The African Medical Research and Education Foundation (AMREF) is the largest non-governmental health development organization in Africa. The organization has a department named AMREF Flying Doctors which mainly provides emergency air evacuation services in areas of crisis.
In this article, WoK brings you the story of Steve Gitau – the humble Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AMREF Flying doctors.
Steve Gitau Background.
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Steve Gitau was born in Sagana village in Central Kenya. The firstborn in a family of two was raised by a single mother who worked as a teacher. During an exclusive interview with businessdailyafrica, Gitau revealed that his father disappeared from their lives in 1986 never to be seen again.
“I last saw my father in 1986. He came to visit and we went out with his friends. I remember seated in a bar with my toys, having a Fanta, as they drank their beers. He disappeared from our lives after that. This is my last memory of my dad. I was in class three,” he said.
He attended the University of Nairobi where he graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. He joined Strathmore University in 2008 where he acquired a Master of Business Administration (MBA) specialising in Finance and Strategic Management. He is also a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (CPA-K).
Steve began his career journey back in January 1999 working as an accounts clerk at Africa Virtual University. He went on to work at KPMG East Africa in September 2000 as a senior auditor, a position he held for three years and ten months. In June 2004, he joined TNT Express Worldwide as a Finance and Administration Manager working in the position up to May 2011. A month later, he joined AMREF Flying Doctors working as a Chief Finance Officer (CFO) for a period of 8 years and 5 months.
In October 2019, he was finally appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AMREF Flying Doctors. Despite being at the helm of the leading provider of fixed-wing emergency air services in Africa, he still remains humble and asks his junior colleagues to refer to him simply as ‘Steve’ and not ‘Mr. Gitau’ or ‘Sir Gitau.’ While speaking during the exclusive interview, he explained that he learnt humility and hard work from his mother and attributes his success to God’s favor.
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“I don’t give up and I’m ready for the hard work. Brute. I’m ready. Which is a lesson I learnt young from my mother who made me do things I hated to do. And you know they say lessons learnt young last a lifetime. It has helped me, because I’ve been able to go an extra mile where some guys have said ‘aah hii wachana nayo,’ ”he said.
“But beyond that, to be very honest I’ve been very lucky and very blessed. I’ve been a guy who’s almost gotten everything I’ve wanted. And not because I was the best in the class, not because I was the best anywhere, but just because somehow God aligned things in my way. I’ve been in those circumstances too often for it to be a coincidence,” he added.