The future depends on a new breed of leader, ready to solve the world’s most challenging problems.

Passion and purpose will only take you so far. Leaders need the right mix of values, skills, and experience.

Leadership Model

Acumen leaders possess a combination of financial expertise, operational expertise, and that special something we call “moral imagination.”

Acumen Leadership Model - 72dpi

Our Leadership Programs

Do you want to step up to make a change in the world? Our leadership programs provide more than skills training. They are an opportunity to dig deep into your vision, your purpose, and your self-knowledge. They bring together like-minded individuals who are as hungry as you are to change the way the world tackles poverty.

GFP Field Michael Craig

Global Fellows Program

A full-time one-year fellowship. 10-12 individuals from all over the world spend two months in New York undergoing intensive leadership training, followed by nine months working with one of Acumen’s portfolio companies.

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Regional Fellows Program

A one-year fellowship currently offered in East Africa, Pakistan or India. 20 individuals in each region participate in intensive seminars and training exercises to improve their capacity to execute on a social change project of their choosing. Participants remain in their full-time jobs while in the program.

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We created +Acumen to give people a meaningful way to “add Acumen” to their lives. +Acumen makes our leadership curriculum available to anyone, globally. Learn through online courses, volunteer through our chapters, or apply to lead a new chapter in your city.

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Meet The Leaders

“We came to Acumen looking for answers, yet we found that there is more value in continuing to ask the questions, that these questions often start a much needed conversation.”

-Shahd AlShehail

2013 Global Fellow

“They have a world-class team of people with a unique set of attributes that I just haven’t seen anywhere else.”

-Bo Miller

Director of Corporate Citizenship, The Dow Chemical Company

“What I love most about +Acumen is interacting with different people, through the chapter team and our events, who share a common vision to bring change to the developing world.”

-Anna Tuveson


“Volunteering with +Acumen gives me a rich community of friends, partners, teachers, & role models who care about the poor. I'm learning to lead & to fight the problems of poverty.”

-Stefan Mustain


“I learn to see and treat each individual as a complex being with emotions, struggles and hopes. ”

-Christina Tang

2013 Global Fellow

“The Good Society readings inspired me to be more committed to the institutionalization of core governance principles, such as sound public policy, liberty and the rule of law.”

-William Lochi

2013 East Africa Fellow

“These entrepreneurial companies we call pioneer firms are too important to remain subscale, or worse, to fail. Growing Prosperity identifies what’s working, and what must change to shift the odds more in favor of these firms and the smallholder farmers they serve.”

-Vikki Tam

Partner, Bain & Company

“I never knew I had this much potential; it has been a moment of learning and self discovery, great inspiration and encouragement, every leader needs this for progress in our time.”

-Joachim Ewechu

2013 East Africa Fellow

“The problems that Acumen is trying to solve are some of the most interesting, most important problems in the world. ”

-Seth Godin

Author & Blogger

“Patient Capital is ultimately what’s going to move these countries out of poverty.”

-Bob Niehaus

Founder, Greenhill Capital Partners

“Mariángela se vinculó a Acumen en 2014 como Asociada Senior de Portafolio. En ese cargo, su función es originar y crecer el portafolio de Acumen en América Latina. Antes de llegar a Acumen, Mariangela trabajó en Mesoamerica, un Fondo de Capital Privado con operaciones en Centroamérica y la Región Andina. ”

-Mariángela Ramírez

“I had a chance to interact with a different kind of Philanthropy, one that seeks to reach out to people in need without comprising their dignity. This makes true giving conceivable”

-Pauline Wanja

2012 East Africa Fellow

“Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor es Presidente de Intercorp y Socio General de Nexus Group. Intercorp y Nexus Group desarrollan sus operaciones principalmente en el Perú y en la región andina y poseen una cartera de compañías en sectores tales como servicios financieros, retail, bienes raíces, educación, entretenimiento y envases de plástico con un equipo de 50 000 colaboradores e ingresos de aproximadamente 5 mil millones de dólares. Carlos Rodríguez-Pastor es también co-fundador y Presidente del Directorio de Innova Schools.”

-Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor

“Samuel Azout es Fundador y Presidente de la “Fundación Futbol con Corazón” (, una ONG dedicada a ayudar a construir comunidades sanas y seguras en Colombia, mejorando las oportunidades de vida de niños, jóvenes y adolescentes vulnerables. Su trabajo se concentra específicamente en reducir violencia juvenil, prevenir reclutamiento forzoso y promover igualdad de género.”

-Samuel Azout

“+Acumen volunteering goes beyond fundraising and community building—it's also an opportunity to develop key leadership skills such as self-awareness, empathy, and moral imagination”

-Cristina Celis

New York+Acumen

“Coming from Pakistan, I searched for a long time to find organizations to support, and I feel Acumen provides hope for Pakistan in a way that none other really has at this point.”

-Shaiza Rizavi

Partner, Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co.

“Self-discovery, deepening of maturity, sharpening of tools and expansion of network – what an amazing experience! It is liberating to know that I am not normal but I am sane.”

