CLA Partners with Non-profit Acumen

Designed and delivered leadership curriculum and training to maximize global impact. CLA worked directly with 200+ social entrepreneurs to develop their capacity to push social change initiatives forward. The Adaptive Leadership course has reached ~4,000 people in 114 countries.


Our client Acumen, is a non-profit social fellowship and online learning platform. Their highly selective Global and Regional Fellows programs impact investing firm, raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty. As a complement to their investing arm, Acumen runs a number of leadership programs, including two leadership offer intensive, year-long leadership training to entrepreneurs working to drive social innovation around the globe. +Acumen, the online learning platform, provides free, self-paced content accessible publically. Given the company’s origin and expertise as an investing firm, Acumen was in need of partners with extensive leadership development capabilities to bring both programs to life.

CLA Approach

About four years ago, CLA was asked by Acumen to play an integral role in designing and delivering the content for their Fellows’ trainings. CLA worked closely with Acumen staff to develop a longitudinal leadership development curriculum specifically designed to equip change agents with tools to solve the world’s most challenging social problems. Together, CLA and Acumen have iterated on the design and delivery of the leadership training to maximize the impact of the program. In the last year, CLA has also partnered with Acumen to design a self-paced, group-based Adaptive Leadership online course. As the partnership with Acumen has deepened, CLA has become a key advisor to Acumen on the development of their company-wide leadership philosophy and model.


CLA has run the Global and Regional Fellows’ Adaptive Leadership curriculum annually over the last four years, working directly with 200+ social entrepreneurs to develop their capacity to push social change initiatives forward. +Acumen’s Adaptive Leadership course has reached ~4,000 people in 114 countries with course completion rates greatly exceeding online learning industry averages. More importantly, though, the social entrepreneurs have shared countless stories and have seen measurable business results demonstrating how their enhanced leadership capacity has enabled progress in their fields. Highlights of the testimonials include references to heightened self-awareness; deeper empathy for others involved; boosted confidence to address difficult challenges; more effective ways for engaging stakeholders; deeper, richer conversations among top teams; and an enhanced ability to diagnose and reframe challenges and design small-scale experiments to learn their way into new paths forward.