+Acumen

marica 2

Storytelling for Change: Create a Winning Presentation. Change the World.

At +Acumen, our goal is to share tools that can help unleash the full potential of all the aspiring social change leaders in our community. We believe that storytelling is a critical leadership skill and are excited to collaborate with The Ariel Group to offer a 6-week online course, Storytelling for Change, that is free and open to all. Register by January 14 to join the course. Here’s a story from Marica Rizzo, one of our former course participants. 

Wedu is a social enterprise started by 2011 Acumen Global Fellow Mario Ferro. As a member of the Wedu team, I joined Mario in many pitch competitions. We were participating in these competitions as a source of funding, but also as a great resource to learn and meet experts and mentors to help with the growth of the organization.

We had made it into the finals of the  Women Deliver Conference ‘Global Solution for Women Social Enterprise Challenge’ in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and we were beyond excited. This was a conference that would host over 5000 delegates and boast a speaking list that included Melinda Gates and Chelsea Clinton, not to mention many heads of state and even royalty.

So – we wanted to bring our best. Better than our best.

And that’s when the Storytelling for Change course came in. The timing of the course was perfect, and what we learned – invaluable.

After participating in the course, we made a deliberate decision to abandon our old presentation style that was filled with charts, graphs, and ‘business speak’ and to fill our presentation with the stories of our experiences and lessons learned, while intertwining the key messages and metrics into the flow of the presentation.

The result? Mario explains it perfectly:

“The competition at Women Deliver was the first time we decided to present Wedu through the stories of four incredible women that we work with; mentor, mentee, volunteers and Education Angels – and that totally changed the perspective and emotional reaction of the audience. The engagement was so much higher. I think it is important to make sure to pass along the business information that the audience needs, but storytelling offers a more engaging way to pass on the same content. We did it again in another setting in Bangkok and it worked again. We are now convinced that telling stories is the best way to share Wedu’s business model, even the most technical parts of it, in a way that any audience can relate to and therefore understand.”

Later that afternoon, Wedu was named the Top Global Solution for Women and I truly attribute the success of our presentation to the skills I learned in the Storytelling for Change course.

You can watch the presentation I gave with one of the Wedu Rising Stars here.

Marica, talks about the lessons Wedu has learned along the way, and the opportunities for further improvement

Marica, talks about the lessons Wedu has learned along the way, and the opportunities for further improvement

If you’re interested in working on your presentation skills, I would highly recommend this course. Just remember to register by January 14! You can do so here.

 

Comments

Acumen Partners with AlphaSights to Better Access Global Expertise

In our work investing in social enterprises that deliver critical goods to the poor, there is a substantial amount of work to evaluate each investment opportunity. A critical part of the diligence process, particularly when it comes to emerging markets, is speaking with industry experts who can provide reliable information about sector trends, market dynamics and public policy – all of which affect our evaluation of potential investment opportunities. [Read More]

DE-BUNKING THE BURDEN MYTH: IMPACT DATA GOES LEAN

Our manifesto begins, “it starts by standing with the poor.” Yet for good reasons, the sector has found it challenging to measure which customers are actually being served through social impact investments – getting accurate data on incomes is notoriously difficult and the logistical challenge and cost of conducting surveys in person prohibitive. [Read More]

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]

Give Impact Investing Time and Space to Develop

Impact investing has captured the world’s imagination. Just six years after the Rockefeller Foundation coined the term, the sector is booming. An estimated 250 funds are actively raising capital in a market that the Global Impact Investing Network estimates at $25 billion. Giving Pledge members described impact investing as the “hottest topic” at their May 2012 meeting, and Prime Minister David Cameron extolled the potential of the sector at the most recent G8 summit.  Sir Ronald Cohen and HBS Professor William A. Sahlman describe impact investing as the new venture capital, implying that it will, in the next 5 to 10 years, make its way into mainstream financial portfolios, unlocking billions or trillions of dollars in new capital. [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]