Welcome from your Yearbook Team
This year, we saw an explosion of new community initiatives. From +Acumen Corps, to Live Action Challenges, to the growing Course Catalysts team, and the stellar Chapters. In every corner of the world, you are stepping up and leading change.
We created this yearbook to honor your commitment and showcase your leadership. We deeply believe that anyone, anywhere can make change happen. With each action, event, and collision, you are showing the world just how powerful that simple belief is.
It’s been a genuine pleasure to help create this inaugural issue of +Acumen’s Yearbook. Every story represents hundreds of lives and thousands of tiny positive changes in the world. It never ceases to amaze me that each person has such a unique vision for taking +Acumen’s programming into their communities; there are never two stories that are exactly the same. I am proud to share that this yearbook is created by the community, for the community.
We tried to capture as much of your work as we could, but we know for certain that there are many people and projects out there we’ve missed. This is not exhaustive, but a taste of what your +Acumen peers have been up to this year. We hope this brings you inspiration and sparks new ideas for how each of you can continue to move the world forward in 2017.
With devotion and conviction,
Lead Editor Hillary Strobel (member since September 2015)
Editors: Lael Lyons (2015), Ronna Mercado-Delvoye (2016)
Curators: Michelle Greenwood (2015), Carla Donayre (2015), Chris Frascella (2015), Katherine Pineda (2016)
This year our community of social change leaders surpassed a quarter of a million members.
You come from all walks of life – gritty international development professionals, new and experienced philanthropists, savvy designers, tech nerds, activists, lifelong civil servants, idealistic students, hardened business professionals, passionate teachers, devoted parents, and more. You’re curious and compassionate. You’ve got big ideas about change, and you’re ready to take up a challenge.
In 2016, you completed more than 44,000 projects across 176 countries.
Together, you are an unstoppable force for good!
Here are some of the ways you’ve been moving the world forward this year.
“We were trying to solve problems related to flawed buildings, but we started to see that the underlying problem was much bigger than just infrastructure.”
From engineering student to human-centered design facilitator at Engineering2Empower (E2E), an organization whose mission is to provide access to sustainable housing solutions to the Haitian poor after the devastation of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Erik lead a team of E2E volunteers through the human-centered design course, while training 42 local Haitians in human-centered design and developing a new way to train Haitian construction workers and verify the structural integrity of their work. Erik’s goal is to get more engineers to embrace creativity, reframe problems, and think more about people. Today he works full-time in design and innovation at RocketSpace in San Francisco.
“I think storytelling is so beautiful in a way that you already have what it takes inside you.”
In 2015, Ayuma learned something powerful: The wound-gift concept, the idea that for every wound each one of us has, we have an equal or greater opportunity to turn it into a gift for the world. Inspired by this concept, Ayuma started to think through ways she could use her own story to empower other women and girls around Nairobi to find their voices. She started LetS, a Kenyan-based social enterprise that offers leadership storytelling workshops. To date, Ayuma has taught more than 430 women, executive leaders, youth, and social entrepreneurs to awaken and inspire leadership through authentic storytelling for positive change. Ayuma says: “In our country, women leadership is really frowned upon; it’s not really celebrated.” But she is leading a new generation of women to change that.
Sofija Bogeva, Kristina Domazetoska, and Aleksandra Iloska
“We want to shift youth from being very passive about their own employment future to becoming people who really take action.”
Meet Sofija Bogeva, Kristina Domazetoska, and Aleksandra Iloska, three friends determined to inject fresh energy into Macedonia’s economy. Faced with the fact that Macedonia has a youth unemployment rate of 50 percent, the trio decided to leave their prestigious corporate careers to return home, and put their skills where their hearts are.
“I decided to follow my passion for impact investing and moved to Uganda to work in this field full-time.”
Today, Natalie Wong is an impact investment officer with Engineers Without Borders Canada but back in 2011 she hadn’t yet heard of impact investing. Her journey into this field began when she started volunteering with the Toronto+Acumen Chapter and continues today working with innovative entrepreneurs in East Africa to achieve scalable social change.
“We had a palpable and potent sense of the impact our houses were having on people’s lives, but we had not yet systematized evidence collection in a quantitative way.”
New Story Charity had accomplished a lot before Emma Lalley joined as the Global Impact Manager. In the charity’s first two years of operation it built a crowdfunding platform to construct homes for families in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, including providing shelter to over 755 people who had been living in tents since the 2010 earthquake in Leveque, Haiti. After graduating from Y Combinator, the New Story team had strong anecdotal evidence of the impact of housing from beneficiaries; however, Emma felt they needed more. Emma used the +Acumen Lean Data course to develop a framework to help the New Story team better understand their value proposition, indicators, and the types of data they need to collect. “Lean data allowed us to amplify beneficiary voices in a data-driven way.”
“I find that this generation of young people have a desire to not only have great careers, but they also have this desire to do something meaningful with their lives.”
Earlier this year in Tulsa, Oklahoma, senior engineering students at Oral Roberts University (ORU) were busy hammering large sheets of metal together to build a giant cook stove. On the floor next to them sat a pile of cashew fruits imported from Brazil. Their challenge was to create a low-cost device that could roast the cashews safely while extracting the most amount of oil possible. The assignment came from Kevin Schneider, their professor and a regular +Acumen course taker. Kevin is leveraging what he’s learned with +Acumen to help his students tackle real world challenges. Just this past summer he took a team of business, engineering, nursing, social work, pre-med and psychology students to Brazil to work with residents of Carrilho, Brazil to improve their main livelihood – cashew processing. Not only have his students built a product to make the process more efficient and safe but are also helping to build it into a sustainable business to support the community.
“I was looking for something that was bigger than myself where I could contribute in a positive way.”
We first met Marilena in 2012, when we were just getting +Acumen courses off the ground. She was feeling small and lost and in search of something bigger than herself to commit to. With the help of the friends she’s made through NY+Acumen and the courses, she’s found that bigger purpose in advocating for refugees. This year, Marilena co-founded the U.S. branch of URBAN REFUGEES, an organization focused on amplifying the profile and voice of refugees who are living outside humanitarian camps, in cities of the Global South.
“I felt this disconnect between how the middle class was progressing and how the rest of the country was still living in dire poverty.”
In the spring of 2015, Usman Khaliq graduated from the GIK Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology, a private research university located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. As his friends accepted software development jobs or management positions in multilateral companies, Usman sat down with his mother in their kitchen and told her: “I’m moving to Sierra Leone.”
