Spotlight on Coumba Traoré: Muso’s Finance Manager
“Working for a humanitarian organization that helps saves lives is a huge achievement and honor for me.”
Coumba Traore joined Muso as Finance Manager in August 2017 to oversee the financial management and accounting of Muso’s offices, in Mali’s capital of Bamako and in the rural east of the country. Prior to Coumba’s role at Muso, she spent over a decade in the accounting and finance field, working at companies in the United States and Canada including Annandale Millwork Corporation, Tremcar Inc., and ACI World Headquarters.
Coumba earned her MBA in 2010 from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia and her Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from Kennesaw State University (KSU), in Kennesaw, Georgia in 2008. Her father was a teacher who valued education and encouraged her to pursue higher education in the US. “I know it’s not an option for everyone, so I am grateful–and lucky– to have been able to go overseas to study, get a good education, and make a difference with the work I do.” Before moving to the United States, Coumba lived in Ghana for an intensive English course at the Ghana Institute of Language. “This was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. I spent eight months with people of different nationalities from all over West Africa–it was the first time I was exposed to culture and the diversity of our continent. This inspired me to explore the world more and learn as much about other people, cultures, and places as I could.”
Coumba lived in Bamako until she was 17. She was passionate about health care, loved the health industry, and spent a lot of time visiting her siblings who were attending pharmacy school at a teaching hospital in Point G (Bamako). Growing up, she dreamed of being a doctor. She wanted to be a doctor specializing in human cells and took biology classes in high school and college.
“When I was in college, I had to evaluate whether I could pursue and afford the high tuition of medical school afterwards. I decided I needed to complete a different four year college track. I explored different courses and even saw an academic and career counsellor during my second year of college. I wasn’t sure which direction to go, but this is when I learned about SIFE, which helped me figure out exactly what to do.” When Coumba was at KSU, she joined the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) as a project manager. For two and a half years, she worked with other students on projects with KIVA and Edge Connection, a non-profit that helps small businesses and entrepreneurs articulate their business needs. This is when she learned about accounting, auditing, and helping clients manage their businesses. She consulted entrepreneurs on best practices for their marketing and brand strategy, collaborated to support the development of their business plans, and trained entrepreneurs on data entry into a pro forma cash spreadsheet to generate financial information.
After completing graduate school in Virginia, Coumba worked on a project at Amandla Awthu Africa, where she created a business model to ensure the sustainable growth of the organization and set up a supply chain system to streamline key processes and procedures. “I always believed in giving back and helping others. I knew that a little bit of my time could make a big difference in the lives of others. Working with SIFE changed the direction of my career — and allowed me to build the self-esteem and confidence I needed to make my own decisions and become the master of my life.”
“Although today my career is in finance and accounting, I’m so proud to work in health care and be a part of the Muso family, working every day to eliminate preventable deaths rooted in poverty.”