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Eight questions with… Bart Kruijsen

The first edition of Raptim’s 8 questions interview series features our CEO Bart Kruijsen. Aged 43, Bart lives in Vreeland, in the Dutch province of Utrecht. Bart can regularly be found at Raptim’s headquarters in Tilburg, the Netherlands, but often visits our other offices across the globe.

“I’m proud to be part of an organization that dares to believe in a true purpose.”

Bart Kruijsen, Raptim CEO

Approximately 25 years ago, during my studies, I took a course in business ethics. In class we discussed the various goals an organization can have. We defined two kinds of organizations: those with the ultimate goal to make money, and those with a ‘higher’ goal – an ethical goal: a why, a purpose, and a meaning. The respective professor mentioned Raptim as an example of this last group: the ethical goal of Raptim was ‘to serve those who serve the world’. To do this successfully, profits were needed to invest in the organization and its people - but making money was not the driving force: the ethical purpose was driving it.

This triggered my interest in Raptim. During my studies I became a student assistant to this professor, who turned out to be a member of Raptim’s supervisory board. The two of us stayed in touch for over 20 years and regularly discussed Raptim. Exactly three years ago my former professor approached me to lead Raptim into a new phase, as the new managing director. That was a once in a lifetime opportunity which I couldn’t refuse!

The fact that I can contribute my share to make the world a better place by getting people where they are needed most. My purpose in the organization is to inspire people to grow and to share their quality and creativity beyond their own boundaries. I feel fulfilled and content at the end of a working day when I notice that others are growing.

The best work comes from your heart, not from your head. Dare to do what you are good at, and do those things from your heart.

To our Colorado Springs office – because that is the only office out of our 18 offices I have never been to!

Compassion is the awareness that you can only give help or support if you are also able to ask for help or support. To me, compassion means accepting that we are not perfect. Only if we accept our own imperfections, we can accept the imperfections of others, and offer help without judging. For me, true compassion is the ability to help and ask for help without judging or having expectations.

Have you seen the 'Compassion matters' video on our website featuring Yeen-Lan Lam of the Rafiki foundation?

When I was in Nairobi some time ago, I visited the Rift Valley Academy to meet with the Director of Services. We spoke about our mutual belief that the world can be a better place when care and compassion can travel where it is needed most, and discussed the challenges we face in the humanitarian travel community. I showed him the 'Compassion matters' video, and he was openly touched. I saw a broad smile on his face. He told me that years ago he has been Yeen-Lan's coach and mentor, and supported her during the construction of the Rafiki village in Nairobi. The video illustrated the results of all their efforts which touched him deeply.

For years, Raptim had been a group of relatively independent offices around the world. Before we could present ourselves as a true global organization towards the humanitarian travel community, we had to develop a culture of trust internally.

Creating a feeling of trust in the new global organization was one of the hardest challenges – but also one of our biggest triumphs. We spent many days on end working on roadshows, staff get togethers, leadership programs, and trainings. The positive feedback and results still inspire me to this day. I can truly say that we are now all part of a proud global organization.

Every time I show our corporate video on our website to a related humanitarian organization, to an airline, or simply to my friends or relatives, people are touched. I’m proud to be part of an organization that dares to believe in a true purpose.