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A couple’s acute vision


Sherie Holder-Olutayo

A couple’s acute vision

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IF YOU asked Donna and Ricky Redman the secret to their 15-year partnership in life and business, they would tell you honestly they don’t know how they’ve done it. But perhaps this might give a little insight into the closeness of the union that produced not only a daughter, 15-year-old Kia, but a thriving business as well. “At our wedding, Ricky started to speak, but he was so overwhelmed that he couldn’t speak,” Donna recalled. “I joined in and we finished the speech together. It’s a partnership in life and family.” As they sat down with EASY magazine, you see a couple in tune with each other, and who for the most part are still finishing each other’s sentences.Unlike most traditional couples that pursue separate careers during the day and link up at home in the evening, Donna and Ricky have managed to find a formula that works for them in business, which doesn’t take away from their personal life.For people who work hard, they play and socialise just as hard as well.“We do socialise together and we do socialise apart,” says Donna. “Although this year I intend to give him a run for his money when it comes to partying.”Naturally, when Donna and Ricky were initially building up the business it meant that they had to sacrifice a lot in terms of family time at home, but it was a great way for them to introduce their daughter to their world of work.“In the early days she used to be here a lot,” Donna said referring to their daughter Kia. “On weekends she would want to sleep here and go to the beach afterwards.”Somehow the extended time at the office and even working at home has paid off for the Redmans. Though they have made adjustments with their time over the years to better balance work and family, it is clear they are both passionate about themselves and their business.“People see me and people think I’m the boss,” says Ricky laughing and deferring playfully to his wife.“I’m the acute because of my focus on details,” Donna said defining the name of their business Acute Vision. During the interview it becomes clear that Donna and Ricky, though working together for a common cause, enjoy the independence of their various roles.“Her office is at the other end of the building,” Ricky adds with a smile on his face.The business and their overall relationship seems to have flourished because of Donna and Ricky’s commitment to managing their separate portfolios while staying true to a mantra they have set for each other. According to Donna, it is “Come hell or high water I’m sticking here”.The connection has worked because of that commitment.“One of the things about Acute Vision is that we adapt well and our marriage has adapted well,” Donna says. “In some ways we’ve grown together, but not doing the same thing.”Ricky who agrees with his wife, adds: “After a while we started to find our own path. Right now Donna manages special projects while I deal a lot with the web and multimedia projects.”Another reason for their success is the trust they have in each other while working on separate things. It’s all part of that unwritten connection they have. And while one would think that as business partners they would be collaborating together in meetings, that couldn’t be further from the truth.“The last time we went on a meeting together was last year,” Donna said.“We work on completely different things,” Ricky reminded us. “It was last year when I saw Donna go in and take control of that meeting and I was like ‘Wow!’,” Ricky said with pride.“We’re ying and yang,” Ricky says. “They’re times when we’re in a meeting and we’re brutally honest. She’s kicking me under the table or I’m kicking her; but that’s the balance.”That isn’t to say that they don’t have their arguments, because with two strong-willed personalities, there are bound to be disagreements.“The conflicts are stimulating because they keep us sharp,” Ricky says. “In some ways I don’t know if we ever resolve some things, but it just works. The person that gets tired first stops arguing.”Donna chimes in: “If I was not with a strong-willed person, I would be bored. Besides, he knows that I love him.”But there is one area where Donna and Ricky are totally focused and united in vision and that is raising their daughter. According to her parents, she seems to have inherited that creative prowess from them.“Our daughter Kia is a very beautiful young lady with a strong personality,” says Donna. “We think she’s the best of both of us.”“She’s not as extroverted as we are, and she doesn’t like the limelight,” Ricky said.However, both parents are very proud of her achievements thus far.“For three years she won gold in NIFCA for photography, when she was seven, eight and nine,” her father said proudly while pointing to some of her photographs that adorn his wall. “She loves to cook, paint and write. I just let her find her own path. We never really push her.”Naturally, parents who have built a business always secretly hope that their children will carry it on in later years, and the Redmans are no different; though they will be supportive of whatever route she takes.“I think photography is more personal to her,” Donna says. “She just enjoys it. While I would like her to carry on the business I wouldn’t want her to in the form that it’s in now. I would like it to be more streamlined.”While Kia continues to grow up, the Redmans are continuing to grow together both as a couple and as business partners.“We have not tried to change each other. We were honest from day one,” Donna says.Perhaps their success comes for trusting each other and allowing themselves to be individuals. So whether or not they’re together or apart, they are still a unit.“For me, Ricky can go out and have fun, because I know that at the end of the day our vows are still rock solid,” Donna says.

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