40 Under 40: Assetou Coulibaly

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has launched its “40 Under Forty” for 2020

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has launched its “40 Under Forty” for 2020. The chamber is now calling for nominations.

This is the Kelowna chamber’s sixth year of searching for the city’s high achievers and bringing their stories to the public.

BDO Canada LLP will make up the independent panel of judges.

Assetou Coulibaly was born in Mali and has travelled extensively.

In 2018, she made the move to Kelowna with a degree in sociology and began working in the financial sector.

Assetou noticed that she didn’t see other people of colour at professional networking events, even though she knew that the Okanagan has a diverse business community.

So she decided to start a not-for-profit called Societe Chiwara too help create an inclusive space for professionals in the community and provide a platform for people of colour.

Societe Chiwara’s goal is to start conversations and in doing so, strengthen not just the Black or minority community within the Central Okanagan, but the entire community. Assetou believes that that we can’t get better or promote a more inclusive community if the entire community isn’t involved. By addressing the lack of integration and minority representation in leadership roles, she amplifies minority voices.

In addition to her not-for-profit, Assetou’s professional experience in the Central Okanagan is focused around project management ensuring the efficiency and success of the organizations she works with.

Her career experience includes Refresh Financial, where she was in charge of driving strategy to address customer feedback and leading the implementation of technical tools to improve the company’s performance.

She now works with Accent Inns managing multiple projects across the organization.

As a young, black, female entrepreneur, Assetou draws on her experience to lead Societe Chiwara. She passionately believes that experiential and collaborate leadership can drive positive, meaningful change in our community. Assetou believes she can empower others into action by sharing her story and helping them feel confident to share their own.

A recent digital conversation that Societe Chiwara hosted around Black Lives Matter welcomed over 120 participants for a passionate, compassionate and emotional discussion.

This event was so well-received, there is a current push to expand Societe Chiwara as a chapter model that others across Canada have expressed an interest in starting up.

Assetou has a Bachelor’s Degree from Thompson Rivers University in Sociology.

While studying, Assetou was a part of various leadership programs.

She was one of the key members of the intercultural council and started the chapter of MUN (Model United Nations) in Kamloops and was honoured with the opportunity to be a part of TRU’s global campaign.

In addition to the requirements for her undergraduate degree, Asstou also received a TRU Global Competency Certificate.

This program recognizes knowledge, skills and attitudes of globally-minded citizens.

The Global Competency Program fueled the fire for her advocacy work that is creating positive change within British Columbia.

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