“One thing that keeps me going is the image of the day when my solution will help millions of kids receive a good education irrespective of where they are or how much money they have.”
Jyotsna Budideti’s first entrepreneurial venture was redesigning motorcycle helmets. She soon discovered that this was not going to be her lifelong passion, so she set on a journey to explore how she can combine her engineering background with a passion for social change. Through +Acumen courses, she found the tools and inspiration to move from redesigning motocycle helmets to redesigning the education experience for low-income students in India.
“I’m a person who has lots of ideas, so the process of going through the HCD course really helped me bring an idea to a concrete end”
Naomi Lipke is an ideas person, a committed environmentalist, a participatory design advocate and a new entrepreneur. She is developing a food sharing app based on an idea conceptualized during the human-centered design course, funded by the European Commission, which she hopes will reduce food waste but also bring people together.
Want to make the Honor Roll?
We created +Acumen courses to inspire emerging leaders (like yourself!) and equip you with the skills needed to solve the world’s most challenging problems. We are constantly adding to this toolkit, and you have been consistently thirsty learners.
This year, 102,524 of you signed up to 44 courses. Staying true to our action-oriented culture, you took what you learned, and applied it right to your work.
You are in Good Company
Monica Mastrantonio was already active in her community when she first discovered +Acumen’s courses. As a social psychologist and university professor, she has been actively working with nonprofits and low-income families in São Paulo, Brazil. She also had an existing book-donation project.
After taking the Social Entrepreneurship 101 course, she started to adopt more of a business approach to scale her project. From donating to just one library, she has expanded to 10 institutional partners. She also started to stamp the books so that they could not be resold.
“I clarified my process and became more professional and responsible in the way I acted. I felt much more involved. I also made my recipients realize that they have a responsibility to take care of the books.”
She learned the importance of targeting her audience to create change and impact. Thus, when she received a lot of books for adults, she decided to donate them to a prison with 2,500 inmates. In the past, she would just donate the books without much thought about the potential readers.
Her new perspective also changed the way she teaches her students. “Now, when I give assignments, I make sure that what my students produce are meaningful and useful. I would ask them to solve a real life problem and send their answers to nonprofits.”
Miki Aristorenas leads communications at The Jamiya Project – providing higher education opportunities to Syrian refugees in the Amman and Zatari refugee camps. After graduating from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Miki studied and researched education in armed conflict. She signed up to Human-Centered Design course (HCD) with her colleagues to grow their venture.
Using HCD best practices, The Jamiya Project talked with experts and students in Jordan and ultimately determined that WhatsApp would be an ideal tool for engaging their target population. Students already use it proficiently, and as a casual channel, it streamlined course discussion and feedback.
“We created a blueprint for delivering education to asylum-seekers. HCD was pivotal for the forward thinking of the project.”
LeAnn Stanhope teaches at the American International School in Hong Kong. In 2015 LeAnn and four of her tenth grade students took +Acumen’s Human-Centered Design course. This year, more than 40 of her students signed up for The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Stories beyond the Headlines.
She said her students don’t relate to traditional news broadcasting, they get their news primarily from memes and viral videos. LeAnn said the course humanized the Syrian crisis for the students. They previously thought of the crisis as something happening “over there” but the course made it clear the impact it had on them.
“This course was a turning point in my teaching,” LeAnn said ”It broke down the barrier of ‘teacher as expert’, the online course empowered students to pick issues, learn on their own, and brainstorm solutions to help.”
After the course ended, several students took action as part of a Personal Passion Project. Seven students wrote novels, 18 worked on films, and six took action overseas. LeAnn tells us: “This was another example of how I am trying to allow students to become more self-autonomous in their learning.”
Anastasia Ostapchuk was named Canada’s Top 30 under 30 by The Record this year for her work in Sustainability. Since earning a degree from Western University’s Ivey School of Business, Anastasia cut her teeth in the nonprofit sector at Ashoka Canada and the UN Global Compact Network Canada. After which she joined TD Bank Group. Her aptitude for learning and her ability to make an impact within the organization has allowed her to quickly advance to the manager of corporate environmental affairs.
Anastasia shows strong commitment and integrity in her work and plays key roles in supporting environmentally responsible business practices, including her leadership in TD’s CSR report, carbon neutral program and the TD Green Bond.
“I still refer back to some of the things I learned in my Human-Centered Design course - they really resonated with me.”
Though Anastasia makes a difference on a daily basis as part of her occupation, her involvement in +Acumen allowed her to pursue her interest in social finance. The opportunity to both learn and connect with like-minded people differentiated +Acumen’s program from any other online course she’d taken before. Anastasia’s leadership with the Toronto +Acumen Chapter included managing social media and assisting with events.
Cristina Paulsen loves children and educational programs, so she wanted to start a project in Chile which would help children and youth develop social and emotional skills through art. Before pursuing this dream, she first wanted to have a solid foundation and started to look for courses in social entrepreneurship. This led her to discover +Acumen in 2015.
“The best part of the courses was the interaction with other people around the world - people who have the same motivation and passion to help others and to discover new ways of improving their work.”
After lots of research and documentation, she finally started her project in April 2016. She and her team named it “Kapchiy” which means “art” in Quechua. Their goal is to develop spaces where children and adolescents can learn and enjoy any kind of artistic discipline. They believe that art and the creative process are effective tools in developing self-esteem and empathy.
“I was able to put into practice a lot of ideas that I learned from +Acumen courses, such as the importance of having clear goals, of leading one’s group with love and care, and the value of working together and motivating everybody to continually help the world.”
Inspiring Individuals Build Thriving Teams...
Team Design Submarine
Meet Tahsin Hyder, Sejan Bari, and Raiya Ashraf,three friends from Dhakha, Bangladesh took the Design Kit: Prototyping course together and had a blast testing an educational board game for kids living in the slums. Read their full story.
Team Los Mestizos
Julia Sotera works as a Marketing Director for Americas at Tetra Pak. After first hearing about it from her colleague, she assembled Team Los Mestizos to take the Human Centered Design course. They tackled the tough, but necessary question of “How might we improve health in everyday places”? The team prototyped a table mat that showed what a balanced meal would look like. Innovative twist? It can be colored by children! which gets them asking the important questions about nutrition.
The collaborative process was really something Julia enjoyed. “learning more about real impact, and how to lead a team of all of us to grow together, as professionals as well as human beings.” The team was “absolutely great working together, all of us living in different countries, different time zones. We managed to keep our commitment and deliver a lovely project.”
