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Leadership Program for Climate Resilience Innovators


October 2022

10 Weeks

Applications Closed

Join a transformative leadership development program designed for leaders working towards sustainably addressing the impact of climate change in Pakistan.


Climate change hits the most vulnerable, and Pakistan is a striking example of these devastating impacts. With a population of 250 million and a primarily agrarian economy dependent on fragile value chains and unstable climate, Pakistan is the fifth most vulnerable country to climate change, despite contributing <1% to greenhouse gas emissions. 

The climate context in Pakistan is unique, and it is critical for innovators to learn how and where their businesses are positioned within that context, efficiently understand systems, stakeholders and next steps, and adapt for a changing world. In our new program, Leadership Essentials for Climate Resilience Innovators in Pakistan, we’ll prepare a cohort of leaders working toward addressing climate change by equipping them with invaluable leadership skills needed for navigating uncertainty and change, and a powerful network of like-minded peers.

Through the 10 week Leadership Program, you will:

  • Join a diverse cohort of climate-change leaders building resilient solutions
  • Experience Acumen’s flagship leadership
    training embedded in our multinational Fellowship program
  • Improve your capacity to innovate and drive change by practicing essential systems leadership skills
  • Bring examples from your work into the program to guide your learning — then take new learnings from the program back to your community to guide your work and increase your impact
  • Be challenged to examine your fundamental beliefs and responsibility as part of the system
  • Develop the muscle of leading your team, department, organization or community through challenging environments with confidence and empathy
  • Learn diagnostic and decision-making methodologies to bridge opposing views and find new opportunities in opposing tensions
  • Refine your purpose through the exploration of critical literature that gets to the core of human values and just societies

Identify your leadership gap

Diagnose your adaptive challenge, identify stakeholders and their priorities and learn how to move them towards your ideal.

Learn to navigate the grey

Manage the tension between your competing priorities and learn how to engage difficult stakeholders who benefit from the status quo.

Reflect on freedom, justice and equality

Study the work of great thinkers and question your assumptions and approach to building a more equitable economy.

Join A Lasting Community

Build meaningful relationships with cohort members that are based on shared values and a common purpose.

Who Should Apply?

We’re looking for participants who are building climate resilient solutions across sectors that serve the poor, including corporate leaders disrupting traditional environmental and sustainability initiatives, innovative public sector pioneers, and nonprofit builders.

Participants are typically on one of the following paths:

  • Social Entrepreneur: scaling innovative business models that tackle climate issues to reduce poverty and inequality
  • Public Sector Leader:leveraging the government influence to address climate change
  • Nonprofit Leader: building solutions to ensure those most in need are supported to be more resilient to climate change
  • Corporate Intrapreneur: driving initiatives within large corporations to create sustainable and positive environmental impact

The program is for you if:

  • You have at least 6-8 years of experience working in climate-related spaces in Pakistan
  • You currently lead or are part of building an organization or initiative that exists to tackle the ongoing climate crisis
  • You are in a position of leadership where you work and have the capacity to influence change
  • You want to become better at leading through uncertainty and navigating the systems around you
  • You are ready to show up for yourself and for others, and to challenge yourself to learn and think in new ways
  • You have the ability to read and write texts of medium complexity in English and have a basic handling of social platforms (e.g. WhatsApp) so that you can be an active member of the community

What Will You Learn?

Our core curriculum is made up of three key components:

Adaptive Leadership
Based on the work of Ron Heifitz, Adaptive Leadership is a practical leadership framework that helps organizations and individuals adapt and thrive in challenging environments. The content supports your ability, both individually and collectively, to catalyze and embrace the gradual and meaningful process of creating change.

Managing Polarities
Developed by Barry Johnson, Polarity Management empowers you to embrace competing goals and navigate the tensions between them, a crucial skill in an increasingly interconnected world.

Good Society Readings
The Good Society Readings explore the meaning of a just society and the moral and historical foundation of social change through a series of curated readings by thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Nelson Mandela. You’ll reflect on core human values, seek common ground, and cultivate a richer understanding of your social change work by situating it in a broader historical context.

[The program] really pushes oneself to ponder and question our role, our approach, why we decide, act and behave the way we do, and what we could do differently to truly grow as leaders.
Tomas Accelerator Alumni
It has given me new lenses - polarities, identity, humanity, politics - to see systems and challenges through. It also helped me to see how others are making an impact in the field and I am very inspired by their work and leadership.
Elizabeth Accelerator Alumni
For disruption and innovation in any society, specifically in the emerging markets, it's necessary to have like-minded individuals come on board and join together for a better future. I think accelerators like these are a perfect platform for this purpose.
Ibrahim Accelerator Alumni


Module 1

Who’s in This Journey with Me?

  • Examine your identities, values, and choices that have shaped your journeys till now
  • Connect with peers and begin to build trust and togetherness for the journey ahead

Module 2

How do we Move Beyond an ‘Either/Or’?

  • Diagnose and identify moments when values are in tension
  • Learn to engage in difficult conversations and manage systems of values in tension using tools and frameworks

Module 3

What is Leadership?

  • Understand the concept of "getting on the balcony" and how it relates to the exercise of adaptive leadership
  • Bring your live challenge to the group
  • Expand and apply your understanding of leadership, authority, and intervention

Module 4

What’s the Actual Work?

  • Distinguish between technical and adaptive work when leading change
  • Identify and examine your own leadership challenge

Module 5

Are You Mobilizing the Right People Around the ‘Right’ Problem?

