Kenya’s National Airline Boss credits God and family in Helping him run the company

Written by on April 17, 2023

On April 7th, 2023 Kenya’s national airline boss Allan Kasavuli told the business journalist of  Business Daily how God and family have helped and kept encouraging him in this work. Allan Kasavuli has over 26 years of working experience, He is currently the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Kenya Airways PLC. He started his career at Deloitte and then General Electric Company where he held various senior leadership positions in their Sub-Saharan Africa businesses before joining Jambojet.

Below are excerpts from the interview;

You are 50, what’s currently defining this season for you?

It’s a good season. I’ve got one grown-up [21] and two teenage daughters. [16 and 18] So that’s my biggest assignment, raising my children, raising a family responsible in society.

And the big question is; how do I do it more effectively for the benefit of society and humanity? What more can I do?

How can I get more wisdom to impact society through my children, myself of course? Parenting changes with not just the age but the gender of the child. It’s not one that fits everybody else. It’s the same with employees. People are individuals so you have to treat them as such, not as a group of people or as a number.

What is your love language?

You know those ones change as well, right? They change depending on age, circumstances, the person you are with and so on.

Of course, there are some dominant ones, which in my case are acts of service. But when I’m going through a difficult time I need affirmations and support most.

And then of course sometimes I’m trying to reciprocate to my wife who is the love of my life and whose language is quality time.

My children on the other hand are all over the place when it comes to this particular one.

It’s refreshing to hear someone describe their wife as ‘the love of my life’ in an interview.

Oh yeah. She’s a cornerstone. We met on a bus in college. She was one year behind me in school. I think we were going for a trip.

I heard a burst of laughter at the back – she laughs a lot – so I turned to see who was this with that joyous laughter and I saw her and I liked her and I went to the back of the bus to talk to her.

We started as friends and then I don’t know how it morphed into a relationship and a marriage that is 23 years old.

How do you maintain such longevity?

It’s by the grace of God and being intentional. My wife goes way above her call of duty to support me. She says the same about me.

I feel like she bent backward for me, even in my current role. It is the simple things like the words that she speaks, her encouragement, making sure that I have everything I need, asking me questions to find out where I need support, and praying for me. It could be very difficult for me if I didn’t have her in my life.

From where do you get your most important affirmation?

From God. The truth is that you need an anchor and for me, my anchor is God and His word. His affirmation doesn’t change but people’s affirmation does because they have expectations about you when you have challenges.

You know, there are many times when I’ve had friends who tell me all the nice things to my face but say different things about me to other people.

So if you are unstable, if you kind of rely on that for affirmation, you can imagine what that does to your personality.

I also have my wife’s and my children’s affirmations. I have what I call The 4Fs; faith, family, fun, and friends.

You mention faith a lot, is that the same as being born again?

Yeah. I know those things are very confusing. The bottom line is acknowledging God as the anchor of your life, so submit to Him.

I always see God as a father and a father can disappoint. Is there a time that your relationship with God was most tumultuous?

Of course, sometimes I have questioned why, if God is love, then why does he allow so much suffering in the world?

That’s the age-old question and why people rebel against Him. I have been disappointed and it’s okay to feel that way, especially when you are not as mature and clear in your understanding of Him.

How does your faith sit with the whole politics of running an institution like this?

The Bible says, ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ That rings true even in this job.

You need to distinguish between politics and facts. If people trust you they will believe you because you meant well.

There’s one thing I said when I took this job. I said, ‘I will make mistakes, but my intentions will always be pure’.

Is there any particular character in the Bible that you most identify with?

(Chuckles) The Apostle Peter, he’s a very interesting character. Peter means well. He’s very passionate but he’s very impulsive.

He makes decisions before he thinks and so Jesus keeps telling him to watch his step. He swore curses on himself and said ‘I’m not going to betray Jesus’. And I think he meant it.

But it means that he did not know himself well enough, because he betrayed Him. And then after the betrayal he thought to himself like, ‘How did I do that?’

I find him very interesting, and I have to keep checking myself to say, ‘Are you sure, have you really thought about this? In another instance for example, when Jesus asks him do you love me three times? And in the end, the last question, he felt offended.

But Jesus was trying to check on him. So I believe that the message here to Peter is always don’t be too sure about yourself.

Are you sure about yourself?

Not always. That’s why I rely on God.

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