Business and Society Program

First Movers Fellowship Criteria


"What Aspen did was take a super smart person who was operating in her box and created the right motivation
to stretch [her] beyond current boundaries, and do something adjacent but completely new that will deliver
tremendous value to the company."

 - Thought Partner (for a Fellow from fifth cohort)


Who Are We Looking For?

Exceptional business professionals recognized as top talent in their companies. Successful candidates will have demonstrated passion and capacity for working at the intersection of business growth and positive social and environmental change. Most will work in core business functions within their companies: finance, marketing, design, leadership and organizational development, etc. They should, indeed, be FIRST MOVERS: extraordinary institutional entrepreneurs who have the vision, tenacity, and courage to achieve remarkable changes in business practice and impact.

We are looking for candidates from diverse backgrounds in terms of industry, functional responsibility, race, religion, gender and location.

In selecting Fellows, we consider each candidate's:

  • Track record of innovation, coupled with a sense of humility about his or her accomplishments.
  • Compelling idea about a next stage innovation project to undertake during the Fellowship. We are looking for innovation projects that are ambitious, feasible, and closely aligned with the core strategic priorities of his or her company.
  • Enthusiasm for learning from others, supporting other Fellows in their work and collaborating with colleagues in their own companies to leverage their own learning and accomplishments.
  • Comfort with a program that is largely self-directed and one that invites self-reflection.
  • Ability to meet the requirements of the Fellowship (attending the seminars, working with thought partners, and paying the Fellowship fee).
  • Access to executive decision makers in his or her company.
  • Fluency in English.

Candidates from non-profit organizations will not be considered.

The Nomination and Selection Process

Candidates must be nominated by peers, leaders in their industry or our academic partners. (Self-nominations are not accepted.) Nominators are asked tosubmit a nomination form stating their reasons for recommending the candidate and a résumé indicating the candidate's name, physical address, email and phone contacts, educational background, career path, current position, and any additional information that help us evaluate their qualifications.

Interviews with promising candidates will continue through March, 2016. Candidates selected for the second round are invited to complete an application form that includes a description of the idea that they want to turn into action if selected to be a First Mover Fellow.

The First Movers Fellowship staff select the finalists who are presented to the First Mover Design Team in April, 2016. Those selected to be in the 2016 Class of Fellows by the Design Team are notified in early May, 2016. The public announcement of the next class of Fellows is scheduled for early June, 2016. 

The official nomination period is now closed. However, we are always on the lookout for First Movers. Know someone who would make a great candidate? Let us know!