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Corporate Interview

FINANCIAL STANDARD
By BY LILLIAN KIARIE | October 29th 2013

BY LILLIAN KIARIE

SEAL TRAVEL INTERNATIONAL LTD: After high school, many opt to laze around, socialise or wait for a job to be found for them. However, Meshack Kimutai threw himself into the field of entrepreneurship and does not plan on looking back.

Who is Meshack Kimutai? I am in my early 20s and the CEO of Seal Travel International Ltd, the founder of Mombasa Business Forum and Expo Ltd and chairman of the Kenya Youth Alliance, which is a nationwide empowerment network for the youth.

I founded Seal Travel International Ltd two years ago in Mombasa. It deals with air ticketing, car hire, hotel bookings, tours, safaris and other holiday packages.

What does your work entail?

My work involves overseeing and managing Seal Travel, which has different sections. I also manage the Mombasa Business Forum  and Expo, which I founded in August 2013. It will be a bi-annual event and will be taking place from April next year. The event aims to bring together companies to exhibit their services, and at the same time it bring the youth on board in entrepreneurship. Its main aim is youth empowerment.

What is your hardest task as CEO?

Putting together the business of travel and tours, which is a wide sector. I have learnt to put up different managing units, which I then coordinate.

What is your typical working day like? My day begins at 5am and ends at midnight. After I wake up, I pray, clean up, and read emails, texts, the Bible, a topic in a motivational book, newspapers and online news. I then make appointments, outline my schedule and head out to Seal Travel offices. I leave the office at noon as my part is just coordinating and delegating. I then work on marketing, attend meetings and plan events. I finish at around 10pm. I have set aside Monday as my off day.

If you are not working, what are you likely to be doing? I am probably in meetings, at events or at a youth empowerment project.

What is your management style? I prefer having different managers in different sectors whom I then coordinate.

What would you say is your biggest weakness? I’m a workaholic. I do not have a vibrant social life and often skip meals.

What is the worst part of your job? Explaining to clients that their trips and events have to be cancelled due to crises such as terrorist attacks, airport fires, political upheavals or economic instability. Some clients handle the situation very badly.

If you were not in the current position, what  would you be doing?

Working abroad. I have had opportunities to work outside the country, but I have chosen to remain focused on my business because I believe it is possible to make it big in Kenya.

When was the last time you fixed a meal for yourself?

Wow, I can’t recall. But it has to be bread and scrambled eggs as I barely have time to fix a proper meal.

Any hidden gifts? I can sing and act.

What talent do you wish you had? Being a professional swimmer.

What is your biggest influence in life? The Bible. It has inspired me and prompted my growth. I also have mentors in business such as Mwenda Thuranira who is CEO of MySpace Properties.

What is the worst mistake you have made so far? Wasting my time in a relationship that did not work. I should have used that time for business.

Life’s biggest lesson? The choices you make determine your destiny.

Parting shot? Success is not instant; it takes time. We have to make it happen. If you stay focused and committed, you will succeed.

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