Committed to Our Champions

Executive Team



Founder/Executive Director

Balkissa Mahamane is the founder of The Great Academy Inc. and carries over 12 years of professional experience in various multicultural settings. Originally from West Africa, Balkissa attended a French International School for secondary education graduating with an international baccalaureate with a focus on Economics & Social Sciences. Now living in Omaha NE, Balkissa could effectively transition in the US Education system, learn English and obtain her Bachelors, MBA and MEd degrees within 6 years, while already building her professional career in finance, thriving to becoming a serial entrepreneur. This effective and productive transition in a new country, a new community and culture was only possible due to the preparation received at an earlier age. In addition to running her organisations and those of her clients, Balkissa promotes entrepreneurship, education and global community service, while encouraging cross cultural awareness. She is a SCORE Volunteer, and an alumnus of the New Leaders Council of America.



Board Chair

Sahfiya is the Co-founder of La Grande Academie International Education. She holds a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health. Working for the Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health at the College of Public Health of University of Nebraska Medical Center, she was a member of the evaluation team of the Women’s Fund of Omaha’s Adolescent Health and Contraceptive Access Projects. Their work revolves around increasing reproductive health knowledge of youth and improve health outcomes by providing access to STD testing and treatment and highly effective forms of contraception to reduce STDs and unintended pregnancies, particularly among youth, ages 24 and younger. She is Program Director at The Simple Foundation. She connects the immigrant families they serve with community resources to develop skills that allow them to integrate rather than assimilate in the culture. Their mission is to support the multi-faceted needs with an emphasis on underserved refugee/immigrant children and families through learning supports/opportunities to develop new skills and interests, volunteerism, and mentoring resources. She empowers them to overcome barriers they face as first generation college students and ensures the younger generations have access to ressources to success and in turn give back.

Laura Thomas

Board Member

Bio coming soon...!

Rhassila Mainassara

Facilitator - Niamey Niger

Bio coming soon....!


Osuman Issaka - USA

The Simple Foundation

Bio coming soon....!

Elh Matan - NIGER

AB Consulting

Bio coming soon....!




If you believe in our mission, if you love working with kids, if you believe that world needs more chane makers? or if you are simply a do gooder, we invite you to volunteer with us. You will impact and empower children in the USA and abroad.