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American Express Leadership Academy

July 17, 2023


Photo: Courtesy of American Express

American Express Leadership Academy in London Brought Together 57 Nonprofit Leaders From UK & EMEA to Enhance Leadership Skills and Personal Resiliency

As part of the UK and EMEA program that kicked off virtually last month, the American Express Leadership Academy brought together 57 high potential nonprofit and social purpose leaders in London last week for a series of in-person sessions to enhance their skills as they continue to innovate and inspire their organizations and support their communities. This is the second cohort of this year’s American Express Leadership Academy, following its successful relaunch in the U.S., which included an in-person programme in New York City. 

Delivered by Common Purpose and funded by American Express Foundation with support from global partners, Delta Air Lines and DELL Technologies, the Leadership Academy curriculum comprised workshop sessions led by world class facilitators, compelling content and immersion experiences with innovative organizations like the National Theatre and Happy Ltd.   

Participants in London also had the opportunity to connect with inspirational business leaders for this year’s programme, which came from a range of industries, including Paul Barber, Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman, Brighton & Hove Albion FC; Matteo Curcio, Senior Vice President of EMEA and India region for Delta Air Lines; and Julia Goldin, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at LEGO. They all spoke with great honesty about their personal leadership journeys, discussing challenges such as leading through adversity, breaking down barriers and adapting to the evolving needs of the communities they serve.

“At American Express, backing our communities is core to our organization,” said Madge Thomas, President of the American Express Foundation.  We are so proud of our partnership with Common Purpose to support and empower nonprofit leaders to build resilience, storytelling and relationship building skills to overcome challenges as they serve communities.”

“Being a part of the learning journey with the leaders of the Academy was an absolute privilege,” said Adirupa Sengupta, Group CEO of Common Purpose. “They have each put years of dedication and commitment towards solving some of the world’s most complex problems and I hope the Academy has given them tools to build on what they already have in abundance as they continue to change the world.”

“The thing I’m taking away the most from this experience is meeting big, impressive C-suite executives that you think have superpowers, but actually they’re just human beings and that’s their superpower: being authentic to themselves,” said Simon Butler, Founder and Director of Migrate Art, and participant in the American Express Leadership Academy. “I now know that communicating the challenges you face will make stronger, better teams, and having a good team is ultimately key to growth and doing your work to the best of your ability.”

On the last evening of the programme, participants attended an exclusive evening reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley at her residence, Winfield House, where she spoke on the importance of expanding their networks and the ways in which partnerships can magnify impact. Anna Marrs, Group President of Global Commercial Services and Credit & Fraud Risk at American Express, joined Ambassador Hartley in urging participants to make connections with fellow leaders across geographies. She described her experience of doing this throughout her career as “incredibly special and impactful.”

“I never have a moment to get a bit of perspective, so this experience has allowed me to step away, and think in a more creative way,” said Claudia Conway, Head of PR and Press, Shakespeare’s Globe. “A skill I’ll take away from this experience, is being able to swap perspective quickly, and thinking more broadly and creatively about how to solve a problem in a new and different way. It’s been amazing meeting this hugely impactful group - we’ll all be keeping in touch.”

Participants from this year’s programme will join a network of 165,000 Leadership Academy alumni globally. An additional Academy programme is being planned to launch later this year for participants in Asia-Pacific. Click here to learn more about the American Express Leadership Academy and register to be notified when applications open in your region.


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