In this Expert Insight Interview, Elias Kanaris discusses his book Leading from the Stop: Positive Influence and Heartfelt Resilience in a Time of Adversity. Elias Kanaris is an author, professional keynote speaker, executive coach, leadership trainer, and entrepreneur. He has frequently spoken to audiences in the I.T., telecommunications, insurance, financial services, real estate, and education sectors across thirteen countries on four continents.
This Expert Insight Interview discusses:
- The book’s story and Elias’s inspiration to write it
- How a small town in Newfoundland banded together to help 7,000 strangers
- How the people of Gander were able to react so well to this crisis
It was an ordinary Tuesday, and Elias Kanaris was at his parents’ house in Wimbledon, in South London. He was supposed to take a trip from London Heathrow to Chicago, so he went to the airport and got on the plane. Halfway through the flight, the pilot came on to say that there had been a significant incident. As a result, the Federal Aviation Authority shut down all airspace.
His plane became one of the 38 diverted to the Gander International Airport in Newfoundland, Canada. Elias and the rest of the passengers spent five days in Gander as guests of the Salvation Army because the day in question was September 11, 2001.
The town of Gander had 9,300 residents at breakfast time. By the time 38 planes had landed, they served supper to 16,000 people. How does a town cope with that? No emergency plan covers adding another 7,000 people to your population instantly.
What Elias observed during this period was all about leadership and resilience, as the people of Newfoundland came together to look after the passengers of these planes and make sure they could survive this traumatic experience.
The Gander airport had been abandoned for a long time before this incident. It used to be a stopover point between Europe and North America, but planes could suddenly go much further without refuels with jet engines, so it got bypassed.
So, when many lost and confused people suddenly arrived at Gander, its residents were not exactly prepared. Luckily, they understood they needed to be there for these people and help them. Everybody was coping with the experience differently, and the people of Gander and the Salvation Army did a great job in crisis management.