Koyana holds degrees from Smith College, Yale University, and Temple University in the USA. In 2000 she became the first post-doctoral research fellow in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria. While there she edited a monograph on Sindiwe Magona - a prolific South African writer. Thereafter she worked at the National Research Foundation (NRF), a grant-making government agency, as a fund manager for the Thuthuka Programme. It was here that she implemented and managed a research skills capacity building programme for young women and black academics in all of South Africa’s Higher Education Institutions. She has worked as a lecturer and published researcher at Wits University, Pretoria University, and Rhodes University. Koyana’s genuine interest in the academic and professional progress of Post School youth can be seen in the research and skills development work she has been conducting for more than a decade among those navigating the transition from the classroom to the workplace. Since 2009 she has been the managing director of Siyazithanda Projects, a research consultancy that conducts socio-economic research for both the public and private sectors.
In 2016 Koyana was appointed by then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to be one of seven expert researchers in the panel that set South Africa’s first National Minimum Wage.
Koyana is a Chartered Director of Companies—CD(SA) and a member of the Institute of Directors of Southern Africa (IoDSA). She serves on the Board of Wings Travel Management. She has also served on the Boards of SASOL Inzalo, Shanduka Group, Phembani Group, and the Transnet Foundation.