“What I’ve decided is to be more involved in social projects…to actively participate in my community…and to look for cross-cultural experiences for my young daughters. It’s very important that they grow up with a social responsibility. So I’m actually pretty happy I found you guys! Thank you very much for letting us learn and improve our social responsibility, for opening this window.”
Edwin Rutsch, the Founding Director of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy, designs tools and experiences “to foster more empathy in the world.” As participant and facilitator, this empathy activist has worked with international teams across more than a dozen +Acumen courses. +Acumen’s Human Centered Design course provides not only “a great skill to learn, but it [also] brings people together.”
Edwin and his +Acumen teams have been invited by Google to speak at a TED-style training session about empathy for transformative action, prototyped an Empathy Tent at the busy rapid-transit entrance near University of California, Berkeley, and focused on empathy training in schools. One activity brought high-school students together as favorite super heroes and super villains to negotiate issues with an empathetic mediator. Edwin is currently working with Empathy Team 11 and counting!
“From my personal felt experience, I’ve come to see that mutual and relational empathy is the most needed value to bring people together, to connect with and understand each other, and to co-design solutions to improve our lives and nurture social well-being.”
A biotechnologist, a community psychologist, and a UX designer walk into a +Acumen course...out came a Storytelling Cafe dedicated to promote social entrepreneurship. Pedro Poblete Lasserre was the team lead. He told us: “We created a very diverse group: Yefan Wang, a designer; Karla Araya, a biotechnologist; and myself, a psychologist. Two of us in Chile and one in the Netherlands”. Pedro, a Senior Fellow at the Melton Foundation – a network of Fellows that promotes and enables global citizenship – has been exploring the power of courageous conversations, including recently giving a talk at a conference in Germany on identity, migration, and anti-oppression in the context of the refugee crisis.
Building on Pedro’s experience, the team explored solutions that dismantle some of the misconceptions that may stop a young person from becoming social entrepreneurs. Together, the team designed several communication pieces, and tested eight choices with real customers to see which ones would be the most engaging for their audience. There’s still work to be done, but the collaborative process has already yielded other benefits.
“One of my collaborators in this course, Karla Araya, was completely new to human-centered design. [...] She actually went to participate in a design thinking workshop with MIT in Zambia shortly after we finished the course.
What this +Acumen course offered that no other MOOC ever did was the opportunity of working with two very different friends, introduce them to human-centered design, and allow ourselves to explore solutions for global problems.
Inspiring Individuals Build Thriving Teams to Lead Innovative Organisations.
Virginia Hamilton, U.S. Department of Labor
Long before there was LinkedIn or Monster.com, when computers still filled up whole rooms and only displayed green text on black screens, Virginia Hamilton led a team that created the first statewide job matching system in the United States. Since then she’s taken roles in policy, program design, and even started her own nonprofit, all with an eye toward changing large-scale systems in new ways.
Today, Virginia works at the U.S. Department of Labor and is leading what might be her most audacious systems change yet – changing the way the U.S. government works.
One of the things I’ve always done in my career is I’ve always volunteered for the hardest job.
For the past year, Virginia has been using +Acumen’s open online course to run a nation-wide “Customer-Centered Design Challenge” in collaboration with the White House to train DOL staff, agencies, and grantees “good process” to unlock new ways to serve unemployed Americans.
Virginia and her team have run the challenge twice for more than 100+ teams across the nation. The lessons these teams have learned have been fundamentally game-changing – teams are re-energized, new insights about what customers need have emerged, and programs have become more successful in reaching the unemployed. Most importantly, this is 600+ people across the nation that now have a new process that they can use over and over again in their day-to-day work.
“There are ten of us. Our team represents all center partners, all types of positions (management to front line) all areas of workforce development (education, training, public assistance, labor exchange, veterans) and all ages…As a result of this class, we have become connected locally, nationally, and globally to ourselves and others through every manner of technology. The older among us have been catapulted into the future in ways we have only skirted on the fringes of up until this point. We’re old dogs learning new tricks in new languages. The younger among us are showing us the way. When all else fails we stick a post it note on the computer monitor or hold up one phone next to another and tell the parties on the other ends to talk loudly. Ingenuity is both timeless and ageless.” – Team WOW
We’ve heard from more and more businesses, government agencies, and international development organizations seeking to support smart social innovation that starts from the ground up. If your organization is looking to equip your staff with 21st-century tools to innovate, +Acumen courses can offer a turnkey way to do that — or we can even create a customized package.
This year, +Acumen launched Master Classes - a series of courses that bring some of the world’s smartest, most accomplished, most fearless thinkers into the classroom.
+Acumen’s experts bring perspectives from beyond the world of social good, giving you a broader set of tools to help you tackle the world’s toughest problems of poverty.
Developed as a complement to +Acumen’s free offerings, these courses challenge you to develop your next-level leadership skills. Every Master Class is self-paced and available on demand.
Over 31,000 people have taken a Master Class. Let’s meet a few of them and the issues they’re taking on.
I’m working with a drug policy organization and we are trying our darndest to change the narrative from the current war on drugs! - Mikli from Manila, Philippines
Listening is learning. I am an architect. Architecture is in essence a service profession although it is not always practiced that way. – Emily, National Chair of Commission of Equity in Architecture, U.S.
I work in financial inclusion at a social oriented bank in Colombia, and recently launched to the market, under pilot version, a savings solution which aims to tackle many of the barriers low-income adults say they face when they try to save. – Carolina Guzmán from Bogotá, Colombia
I´m currently involved in a project which is aimed to enable entrepreneurship capabilities within small fishing companies, focusing on social and sustainable initiatives. – Marcelo from Lima, Peru
I’m the Principal of a Middle/High School of the Arts in an economically challenged spirit-rich area. Recent incidents involving race are very much on my mind and my heart knows that there might not be as much of a common ground that I’m always striving to connect us with in our school community’s quest for a mutually supportive environment. – Ron from the Bronx, United States
I am an educator and am currently teaching adult refugees. There are times when my conversations with friends, family and neighbors are rich and varied, and other times when they just fall flat. I think we all must want to feel more of a sense of community and connectedness in life, and we get there by sharing our thoughts. But how do we move beyond the superficiality where people are very comfortable? – Donna from Minnesota, United States
I’ve formed a nonprofit organization, Enhance A Village, to help farmers in developing nations with the purpose of educating their children to stop the cycle of poverty. I have no experience in public speaking, and hope of this course will develop the skills I need to lead, influence, and make a global impact on improving economic prosperities to impoverish communities. – Alfonso from California, United States
I work in a nonprofit Greencubator, aimed at developing green entrepreneurship in Ukraine. We constantly work with peoples’ resistance to change and unsustainable behavioral patterns in energy consumption, waste management, etc. – Kseniia from Kyiv, Ukraine
Catalysts are current and former students who care deeply about helping others unlock their potential. They add to the course experience by acting as guides -– answering questions, helping students get unstuck, and encouraging them to go beyond what they think they’re capable of. Every Catalyst has taken at least one +Acumen course and it’s the diversity of their backgrounds that enriches the experience for other learners.
