Ava Airways CEO Olivier Arrindell is an experienced professional, business acumen and became one of the youngest members of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry with ongoing success in Latina America, Central America, North America, and the Caribbean. In this interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online, He talks about the Ava Airways brand, his mission to connect Africa with Caribbean and role as the new CEO. Excerpts.
Alaba: Kindly tell us about Ava Airways and the gap its fill?
Olivier: With Ava Airways, we didn’t want to just envision a bunch of loosely connected potential innovations. Instead, our goal was to create a cohesive concept for the future airline. To do this, we organized all of our design innovations around three core principles: “Taking Crazy Out of Flying”- making Ava Airways actually worthy of passenger affection; “Know the Journey”- designing touch points that are tailored to the unique moments comprising a passenger’s journey with Ava Airways; and, “Membership Matters”- creating a business model that goes beyond fare-based transactions.
Ava Airways is an Airline carrier of the Dominican Republic with a clear plan and vision to properly connect and operate scheduled flights via its Hub in this city of Santo Domingo, to the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa. The Service Ava Airways plans to provide would allow Latin American and Caribbean enraptures and corporations to properly connect with each other in commerce and trade specially in the tourism sector
Alaba: As its new Chief Executive, what are your set milestones in terms of growth and impact?
Olivier: In this role, I am responsible and accountable to the Board of Directors for carrying out my duties and my number one goal is to properly connect Africa with the Americas and the Americas with each other. Being the CEO of an airline is not the kind of job that someone just slips into. Typically, these airline big wigs worked their way up the corporate ranks. In some cases, they’ve been recruited from similar positions in other industries.
Historically, most airline CEOs have spent a considerable amount of time in some type of management structure. I did not have that kind of road map. I was appointed CEO of Ava Airways because of my row core entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset. It’s an attitude and approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change. It’s a mindset that embraces critical questioning, innovation, service and continuous improvement.“It’s about seeing the big picture and thinking like there is no tomorrow,”
“To me, being of African descendant, that’s the spirit I live by and is the way of approaching situations where you feel empowered, motivated, and capable of taking things into your own hands, “Like connecting Africa with the Caribbean”.
Companies that nurture an entrepreneurial spirit within their organization encourage their employees to not only see problems, solutions and opportunities, but to come up with ideas to do something about them.” Entrepreneurial CEO’s like myself tend to have a more innovative approach to thinking about their products or services, new directions to take the company in, or new ways of doing old tasks.
Alaba: One of your major priorities at Ava Airways is to connect Africa with the Caribbean and Latin America. What sparked the interest and why now?
Olivier: the second largest African population in the world is Brazil, The USA, Then Spanish Specking Americas, then we have the Caribbean. Why now you ask? Because now its our TIME !
Alaba: Could you tell us more about your Africa destination strategy with emphasis on your unique offerings?
Olivier: This is a technical question hahaha, for the simple reason I cannot provide key secrets to our strategy and game plan. Keep a close eye on Ava Airways and see the strategy manifest itself.
Alaba: How is the current global pandemic affecting your operations and how are you navigating the challenges in these dire times?
Olivier: To be frank we have been given a gift from the higher powers, because just in time for the launching of Ava Airways here comes Ms. Corona Virus with her attitude, so we have escape all of the issues that others are currently facing and I am great to the gift.
Alaba: What are the safety measures and assurance you have incorporated in your operations? Are you Post COVID-19 prepared?
Olivier: YES, we are. Ava Airways Director of SQS and the rest of the team shall implement all of the recommendation that is provided by IATA and Local Authorities.
Alaba: How would you describe the state of aviation in Africa and where do you see the industry in 5 years?
Olivier: I believe I am not the correct person to answer this question at this time, however I do see the state of Aviation in Africa as one of the same kind you are seeing today with the movement of people from Africa to Europe and North America to the movement of people from Africa to the Caribbean and Latin America.
Alaba: What is the future for Ava Airways in terms of its size, products and impact?
Olivier: I believe Ava Airways future is bright and you will be around to see what kind of product and impact we shall have on the industry.
Alaba: What is your leadership style and philosophy?
Olivier: Simple, Entrepreneurial Spirit. My fundamental believe is, if you want to make people happy sell ice cream!
Alaba: Your message to the industry and the critical stakeholders who depends on it for survival?
Olivier: Financial disciple and change the way you think.
B I O G R A P H Y
Olivier Arrindell was the Managing Director of Financial Planning, Investor Relations, & Corporate Planning for Grace Aviation Holdings, LLC, and in December of 2019 was appointed as the CEO of Ava Airways by it’s Board of Directors. In this role, he is responsible and accountable to the Board of Directors for carrying out his duties and possesses a demonstrated track record in interacting with a policy board. Mr. Arrimdell plans, coordinates, directs, and is responsible for all activities associated with the operation of Ava Airways and it’s related economic development activities.
