Phocuswright taps innovative founders for scholarship honors


Phocuswright has selected Dana Le, founder and CEO of Wander Health, and ZaNiheza founder and CEO Charles Shima as recipients of the Philip C. Wolf Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship provides each recipient with a ticket and accommodations for The Phocuswright Conference November 13-16 in Fort Lauderdale as well as acceptance into a mentorship program of their choice at the event and membership to the Travel Tech Executive Fellowship.

The fellowship is an eight-week immersion and year-long membership community that invites founders, practitioners, leaders, investors and operators to connect, build and share ideas pushing the boundaries of travel tech.

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The scholarship is named in honor of the late Phocuswright founder Philip Wolf.

“Philip was an entrepreneur, travel advisor and consultant as well as a mentor to many,” said Catherine Plummer, vice president of events at Phocuswright. “His impact on the travel industry and the people in it was far-reaching, and his advice will be passed down for many years.”

Phocuswright chose Le and Shima based on their interest in mentorship and commitment to innovation, said director of marketing and communications Eugene Ko.

“Both are trailblazers in their respective fields and want to immerse themselves in the opportunities at The Phocuswright Conference,” Ko said. “They embody Philip’s entrepreneurial spirit and determination to solve unique challenges in travel. Dana and Charles are the types of attendees that elevate the audience at The Phocuswright Conference.”

Le called The Phocuswright Conference the travel event of the year for people interested in new ideas and solutions that can transform the industry for the better.

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“As a bootstrapped startup founder, being selected for this scholarship is an incredible opportunity to showcase my company and expand my network without having to worry about the financial burden,” Le said. “The exposure to c-level executives from the top strategic and corporate companies interested in the new generation of travel tech will be life-changing.”

Wander Health is a tech-enabled medical concierge startup that connects travelers going abroad to English-speaking doctors for non-emergency care.

“Since my company is building at the intersection between health care and travel — a field [with] little innovation — I’ll be able to share a new market opportunity that can promote the health and safety for travelers going abroad. Our vision is to make health care accessible no matter where you are in the world. … Because of Phocuswright, we can get support taking care of travelers on behalf of the large travel operators.”

Canada-based ZaNiheza is a marketplace for immersive experiences connecting travelers with local curators. Shima sees his company as a tool to showcase Africa’s positive aspects through travel experiences and content creation. He said attending The Phocuswright Conference has been a goal that, as a “bootstrapped founder” was financially out of reach — for now.

“It feels like I’ve been invited to the Super Bowl,” he said. “That’s how thrilled I am to have the chance to attend The Phocuswright Conference.

“Receiving the Philip Memorial Scholarship as the first Rwandan-Canadian is not only an honor but also a validation of my efforts in establishing an Afrocentric travel marketplace. This recognition revitalizes my determination to continue innovating tourism in Africa through cutting-edge travel technology.”

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The Phocuswright Conference 2023

Join us in Fort Lauderdale November 13-16 to hear about the startup investment landscape with panelists Amy Burr of JetBlue Technology Ventures, Kurien Jacob, managing director at Highgate Technology Ventures, and Mia Morisset, principal at Inovia.

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