LEAD-Monrovia Football Academy (LEAD-MFA) on Thursday announced the appointment of Sona Traore as the new Executive Director of the football academy effective April 1, 2021.
Sona, who previously worked as LEAD MFA’s Life Skills Director, replaces outgoing Executive Director Will Smith, who has become Chairperson of the Board of Directors.
Sona’s promotion according to a release from the academy marks its first leadership transition since opening in 2015.
“This leadership transition is a major milestone for the Academy. For the first time, the Academy will be led entirely by and for Liberians.
“Sona’s personality, cultural fit, and experience at the Academy make her the ideal leader to steer LEAD MFA into the future. Sona is one of Liberia’s rising stars,” the release from the academy stated.
Sona, 25, first joined the Academy in 2018, after completing her BSc in Early Childhood Education at Gaziantep University in Turkey on a full scholarship. At the Academy, she has served as a Mathematics and Science teacher and gradually risen through the ranks to become the Life Skills Director.
In her role as Life Skills Director, she has worked closely with student-athletes, staff, and global partners of the Academy. Over the past three years, Sona has also participated in leadership workshops in Liberia and Rwanda, and currently completing her online Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy at Boston College.
As the new Executive Director, Sona will lead the Academy alongside LEAD MFA Co-Founder and Football Director, Sekou Dgeorges Manubah. Both Sona and Sekou will work together to set the strategic vision of the Academy’s short- and long-term growth while maintaining its high-caliber programs and deep relationships with the broader Liberian community. Outgoing Executive Director, Smith, will continue in his role as Executive Director of LEAD-MFA global partner, LEAD Africa.
“I am thrilled to share that my colleague at LEAD-MFA, Sona Traore, will be taking over from me as Executive Director on April 1. It is an honor to pass the baton to such a bright, dynamic, and high-potential Liberian woman (and friend)! Between Sona and my co-founder at LEAD MFA, Sekou Dgeorges Manubah, the academy could not be in better hands.
“I will transition to LEAD MFA’s Board of Directors and continue in my role as Executive Director of our global entity, LEAD.
“In those capacities, I will remain deeply involved in and committed to LEAD MFA’s success.
“I am so grateful to everyone who has helped us build such a strong, impactful, and 100% Liberian-led institution. When Sekou and I co-founded the academy in 2015, we never could have imagined that six years later it would have had more than 12,000 applicants and be educating, feeding, and housing nearly 150 students with 40 full-time staff members. At times, it has been really, really hard, but with passion, patience, and perseverance, anything is possible,” outgoing Executive Director Will Smith posted on his social media handle.