They are an indispensable source of knowledge, both of +Acumen’s courses and their own fields of expertise. We want to introduce you to some of them here.
Meet some of the 2016 Course Catalysts!
Name: Alyscia Cunningham
Job/Employer: Documentary Filmmaker
+Acumen Member Since: 2015
Course Catalyst for: Storytelling for Change
As a young woman, Alyscia volunteered to shave her head on behalf of a cancer advocacy non-profit agency. “It was so freeing to cut the [dread]locs I’d had for 16 years and have no hair.” After blogging about the experience of cutting her hair, she was surprised at the responses she received. Although many of her friends, family, and followers were supportive, she “found that the negativity really lingered.”
The experience eventually led her to create a documentary entitled “I’m More Than My Hair: Bald and Beautiful Me” about women and girls experiencing hair loss, for reasons ranging from cancer to alopecia.
Alyscia found the experience of twice being a Catalyst for Storytelling for Change transformative. It was especially beneficial to see so much depth and connection via a well-told story to people’s work. “+Acumen connects personal stories to other people. That’s important for me not only as a documentarian but in telling others why I do what I do. Being able to really tell my own story, I get the attention I need for my work.” She enjoyed making that happen for the course participants as well.
“I really enjoyed that experience and would love to be a Catalyst again!”
Name: Radha M. Parikh
Job/Employer: Visiting Professor, International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIIT-B)
+Acumen Member since: October 2015
Course Catalyst for: Storytelling for Change
Radha’s career spans multiple countries and disciplines, as both educator and student. Her academic degrees include B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from Madras University; M.Ed. and Ed.S. in Special Education from the University of Florida, Gainesville; and Ph.D. in Special Education with an Information Technology (IT) support area from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Radha worked as a special educator with the Maharashtra Dyslexia Association in Mumbai. She worked as assistant and then associate professor at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. In 2015, she moved to Bangalore to begin her work at IIIT-B.
As a +Acumen student and catalyst, Radha is impressed by and enjoys stories which are so similar -– even across continents. “Storytelling for Change made me realize even more how small the world is and how we are all truly one, at heart.”
She especially appreciates hearing so many incredibly inspiring, honest and “from the heart” stories. The lectures and material “fueled us to reach deep within, pull out the pain and emotions, and pin them down as stories in black and white.”
Favorite inspirational quote: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – Plutarch, William Butler Yeats and others
Name: Jafreen Alamgir
Job/Employer: Student, Asian University for Women
+Acumen Member since: January 2015
Course Catalyst for: Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid
Jafreen is an undergraduate student at the Asian University for Women, the only multi-cultural university located in Chittagong, Bangladesh. She loves spending time with her “sweet family,” football, writing, badminton, reading novels.
As a catalyst, Jafreen recognized participants’ deep commitment to a productive, successful course experience. Helping participants learn the process was challenging and rewarding. “The way I knew about things is different from how they understand things. It helped me to know people of different cultures thoroughly.”
Follow Jafreen on LinkedIn.
Favorite inspirational quote: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Name: Windsor Wai Chiu Chan
Job/Employer: Consultant, Hogan Lovells
+Acumen Member since: 2012
Course Catalyst for: Storytelling for Change
Born in Hong Kong, Windsor immigrated to South Africa in 1991. He worked 42 years in the banking industry, retiring in 2015 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60. But Windsor was not finished! That same year, he became a consultant in the international law firm of Hogan Lovells.
Windsor earned a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Newport University in 2000. His dissertation addressed internationalization of South African banks in a rapidly changing global environment.
+Acumen courses and other online courses have become an integral part of Windsor’s life-long learning journey. Windsor began his first online course in 2012 and has already completed more than 100! “Through the interaction with other learners across the globe, we can share a lot of inspiration.”
Working as a +Acumen catalyst “is rewarding and allows me to play a different role.”
“Every day, new inspirations and challenges emerge. We need a global effort to deal with inequality and protectionism.”
Name: Emilien Bouchez
Job/Employer: Founder, Full of Hope
+Acumen Member since: November 2013
Course Catalyst for: Making Sense of Social Impact: Acumen’s Building Blocks for Impact Analysis; Storytelling for Change
After Typhoon Haiyan, Emilien traveled to the Philippines with Enfants du Mékong to help rebuild. During his 18-month visit, Emilien and his three-person team helped the community build 2,000 new homes and several schools. Throughout, they ensured that everything was sourced locally, including workers and supplies.
Emilien used +Acumen’s Making Sense of Social Impact course to measure the impact of cleanup efforts. He interviewed people affected by the typhoon for course homework. It took three months to complete the impact evaluation: “I got so many great ideas from +Acumen.” Emilien also used the Storytelling for Change course to help craft a compelling narrative for donors and supporters: “With my stories, I really changed their minds. I was able to convince people of the value of what we did.” He also used what he learned in the impact course to help create data reports to include with the stories.
What’s next? Emilien wants to help even more. Now as a member of +Acumen Corps, he uses the community to ideate and meet new people who can help him develop his own organization, Full of Hope. Through Full of Hope, French students travel to the Philippines to participate in cultural exchange, summer camp, and home construction.
“All over the world, we [+Acumen Corps members] share the same goals and values. It’s really fulfilling.”
Name: Alessandra Viero
Job/Employer: Freelance User-Experience (UX) Researcher and Data Scientist
+Acumen Member since: August 2015
Course Catalyst for: Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design; Design Kit: Prototyping
“I’m passionate about human-centered design (HCD) and UX. They share principles, so the +Acumen courses allowed me to engage with people with the same skill sets but different experiences. The experience helped to open my mind – even more from a skills point of view and also from an enrichment standpoint.” Alessandra calls this “Inspiration for everyday life.”
Alessandra’s work as a catalyst built off her work as a student in the Human-Centered Design course where she worked with an international team designing a series of courses for young social entrepreneurs in training. Alessandra was delighted to connect with group members across geographies, cultures and experiences. “We’re all so alike, no matter where we are.” She loved that +Acumen’s course was consistent with her UX experience but for the greater social good. She’s still in touch with her team.
