What it means to be a resilient leader, according to an Oxford professor

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Resilience must be ingrained in a company’s culture.

I have personally seen the importance of resilience in entrepreneurship. The story of Ismail Karra, my father, is one of resilience. As a refugee who fled Bulgaria as a Turkish ethnic minority in 1989 with only two suitcases to his name, he built a successful business selling textile and leather goods to Russia, the former Soviet bloc republics, and Ukraine. But when Russia attacked Ukraine in 2021, the stakes were raised higher than ever before. In the midst of this crisis, my family and I decided to stop all operations in Russia. My father, as the CEO of the business, was resolute in the decision. He knew that resilience is key to survival and success in business, and he had proven this time and again throughout his journey as a refugee and entrepreneur. He had faced the Russian ruble devaluation, which cost him everything overnight, the 2008 recession, and the refusal of his one and only Russian distributor to pay his debt. Now, with the persistent pandemic and ongoing geopolitical conflicts, he was ready to face yet another challenge.

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