The Acumen Global Fellowship is an intensive and immersive one-year journey that deepens participants’ understanding of poverty, exposes them to new models of social change—and enhances their capabilities as leaders to take on some of society’s greatest challenges. Each fall, the selected Fellows come to New York for a rigorous seven-week leadership training before joining social enterprises in Acumen’s ecosystem.
This is our 11th year of the program and we are excited to welcome Fellows from Colombia, India, France, the United States, Zimbabwe and, for the first time, Bhutan, Brazil, Switzerland and Lithuania.
“A world run by moral leaders is a place where the most essential needs of communities and nations drive action.”
Born, raised and educated in Zimbabwe, Tsungai Gonzo recently completed her MBA at Wits Business School at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Prior to her MBA, she was a project manager at BRIDGE, an education nonprofit, where she focused on teacher development and creating collaborations to support learning in challenging contexts and underperforming schools. Tsungai also holds a B.A. in Business Management and Information Technology from the Catholic University in Zimbabwe.
Tsungai will spend her fellowship with Farmers Hope in Kumasi, Ghana.
“Dignity is having the choice to be understood and treated with empathy.”
Jini has more than 10 years of experience in business development and project management in both the public and private sectors. He is currently the East Africa Program Manager for Regions of Climate Action (R20), where his team recently won a two-year grant to start a solar bakery in rural Burundi. Before R20, Jini spent six years as a marketing consultant for Caterpillar Inc., where he was responsible for driving profitability for more than 30 African countries. Jini has a B.A. in Economics with Applied Quantitative Methods from the University of Sussex in England and an M.A. in Intercultural Communication from the University of Lugano in Switzerland.
Jini will spend his fellowship with Green Energy Biofuels in Lagos, Nigeria.
“My radical idea of creating hope is living in a society where governments, social entrepreneurs and traditional companies work together and use capital to drive impact, innovation and sustainability.”
Trained as an industrial engineer, Suparna started her career in 2012 with Siemens Industry in Sacramento, CA where she worked to optimize processes in their bogie manufacturing unit. In 2014, she moved back to India and took on a role at FreshMenu, a startup in the food delivery space, where she expanded the business from one to 17 outlets and led a team of more than 300 people. A certified project management professional, Suparna has a M.S. in Industrial Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering in Pune, India.
Suparna will spend her fellowship with Sahayog Dairy in Bhopal, India.
Clément de Alcala
“Dignity is the foundation of positive impact. As a global community, brought together by shared hopes and fears, strengths and weaknesses, achievements and mistakes, dignity is fundamental to creating stronger relationships and solving the world’s biggest challenges.”
Clément leads expansion into new markets for Altamira, a leading provider of innovative solutions for intelligence and defense communities worldwide. A skilled business development professional with extensive experience in B2B sales, he has spent the past decade enabling growth opportunities focused on long-term profitability in multiple emerging countries. Clément holds a B.A. in marketing and an MBA in public negotiation.
Clément will spend his fellowship with Devergy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
“My radical idea of creating hope is bridging the gap between the public and private sector to provide everyone with opportunity and dignity.”
Duda has a background in business and law and is passionate about creating social change at the intersection of these fields. She began her career as a consultant at Deloitte, where she focused on governance for global multinationals, and she recently completed her JD-MBA at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law and Kellogg School of Management where she was named a Youn Impact Scholar. Originally from Brazil, Duda holds a B.B.A. from Notre Dame in business and psychology.
Duda will spend her fellowship with Cacao de Colombia in Popayan, Colombia.
“A world run by moral leaders is a conscious system where all people reach their potential by living life based on values and self-reflection.“
In 2008, Thinley left her post at the World Food Programme to found READ Bhutan, an organization focused on improving literacy, and served as its Country Director until 2014. Simultaneously Thinley started another organization, Bhutan Tours and Travels, a boutique travel company focusing on showcasing Bhutan’s unique culture through a series of spiritual tours. Thinley has been a Stanford University Draper Hills Fellow and a feminist activist fellow at the Ewha Global Empowerment Program in Korea. She holds an MPA from the University of Hawaii and a B.A. in Economics from Beloit College in Wisconsin.
