MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy: the journey continues…

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 three are currently ongoing.

The journey continues for our fourth Cohort…

In July 2021, Cohort 4 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:

  • modelling vulnerability
  • managing boundaries
  • leading teams post-pandemic
  • maintaining presence online

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 seize this moment for both people and nature?”

The cohort had the opportunity to hear from a variety of keynote speakers including André Hoffmann, MAVA Foundation President, 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 include Veronica Escalante, (Fundación Share), Oksana Bondar, (BIOHM), Marianne Haahr, (Green Digital Finance Alliance), Maya Terro, (FoodBlessed), Leonard Schurg, (BURN Manufacturing), Tanamiranga Ralaindimby (Independent) and Nathalie Nathe, (Finance for Biodiversity Initiative)

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: Cansu Öner (Impact Hub Istanbul), Estelle Blanks (Innovation SuperNetwork) and Thierry Renaud (MAVA)

I have never felt so close to a bunch of people and felt like I have known them for a long time when I have only had limited interactions with them online! The Academy is a safe space for getting to know others and yourself and it has been unbelievably helpful to me to reflect and work on my professional and personal growth, especially in times of a global pandemic where everything has felt so uncertain. Francesca Carlsson, the European Environmental Bureau

Our fourth Cohort will be graduating from the Academy on 18 January 2022 during our traditional online graduation, a moment often strong in emotions as another chapter of the Academy comes to a close..

… But it’s not over yet, as we welcome our final MAVA Academy Cohorts 5 and 6!

Thanks to our wonderful MAVA Academy Alumni, the success of the Academy has spread across MAVA’s partner network, and given the appetite of many others to participate in the Academy, MAVA decided to fund two final Cohorts! Cohorts 5 and 6 have now officially started with their first online gatherings, which took place on 16 September and 29 September 2021 respectively.

Our virtual gathering #1 provided a space for participants to get to know one another as well as the Academy team. Community building and establishing trust within the group early on is integral to ensuring a safe space is built where participants feel comfortable expressing themselves openly for the rest of their Academy experience, therefore it was the core focus of this Gathering.

What’s next?

Our participants and their selected reviewers are now completing a 360 Questionnaire for which they will receive a comprehensive report to be debriefed with a coach. The senior professionals will also get to schedule three additional sessions with their coach from now until graduation.

Cohorts 5 and 6 will gather again online in January and February 2022, respectively, where they will be introduced to Leading Beyond Authority and kickstart their mentoring journey. Senior professionals will also be trained in mentoring skills and practices, as young professionals will further develop their awareness of leadership, as a concept, as well as a personal practice. Senior and young professionals will be matched with a mentor or mentee from a different organisation, after we will celebrate our newly matched mentoring pairs; a relationship they continue to nurture until graduation and beyond.

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