Misan Rewane

Misan Rewane
Wave Academies, Chief Executive Officer
5+years industry experience
In a few words tell us about yourself
Misan Rewane is co-founder and CEO of WAVE. Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. Misan is no stranger to the challenges of education and social mobility. When her parents, unable to ignore the education system’s breakdown, were compelled to send her to the U.S. for university, she resolved to help transform the region’s education system. After graduating from Stanford University, she worked with The Monitor Group, TechnoServe, and the Centre for Public Policy Alternatives. As an MBA candidate sponsored by the SevenUp MBA scholarship at Harvard Business School, she partnered with fellow West Africans who were passionate about  tackling youth unemployment and launched WAVE in 2013.
What inspired your interest in the hospitality and tourism industry?
I stumbled upon the hospitality and retail industry’s potential in 2012 as we worked on the business plan for WAVE. It was pitched as one of the fastest growing job-creating industries on the continent, and we were developing a model to train and match young people to jobs…hence the appeal. Secondly, it was a “youth-inclusive” industry that placed a premium on “hiring for attitude and training for skill” which was at the core of our approach. And so we had to get smart on the industry as quickly as we could. From spending time co-creating our curriculum with faculty at Boston University School of Hospitality Administration to visiting Jet Blue University to learn more about how they hire for attitude and train for skill, we learned from the best-in-class service management organizations and partnered with industry experts.
What’s your vision for the hospitality & tourism industry?
My vision/hope for the industry is one where it offers an enabling environment (access to talent, capital, technology) for players to build and grow world-class service organizations.
In what ways has your company contributed to the growth of the hospitality industry and its stakeholders? 
WAVE tackles youth unemployment by identifying motivated but undeserved West African youth, training them on crucial employ-ability skills, and connecting them to entry-level job opportunities. Simultaneously, WAVE simplifies employers’ search for the right talent to help grow their business. Since its launch, WAVE has matched over 1,000 unemployed young people directly to entry-level hospitality and retail jobs with over 200 businesses and has trained thousands more across its various programs. WAVE has delivered corporate training to over 30 companies in the industry to strengthen their service levels. WAVE in itself is now a team of over 30 twenty/thirty-somethings who now directly support the industry’s growth. By turning motivated young talent into reliable human capital for local businesses, WAVE inspires positive change in employer attitudes, creating a fairer and more inclusive labour market.
What are your major challenges in your business?
Low wages for talent
Low-trust and low-consequence environment where contracts/agreements are difficult to enforce
What are your thoughts on the state of the hospitality & tourism industry in Nigeria?
As with all things Nigerian, it is one of unrealized potential…potential in terms of talent, resources, market demand…all unrealized. The time is yesterday (not now) to start chipping away at the unrealized potential bit by bit and converting it to market reality we know can be built. Other African countries are doing it so why can’t we?
How do you intend to join in the campaign of changing the game and perception of the hospitality & tourism industry in Nigeria?
Already in it!
Words of wisdom for intending and current industry stakeholders.
Vision is a deep dissatisfaction with what is and a clear grasp of what could be. Find what makes you mad, glad or sad in the industry (poor service, limited variety/choices, lack of financing for new players, anything!) and develop a vision of what a solution could be, one that will excite you to wake up in the morning everyday to implement, and simply, go for it!
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