Three ideas to keep in mind for leaders who tackle poverty

By Carolyn Wensley on March 24, 2014

+Acumen chapters are self-organized, volunteer-led groups learning and sharing Acumen’s principles and approach to help change the way the world tackles poverty. We have 20+ chapters across the globe.  Carolyn is the co-chair of the London+Acumen chapter and recently attended a retreat with four European +Acumen chapters. Below is a reflection on four key themes inspired by Acumen’s values and bigger questions of the sector.

+Acumen chapter leaders from across Europe, namely, Oslo, Oxford and London, gathered on Saturday 1st March 2014 for the first ever European +Acumen Chapter Retreat organised and hosted by London+Acumen. We heard from Acumen Partners and alumni on their personal journeys and challenges encountered by participating in the space of patient capital. The importance to be informed and willing to ask questions stood out as necessary to make a difference in this space. We were also privileged to have Carlyle Singer, the Chief Operating Officer of Acumen, attend and share her strategic insights in moving Acumen forward; her talk was the inspiration for many of the “Aha” moments.

Speeches

We were reminded of “why we do what we do” as we discussed three key themes inspired by Acumen’s values and bigger questions of the sector to support Acumen’s mission to change the way the world tackles poverty through bold leadership:

1. What it means to live a life of purpose: It’s a life project. Your purpose can change throughout your life. It is not only about one specific project; it can be about health, family, loved ones and work. Surroundings also play a part – be present, indulge and enjoy it.

2. If failing is not an option, you have ruled out success as well: beingafraid of failure stands in the way of success, and if you get failure out of the personal context, it is not personal but strictly related to the purpose you were trying to reach.

3. Technology is only part of the answer to problems of poverty: The continuing improvement and introduction of technology has shaped the world to what it is today. Technology, especially great technology, has been beneficial in many ways to both people in the developed and developing worlds; it has made our world smaller and communication easier. However, great technology cannot alone tackle poverty – it has to be coupled together with a sound plan of action to ensure that it gets into the hands of the people whom it is meant to benefit. 

breakout

We were humbled by everyone’s presence, energy and dedication. It was a whirlwind day with each and everyone one of us taking away something different. Building on one of the “Aha’s”’ shared, while the future is unknown to all, as chapter leaders we share a sense of inspiration, empowerment and interconnectedness to change the way the world tackles poverty, anything is possible.

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