Nwogugu was first introduced to JA while working at Goldman Sachs in New York City. Impressed by the organisation, she quit her lucrative job at age 24 to bring JA to Nigeria. It now reaches more than 100,000 young people annually, and she has gone on to head up JA’s operations across the continent.
She is a passionate advocate for girls’ education. One of her unique initiatives includes the Leadership, Empowerment Achievement & Development (LEAD) Camp for Girls, which has inspired and empowered over 1,200 young girls to become high-achieving women leaders in society. Another initiative she has championed is the Venture in Management Programme (ViMP), which is designed to empower young people in the different facets of managing a business, making crucial business decisions and developing skills for General Management and social responsibility.
Graduates of the programme have gone on to become founders of Nigeria’s leading businesses as well as leaders of the most impactful non-profit organisations on the continent. She also built digital an out-of-school youth programmes that enabled her organisation to reach underserved populations in the North of Nigeria, even during the Boko Haram crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Before becoming JA Africa CEO in 2020, she led JA Nigeria to impact the lives of over 1-million Nigerians in 5,000 schools. Among the many JA alumni who have gone on to become job creators and social entrepreneurs is Iyin Aboyeji, the founder of two unicorns: Andela and Flutterwave.
Nwogugu also serves as President of the governing board of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Nigeria (HBSAN) and has been recognised by the school with numerous awards including the Bert King Award for Social Impact presented by the Harvard Business School African American Alumni Association. She is currently a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Africa Leadership Initiative for West Africa (ALIWA) where she is pursuing her passion to empower and equip 10 million African girls to build thriving communities by 2050.
Simi Nwogugu was chosen from the Top 10 finalists for the Africa Education Medal:
Nominations for the Africa Education Medal opened in February 2023 for individuals working to improve pre-kindergarten, K-12, vocational and university education who are either educators, school administrators, civil society leaders, public servants, government officials, political leaders, technologists, or innovators.
The winner was chosen by a Jury comprising prominent individuals, based on rigorous criteria.