LCW had the privilege of interviewing Paula Screnci from JRS International Search Partners about the impact she makes both personally and professionally. She shares her experience and expertise in ‘assisting organisations to build enterprise value, sustainability and shareholder returns through identifying high calibre executive talent, encouraging innovation and agility, embracing digital transformation, communicating a clear strategic vision, creating environments conducive to high performance and engagement, conducting HR audits in mergers & acquisitions and developing high performance multicultural teams.’ 

LCW: Your company JRS International Search Partners is an Executive Search firm – can you share with us your journey from when you started your company and why?

P: 30 years ago I left a wonderful career of 13 years with American Express in largely sales and marketing roles to embark on a new career in recruitment. This was a new concept in those days as most companies had a ‘Personnel Manager’ who did the hiring of new employees. Andrew Banks and Geoff Morgan started the ‘recruitment outsourcing’ concept with their business Morgan & Banks at the same time that Elite Consulting Group did. I joined Elite to target businesses requiring Sales and Marketing candidates, and due to my strong sales background, I quickly established a valuable pipeline of business, mostly from the Media, Printing and Banking and Finance sectors. A week after I joined Elite Consulting Group, Joe Screnci joined the company to target the Engineering industry, as he is a Chemical Engineer with an MBA. A robust romance started rather quickly, and we quickly became the two highest performers for Elite, so we had their blessing when we announced our engagement 6 months later. Joe and I have continued to enjoy working in the industry. We worked closely with Jeremy and Jeromine Alpe on Bureau Consulting Group, and in just 7 years we grew the business from a relatively small recruitment business to 10 specialist recruitment businesses under the one umbrella. That business was listed successfully in 1999, one of only 5 recruitment companies to list successfully in Australia. We decided after the listing to start our own Executive Search business, and JRS Global/JRS International Search Partners was born. BTW, the JRS represents Joe’s initials, Joseph Robert Screnci. My name is Paula Maria Screnci and we didn’t think PMS Global was a good business name, so he won that oneJ We are very ‘hands on’ in the business as we enjoy working closely with our clients and candidates to ensure a solid shortlist for each assignment. We were recently approached by a global Executive Search group to be their Asia Pacific partner, so we are very excited about expanding our offices in the region.

LCW: You share your role of managing director with your gorgeous husband Joe. What is it like to work with your husband and how do you avoid talking business 24/7?

P: Now that’s a loaded question! Fortunately, Joe and I are one of those rare couples who can live and work together very well. We do have our moments though as we are both highly competitive, but I think that’s why we have been so successful. We work very long hours and even though we travel quite a lot, when you run your own business, you are always working and therefore usually talking business, often even in my sleep! It has been a balancing act running our businesses whilst raising our son Anthony (28) and daughters Stephanie (25) and Rebecca (21). We are very family focused and believe we have instilled a strong work ethic into our children. They are highly self-motivated, intelligent, caring individuals with tremendous confidence and capability. They really are Joe and my greatest achievement.

LCW: Three things which you are most grateful for?

P: Our 3 amazing children, good health, relatives and friends. Could I add a 4th? Living in Sydney/Australia.

LCW: Your philosophy to be vocal advocates for women in business, embracing diversity, promoting equal opportunity and protecting human rights shines through in your authentic dealings with people – what are 3 of your personal traits which have led to your success?

P: Determination, passion to help others, strong work ethic.

LCW: We believe at LCW in the huge importance of giving back and supporting others – we love that you and Joe are determined to make a difference to those who are underprivileged or disadvantaged and are passionate about charitable causes and philanthropy. What is your “why” about giving back?

P: Compassion for those less fortunate is important to Joe and me, and something we have instilled in our children – as have the schools they went to (Shore and Loreto Kirribilli). Joe was on the Board of Camp Quality for 5 years, I’ve personally been involved in many fundraisers and continue to participate enthusiastically in as many fundraisers as possible. Our children already know that a portion of their inheritance will be donated to a good cause, most likely Medical Research to help future generations.

LCW: What does a normal day look like for you?

P: Up early, check emails and messages, Pilates or power walk, office: interviews, phone calls, client meetings, research, having multiple laughs throughout the day with our team. Brunch is usually circa 2pm at my desk, going out for lunch is a rarity. Usually head home circa 7-7.30pm to cook dinner (loving Hello Fresh), wine, Netflix to unwind (whilst responding to more emails and text messages). I usually fall into bed between 11-12pm and start all over again early the next dayJ

You can learn more about Paula here.