After the death of her husband from an asthma attack, Alisa Latty-Alleyne made a decision to follow Jesus. But leaving a lucrative career for Christian ministry was never part of the plan
Alisa Latty-Alleyne felt like she had it all. At just 37 years old she’d been promoted to vice-president of a $30m business unit at Tata Technologies, a multinational engineering company. Along with husband, Benny, and young son, Jacob, the family were living the dream, having relocated from Coventry to Michigan, USA. As the first female in the company’s history to lead a sales and delivery function, Alisa’s role came with a six-figure salary, which afforded her a level of comfort and security beyond her wildest dreams.
But when Benny failed to come home after a doctor’s appointment one evening, Alisa knew something was wrong. Finally, at around 10:30pm, the hospital called. Benny had been rushed to the emergency room after breathing problems following an asthma attack. Despite the doctor’s best efforts, by the time Alisa got there, he had suffered a cardiac arrest and died. He was just 30 years old.
Looking for God
At the time of Benny’s death, the couple were “searching” spiritually. They’d tried a few different churches and Alisa had even surprised herself by watching a TV show about the life of Jesus the week before Benny died. It was a turnaround for someone who, although raised a Catholic, had stopped going to church as a teenager and spent the following decade running “as far away from God” as she could.
Looking back, Alisa describes herself as “the black sheep of the family; always getting in trouble, always doing some stupid thing”. She wanted to prove herself. That had meant throwing herself into work and quickly climbing the corporate ladder. “I never really thought I was good enough,” she says, describing the “imposter syndrome” that gripped her. “In terms of worldly status and finances, I thought: Right, I’m going to show them.”
I know Benny would be proud of the woman of God I’ve become
When Benny died, Alisa was “completely lost”. The grief and shock of becoming a widow and single parent was too much to bear. Eventually, she quit her high-powered job and returned to the UK, moving in with her parents. “My identity had been wrapped up in the success of my career; when I no longer had it, I completely fell apart,” she remembers. “I hadn’t really thought about what I would do next. But I knew I couldn’t operate at the same level as I had before.”
Struggling financially, practically and spiritually, Alisa sought solace in alcohol, marijuana and physical relationships: “to numb the pain of the loss, but also to forget that my life was now spiralling.” She became depressed. Three years after Benny’s death, she had a breakdown.
One day in her kitchen, struggling with suicidal thoughts, she dropped to her knees and cried out to God: “How have I got here? If you’re real, and you have something different planned for me, you need to show up now because I can’t do this by myself.”
Alisa describes her desperate plea as: “the moment that changed everything”. Having surrendered her future to God, she started attending Coventry Elim Church, began reading the Bible and was eventually baptised.
Returning to work, Alisa took an entry-level job in recruitment, the industry she started out in, but as she learned to listen to God’s voice, she sensed him asking her to leave the corporate world and enter Christian ministry. “I had no idea what that really even looked look like,” she says, but she felt that God was calling her into evangelism.
In January 2021, she started working at Christian Vision, a global evangelistic ministry, and began to climb the career ladder again. But then came a second change. She noticed a job advertised on Facebook for a presenter with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). She didn’t have the required experience for the role, and it was a part-time, temporary contract that would barely cover her bills. It made no sense to give up her better paid, permanent role, yet despite her reservations, Alisa felt prompted to apply.
She was offered a job at CBN and, within two months, was promoted to head of media, despite having no experience in the field. “It blew my mind,” says Alisa. Shortly afterwards, she took on responsibility for marketing and fundraising too. Now, just two years later, she is the organisation’s first female UK director. After first sensing God’s call to evangelise two years ago, she is now overseeing an organisation aiming to see 1 million people find salvation over the next three years.
“God is so faithful,” she says. “What is beautiful about my journey now is that [it] is purposeful. It isn’t about me being the best in my family. It isn’t about me earning the most money. It isn’t about me having to find my identity in my job anymore. This is about me being who God has created me to be.”
She believes that God had a plan for her life. Reading through Benny’s journals after he died, Alisa discovered that he had made a decision to follow Christ some years earlier, after a previous asthma attack had hospitalised him. “I truly believe that Benny knew he only had a certain amount of time,” says Alisa. “I miss him terribly still. But I know he would be proud of the woman of God I’ve become.
“I always say that the end of Benny’s life was the beginning of mine, so what I do is also part of his legacy” she adds. “Being able to introduce people to Jesus and show them that my life is a living testimony is huge. It really is.”
Alisa’s memoir From Grief to Glory is available from justcallmealisa.com