Meet Our Team: Charles Coustan
We are excited to welcome Charles Coustan as the new Executive Director of World Bicycle Relief. Charles brings years of experience as a financial analyist as well as an unceasing passion to his work for the Power of Bicycles. We recently heard from Charles on how he came to WBR and his dreams for the organization.
Name: Charles Coustan
Title: Executive Director
Employed Since: July 2013
What were you doing before working with World Bicycle Relief?
I spent the last decade as an equity research analyst, including the last six years at William Blair. My job was to find and analyze great companies that would be attractive investments for our clients. Prior to that, I spent five years in consumer marketing and product development. Early in my career, I spent three years as the director of housing development at a community-based low-income housing developer. World Bicycle Relief enables me to draw on all of these prior experiences and apply them to an amzing cause.
What drew you to World Bicycle Relief?
I wanted to be part of a great team that was building something important. As a bicycle enthusiast, I also love the fact that such a simple, sustainable machine can be transformative in the hands of the right person.
What is the best part of your job?
I attended a bicycle distribution ceremony at a school in Zambia during my second week at World Bicycle Relief. I was amazed by the level of excitement and celebration in the community. Two American teenagers who were part of my Africa Rides group talked to the students about how they collectively raised nearly $60,000 over the last three years. They then rode with one of the African students to her house to see how she lives and what a difference a bicycle will make in her life. I feel incredibly lucky that it is now my job to be building these bridges.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
We are a truly global organization with operations in 11 locations, in nine countries, on three continents. We have a very strong, motivated staff. A key part of my job is to make sure we continue to communicate effectively across languages, time zones, and varying internet connections.
What is your dream for the organization?
I would like World Bicycle Relief to become a model as a sustainable and high impact organization. Most people who know World Bicycle Relief know about our fantastic bicycles and measurably effective programs. Fewer realize that we are pioneering an organizational model that will benefit from our development of a commercially viable product addressing the lowest income consumers in the world.
What is one random fact about you that no one on staff knows?
As a child I went to summer camp in northern Wisconsin and one year won the log rolling championship. I have a pair of red suspenders as proof!
Meet the rest of our team and stay tuned for more features from our staff around the world.