Vimbainashe Masiyiwa ’17 is a believer. In the power of people to inspire, to create paths to success, and to find brave solutions to big problems.
That belief led Masiyiwa, who was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa, to help develop the inaugural Innovate Elevate Youth Conference. Sponsored by her family’s Higherlife Foundation, which seeks to support orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa, the conference inspired more than 350 young Africans who attended and provide them with a venue to learn from some of the continent’s leading business people and innovators. “I always tell people Africa doesn’t lack the skill; all it needs is opportunities and people who can drive innovation to create something beneficial, sustainable and practical,” Masiyiwa says.
She credits her time as a Bryant Computer Information Systems major with teaching her how to manage resources, and the University’s signature IDEA (Innovation and Design Experience for All) design-thinking program with introducing her to iterative thinking and problem-solving. Her double-minor in International Affairs and Sociology-Service Learning helped her learn how to make a difference.
“For some things, you have to teach from experience, you can’t go back to the textbook. For me, my experience was Bryant. I thought back to what I did at Bryant that was different, that made a difference. What did I learn that inspired me?”
What inspires Masiyiwa is what she describes as her “duty to give back to the African continent.”
“As you grow up you begin to understand the problems and social issues people face and the impact that they have on Africans my own age,” she says.
Masiyiwa is now pursuing a master's degree in international business with a specialization in management and innovation at Business School Lausanne, one of Europe’s leading business schools.
• Served first-year international and domestic multicultural students attending 4MILE, designed to help with the transition to living in the United States.
Innovate Elevate Youth Conference
• As project and event manager, worked with volunteers and logistics for the event, which featured some of Africa's leading innovators.
Multicultural Student Union
• Part of the annual Extravaganza show
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