Fellows

img_1267-large

Fellows Departure

I’m writing this post on the 16-hr plane ride from New York to Mumbai (via Qatar), thinking about the hectic but exciting past ten days.

Near the end of our time in New York we learned how to shoot and edit videos. Initially, I thought that this video training – with a tough coach teaching us the surprisingly strict conventions for video shooting and editing – was going to be the most difficult part of the week.

But that was before we started the Acumen Fund investment case competition. We split up into two teams, each with five Fellows, and began carefully examining our (simulated but based on real-life) assigned venture’s financial data and business plan. Looking for a success story we could present — and loopholes the Investment Committee may pick up on — we did not leave anything to chance. Market study, risk analysis, social impact, and financial sustainability were just a few of the factors we looked at to convince the Committee to put their money in our investment. A tough, high-stress experience, but definitely one I won’t forget anytime soon.

The minute we closed our cases, while the verdict was still out on our respective investment proposals, we rushed to the Rubin Museum to rehearse our performance for the Investor Gathering the next day. Acumen Fund’s annual IG was the perfect way to end what has been a challenging but extremely rewarding two months in New York. Meeting all of our supporters in person at the IG has shown me just how close knit the community around us really is, and how, as one of our directors puts it, the community is an expression of the power of shared ideas and of uncompromising commitment. I am proud to be part of this organization.

Back here in my uncomfortable plane seat, already falling victim to jetlag-induced insomnia, I take a step back and attempt to give the Fellowship a broader view. While thinking about the future, I can’t help but look at the recent past, with 19 out of the 24 previous Fellows now working in 10 countries as professionals in the social sector. And as I reflect on how I got here, I think about the snowball effect this program has witnessed over the past few months, recently culminating with 568 individuals from 65 countries vying for the ten positions on the 2011 Fellows team.

But looking at the present moment, my thoughts are invariably drawn to my own cohort, all incredibly diverse individuals spanning national, economic, ethnic, religious, social, and political boundaries. As we make our way over to our investee placements, I wonder what they are all thinking on their own plane rides, and what expectations and apprehensions might be racing through their minds when their aircrafts finally touch the ground. For the time being, I am leaving you with a map showing where each of this year’s 10 Fellows will be spending the year.

Stay tuned.

View Acumen Fund 2010 Fellows in a larger map

Comments

Questions for Aspiring Leaders

Bavidra Mohan, Acumen’s India Fellows Manager, attended this years Aspen IDEAS festival as a Scholar. The Scholarship program was established to invite guests from around the world to bring a diverse set of experiences, voices and perspectives to the rich conversations that take place at the IDEAS festival each year. [Read More]

10 Books We’re Reading This Summer

What are you reading? It is a common question here at Acumen, an organization full of avid readers constantly trading favorite book titles that discuss leadership, impact, development and branding. Here are 10 stellar books we’re reading this summer. These books and others provide a framework of thinking, a spark of new ideas, a platform for debate. So, what are you reading? [Read More]

How Acumen Brought Back my Fire

Eda is an East Africa Regional Fellow from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Founder and Director of Halisi Trust, an organization that seeks to challenge the vices that plague society and encourage transformational development in Kenya’s youth. When Eda applied for the East Africa Fellows Program, she felt disillusioned and stuck. Below, Eda discusses how Acumen’s Regional Fellowship Program brought back her fire. Now, Eda has engaged nearly 6,000 people through outreach events and the Mkenya Halisi movement continues to grow. Acumen is currently accepting applications for the next class of East Africa Fellows. APPLY TODAY! [Read More]

Imagining the world as it could be

Christine Gitau is an East Africa Fellow and an enterprise coach at Craft Afrika, which provides business support services to craft entrepreneurs, enabling them build viable and thriving businesses in Kenya. At Acumen we often use the term “Moral Imagination” when talking about leadership. Christine wrote a reflection on how this concept has shifted her thinking. We could not be more proud of what she is building! [Read More]

How two Acumen Fellows are disrupting the education model in India

Whether its running youth soccer programs, providing vocational training services, or transforming the education system in India, Acumen India Fellows are driving real change in their communities.  Abbas Dadla and Abhilasha Sinha are India Fellows who are addressing the teacher shortage in India through the use of technology and peer collaboration. Find out what they are building below.  If you have grit, resilience and a commitment to creating change in your community in India, East Africa or Pakistan, we encourage you to apply for the Regional Fellowship Program! [Read More]

Meet Manjushree Patil, Founder of Aatman Academy

This month saw violent tragedies in Pakistan and Kenya, regions where Acumen works and which five classes of Acumen regional fellows call home. Among them there are dedicated teachers like Acumen India Fellow Manjushree Patil, crusaders against sex trafficking, builders of government, creators of liberating mobile medical technologies, and curators of slum sports programs. The need for strengthening the connections between those who are working for positive change against seemingly impossible odds has never been greater. We at Acumen have never been prouder to be the thread tying together these courageous individuals. Read more about Manjushree and how she is changing her community in India below! [Read More]

No, not silence again!

The Acumen Fellowship’s Cambridge Leadership Associates (CLA) training is notorious for digging deep, breaking Fellows down to reveal their deepest fears, identifying the sources of resilience that will fuel them with the tenacity to continue along the path to social change. Kahabi G. Isangula is an East Africa Regional Fellow living in Tanzania and recently participated in our CLA training. Get an idea of what it is like, below!  [Read More]

Announcing the Class of 2015 Acumen Global Fellows

Acumen Global Fellows are architects for the impact sector. They are innovators, game changers, visionaries, with various professional experiences looking to make substantial change in the world. They have thrived in companies such as Google; they have started their own companies in Sri Lanka, Canada and Malaysia.  They are choosing the challenge of working alongside our portfolio companies and immersing themselves in a rigorous leadership training. [Read More]