-Marion Moon

2013 East Africa Fellow

“You will never know what you are capable of unless you try. Be brave enough to be vulnerable and humble. Accept who you truly are, yet always strive to know yourself better. ”

-Raseel Sehmi


“The fellowship provided me an opportunity to get to know some talented young people with creative ideas about how to solve problems of the marginalized communities of Pakistan. ”

-Muhammad Saeed Khan

2013 Pakistan Fellow

“Santiago tiene por objeto el crecimiento del portafolio en América Latina y brindar apoyo en temas de gestión a las empresas del portafolio. Antes de vincularse a Acumen, Santiago trabajó para Endeavor donde estuvo a cargo de la búsqueda y selección de empresarios de alto impacto, y de las evaluaciones estratégicas y operativas de las empresas del portafolio.”

-Santiago Melo

“Leaders need vision: this is a starting point. They also need pragmatism and resolve to see change through. The fellowship cultivates our visions, and trains us to enable change.”

-Tayeb Noorbhai

2013 East Africa Fellow

“The role of +Acumen cannot be expressed in one single way, but rather as a platform and support for people who want to turn their ideas into actions.”

-Eriko (Atsumi) Yagi


“I have learned to work with uncertainty within and around me.”

-R Michael Craig

2013 Global Fellow

“For me,"patient capital" has transformed from being a buzz phrase to something I see creating real value. At d.light, we're not only providing lights to people, but hope also.”

-Mustapha Abokede

2013 Global Fellow

“The solutions are out there, but they are not being used widely enough to make a meaningful, lasting difference. The time to accelerate progress is now—not by one sector, but by all sectors.”

-Jacqueline Novogratz

Founder and CEO, Acumen

“The fellowship helped me see the world from a different angle - an angle the corporate world is not used, but which is so important in order to make the world a better place.”

-Abbas Akhtar

2013 Global Fellow

“The Acumen community is one of great role models. I am challenged and inspired to reflect on how my work contributes to something beyond myself and to lead from a place of purpose.”

-Mark McCoy


“Being the change I want to see in the world can be a difficult challenge. The Acumen Fellowship has provided me with a vibrant support structure and tools to do good and do well.”

-Majala Mlagui

2013 East Africa Fellow

Growing Prosperity offers valuable insights that can significantly increase the contribution of pioneering entrepreneurs. To sustainably increase agricultural productivity, the entire sector must unite to ensure that smallholder farmers have the tools and resources they need to live healthy and productive lives.”

-Dr. Chris Elias

President, Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“It takes more than passion and smarts and a good business model for a social entrepreneur to succeed. Most of all it takes guts and unshakeable commitment.”

-Nicole Iden

2013 Global Fellow

“HOPE is real. Local solutions can be found with patience.”

-Jay Jaboneta

2013 Global Fellow

“Day after day, I take three steps forward and two steps back. Frustrating, but I embrace this journey as I can get stronger only by falling down, getting back up again, and repeat.”

-Junko Tashiro

2013 Global Fellow

“There are a growing number of entrepreneurs who are trying, and succeeding, in reaching these farmers, in building businesses that both create a profit and help farmers work their way out of poverty. These ‘pioneer firms’ may be the key to transforming the potential for smallholder farmers to make new and better lives for themselves and their children.”

-Paul Polman

CEO, Unilever

“Resilience and moral imagination are key in my life. Neither grants nor markets alone will solve poverty but honest engagement with the very people whose problems am solving.”

-Patricia Jumi

2012 East Africa Fellow

“My fellowship was crucial; I have the courage to start my enterprise, honing my leadership style in training and experience at GADC and supported by my cohort and Acumen family.”

-Natalie Grillon

2013 Global Fellow

“Leaders aren't usually the best swimmers out there, but are always the first few to take the risk of crossing river. Acumen has taught me that leading the change is worth the risk.”

-Waqas Ali

2013 Pakistan Fellow

“+Acumen enriches my life in ways I hadn’t anticipated. It challenges my thinking on poverty alleviation & leadership and inspires me to do my best to give back in my own way.”

-Natasha D'Souza


“Let the fireworks begin! Volunteering with Acumen has really been quite an experience. I've done community service in the past, but never with such insight and innovation.”

-Mohammed Al Saadoun


“Virgilio se vinculó a Acumen como Director para Latinoamérica en septiembre de 2013. Tiene a su cargo la totalidad de las inversiones, operaciones y actividades de desarrollo empresarial en América Latina. Antes de vincularse a Acumen fue Director Ejecutivo de la Banca de Inversión Social, entidad sin ánimo de lucro que ha ayudado a liderar el desarrollo del espacio de la inversión de impacto en Colombia. ”

-Virgilio Barco

Director para Latinoamérica

“The Acumen Fellowship has given me a deeper appreciation for the incredible diversity of perspectives shaping the development debate in contemporary Pakistan.”

-Mehran Gul

2013 Pakistan Fellow