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Interview of Binta Sonko, project manager and deputy head of “change and optimization” practice for Talan in North America

Read the testimony of Binta Sonko, one of our consultants in North America.


Could you introduce your career path?

I am an accomplished consultant specializing in project management in the financial and public sector with over 8 years of experience.

I started my career in one of the Big Four consulting companies in September 2014 as an analyst within the Operational Excellence practice in Luxemburg. After a few years, I transitioned to a project manager role for a multinational bank both in the US and in the UK, where I successfully managed to deliver the IFRS9 project. I moved then to the merger project of two entities based respectively in London and the Channel Islands.

Though the business activity was not going down in consulting during the pandemic, I realised how much I was missing the emulsion and enthusiasm of the professional lifestyle in New York City. By joining Talan North America, I knew it would be a great challenge and an incredible new journey to embrace.


What are the different projects/initiatives you are currently working on?

My current consulting assignment is related to project management and innovation of my client’s branch located in the Americas.

I am drilled to refine the Innovation strategy for the next Medium-Term Plan (MTP) that covers the upcoming 3-5 years. The challenge is to develop a clear vision, formalize the strategy, and communicate it across the organization.

The vision is the starting point for any strategic plans, objectives, and metrics. The key performance indicators of the business measures how much progress is made in meeting the goals that flow from the vision. Striving for the vision always involves change.

It is a journey from where we are today to a better future. Of course, there is a risk in making the changes necessary on this journey. However, with no vision for the future and no desire to change it often leads to obscurity and obsolescence.

Our objective is to draw a vision that is desirable, challenging, and believable. The 3 main stakes of the organization in relation to the innovation strategy are the following:

  • The collaborators need to share a common goal and have a sense of embarking on a journey. This means they are more willing to accept the changes, challenges, and difficulties that any journey can entail.
  • More responsibility can be delegated once the vision is set. Staff can be empowered and given more control over their work. Because they know the goal and direction in which they are headed, they can be trusted to steer their own raft and to figure out the best way of getting there.
  • More collaborators are encouraged to contribute with new ideas based on unsolved challenges that lie ahead. Everyone within the company is being bought into the adventure, so they are more ready to find routes over and around the obstacles on the way.


I am also responsible for identifying manual and repetitive business processes that could be improved through automation and bring significant added value to their respective owners. To do so, we rely mainly on Robotic Process Automation technology with the support of a dedicated expert team based at the client head office.

The benefice of those types of projects are multiple for the business. To only name a few:

  • It provides a better accuracy and reduce considerably the operational risk from a human manual process standpoint
  • It reduces operating costs. In less than a year, most of the organisations observes a positive ROI.
  • It increases the execution timeframe and overall productivity. By automating manual and repetitive processes, the business can focus on more cerebral tasks.


I also work on the update of the policies and procedures related to Project Management Life Cycle for the bank. As many rules and regulations are always evolving, it is critical to remain aligned with them and to ensure that the project management team is also in line with the evolving policies and procedures.


In addition to my client assignment, I am involved in many initiatives within the development of Talan North America. It is a pleasure for me to:

  • Provide support on recruitment activities via interviews of candidates and identification of high-potential profiles
  • Get actively involved in Talan brand development via the new joiners onboarding process, drinks and celebrations, meetups organisation, and much more
  • Encourage and deliver training through “Lunch & Learn” or “Lunch & Share” dedicated sessions
  • Work with Talan’s partners on AI powered solutions offer, such as TranslateBot, DocReview, RegReview, Smart Data Quality Review, to name a few.

Which is a perfect transition to the next question.


3 words to introduce Talan?

Many words could describe Talan and if I had to choose 3, it would be the:

  • International footprint: Talan offers internal and international mobility opportunities. Building on its integrated structure, the firm offers its consultants new career opportunities and challenges, regardless of their position. Talan rewards excellence, and career progression is based on merit.
  • Opportunity: At Talan, every consultant can take initiatives and build their own career path. It become more appreciated when you get involved based on your own motivation and drive.
  • Autonomy: when you work as a consultant, the client expects a certain autonomy. At Talan, we manage our time based on the needs of the client and any initiative we are willing to take on internally.


At Talan, what is your playfield? How do you manage to explore it?

I am passionate about having other activities apart from my professional work where I can also share my experience and learn from others. I was an active member of:

  • the CYP - Council of Young Professionals in Luxemburg
  • the BLN - Black Leadership Network in New York and
  • the JCEM - Young Economic Chamber of Monaco.

More, as the business world continues to evolve, it is important to keep abreast of changes to regulations and technologies, and thus develop new skills to support these transitions, as they can disrupt our clients’ business models.


Could you describe a strong memory since you have joined Talan?

I joined Talan the day I started my assignment for the client. I was incredibly surprised by the exceptional welcome. It was so gratifying to arrive on the first day and to see that everything was prepared before my arrival: all my accesses were ready, few emails were already awaiting in my mailbox to direct my planning incl. mandatory trainings to speed up my onboarding process.  I was introduced very quickly to the various stakeholders and team members.


Which person inspires you the most?

To be honest, there is no particular person to name because I am inspired by everyone.

I sincerely believe I can learn from any interaction I have, whether in a positive approach or the opposite in an undesirable way.

My management and my experienced colleagues tend to be the first reference for immersing me in the corporate culture and ways of working. The biggest challenge is adjusting to a point where I will feel fully comfortable sharing my experience and ideas.