Movies with his daughters, a walk with his wife, rugby and books for this busy CEO

Published: Saturday, July 18, 2020

Change is the only thing constant in this world. The faster we embrace it, the better we adapt and flow seamlessly.

Lionel van der Walt knows this fully well as he constantly travels and live in different continents throughout his more than 20 years of international executive leadership career mainly in the air cargo industry.

The President and CEO of the Americas for PayCargo, a leading global fintech firm in the industry, was born in South Africa and spent the early part of his career in the South African Air Force. Following this, he spent more than a decade with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), where he held various leadership roles based out of South Africa, Spain and the United States, including as President of Cargo Network Services Corp. (CNS), IATA’s US cargo subsidiary.

Post CNS, he served as CEO at the International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC) and also served as a member of PayCargo’s Board of Directors.

The Coronavirus pandemic has pushed digitalization to become more relevant, particularly in the digital freight payment platform like PayCargo, and van der Walt believes change is coming to the entire industry soon.
“Digital solutions are vital as the global cargo and shipping supply chain has had to rethink the way it does business in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the majority of employees now working remotely and demand soaring for a reliable online freight payment platform solution such as PayCargo’s,” said van der Walt, who holds an MBA in Strategy and General Management from Milpark Business School in South Africa.

“This pandemic has proven to be a catalyst for the faster adoption of online payment solutions that are safer, more secure, fast and transparent,” added van der Walt. “As social distancing has become the global policy to halt the spread of COVID-19, it is clear how unsuitable using cash, checks, vouchers and traditional POS terminals are and shows the value of digital payments.”

With so little time left for himself and his family due to work, van der Walt makes it a point to do simple but meaningful things with his loved ones.

“I don’t have much spare time,” says van der Walt, “but when I do, I prefer spending quality time with my family, a movie with my daughters, a walk with my wife, or a fun family outing. I also enjoy reading non-fiction books, anything that I can learn from, such as biographies and history, as well as watching documentaries. As an international family, we love to travel and value meaningful shared experiences.”

This CEO is also into rugby and serves as a Clayton Youth Rugby Board member, a cause-oriented group in the US which PayCargo sponsors.

“My favorite sport is rugby. That should not be a surprise considering that I grew up in South Africa where rugby is a national past time and the majority of South Africans are ardent Springbok supporters,” he shared. “It is a wonderful opportunity and privilege to combine my passion for the sport with a great cause such as youth development.”
Van der Walt says staying connected all the time with family, friends and colleagues and to the rest of the world is something he can’t live without. Personally, this means keeping up with them through Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, among other apps, having access to information and the ability to purchase any item or service online from the comfort of his home.

This CEO who never takes anything for granted says, “I constantly remind myself that today’s success and good fortune are not guaranteed tomorrow, and firmly believe that complacency and arrogance are two of the most dangerous traits both in business and in our personal lives.”

“This drives me to always try and be as humble as possible irrespective of the situation and to always look for opportunities that stretch me beyond my comfort zone to achieve personal growth and success.”