The Road Traveled: Moriyina Cole’s Path and the Women Who Brought Her Along

Moriyina Cole, Financial Analyst, Hospital Operations, Laboratory Medicine

Moriyina Cole, Financial Analyst, Hospital Operations, Laboratory Medicine

Moriyina Cole’s path to MSK started with a childhood in Sierra Leone, a move to Maryland when she was 15 years old, followed by time at Western Michigan University and Union Graduate College, where she received an undergraduate degree and a Master of Business Administration, respectively.

She joined MSK in 2014 and is currently a Financial Analyst in Laboratory Medicine.

As her journey took her from West Africa to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Ms. Cole followed her North Star – advice from her grandmother.

“If you have a dream, do anything it takes to pursue it. Don’t hold back because you don’t know where the helping hand will come from.”

Memories of Aba

Ms. Cole’s earliest memories are of strong women “who were the backbone of the community,” including her grandmother, Aba Fraser-Leigh.

Moriyina celebrates her 10th birthday with her family

Ms. Cole and her family

“Someone came to our house every day, asking my grandmother for advice,” Ms. Cole recalls. A pillar in the community, Ms. Fraser-Leigh helped establish a free daycare for local women “who before then carried their babies on their backs all day.”

Ms. Fraser-Leigh also traveled to nearby villages, visiting the sick. Ms. Cole often accompanied her grandmother, learning at a young age what health disparity looked like.

“I grew up seeing a lot of sick and dying people who couldn’t afford traditional care,” explains Ms. Cole, noting that many in Sierra Leone suffered from treatable diseases like malaria or cholera.

These formative experiences – and grandma’s guiding hand – led Ms. Cole to pursue higher degrees in chemistry and health care.

Moving to MSK

After receiving her master’s, Ms. Cole applied for jobs at MSK, attracted to its commitment to “taking care of its community and solving the problem of cancer,” she says.

In her current role, Ms. Cole works with managers in Lab Medicine, helping them monitor and track expenses. Previously, she served as a budget associate in the Department of Medicine.

When she thinks about the importance of Women’s History Month, Ms. Cole encourages women to think about those closest to them who helped lift them up.

“I like to think about the people in your life because they help more than you realize,” she says.