  • Understand why people support, resist, benefit, or lose when you lead adaptive change
  • Define stakeholders and factions critical to your adaptive challenge

Module 6

How Do We Put Humanity at the Center of Our Work?

  • Think deeply and ask critical questions about the ideas of humanity and universal dignity

Module 7

What is Our Role in the System We Seek to Change?

  • Examine how you are complicit in the system you seek to change

Module 8

What are the Values we Hold in Tension to Build a Just Society?

  • Deliberate on the nature of humanity and the systems needed for humans to flourish

Module 9

Why is Understanding Identity Essential for Leadership Today?

  • Understand the role of identities in having conversations across lines of difference

Module 10

So, Are We Ready to Lead?

  • Renew and recommit to your responsibility in a more building a just and inclusive world

Applications Open

4th July - 1st August, 2022


October 2022

Program Ends

December 2022

What is the Time Commitment?

You should expect to spend at least 7 hours per week dedicated to this program. The learning experience is fully online and includes weekly individual work, peer discussions, and facilitator-led full cohort synchronous sessions.

Individual Pre-Work - 2 hours / week (own time)
Learn at your own pace with tutorials featuring leadership frameworks and readings to help cultivate a richer understanding of social change work in a broader historical context.

Partner Discussions - 1 hour / week (virtual)
Participants will be strategically paired with other cohort members. Pairs will meet to go deeper into their readings, give feedback on assignments, and reflect on their leadership journey.

Learning Lab - 3 hours / week (virtual)
Join your cohort in a live interactive session on a specific facet of leadership conducted by a facilitator.

Post-work - 1.5 hour / week (own time)
After each Learning Lab, you will reflect on key takeaways and synthesize learnings based on specific practices of moral leadership.


Upon completing the 10-week program, participants are admitted to The Foundry, an invite-only community designed to accompany entrepreneurs and leaders from around the world by connecting them with the social capital (resources and relationships) to amplify their work in building a just, inclusive, and sustainable world.

Foundry members have exclusive access to:

  • Events to learn and connect with fellow foundry members
  • Professional development opportunities that may include pro-bono consulting services and professional leadership coaching
  • Experts within the Acumen Ecosystem for mentorship or advisory sessions
  • Referrals to affiliated leadership programs and platforms
  • Access to funding, grants offered ad hoc by other organizations, or referrals within the Acumen network


How to Qualify


How will participants be selected?

After participants submit the application form, we will review applications on a rolling basis and invite finalists for a 45-minute zoom interview. We are looking for participants who (1) can participate in a program conducted in English and engage in an online learning environment (2) are eager to reflect on and grow their leadership capabilities (3) demonstrate a strong commitment to and track record on climate and environmental issues, and (4) are in a position to influence their group, organization, initiative or community to lead change.

What level of English do I need?

All sessions, assignments and communications are conducted in English. An intermediate proficiency in English is a requirement to ensure you are able to give and get the most from this experience. That involves being able to communicate verbally, understand presentations and read & write texts of medium complexity in English.

What if I don’t have a stable internet connection where I live?

Since the program is fully virtual, access to reliable internet coverage is fundamental to engage in the weekly online sessions, complete assignments in between the sessions and connect with your peers. If this is a limitation to your full participation, there may be limited funds to cover costs of accessing a stable internet connection provided on a case-by-case basis.

Do I have to be working in a social enterprise to qualify?

No. Although many of our Leadership Accelerator Alumni do work in social enterprises, we encourage applicants working with any kind of initiative that is connected to climate impact in Pakistan. This could include and is not limited to running or serving as a representative of climate change initiatives, working in civil society to build local partnerships, or serving in a government role. We are looking for people that have worked for at least six years towards sustainably addressing the impact of climate change in Pakistan.

What are the academic qualifications for the Leadership Accelerator?

There are no specific academic prerequisites.

Do I need to be from Pakistan to apply?

You need to be a climate change leader working primarily in Pakistan. You do not need to be a Pakistani citizen in order to apply. However, please note that you are expected to participate in PKT time zone meetings.

When and Where


When will the sessions be held?

You will be expected to participate live during the weekly 3-hour Learning Lab sessions which will happen on Thursdays. Most of the assignments can be completed online at your own pace before the submission date every week.

Where will the sessions be held?

This is an online program. The weekly Learning Labs will be hosted virtually via Zoom. You should have a stable internet connection and the ability to participate in video calls.

What are the program dates?

The program runs from October until December 2022. Group synchronous sessions are held every Thursday beginning October 6 until December 8, 2022. There will be an additional virtual closing session on December 9, 2022. The anticipated time of day for holding each group session will be from 5pm PKT, but may be slightly adjusted based on final cohort composition.

What happens after the program?

Following the program, you’ll join an alumni community of over 1,000 social innovators around the world. We call the Acumen alumni community ‘The Foundry,’ where our aim is to accompany builders from around the world by connecting them with the resources and relationships to amplify their work in architecting a just, inclusive, and sustainable world.

About Acumen Academy

Acumen Academy is the world’s school for social change. Our mission is to unleash a new generation of social innovators and leaders with the character and competence to build a more just, inclusive and sustainable world. Blending the best of online and offline learning, we offer anyone, anywhere access to the practical tools, practices, resources and supportive community they need to achieve positive social change. The Acumen Academy community represents a new generation of social innovators and leaders committed to doing what’s right in a world that loves easy.

Learn more at www.acumenacademy.org.