MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy: farewell to our final cohorts

Launched in March 2018, the MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy is developing leaders in the conservation sector, specifically supporting senior and young professionals from MAVA Foundation’s partner organisations. Delivered by Common Purpose and Mowgli Mentoring who are recognised and applauded experts in their respective fields, the Academy has six cohorts (one French-speaking and five English-speaking) and  all six cohorts have now graduated.

You can now read all about the Academy’s impact in the MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy Impact Report.

Farewell to our final cohorts!

Over May and June 2022, our final two cohorts gathered for a third time online over two weeks where our participants:

  • Reviewed and refreshed on their mentoring relationships so far
  • Addressed common questions and challenges with their peers
  • Developed greater inter-generational understanding and cooperation
  • Stretched their problem-solving and creative skills – by being exposed to a new approach to innovation
  • Grew new networks – by connecting with diverse participants, contributors and speakers

Gathering #3 kicked off with a Mentoring Refresher, facilitated by Mowgli Mentoring to celebrate and support our Senior and Young Professionals at the five-month milestone in their mentoring relationships. Participants reconnected and supported their MAVA Academy peers, reflected on their mentoring experience and challenges and collectively reflected on their leadership through topics such as:

  • Mentoring within management
  • Managing boundaries
  • Navigating change
  • Sharing expertise
  • Self and community care

Participants also had a chance to flex their mentoring muscles experiencing intergenerational peer-to-peer mentoring with others across the cohort.

Once the refresher completed, Common Purpose then led an innovation process called the Innoventure where our participants were tasked with presenting an innovative solution to the Challenge Statement – “How can we work together as a MAVA community to amplify the impact of our work?”

The cohort had the opportunity to hear from a variety of keynote speakers including Mike Moser, MAVA Foundation Board Member; Paule Gros, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Mediterranean Programme Director at MAVA Foundation; Kathleen Bury, CEO of Mowgli Mentoring, Tony Bury, Founder of Mowgli Mentoring and Julia Middleton, Founder of Common Purpose & Women Emerging from Isolation. Throughout these sessions, our speakers helped frame the Challenge, shared insight on intergenerational collaboration and the practical experience of Leading Beyond Authority in an online work environment.

Our participants then continued to broaden their horizons as they met and exchanged with an array of leaders working in and out the conservation sector. These included Leonard Schurg, (BURN Manufacturing), Katka Letzing (Kickstart Innovation), Sarika Saluja (World Toilet Organization), Benita Matofska (independent), Asif Rehmanwala  (Ecotricity), Gerrit Sindermann (Green Digital Finance Alliance), Sarah Boateng (IGEA Enterprise), Faith Adesemowo (Social Lender), Myrna Atalla (Alfanar), Peter Skelton (WRAP Global), Dal Babu (The Seacole Group).

The facilitators of the MAVA Academy create a safe space full of trust, where you gradually realise you already have what it takes to be a leader. The Academy is also a place of realisation that you are not alone in your doubts and dilemmas and a place of inspiration, which helps you look at the doubts and dilemma with a new light/perspective. The community that we created during the MAVA Academy year is something that will be with us for a very long time! Iveta Cadrova, Movement Building Coordinator, Break Free from Plastic

Over the last three days, the cohort broke into groups of 5 to 6 to brainstorm, select and strengthen five created ideas which they presented to our Change Lab panellists: Tanamiranga Ralaindimby (Independent), Mariana Nunes (Impact Hub), Frederic Hoffmann and Nathalie Cadot (MAVA Foundation)

On the 7th and 28th of July, the fifth and sixth cohort gathered separately online one final time for their graduation ceremony. Mentors and mentees shared words of appreciation towards each other, acknowledging the value of their relationship throughout the year. The mutual feelings of gratitude ran high; it was a bittersweet moment for us all.

It is now time for our graduates to continue integrating their Academy learnings (Leading Beyond Authority, Mentoring, Innovation and Coaching) within themselves, their teams and organisations. Many will also continue to nurture and benefit from their mentoring relationships beyond the Academy.

Learn more about our Cohort 5 and 6 alumni here.

I think many in our cohort really grew both professionally and privately. Speaking for myself, I think it’s been valuable to be part of such a warm group of people, to provide time and energy to each other, take moments to reflect, and receive extremely positive feedback. It has helped me to become more self-aware and to also become more confident in my leadership style, which is very valuable both for my professional as well as my private life. Martine van Weelden, Senior Manager TEEBAgriFood for Business project, Capitals Coalition

What’s next?

On September 21, 2022, all the Academy alumni and alumni of the French Programme will be reuniting online to hear from Julia Middleton and Albert Tucker to explore Cultural Intelligence (CQ) and its importance for leaders who want to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures.

Our alumni will be introduced to the CQ framework in an interactive session, helping them unpack their own culture and confidently work with others.

As they did not get the opportunity to meet physically over their Academy year, alumni from the 4th, 5th and 6th Cohorts will have the chance to meet over a two-day event in London in October, to connect with one another and strengthen the sense of community built online.

We look forward to reconnecting with them!

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