Image credit: Imisi Owolabi
ImisiOluwa Owolabi is the President of Hope365 and the #WhenFriendsPray platform. She is an international speaker, minister, and prophet to the nations, who through speaking, transform lives, businesses, and nations. Imisi has a mandate to raise, equip and disciple revivalists, intercessors and transformational leaders in the 7 mountains of influence through intercession, prophetic insight and teaching of the word. This led to the birth of a discipleship network – “Rekindle”.
She is also the Lead Trainer/Strategist at DreamsMeetStrategy and host of the award-winning radio show, “everything love”, in 2017. In 2019, she co-founded i-Nest Hub, a resource centre with creative ideas & spaces for work, research, events, trainings and corporate events.
Her passion to see young people fulfil purpose continues to birth several humanitarian projects and faith-based events for youths and emerging brands via her existing platforms across the world. A firm believer in healthy partnerships, she continually collaborates with other purposeful individuals to bring positive impact to the world.
She is the writer and narrator of the audiobook, ‘Psalms by Imisi’, which is a compilation of thoughts, poems, prayers, expressions and conversations with God. Also, she recently released her second book titled “When Prayer Becomes A Lifestyle, Prayer looks good on you”.
To ignite hope and encourage people in distress, Imisi founded a call centre called ‘the Hopeline’. Imisi is a seasoned trainer, certified coach, and strategist backed up by over 10 years of experience. She is married to her best friend, Olumide Owolabi, with whom she co-pastors the Fountain of Life Church – Hope Center, Yaba.
In this interview with Leading Ladies Africa, Imisi shares the inspiration behind establishing Hope365 Platform and WhenFriendsPray Platform, the mistakes she’s made over the years and the lessons she’s learnt from it and why we need to reconnect with God. Lean in!
Image credit: Imisi Owolabi
What does Entrepreneurship mean to you?
If I am to describe entrepreneurship in one word, it will be stewardship – because it is the ability to recognise, develop and nurture; the ability to birth solutions and sustain continuous progress while making a profit. Profit here is not limited to financial resources alone.
So, whether you are a business owner, an employee, pastor or social worker, etc, we all need to have the entrepreneurial spirit. It is the attitude of ownership and stewardship, which means, taking responsibility to nurture, grow or preserve a thing, gift, craft or group of people. Whatever you consider worthy, you steward.
Tell us the inspiration behind establishing HOPE365NETWORK & #WhenFriendsPray platform.
The inspiration behind all the platforms I am privileged to lead is to see lives, businesses and nations Revived, Transformed and Inspired. RTI is why I do what I do. And this originates from God. I experienced someone and my life changed- GOD. I want many more people to benefit from that. Many people do not know how to relate with God beyond Sunday. Some do not want to know Him because He was badly represented by someone, others have lost hope in Him because they were taught wrongly and some encountered religion and thought it was God.
Many of us do not know that creativity, business acumen and strategy are all found in God. So we have disconnected lives because we think God is only interested in religious activities, forgetting that He invented work as well as worship. I wanted to do something about that.
I have found a friend, coach, adviser, strategist, buddy, Lord, investor, gist buddy, relationship expert, miracle worker, and so much more in God and I wanted the world to encounter same. I found out that Prayer should be a lifestyle and not just an item on our to-do list. I found out the act of praying is an invitation to fellowship with the father which breeds intimacy thus fuelling our prayer lives. It’s communication; you can talk to Him and relate with Him all day like you would your lover. I want the whole world to know about it. Jesus is the answer and not ‘an’ answer and I want the whole world to know about it.
So be it Rekindle (the platform I run for business owners), iNestHub (a creative hub and creative spaces to help people achieve more), Hope365 Academy (the learning and development platform), Hope365/WhenFriendsPray (a global platform to daily propagate the message of Hope through the message of revival, prayer and true worship), the Intercessor Network (a platform to train and equip intercessors in all the 7 mountains of influence), Sarah Showers (a platform to pamper and encourage women waiting for kids), Hopeline (A call centre to pray, encourage people and ignite Hope), my resource materials (books, podcast, videos, etc) or many more things to come, it’s essentially about revealing JESUS and the HOPE/TRANSFORMATION He offers.
Image credit: Imisi Owolabi
What “Oh, Shit!” moments have you had since establishing your business and how have these mistakes shaped you to become better?
While I believe I have the best team, in the last 14 years, I have made some mistakes and learnt some lessons about hiring, appointing and delegating authority to people. There was a time I ignored a red flag when hiring one of our personnel, thinking it could be managed but it backfired. The damage could have been more than it was, but thanks to God for wisdom to manage the situation. However, it could have been avoided.
Also, I have made mistakes with assigning people to roles sooner than they could handle it or assigning the wrong people to certain roles. Most times it isn’t because they are bad but because they do not have the capacity to hold such functions yet. So I’ve had to reshuffle and sometimes collapse the role or relieve the person of their duties even if it means letting them go. As a result of this, during interviews, probation or appraisal, I don’t just look out for experience, I look out for the capacity to learn and grow.
So, I’ve learnt to subject all feelings even sentiments to the Holy Spirit when doing anything. As much as possible, I try not to allow sentiments or fear of hurting people get in the way of doing what is needed. It might hurt, you might not get the smiles or applauses of the people but do it in good conscience. Also, I’ve learnt to never build structures around people. Rather, we should build structures so people can fit in and work seamlessly. I once built certain things around certain individuals and when they left, it was obvious I did not have an adequate structure in place. I believe every unit of an organisation must have a succession plan.
Finally, I think one of the biggest lessons I had to learn in the last 14 years is that you can’t help people beyond the level they want to be helped. You can’t help a person who doesn’t think they need help. So sometimes, you might just have to let people go, and that’s fine.
Image credit: Imisi Owolabi
If you could have a lunch date with one Lady Boss you admire – who would that be and what would you ask her?
That would be Christine Caine- She is an Australian activist, evangelist, author and international speaker. She typifies the reality that being a Christian is an advantage and not a limitation. You can be tongue-speaking, demon chasing, kingdom-minded yet earthly relevant, funny, relatable and happily married regardless of the busy lifestyle.
What I would say to her: “Christine, thank you for modelling the possibilities of being authentic and standing out with God. In terms of your assignment with Propel Women and A21 or your other endeavours, what’s your burden for Africa? I would love to be of service to you & the vision in any way I can.”
Your top 3 book recommendations for entrepreneurs?
The Bible – An all-time bestseller… I can’t count the number of business principles, people management skills, leadership skills, and many more that can be traced to the bible. I am living proof of the wisdom of the bible.
Any biography of a successful entrepreneur. I love to read from people who have gone ahead of me. I am not just thrilled by their glory or success; I want to know their story. Sometimes, I find myself in the pages of their books and boy, it’s encouraging. Their journeys, mistakes, the intricacies of their processes, how they are maintaining their successes, oh, it has a way of not pumping your adrenaline, it gives you sense. Why learn by experience alone when you can learn from people’s stories? Grab your biographies NOW!!!
“Jump” by Steve Harvey- This is a must-read. There is no one that doesn’t need a dose of motivation. This is a good ‘comeback book’ especially after an epic global mistake (Steve Harvey who was the official host of Miss Universe, mistakenly called a wrong person the winner, then it had to be corrected on stage. Messy much, but he came back and the error became a stepping stone.). The book, ‘jump’ is a business solution that Steve Harvey modelled. There are opportunities all around waiting for you to give it life.
The Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email email@example.com, and she could possibly be featured.