During his career, Mr. Arrindell has been instrumental in several initiatives including the development of Antigua & Barbuda’s new International Airport and many others, in addition, he has led the communications efforts around Grace Aviation’s company’s investment negotiation with investment partners and debt offerings. Most recently, he played a key role in the development and communication of Ava Airways balanced capital deployment strategy plan for its commercial airline plans which have resulted in favorable terms and conditions through a dividend principle policy.
Prior to joining Ava Airways and leveraging his professional experience and business acumen, Mr. Arrindell became one of the youngest members of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.
Mr. Arrindell’s ongoing success in Latina America, Central America, North America, and the Caribbean has been facilitated by his knowledge of financial management, Strategic Alliances, airline/aviation strategist, and a track record of successfully pulling together exceptional teams and business partners.
Christa Sanders Bobtoya: The Woman Advancing International Education in Africa
Christa Sanders Bobtoya has been involved in the field of international education for the last two decades. She has lived in Accra, Ghana since 2004 and is currently the Director/Head of Webster University’s Ghana Campus, the only American university in the sub-region offering US-accredited graduate and undergraduate degrees. Sanders Bobtoya spent her first decade in Ghana as the Associate Director of New York University’s (NYU) 6th global site and the university’s first study abroad program on the African continent. As the head of Webster Ghana, she works daily to fulfill the University’s mission of providing high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.
“I have always been passionate about education, international travel and intercultural experiences. In my role of Director of Webster University Ghana Campus, I am able to fuse together all of my passions where I work daily to fulfill the University’s mission of providing high quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence,” says Sanders Bobtoya who is committed to promoting international educational opportunities to students worldwide and has worked and studied in Spain, Germany, Ethiopia, Ghana, Brazil and the United States.
Sanders Bobtoya has traveled extensively across 5 continents, spanning 85 countries dedicating much of her career to the field of higher education and managing study abroad programs as well as international branch campuses of US institutions both in Europe and Africa.
Previous experiences have included a role as a Program Officer for the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York where she managed a range of scholarship programs for both Latin American and African students through the Institute’s Scholarship and Training Programs (STP) division and as the Chief Counselor of Students for Syracuse University in Madrid, Spain where she also co-founded a support organization, Voices of Change, to help students of color cope with discrimination outside of the United States. Additionally, Sanders Bobtoya has provided cross-cultural counseling services in Berlin, Germany and developed short-term, faculty-led study abroad programs to both Eastern and Western Africa for Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia, and has consulted a number of educational institutions focused on international educational initiatives such as Stanford University, Dartmouth College and the Council of International Education (CIEE), the world’s largest international educational exchange organizations.
Currently, in the role of Director/Head of Webster University’s Ghana Campus; the only American university in the sub-region offering US-accredited graduate and undergraduate degrees, Sanders Bobtoya works daily to fulfill the University’s mission of providing high quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.
“Under my leadership at Webster University Ghana, students are exposed to new ways of thinking and benefit from the cultural diversity and enriching academic environment that strengthens their critical-thinking skills. Since opening our doors in 2014, we have enrolled both undergraduate and graduate students from over 25 different countries, spanning four continents including many from Africa and its Diaspora who later join Webster’s elite network of over 157,000 alumni worldwide,” adds Christa Sanders-Bobtoya who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia where she graduated summa cum laude before completing her Ed.M and M.A. degrees in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in cross-cultural studies/multiculturalism from Columbia University in New York.
Learn More about Webster University Ghana at the Online Open House
Hussein Fakhry, MD of Key Architectural Group Nominated for The 2020 Ghana Industry CEO Awards
Hussein Fakhry, the Co-Founder, Managing Director and Lead Architect at KEY
Architectural Group has been identified as one of the most outstanding chief executives in
corporate Ghana by Ghana Industry CEO Awards.
Hussein’s astute leadership at Key Architectural Group led to the nomination of Top CEO in the
Construction (Building) category. KEY Architectural Group has offices in Accra, Ghana, Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Beirut, Lebanon.
The 2020 Ghana Industry CEOs Awards is an annual awards scheme aimed at identifying and
publicly recognizing the most outstanding Chief Executives in corporate Ghana across a wide
range of sectors.
Backed with a Master’s in Business Administration and over 24 years of experience in the Design and Construction Field, the architect by profession and passion has been behind landmark residential, commercial, touristic, and industrial projects in West Africa and Lebanon.
Hussein Fakhry designs are inspired by nature, sustainability and contextual architecture.
To vote, kindly visit: Ghana Industry CEO Awards
aYo Holdings appoints Marius Botha as Group CEO
African micro-insurance fintech business aYo Holdings, a joint venture between telecommunication giant MTN and traditional insurer Momentum Metropolitan Holdings (MMH), has appointed Marius Botha as its new group chief executive officer (CEO).
Botha was formerly CEO of life insurer Stangen for nearly seven years, having previously held executive positions at African Bank and Munich Re.
aYo Holdings offers accidental hospital cover and life cover in Zambia, Uganda and Ghana with additional African countries launching in the very near future.
Botha holds an honours degree in actuarial science and an M.Phil in Futures Studies.
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