The International Medalist Association
A brief history

The International Medalist Association (IMA), which is a non government organization in Conakry, Guinea was founded by Olympian, Ron Freeman in 2010. He is recognized internationally and is acknowledged for his work in promoting sports activities as a tool to provide life skills training to thousands of youth internationally.

The vision of the IMA is to use recreational sports in after- school programs with the focus on girls to enhance their positive youth socialization. The goal of the programs is to impact girls by providing them with an outlet for recreational activities that teaches them life skills through playing games. Moreover, IMA has created a vehicle for girls from ages 7 - 17 to be able to be involved in an organized competitive program. Participants are exposed to many learning opportunities that enrich their social skills, maturity, and career building.

Through the Mixed Sports Program where girls and boys play football and basketball on the same team, they learn about gender equality and team building. Discussions coordinated by mentor coaches sharpen their leadership skills and assigned tasks help them understand the importance of accountability and responsibility. To date, 18,000 girls and boys are registered in more than 200 primary and secondary schools nationally.

In its Books for Schools Program, IMA has provided thousands of dollars worth of books that assist schools in maintaining their libraries. In the Educational Scholarship Program (ESP), girls receive scholarships to advance their primary and secondary school education. Scholarship funds assist families to pay for tuition, uniform, books, and supplies. These and other programs, serve students in more than 200 schools. The majority of these student’s – 95% - are girls. Trained volunteer mentors and coaches have direct knowledge of the conditions experienced by these youth. They interact with them and establish long-term relationships. Through their direct work with 18,000 students, these same students in turn indirectly impact the lives of more than 300,000 other youth – their friends, relatives, neighbors, and peers – with who they are in contact.

Ron is an Olympic Gold & Bronze Medal winner. He ran the fastest 400 meter race ever run ( 43.2) at the 1968 Olympic Games, setting the longest standing world record in the 4x400 meter relay team (2:56.11), which stood for more than 25 years. Ron learned to over come the odds at an early age, he weighed less than four pounds at birth and at sixteen year's old he become the #1 high school athlete in the world in the 440 yard dash running 46.6 on a cinder track.

Ron has spent more than 30 years implementing educational support activities for after-school programs, sports camps and training programs for coaches around the world. He designed Youth Peace programs in Mali and Guinea for the United States Department of State and the United Nations. He has also been supported on numerous occasions by the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESO). In 2009, Ron was the first American to receive the JAPPO Humanitarian Award in Senegal for the work that he has done over the years in Africa. The prestigious JAPPO award is presented to individuals or organizations for promoting sport in Africa.

Unemployment is high in Guinea’s 16 to 35 year-old age group. Hence, it is important to include them in International Medalist Association programs. Individuals in this age group compose a sizeable majority of the organization’s junior staff. They receive training in order for them to become good managers, program facilitators, mentors and coaches. Professional advancement skills acquisition is supported by Rice Youth Development organization, a non profit organization in the United States. More than 150 jobs have been created through this initiative along with job training programs.

Through this recreational After School Program, it is hoped that those intrinsic values that one learns through these games, will enhance the life skills of those youth involved.

Advisory Board Members

ArLena D. Richardson, MBA

Advisory Board Member

ArLena D. Richardson has served on the board of directors of multiple non-profit and professional organizations, including the Community Artists' Collective, Ensemble Theatre, United Way, Children's Museum, American Marketing Association, Coalition of 100 Black Women, and Black Public Relations Society.

Prof. Larry Johnson MA

Advisory Board Member

Mr. Larry O. Johnson is an Adjunct Assistant Professor Emeritus of mathematics at Dutchess Community College in upstate New York. He is a published author whose two books and several articles on general social theory are each extraordinary.

Mr. Nicolas Kazadi, MPA

Advisory Board Member

Economist / UNDP

Nicolas Kazadi is the Senior Economic Advisor, Chief of Strategic & Policy Unit of UNDP in TOGO. Prior to that, he performed the same function in Madagascar, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.

