Alum case study- James Otaru

James Otaru’s story of winning, against all odds.

James Otaru was a sales boy at a perfume store somewhere in Ojo, Alaba. He heard about WAVE from Kelvin and Solomon George when they went to his church to speak. In a move that can only be described as a leap of faith, James quit his former job and applied to WAVE Academy because he wanted to gain more knowledge and unearth his potential. Of the forty youth who were addressed in his church, James was the only one who decided to apply.
That singular decision, however, brought with it a barrage of challenges. James had to come to Yaba from Ojo every day. “I was coming from Tedi, opposite Ojo Cantonment Barracks to Yaba every day, from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm and also striving to get to the Academy early,” he said. He had to trek long distance most times, trying to manage the little money on him – and that’s when he had any money at all. “Most times when I didn’t have enough money, I trekked from Yaba to Orile and sometimes from Orile to Yaba.”
Whoever said necessity was the mother of invention was a sage! In the case of James, he had to develop a strategy to ensure that he would not bail out on his training course at Wave Academy. “It got to a time that I became tired of trekking, so I came up with a strategy of looking for buses that didn’t have conductors and offered myself as one, not for money but just to get to my destination. The times I couldn’t find buses without conductors, I had to hang at the back of the bus.”
As if all of this was not enough to dampen his morale, James encountered another serious setback on his programme at the Academy. He was among the Batch 16 trainees that were unfortunately expelled, owing to integrity issues. “It was a really tough time for me because I had used up the little money I saved for the training. When the incident happened, I really wanted to quit but I persevered. It was, however, really tough decision." James later re-enrolled with Batch 17.
After his “long walk” to graduation from the Academy, James did his job shadow at Golden Tulip Hotel in FESTAC. He learned how to work in a team. "Everyone was a team player, looking out for one another and being cooperative. There was equity; everyone accorded one another the respect they deserved and I was encouraged." James interned with the outreach department at WAVE for three (3) months where he learned effective communication.
James would go on, after his internship, to get a job at Nouveau Hotel where he doubles as a waiter and receptionist. He recounts how invaluable all the skills he acquired at Wave Academy are to him on his new job. “At Wave, I learnt almost everything about hospitality. I learnt about office politics, emotional intelligence, working in a team, problem solving and managing expectations. I’m really applying all these, especially emotional intelligence, on my job now.”
So, here is the story of James; a story of rising, like the proverbial phoenix, from ashes. James succinctly embodies a spirit of will, of readiness to make something out of yourself, of daring to fight for your own little space in the expanse of life, of acquiring that space and owning it. James succinctly embodies the spirit of WAVE.

James’s long-term career projection is to become a movie star in Nigeria Nollywood industry. “I choose acting because I love inspiring people,” he says. And even though it is certain that a lot of challenges await him (just as they do everyone else), we know that with James, obviously, we can never say never!

James’s is an inspiring story of winning, even in the eye of the storm. It is a story that again emphasizes the old maxim: “when there is a will, there is a way.” It is a story of challenges, of battles, of setbacks, of determination and doggedness and whatnot. But very importantly, it is a story of victory. And most importantly, it is a WAVE story

Leadership is not just about giving energy ... it's unleashing other people's energy.” – Paul Polman

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1 comment:

  1. Thats the spirit of a warrior who fights with his last strenght in order to conquer tribulations...


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