Favorite inspirational quote: “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way and not starting.” – Buddha
Name: Sara Brown
Job/Employer: Heifer International, Development Department, formerly a Social Enterprise Support Intern
+Acumen Member since: Fall 2013
Course Catalyst for: Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design; Social Entrepreneurship 101: Discovering Your Passion & Path to Change the World
Sara’s involvement with +Acumen courses began when she discovered The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, a book by Acumen’s Founder and CEO Jacqueline Novogratz. Inspired by the story, Sara immediately registered for Social Entrepreneurship 101. The course helped “contextualize, frame and develop the vocabulary necessary” for her career. She has since taken more courses that support her work. Participating with co-workers in the Human-Centered Design (HCD) course has been a great way to expand beyond normal work “silos” and to bring +Acumen ideals into their work.
As a catalyst, Sara is especially excited to see HCD projects about food, a key aspect of her work. She loves seeing so many people from different places tackle this complex issue in creative ways.
Favorite inspirational quote: “Authentic entrepreneurs are often what I call accidental entrepreneurs. It’s not their aspiration to be on the cover of a magazine. They see a problem in the world and they want to solve it, and entrepreneurship is just a way to get there.” – Jodi Goldstein, Harvard Innovation Labs
Name: Veronica Polinedrio
Job/Employer: Brand designer for Youth for Understanding
+Acumen Member Since: 2013
Course Catalyst for: Design Kit: The Course of Human-Centered Design, Making Sense of Social Impact
As a designer, Veronica believes that one of the core pieces of design is to do it for people. This is why she became interested in +Acumen’s model, which for her begins with empathy.
“Most empathy is based on experiences, where people who have experienced specific situations tend to be more empathetic or find it easier to empathize with someone in that same situation.” Through her thesis research, she found that there is always some sort of disconnect, especially when experiencing deep emotions connected to war or violence, but there is always an innate drive to attempt to empathize. Her research led to the conclusion that however there is always a drive to be inherently good.
Armed with her drive to empathize and the knowledge from the HCD course, Veronica and her teammates designed an award-winning “Welcome Card” for refugees. She is also using +Acumen courses for offline events in Stockholm (see Stockholm+Acumen Chapter below) which target different disciplines, age groups and experiences.
“+Acumen offers the base of a method or a theory, which allows participants to grow wings and adapt this to their own experiences.”
She loved her experience as a catalyst for HCD as it allowed her to help students. “It was nice to see students who were very new to the topic do their exploring, because it allowed me to get out of my rote ways and gain new insights.”
Follow Veronica on LinkedIn.
Name: Arunkumar Khannur
Job/Employer: Chairman and CEO, ISQT Process and Consulting Services Pvt Ltd
+Acumen Member since: Summer 2015
Course Catalyst for: Lean Startup
Arunkumar is a successful IT consultant who learned about +Acumen from his daughter, Deepti. He first signed up for the Market Segmentation at the Bottom of the Pyramid course and has since taken nine courses.
Since completing the courses, he’s embarked on a journey to work with smallholder farmers, artisans and home and cottage industries to help align their products with real customer needs and connect them to markets. He is very proud to share that as of the end of 2016, he and his team have connected 80+ cooperatives, home and cottages industries and artisans to relevant markets. Arunkumar’s passion is infectious, his energy immense, and, at 53, he is just beginning his journey to change the world.
Name: Younes Bouassis
Job/Employer: Sales manager, Saint-Gobain
+Acumen Member Since: November 2015
Course Catalyst for: Making Sense of Social Impact
Younes, the father of a seven-month old daughter, is particularly interested in psychological and behavioral issues. He aims to use his business, coaching, and marketing skills as well as his knowledge in behavioral economics to make an impact on the world.
“If marketing sciences are traditionally exploited by businessmen to push people to consume more and more, to produce more and more, and to live in a permanent stress, I would rather use it to make people happier, to consume positive thoughts, and to live healthier and healthier. I could be happy if I live for this mission until my last breath.”
As a catalyst for Making Sense of Social Impact, he discovered that “the first lesson was that moment of transformative change for me because I discovered that I’m sharing exactly the same vision as +Acumen.” Like +Acumen, Younes wants to have a positive impact on society by harnessing professional skills in the area of project management and marketing strategies, and using science-based methods to measure input, output, and outcome.
Name: Silvie Hibdon
Job/Employer: Managing Director, Silvie Hibdon Co.
+Acumen Member Since: February 2015
Course Catalyst for: Design Kit: The Course of Human-Centered Design
Silvie helps organizations introduce human-centered design to their leadership teams through workshops and consultations. She has worked with various nonprofits including Consumer Credit Counseling Services, World Education Foundation and Kiva. As a design-thinking facilitator, she brought groups together for deep-dive brainstorms, prototype sessions and collaborative opportunities around challenges on the OpenIDEO platform. She has also created a Facilitator’s Toolkit that helps facilitators successfully and effectively lead design sessions.
Silvie decided to help course takers as a catalyst because she believes in applying the human-centered design methodology to solving big and difficult problems.
“It was when I was reviewing the final projects that I realized how much I enjoy the facilitation itself. I learned that I enjoy supporting people as they learn and tackle complex issues.”
On one occasion, she connected in the course with a student from San Francisco whom she then invited to facilitate a design-thinking work shop at an OpenIDEO Chapter event at IDEO.
“+Acumen is an organization with truly active global network of contributors. I experienced its reach firsthand.“
Follow Silvie on LinkedIn and on Twitter @SilvieHibdon.
Favorite Quote: Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” H. Thurman
Name: Fabienne Ntwa
Job/Employer: Financial Analyst at BNP Bank, Paris
+Acumen Member Since: May 2014
Course Catalyst for: Measuring Social Impact
Fabienne does financial analysis for BNP Bank but felt like she was living a “double life” as she volunteers with organizations that promote skills-based social services and also helps distribute food to the homeless in Paris. She felt that she wanted to do more and found the right training through +Acumen.
Her first courses included Measuring Social Impact (for which she was also Catalyst) because to her, it is so crucial for social services. She is very interested in Acumen’s social finance work, and when she led an entire conference hosted by BenevoLab on social finance in the UK, she used +Acumen programming to prepare.
Fabienne spent five months in Haiti on BenevoLab’s behalf to determine the efficacy of microfinance, using +Acumen’s impact model to really assess whether people were truly happy. She said the Haitians told her that no one seemed to care for them before her. “You have to talk to the customers, because they are the boss, no? So you have to ask them if they are really happy, not just yes or no questions.”