He was appointed as Senior Economic and Financial Advisor to the Minister of Finance of the DRC as well as the Managing Director of the French Chamber of Commerce & Industry in the DRC.

Jacqueline Howard-Matthews, PhD

Advisory Board Member

Dr. Jacqueline Howard-Matthews is a trained political economist and registered nurse with significant leadership experiences in higher education administration, international affairs and development, and international education.

Ms. Holly Graf

Advisory Board Member

Operational Logistics & Systems Analysis

Holly is embarking on a second career in international development bringing with her significant experience in senior level management and leadership in executive positions. Her academic back ground includes graduate degrees in civil engineering and system analysis and certifications in post conflict transformation, humanitarian logistics and program management.

Daniela Puglielli

Advisory Board Member

Daniela Puglielli, principal of Accent PR, has extensive experience in the planning, execution and promotion of special events, branding operations, international partnerships and media relations. She holds a Masters Degree in Performing Arts from the Conservatorio di Musica (Pescara, Italy) and a Masters Degree in Communications from the University of Turin (Turin, Italy).

Billo Talonto MBA

Advisory Board Member

Billo Talonto is a Finance Executive with significant experience in the Telecommunications Industry. He is currently Finance Director of a Telecom Multinational operating in the Middle East and in Africa.

Aminata Fall

Advisory Board Member

A former Women soccer division I player and United States Marines Corps- Distinguished Athlete. Aminata Fall is an undergraduate from Long Island University with a degree in Psychology. A 2009 Recipient of the Hadja Rabiatou Sera Diallo Emerging Women’s Leadership Award as well as a MOREMI Initiative MILEAD Fellow. Fluent in 3 languages (including English, French and Spanish). Aminata Fall is currently in diplomacy posted in La Havana, Cuba.

Kelly D. Newsome, MPA, JD

Advisory Board Member

Kelly Newsome practices complex corporate litigation at Cadwalader, Wickersham, & Taft, LLP in New York City. She has worked with human rights and development organizations in West and Central Africa, addressing issues such as prisoners’ rights, transitional justice, and extractive industry transparency.

As a former management and fundraising consultant for nonprofit and faith-based organizations, Kelly has led numerous groups through strategic planning, capacity-building, and fund development.

Dr. Monroe Elkin

Advisory Board Member

Dr. Elkin has a Bachelors in Pharmacy and a Doctorate in Dentistry. Dr. Elkin served as Executive Director of the Middlesex County Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, a divisional office of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, based in Washington, D.C.. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of a non-profit organization called the Opportunity Project, which helps individuals with acquired brain injuries. In 2004 he co-founded CustMbite, LLC.

Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya

Advisory Board Member

Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya is a Research Associate at AB Bernstein, a finan-cial services firm in New York City. Prior to Bernstein, she worked for Bloomberg News in Boston and interned with the Washington Post and the Carnegie Endowment in Moscow, Russia. She graduated from Harvard College in 2014 with a B.A. in Social Studies, focusing on modernization in sub-Saharan Africa. She wrote her honors thesis on community health evangelism in Zambia and spent three months in-country conducting her research.

Elizabeth Johnson Hobson

Advisory Board Member

Elizabeth Johnson Hobson is a graduate of North-Western University in Evanston, Illinois. As a civic leader in Richmond Texas she was the Founder and President of The Butterfly Project providing nurturing to at risk girls in the suburban school district.

Danielle A. Mathis, MPW

Advisory Board Member

Danielle Mathis is a professionally-trained writer and graduate of the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) and Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA). A poet by nature and a business and professional communications college instructor by trade, her specialties include abstracts, biographical writing, grant writing, speechwriting, and proofreading and editing.. She currently works as the Proposal Manager for Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC).

Meet the Team

Ron Freeman, M.A

Secretary General

Mariama Sy

Director of Sports & Scholarship Program

Joseph Bundor

Program Evaluator

Abdoulaye Camara

National Double Dutch Trainer

Lansana Bangoura

National Mixed Football Coordinator

Kadiatou Sakho

Administrative Assistant