Christopher Roy Garland is a financial advisor and entrepreneur based in Gaborone, Botswana. As principal and managing director of Fidelity Indemnity (Pty) Limited, he provides a comprehensive slate of business services to firms operating on the African continent.
A native of England, Garland relocated to Botswana in the 1980s. Since then, he has had a hand in some of his adopted homeland’s most consequential trade and development projects and has secured millions of dollars in foreign investment in southern Africa.
We caught up with Chris Garland to ask him about his career — the accomplishments he’s most proud of, what he wishes he’d done differently, and what he’s most excited about for the future.
What Drew You To Africa In General And Botswana In Particular?
It started with a sense that there was more to the world than the little corner of England I grew up in. Africa seemed full of opportunity, so I chose to spend a few years there completing my education.
As tends to happen, I ended up setting down roots in Botswana and growing quite attached to the country. I soon couldn’t see myself leaving, and looking back on it, I can’t imagine taking any other path.
What Inspired You To Find Your Company?
I trained as a financial advisor and found I quite enjoyed working with entrepreneurs and their firms, so that was the foundation. My career progressed to the point where I felt that I’d be more challenged and better able to realize my potential as an entrepreneur myself. While the stakes are higher when your name is on the building, so to speak, the work is far more rewarding.
What Do You Enjoy Most About Being An Entrepreneur?
It might sound strange, but I enjoy the accountability. While I’m technically my own boss, in truth I must answer to the clients I serve.
Each has different needs and expectations and different ways to hold me accountable. It keeps me on my toes and keeps me young.
If You Could Tell The Younger Christopher Roy Garland One Thing, What Would It Be?
Think about where you want to be in 10 years, not where you want to be tomorrow. Success doesn’t happen on its own, nor does it happen overnight. It almost always requires careful planning across time spans measured in years rather than days, weeks, or even months.
If you spend your days putting out fires, you’re not going to do your best work, and you’re probably not going to reach your goals either.
Thinking Back On Your Career, Is There Anything You’d Do Differently?
I wouldn’t say it’s a regret, but I wish I’d sought out and prioritized projects I felt passionately about earlier in my career. There’s an impulse as a younger entrepreneur to chase higher-profile projects or projects that you know will pay the bills.
As you get older, you realize there’s a way to earn recognition doing work you really, truly love doing. That said, there aren’t many projects in my past that I’d pass on if given the opportunity. I’m fortunate to have had a long career doing what I love.
How Do You Relax When You’re Not Working?
I’m a commercial pilot and try to get up in the sky whenever I can. But my first love is spending time with my wife and adult children. You only get so much time with your family.