone I meet and come across.
Q. You seem to have been taking the stepping stone in am extremely early age which is incredible. Would you like to talk about your vibrant journey so far?
Nicole: That is true. I think I actually started when I was 7 or 8 years when I suddenly woke up one morning and thought how can I actually start working. So I took all my old comics and laid it out in front if my building and tried to sell them for money. I have always been an entrepreneur. I actually started modeling when I was 16, I got scouted by a very famous choreographer, Vikram Phadnis, now a designer and did many fashion shows and covers in India. I was very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to success at a very early age. The journey has been absolutely phenomenal and vibrant and constantly evolving. I tempt to be open and try new things without judging and having fear, being apprehensive or looking at the worst and what can happen out of any opportunity and I think that has been a great help with my own mindset to be able to try new things, to be able to jump into new things whether I knew it if I was trained for it or not. I experienced a lot of experiences. I like to believe that I actually lived many a lifetimes in my one little lifetime.
Q. There is a lot about you online but something that I would like to know about is your childhood. So how was that, tell me more about that and I am sure it wasn’t a normal one.
Nicole: I guess there is a lot about me online. Well childhood has been wonderful. My mother was from Kerala, so was my dad. They moved to Mumbai and I was born and brought up there. When it comes to my childhood, I think I had a very healthy childhood. My father used to work and my mother was a housewife so we had her around all the time which is very attentive and dad was a fantastic provider. I went to school in Mumbai to Jamunabai and then St, Mary’s and then St. Andrew and then I graduated from National College and did my BSC. I suppose my childhood was like every other kid. I had a younger brother. It was wonderful. My father was an intellect and my mother was very smart street wise. I guess I got a bit of both and it worked beautifully for me.
Q. You have explored many different verticals of business in your career and have proven yourself to be successful. Which one marked as the turning point for you Nicole?
Nicole: That’s true. I have tried many different verticals. It started off with modeling agency which I started in 2003. As I started expanding in creating more verticals, I realized there was a requirement in the market and so I started expanding and it just went naturally into Activation and promotions, Fashion events, films and Films productions. So it was a matter of time. I don’t think anyone business was my turning point as such. I think it just flew into the opportunity as I was always open and willing and ready to try things without many judgments or fear or apprehensions. The willingness to try something new and learn is probably the reason why I can say that it has been a fantastic journey with so many different verticals and so many different businesses.
Q. What are the best resources that have helped you on your entire journey?
Nicole: In terms of resources, I think it’s the people. I have met just so many amazing people. I am very blessed to meet very talented and willing people around me. The relationships that I have built around them have been the greatest resource. I think people are power. The relationships are important. I think together with elective archness, we could create new things if we work together as a team. The whole notion of working together as a team rather being all about me is extremely vital for great success.
Q. Nicole, you have bagged multiple awards for yourself. Was there any specific one that you define as the game changer and which one is coming next?
Nicole: I think that’s a good one. It’s true that I have been so fortunate and lucky to always be acknowledged and received so many awards. It’s just wonderful. I don’t think there is any one specific award that was a game changer as such. But I think some of my favorite awards that I have won is Forbes which was a total surprise and the business leader and CEO if the year. These are some of the awards which I have experienced and have really enjoyed.
Q. If you could step into my shoes for a moment, what question would you ask yourself that I haven’t yet?
Nicole: I suppose that I would ask myself that what is it that I practice and try to do constantly. I strongly believe in positivity and always being of service. And I believe that a lot of us are here to serve each other and every time we isolate each other and not make ourselves available or lean towards lethargy or fear, we kind of lose ourselves and the opportunity to being able to create new things. I think being together and spending time together, team work is one of the great opportunities to have great experience in life. I think one need to be filled with positivity and kindness, love, understanding, hard work and try to walk away from judgment and fear and opinions. I think that’s what makes us wonderful.
Q. What message would you like to give to our listeners and where can they connect with you?
Nicole: I always used to believe that we all are gifted and have different gifts. I think we just need to be focused in being excellent and doing what we are meant to do rather than wondering what other people are doing, or judging other people or comparing ourselves to other people. We would create a greater and higher version of ourselves. So my little take away from this would be stay focused on yourself and stay focused on what you can do to create great experience for yourself and get closer to your goals every day. So set a goal and work towards it and ignore everybody else and their opinions or comparison or fear, insecurities and keep going. That’s the only way.
We just need to take move forward. We don’t have to have everything figured out.
So Nicole, thank you so much for being here today. It was such a pleasure. It was so amazing to talk with you. Thank you so much for being here.
Nicole: Thank you for having me on the show. It’s been wonderful and I look forward to hear from you again.
That’s a wrap of another episode of Magical Mornings featuring Nicole Rodrigues who brought her comic selling entrepreneur skills to found DIVA Group of Company which started as modeling agency but further expanded as Activation and promotion, Fashion events, Films and films productions and are soon expanding into PR and digital Marketing.
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