American Express Leadership Academy

The American Express Leadership Academy is a signature program initiative of the Leadership program. Founded in 2008 in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership, the Academy has grown from a single, New York-based program for 24 participants to an international movement, encompassing 11 Academy partners and 20 programs, across nine countries. To date, we have hosted over 90 Leadership Academy sessions training nearly 3,000 nonprofit and social sector leaders.


The curriculum of the American Express Leadership Academy focuses on building the personal, business and leadership skills needed to run a successful nonprofit organization. Each Academy is tailored to fit cultural nuances and different nonprofit niche needs, although the following core elements are consistent across all Academies:

  • A focus on high-potential, emerging leaders. A competitive nomination and selection process seeks to build a diverse cohort of nonprofit managers who represent a range of experiences, backgrounds, and industries. At this time we do not accept applications from individuals but identify nonprofit organizations whose executives nominate their high-potential emerging leaders to apply.
  • A curriculum blending personal leadership skills with business skills. American Express partners with a premier nonprofit organization with experience and deep insights in nonprofit leadership development. American Express's senior executives and invited nonprofit leaders speak to real-life execution of personal leadership principles and business topics relevant to nonprofit management, bringing the classroom discussions to life.
  • An assessment-based approach, including one-on-one coaching and formal follow-up activitiesTo ensure the Leadership Academy has a lasting impact and to measure its effectiveness, participants set goals and action plans during training and have access to follow-up support in the form of coaching sessions, online networking tools, leadership goal checkpoints and a six-month or one-year review post-program.
Speaking at ETIC Japan
Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC) Service Academy in Japan.
To learn more about the American Express Leadership Academy and our eleven partners, visit

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