The Year That Was: Halima Jumani, Director, Kibsons
Kibsons managed to rise to the occasion and serve its customers in the best way it could, the brand also put its best foot forward in supporting not just its own employees through this crisis, but also local SMEs by offering them a place on its online platform.
In her role as Director at Kibsons, one of the most prominent names in the fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and poultry industry in the UAE, Halima Jumani (who’s also a part of the founding family behind the brand) has been overseeing the company’s focus on distributing fresh, healthy food directly from market-to-door for thousands of UAE residents for more than ten years. And even so, this experience wasn’t enough to prepare Jumani for what came her and Kibsons’ way over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, be it with the health and safety concerns, the surge in demand, or even just the overwhelming sense of unsettlement that governed not just businesses but people as well through this period.
Having said that, it is definitely to her and her company’s credit that they managed to come out on top despite everything that happened- not only did Kibsons manage to rise to the occasion and serve its customers in the best way it could, the brand also put its best foot forward in supporting not just its own employees through this crisis, but also local SMEs by offering them a place on its online platform.
“Responding to the COVID-19 lockdown during March 2020 and stepping up the business capacity to meet the urgent grocery delivery requirement of thousands of UAE residents, was definitely the most demanding highlight of 2020 for me,” Jumani recalls. “It challenged my years of experience in supply chain operations, and put to test the robust, operational, and corporate structure at Kibsons International in scaling the business more than three times and restoring our same-day delivery service in less than six weeks of the initial lockdown stage. Both personally and professionally, it was a rewarding experience.” And when asked what kept her going through it all, Jumani replies with a nod to the purposeful career she has taken on for herself. “I love what I do,” she declares. “The opportunity to add value to so many families in the UAE community through both healthy deliveries and increasing job opportunities is quite an honor. I do not take this for granted, and it’s an uphill challenge to satisfy the high expectations our customers have come to expect from Kibsons.”
Time for introspection: Halima Jumani reflects on 2020
1/ Gratitude “That’s the one big word that overshadows everything. For sure, many people have experienced a deep sense of gratitude for what they have, whether its health, family, friends, customers, skills, or a great team at work, who will stand by you in the most difficult times.”
2/ Nothing is a given “Things can change at any time, and we need to have the ability and mindset to adapt swiftly to changing circumstances. Adaptability is probably the greatest skill to have in this era. What really drives success in today’s world is agility, responsiveness, and an authentic and deep understanding of real customer needs. We have to remain flexible to remain relevant.”
3/ Communication “This is so important in good times, but also in challenging times. It helps people resonate, empathize, and deeply connect on honest, truthful, and human grounds, thereby starting an era of true customer relationship.”
Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.
Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.