MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy: Goodbyes and new beginnings

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 four cohorts (one French-speaking and three English-speaking); three have graduated and one is currently ongoing.

Farewell to our third cohort…

On 21 January 2021, we gathered online for the graduation ceremony of the third cohort. As we opened with a short souvenir film, it was a moment for us to reflect on the past year and celebrate one another in reaching this milestone. Mentors and mentees also shared words of appreciation towards each other, acknowledging the value of their relationship in the midst of the Covid pandemic. 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 learning (LBA, 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 3 alumni here.

There will always be a ‘before and after’ of the Academy in my life. I have a significant amount of educational training and I have been working hard all my life… But, the Academy gave me something that made a real difference to keep growing as a professional, driven by the purpose of having a positive impact on people and nature through my work! The Academy came to my life at the right moment and I have been taking the best of this incredible opportunity. Never before have I felt so confident and empowered. I don’t have enough words of gratitude to MAVA and the team at Common Purpose and Mowgli Mentoring who made it possible. It has also been an incredible experience to get to know the cohort and the MAVA Academy team. Forever THANKS! – Marta Santamaria, Director, Natural Capital Coalition



… and welcome to our fourth cohort!

With what is now a ‘digital’ Academy, we launched the fourth cohort with a gathering on 28 January to set the foundations for the group’s virtual learning community and development journey. As this cohort would not experience the typical face to face interactions previous cohorts had, we implemented this new gathering to give space and time for participants to meaningfully connect with one another.

We gathered again over the first two weeks of March. Working together differently, but with the same strong emphasis on connection, cohort community, and embarking on a shared learning experience, our participants:

  • Developed greater inter-generational understanding and cooperation
  • Were introduced to the Common Purpose Leading Beyond Authority (LBA) thought leadership
  • Were introduced to Mowgli’s mentoring experience skills and practice for mentors and mentees
  • Modelled leadership effectiveness through exchanges with contributors
  • Built deeper relationships across the diverse community of MAVA partners

Once introduced to LBA and Mentoring, Senior Professionals were trained in key approaches, skills and practice as mentors, whilst Young Professionals developed their awareness of leadership. Both Senior and Young Professionals then had a chance to bond with each other through experiential learning activities designed to accelerate relationship development amongst peers.

Participants also had the opportunity to broaden their horizons as they met and exchanged with a variety of experienced leaders who model Leading Beyond Authority, working within and beyond the conservation sector. These include Alia Gharaibeh (HELP Logistics), Saddam Sayyaleh (ILearn), Ruba Al Zubi, Figen Murray, Adnane Addioui (MCISE) and Joseph-Olivier Biley (WeFLy Agri).

We celebrated our newly matched mentoring pairs, each mentor and mentee from different organisations in the MAVA Network, who will be embarking on their mentoring journey for the rest of the Academy year, with the support of Mowgli Mentoring. We cannot wait to see how our mentoring pairs grow and learn together. The Senior Professionals will also be reconnecting with their coaches to reflect on and transfer the Academy learnings acquired so far.

The overall experience has been very unique for me. I was very pleasantly surprised by the great ease and the naturalness of connecting with the whole cohort (seniors, juniors, trainers) despite the fact that all the meetings were remote. To me if under such difficult conditions this happened so easily, I think that the potential to connect with and help others in our daily life is immense and this can have a huge impact towards bringing change towards sustainability.  – Spyros Kotomatas, Senior Marine Conservation Officer

What’s next?

Cohort 4 will reunite in July for the next Gathering where they will experience a mentoring relationship refresher facilitated by Mowgli Mentoring and a Common Purpose led innovation process called the Innoventure.


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