In Madagascar, her team volunteering for Le Foyer Tanjomoha was able to open a new library based on her impact survey which she designed using +Acumen principles. The first library in the community failed and there were no plans to reopen it. By doing her survey, her team was able to show not only the huge desire for a new library but also how to make it work correctly the second time. (And it’s been a huge success!)
Name: Maria Gibbs
Job/Employer: Civil Engineer, Bridges to Prosperity (first as a volunteer, then staff, then on Board of Directors)
+Acumen Member Since: Summer 2013
Course Catalyst for: Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design
As someone who works for Bridges to Prosperity (B2P), an organization which builds footbridges for isolated communities, Maria recognizes that designs should fit into the community’s needs and aspirations, in addition to being safe. She knew that she needed a toolbox of solutions, so she and her team at B2P took +Acumen’s HCD course and used it to solve the pain points of a community in Nicaragua. She hopes to incorporate technical knowledge as well as HCD to be able to effectively deploy the same process anywhere.
As a Catalyst, she was shocked by the sheer number of people who were taking “crazy different” approaches to the same design brief. Being able to help course takers in forums and discussions helped her build her creative confidence. “That was a time I treasured. I always looked forward to it, and felt really energized afterwards.” She found the course to be so useful that when she was working on her PhD on the effect of wind on footbridges, she based an entire chapter of her dissertation on HCD!
Maria has brought her knowledge from +Acumen beyond B2P. As a member of the Board of Directors for Stage for Change, she has incorporated +Acumen’s Storytelling course with HCD to build empathy models for converting ideas into actionable solutions.
She is also starting her own company soon and pivoting to impact entrepreneurship which to her is “the way to activate latent entrepreneurs to solve problems worth solving.”
Name: Angela Maria Perez Beltran
Job/Employer: Professor, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogota
+Acumen Member Since: January 2015
Course Catalyst for: Contar historias para el cambio (May 2015, October 2015 and June 2016)
Angela Maria has been always interested in literature, particularly in short stories. She teaches at the Doctoral Level on “How to Understand and Develop Academic Texts.” Her academic background includes a PhD in Hispanoamerican Literature from the University of Texas at Austin and an MA in Comparative Literature, SUNY at Stony Brook. She is also a Fulbright scholar.
In October 2015, while she was working as Course Catalyst together with another Colombian who also took “Contar historias para el cambio” in January 2015, Angela Maria was able to create a team to read and see all of the homework that the students shared. They also tried to motivate the ones who had problems with the exercises. Her favorite story from one of the students was Jorge Eduardo Franco’s story My grandfather, Eugenio.
Favorite Quote: “The only lesson is to love yourself.” (The Pleiadians)
Name: Vinícius Picanço Rodrigues
+Acumen Member Since: September 2015
Job/Employer: PhD Researcher at the Technical University of Denmark and Co-founder at essensus
Course Catalyst for: Social Entrepreneurship 101: Discovering Your Passion & Path to Change the World; Business Models for Social Enterprise
Armed with his enthusiasm for Management Science, Operations, Sustainability, Social Innovation, and Education. Vinícius lives for creating deep social impact and addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems with Systems Dynamics. With over seven years of experience in research, nonprofits, teaching, and consultancy, and having founded two technology start-ups, he is exactly the kind of role model +Acumen seeks for Course Catalysts.
+Acumen is all about “people from all over the world, coming together with shared values, and becoming part of something much bigger: something which is powerful and transformational.” Vinícius said.
One of his favorite moments during his experience as a Course Catalyst for Social Entrepreneurship 101 came when he connected a team of students to his close friend, a a graduate student from his hometown in Brazil. Víctor Macul “beautifully conducted the team’s discussions, injecting high levels of pure motivation. The students got the chance to work on a real problem that was relevant for the community. I remember one particular moment when we had a Skype call all together and I was blown away by their enthusiasm and the thoughtful questions they kept on asking me! That was a crystal-clear example of bringing the best of the offline and online worlds together.”
Favorite Inspiring quote: “For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” (Neil deGrasse Tyson)
Meet the Corps
+Acumen Corps is an online, invitation-only community for our most dedicated students and community members. Corps members are action-oriented and distinguish themselves by completing courses, leading chapters and showing up for live action challenges. They get priority access to challenges, exclusive workshops, job and volunteer opportunities – and most importantly each other. Corps members share honestly, give generously, and support one another as they lead initiatives at the forefront of social change.
Take a peek inside +Acumen Corps 2016
350 people representing 35 different countries from across the +Acumen community met on Slack for the very first +Acumen live action challenge
Some stayed up late, while others woke up extra early to help SiembraViva, a Colombia-based Acumen investee, brainstorm how to incentivize the smallholder farmers they work with to give them real-time data about their crop inventory.
Participants were divided into teams of five. After a 20-minute Q&A with Mina Shahid, Acumen Global Fellow and representative from the company, they worked between Slack and an online white-boarding tool to brainstorm possible solutions.
In less than two hours, the teams generated more than 200 new ideas!
I loved how in just 2 hours we teamed up and created something, even if we hadn’t ever met before. I had already attended +Acumen courses, so I know this is the “normal” magic that occurs, but it still makes me so happy every time. I wish I can create this type of project in real life again.” – Alessandra, Vigonovo, Italy
the Corps stepped up to their second challenge
+Acumen partnered with the nonprofit Kiva to help them pilot their new crowdvetting platform: Kiva Direct to Social Enterprise. The team at Kiva wanted to see if they could tap into the collective knowledge of the crowd to help them decide if they should invest in VITALITE, a solar energy company in Zambia.
In a 2-hour, online, rapid-fire event, the participants worked through Kiva’s due diligence process and cast their vote on whether to invest. Four hundred and twenty people from all over the world and all areas of knowledge joined with no prior investment experience.
As a result of +Acumen Corp’s participation, questions, and observations, Kiva built an entirely new crowdvetting website.
YES! After following up with Corps members’ questions and concerns, the team at Kiva approved VITALITE’s application to fundraise through Kiva Direct to Social Enterprise, and they were fully funded in just 3 days!
Others approve of this choice, too. Shortly after their crowdfunding win, VITALITE was selected as one of the recipients of The Scaling Off-Grid Energy Enterprise Awards by the US Agency for International Development!
And we are a little jealous of all the fun Corps is having...
Whether it’s in person or online, they are truly connecting and learning from one another.