Thinley will spend her fellowship with Greenway Grameen in Bangalore, India.
“A world run by moral leaders is one with the courage to imagine a just society, the conviction to pursue that shared vision, and the patience to continue moving towards an elusive ideal.”
Raised in both Zimbabwe and North Carolina, Colin began his career with the International Organization for Migration in Zimbabwe. Since then, he has worked as a Luce Scholar with Non-Profit Incubator in China, a strategy consultant with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and a senior program associate with Results for Development (R4D), where he focused on increasing access to quality education for the poor. Colin holds a B.A. in Political Science and Anthropology from Columbia University and an M.A. in Public Affairs from Princeton University.
Colin will spend his fellowship with Aarusha Homes in Pune, India.
“My radical idea of creating hope is to draw upon our collective successes and failures to expand choices and opportunities for the disadvantaged.”
Menghan began her career with Conservation International in China before transitioning to the private sector, working as a strategy consultant for KPMG, a global audit, tax and advisory services company. Today, she is an operations manager for McMaster-Carr Supply Company where she oversees the company’s Accounts Receivable and Credit team of 30 people and its $1 billion receivables. Menghan holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and a B.A. in Biology and a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Menghan will spend her fellowship with Nizam Energy in Karachi, Pakistan.
“My radical idea of creating hope is to work with—and for—poor, silenced communities and not to be the savior but to serve. Each problem a community faces is unique to its environment and history. Each problem has answers and solutions that come from the people we aim to serve.”
Pradeepa is passionate about using media and technology to empower disenfranchised communities. She is currently the Director of Development at Machinima, an online entertainment network for gamers. She also founded Jeeva Productions to bring her digital expertise to nonprofits and works as E-Curriculum Media Director for SERVE Institute, where she has built more than 200 online courses in partnership with Tamil teachers to improve education in Sri Lanka. She also headed production for The YOMYOMF Network and launched major digital campaigns for thetruth.com and bedsider.org. Pradeepa has a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Minnesota.
Pradeepa will spend her fellowship with Under the Mango Tree in Mumbai, India.
“A world run by moral leaders has equal opportunities for growth for all, the freedom to imagine future of limitless innovation and is a world abounding in compassion, empathy and love.”
Nqo is currently the Senior Project Manager for Resource Africa, where he has teamed up with entrepreneurs in conservation, hospitality and agriculture to create a rural development project that has already impacted more than 400 households. Previously, Nqo worked in multiple organizations focused on environmental conservation across sub-Saharan Africa, including the South Africa’s People and Parks Program, the Jobs Fund of the National Treasury, USAID’s Southern African Regional Environmental Program, WWF South Africa, and McKinsey & Company. Nqo has a M.A. in Management from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
Nqo will spend his fellowship with Solar Now in Kampala, Uganda.
“I am in service of creating a new rural order where young people can thrive, a place where they want to stay, rather than flee due to poverty or despair, to build a better future.”
A passionate and energetic doer, Felipe is the founder of three social enterprises. The first, SOLE Colombia, has worked with more than 6,000 students in rural Colombia to improve learning aptitudes by emphasizing self-organized online learning. The second, Th1nk, works with organizations to conduct design thinking and visual thinking workshops. The third, La Juanita Finca Verde, aims to create a vibrant Colombian countryside by encouraging sustainable farming practices and creating dialogue through travelling cinemas and TEDx events. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Felipe was International Operations Officer for Archie’s, a restaurant chain with operations in Colombia, Ecuador and United States. Felipe holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.
Felipe will spend his fellowship with BioLite in Nairobi, Kenya.
“I am in service of creating strong societies and foster inclusive social change and economic development.”
Dalia recently completed her MPA at Columbia University and London School of Economics, where she specialized in economic development. Recently, she worked with the International Labour Organization in Jordan, with Innovations for Poverty Action in Peru, and at Columbia Impact Investing Initiative. Additionally, Dalia holds a masters degree from London Business School and spent four years as a management consultant at KPMG in London.
Dalia will spend her fellowship with Siembra Viva in Medellin, Colombia.