< View all news

American Express Brings Over 70 Nonprofit Leaders to New York City for Leadership Academy Focused on Resilient Changemakers

March 31, 2023


Photo: Courtesy of American Express

The American Express Leadership Academy, a program focused on enhancing the business and leadership skills of emerging nonprofit and social leaders, returned to New York City for the first in-person event in over three years.  The program is designed to give nonprofit leaders a unique opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and collaborate on ideas and solutions, as well as gain insight from leaders across the social, public, and private sectors. It was first launched 16 years ago and since then has helped more than 165,000 social purpose leaders around the world reach their potential.

This year’s program, with a theme of Resilient Changemakers, brought 77 nonprofit leaders from across the Americas for three and a half days of curriculum focused on personal resilience and building new leadership skills. Participants represented 65 organizations working in areas including climate and green spaces, education, health, disability, LGBTQ+ support, mental health, homelessness, and equity.

The program was conducted by Common Purpose in partnership with American Express, and programming support from community partners, the TED Foundation and Taproot Foundation.

“Our goal for the program is to have participants share as much as they can, learn as much as they can from each other, and then apply it in their own context,” said Adirupa Sengupta, Group CEO of Common Purpose.

Guest speakers included pioneering women’s sports agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas, who spoke on breaking barriers, and Chief Campaign Development Officer of the Ad Council Heidi Arthur, who discussed the importance of building relationships with the media. Watch our conversations with the two dynamic leaders on the American Express LinkedIn page.

Participants this year also visited local NYC nonprofits like the Henry Street Settlement, Hunger Free America, and FABSCRAP.

“Visiting these organizations and having conversation with their leaders reminds me that in the nonprofit sector, we must keep on keeping on,” said attendee Jaclyn Clark, Director of Development for Best Buddies, a Miami, Florida-based nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “I believe if we stay focused and keep at it, we’ll be able to change the world.”

The TED Foundation hosted several workshops on storytelling, including building your personal brand.

The weeklong event closed out with an inspiring talk with American Express Chairman and CEO Steve Squeri on purposeful leadership.

“You must realize that you are always going to hit roadblocks. And what you want to do is be a problem solver and figure out how to get around those roadblocks,” said Squeri to the 2023 class. “It’s easy to say no. Figure out how to get to ‘yes.’”

 Squeri continued, “You all have a burning desire in you to make the world a better place. It is leaders like you that give hope that the world can be better.”

Additional Leadership Academy programs are being planned in Europe and Asia-Pacific for later in 2023. Click here to learn more about the
American Express Leadership Academy.

Multimedia Files:

< View all news