Kathryn Atchley works with Enactus, an organization mobilizing university students across 1,700+ campuses in 36 countries to take entrepreneurial action. Kathryn’s Enactus colleague Tona Rowett is also a Corps member! Based in Missouri, Kathryn found inspiration in Mumbai from a fellow corps member Heeshma, who had published Resources for Women Entrepreneurs. Enactus now provides this document to 150+ Enactus teams around the world who are working to empower women through entrepreneurial training and workforce development.
After connecting with Lael, another Corps members in Virginia, Kathryn said: “It was really helpful for us to talk to and get feedback from someone outside of my organization and get her unique perspective on engaging university students in design thinking.”
Recently, she met Sarah, who is teaching in Bangladesh. “Sarah and I had a fun conversation about the similar experiences we’ve had teaching youth about human-centered design and community empowerment.” They are now planning a Skype session to connect Sarah’s students in Bangladesh with Enactus students in India.
Daniel Schuster first discovered +Acumen when a colleague sent him a link to the Making Sense of Social Impact course in 2014. “I’ve used the basic precepts of the Theory of Change framework to organize my thinking many times since.”
When he became a Corps member in 2016, Daniel set up a “collision” with a fellow member Serena. “Since we both work in financial services, I thought it would be great to trade experiences and see if we might be able to help each other.” he said.
During their meeting, Daniel and Serena discussed impact investing projects they have been involved in and their future goals. They have since introduced each other to relevant resources and people in their networks. Dan is eager to have more collisions.
Because sharing is caring
Corps members love swapping sources of inspiration. Here are some must read/listen/watch/attend resources according to Corps:
+Acumen Chapters are self-organized, volunteer-run groups actively supporting Acumen’s mission to change the way the world tackles poverty. From Tokyo to Barcelona, they are learning and sharing Acumen’s principles and approach to creating a world without poverty through educational and networking events.
Today, there are 16 active Chapters around the world. Here’s a taste of what they did this year.
“How can I use some of my skill sets to do good in the world?”
+Acumen Chapter Leader Jack Walker
A Half Marathon to raise $10K for Acumen
Sometimes it takes just a little help from your friends! Surpassing even their own goals, Boston+Acumen Chapter raised $10,000 in 2016 with a half marathon.
When asked how they did this, they told us they simply built momentum and people jumped in! It seems their own opportunity to do outreach to Acumen and bring Sasha Dichter, Acumen’s Chief Innovation Officer, in for a special event on impact investing really made a difference. The special evening also included former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. The audience was packed and they raised $1,500 during this once in a lifetime opportunity. The Chapter went on to hold other events as well. Their frequently held educational events and a highly successful fun run all contributed to reaching their $10,000 goal.
“Through LA+Acumen’s Impact Circle, we’re hoping to create a bridge between volunteerism and our members roles as future Acumen Partners.”
+Acumen Chapter Leader Jesse Clarke
“+Acumen is a venue to grow myself as I’ve become more attuned to suffering and world issues.”
+Acumen Chapter Leader Elizabeth Pan
LA+Acumen’s Impact Circle
As Jesse Clarke did outreach to start an LA+Acumen Chapter, she sensed how time strapped Angelinos were feeling. She began to envision a bridge between time sensitive volunteerism and the larger dollars required of an Acumen Partner. She dreamed of a space where members-- folks she called mid-career philanthropists-- could move beyond giving socially to a mindful and strategic philanthropy. She was quickly joined by Elizabeth Pan and Ashish Shrestha, who were also interested in how smaller sums of money might contribute to solving poverty and bringing dignity to the many. The three of them pitched their idea to +Acumen.
In January 2015, the LA+Acumen Impact Circle became a reality. Seventeen folks came together along with two junior partners. The 19 community members of the first Impact Circle raised $16,000 to complete their vision. In 2016 the Circle came together again, and the LA+Acumen Chapter is looking forward to a third Impact Circle in 2017, leading the way for other +Acumen Chapters throughout the world to create their own Impact Circles.
“I’ve come away with a feeling that +Acumen is a family.”
+Acumen Chapter Leader Sunil Rajan
A visit from the Acumen India portfolio team
Singapore+Acumen is a new chapter with a goal of having their own Impact Circle. They knew they needed to engage folks before starting right in with the Impact Circle, so they looked for strategic ways to tie into Acumen despite being located beyond any Acumen corporate office locations. When a special conference on Investing in the Base of the Pyramid was happening in Singapore, they knew they found their opportunity. They reached out to the Acumen India Portfolio team to invite them to Singapore for the conference, hoping to create a +Acumen Chapter Kickoff event that no one would soon forget.
Their memorable evening started with Impact Investing 101, put on by the Acumen India Portfolio team and an actual case study on Ziqitza, the ambulance company that has had so much impact in India. Folks reviewed the case and gave feedback. Most of the audience members were more familiar with looking for financial ROI than impact and they quickly decided the deal wasn’t worth investing in. And they weren’t afraid to say so!
In a specially designed moment, the Singapore+Acumen Chapter brought in their surprise guest, Ziqitza co-founder and CEO Sweta Mangal through Skype. She had been listening to their feedback. The surprised but delighted crowd had a chance to ask their impact and financial questions to Sweta questions directly. With this amazing start, Singapore+Acumen went on to host several other well attended events including a human-centered design workshop leveraging +Acumen’s curriculum, laying the groundwork for their own Impact Circle. We know there will be great things coming from Singapore+Acumen in 2017!
“The power of attraction [to Acumen ideals] is really strong here.”
+Acumen Chapter Leader Francesca Ceron
Saint Jordi Day book sale
The Acumen ideals, still new to the Barcelona audience, are attracting all kinds of community members.
The Barcelona+Acumen Chapter is justifiably proud of the events they’ve been holding to get the word out about Acumen. From their kickoff event, an evening with a panel of community notables, to their local workshops, they’ve experienced tremendous success in introducing Acumen ideas and growing their local chapter.
They’ve been thinking a bit outside the box too. A collaborative event held on the Spanish Saint Jordi Day gave a special sense of +Acumen in their local community. Saint Jordi Day celebrates love with flowers and books. The Barcelona+Acumen Chapter Saint Jordi Day event was widely praised in the press and they sold books for their partner, Revista 5W, while fundraising for Acumen.
“I am humbled by the dedication and time commitment of my fellow +Acumen volunteers.”
+Acumen Chapter Leader Vamshi Lingampalli
Young Entrepreneurship with the House of Lords
In an achievement that can only be described as crowning, the London+Acumen Chapter became a collaborative partner for an event focused on young entrepreneurs at the House of Lords. In concert with Global Entrepreneur Week UK, public and private organizations shared insights and approaches for developing and nurturing young future leaders through entrepreneurism. And this relationship is just beginning! London+Acumen Chapter is holding a second event in collaboration with the House of Lords on the Syrian refugee crisis in 2017.
+Acumen Chapter Leader Jenny Furstenback
The Welcome Card Project
Stockholm+Acumen had several proud moments in 2016! Top of the list is the success of their team member Veronica Polinedrio who developed a new Welcome Card concept to help incoming refugees using what she learned in the +Acumen human-centered design course. For this idea, she was one of five finalists picked to receive start-up help from What Design Can Do, the Ikea Foundation, and UNHCR (read more about Veronica’s story on the +Acumen blog).
The chapter is also very proud of the work they did together with the Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship and Impact HUB, where they facilitated a total of four +Acumen courses and two reading sessions in the past year. They also facilitated a human-centered design workshop for the Hult prize @SSE participants in November. They are looking forward to facilitating +Acumen courses for refugees and bringing in new course partners in 2017.
+Acumen Chapter Leaders Nicholas Favero, Henny Viktoria Lømo, Jørgen Henrik Gjelsvik
Taste of Social Entrepreneurship
2016 for Oslo+Acumen featured a coffee tasting event where ethical, fair trade, single origin coffee from Acumen’s investment KZ Noir, a social enterprise in Rwanda, was showcased. The event featured coffee specifically from Roastworks Coffee Co. that comes directly from KZ Noir’s washing station in Karengera, Rwanda and local based coffee distillery/roasters Nord which also purchases coffee from smallholder farmers. Read more about the event and see more pictures in Oslo+Acumen’s blog here!
+Acumen Chapter Leader Alix Linaker
Building Blocks for Social Change
Calgary+Acumen has partnered with Calgary Public Library and its Idea Lab (a space for Calgarians to meet, share ideas and collaborate) to run a “Building Blocks for Social Change” workshop series. Over five weeks throughout November and December, workshops have been run weekly on the following topics (with content adapted from +Acumen’s online courses): Social Entrepreneurship 101, Lean Startup Principles for Social Impact, Human-Centered Design, Business Models for Social Enterprise, and Storytelling for Change. In total, over 120 community members registered for the five workshops, which have been very well received, and as a result, Calgary+Acumen was asked to run the series again in 2017!
The first semester starts on January 10th 2017, but you can sign up today:
Courses starting January 10th 2017
*New Course Launch January 31st 2017:
Starting February 7th 2017
There are also on demand courses available to you at any time.
And all Master Classes are available on demand to all our friends of +Acumen for $29 (usually a value of $100)
Lead editor: Hillary Strobel
I’m extremely passionate about +Acumen’s programming and the effect it has had on my career and personal life. It’s possible, if I go back and check my records, that I’ve taken pretty much every course +Acumen offers! I’m also in the Corps, have been a Catalyst many times over, and facilitated a test workshop for +Acumen Labs.
For 2017, I’m looking forward to running a podcast project in collaboration with LA+Acumen and several Corps members, featuring content based on +Acumen’s course In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong, in conjunction with +Acumen contributor Krista Tippett’s Civil Conversations project.
It was a tremendous pleasure to work on this project and to share the core ideals of +Acumen with everyone who contributed their story. I never cease to be amazed at the impact we all have on the world around us- each positive ripple in the pond will be felt for generations to come. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart, +Acumen Community, for all that you do!
Editor Lael Lyons
When Acumen’s Winnie Sun offered a new way to “shine a light” on the wonderful people and work across the +Acumen community, I rushed to join the team!
Through this Yearbook project -– and all +Acumen activities -– I continue to connect with amazing people, gain fresh perspectives, see innovation in action, and pour creative energies into shared goals.
+Acumen provides a vibrant global environment (virtual and physical) to inspire, to support, and to be inspired by our community’s marvelous talents and potential. I’m delighted to help “shine a light” on just a few of these stories.
Warmest thanks to everyone at Acumen, +Acumen, the Yearbook team, and our many colleagues and friends worldwide for this privilege!
As of this writing, I have completed several +Acumen courses (cheers, Team!) and participated in two live challenges (cheers, SiembraViva and Kiva!). As a Corps member, I am inspired and energized daily. I look forward to future +Acumen adventures.
If you have not yet had an opportunity to participate in +Acumen activities: be humble, be audacious -– and join us!
Editor Ronna Mercado-Delvoye
It has been an absolute joy to be part of this Yearbook project! Thank you, Winnie and +Acumen, for deciding to embark on this project and for the trust you have given me and my fellow committee members.
Working on this Yearbook allowed me to have a closer look at +Acumen and its members. I am inspired by the transformative change that +Acumen has brought -– be it to the personal lives of its members, the organizations they work for, or the communities they serve.
It has been a great privilege to uncover the conversations, stories, comments, and projects of +Acumen’s members and an even greater privilege to be able to interview some of them.
What I discovered is a community of trust and generosity of spirit. A community of individuals at different stages of their journeys, unified by their desire to do good and create impact. I am honored and humbled to be part of this community!
To the amazing +Acumen members, continue to be the change you want to see in the world!
Curator Michelle Greenwood
I loved the opportunity to work with the +Acumen staff and fellow Corps members on this first +Acumen Yearbook project.
+Acumen has done an incredible job finding multiple points for engagement through their course offerings, Chapter development and now the Corps. A +Acumen experience is always a little bit more: more quality, more insight, more opportunity to grow and learn.
And +Acumen recognizes and respects that these points of engagement are always just a start for others. We join in the creative process through +Acumen as we iterate, develop and deepen our own journeys finding ways to create and celebrate dignity for all.
It’s been an honor and a joy to be part of the +Acumen Yearbook team. I’ve treasured getting to know even more of our fellow +Acumen community members while sharing their exciting stories!
Curator Chris Frascella
Chris Frascella is a software marketer who moonlights as a changemaker-in-training. He is passionate about digital marketing, volunteering (especially as a means of community-building), tabletop games, US education policy, Social Impact Bonds, and horror movies. You can find him on Twitter at @cfrascl.
+Acumen is the world’s school for social change. Our world-class, online courses empower you to think differently, learn collaboratively and be part of a global community of change-makers moving the world forward.
This community and these courses take thousands of hours and dollars to produce and sustain. If you’ve taken any value and inspiration from being part of this impressive force for good, please consider paying it forward with a donation to support +Acumen and your fellow change-makers across the world.