2019 American Express Leadership Academy 2.0 at the Aspen Institute

August 7, 2019

A Fellowship for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Announces the 2019 Cohort

Contact: Sandhya Deshetty
Senior Program Associate, Program on Philanthropy & Social Innovation
The Aspen Institute
404.645.2150 | sandhya.deshetty@aspeninstitute.org

Washington, DC, August 7, 2019 — The Aspen Institute Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation, in partnership with American Express, announces the 2019 class of fellows. This values-based leadership development program strengthens the capacity of fifteen accomplished nonprofit leaders annually. Using the Aspen Institute method of text-based dialogue, the Fellowship offers participants a neutral forum in which to reflect on timeless human values, pursue common ground and cultivate a richer understanding of the human condition. They then apply these insights to their work as nonprofit leaders.

Fellows are selected through a competitive process, with nominations submitted by American Express Leadership Academy partners and American Express grant recipients. The fellows represent a talented cohort of executive and management level nonprofit professionals and social entrepreneurs working in organizations that enrich communities and tackle pressing social issues. Participants hail from diverse, global backgrounds, and share a proven commitment to serving the public good.

“Strong, effective leadership is essential for the social sector,” said Jane Wales, vice president of the Aspen Institute, and executive director of its Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation. “This Fellowship program helps nonprofit leaders to become more self-aware and better prepared to lead as they confront society’s toughest challenges.”

“For more than a decade, the American Express Leadership Academy has developed emerging nonprofit and social purpose leaders from around the world to help address some of the world’s most pressing problems,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president, American Express Foundation. “Now in its eighth year, the American Express Leadership Academy 2.0 continues to be a vital next step in our alumni’s leadership journey — ensuring they have the tools and knowledge to be well-rounded and strategic problem solvers.”

The fellows will come together for a week-long experience at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Meadows campus from August 18 to August 23. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Aspen, they will examine classical texts, including selections from Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics” and Plato’s “The Republic”, along with more contemporary readings and discourses, such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” and “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Through textual analysis and discourse, the seminar explores tensions among fundamental values such as freedom, equality, justice and community. The Fellowship provides these nonprofit professionals with the opportunity to move beyond daily operational concerns and take time for an enlightened exploration of the core values that animate their work — inspiring them to become more effective, innovative leaders.

The 2019 American Express Leadership Academy 2.0 Fellows are:

For biographies and photos of all 15 extraordinary leaders, visit:


Follow us on Twitter: @aspenpsi
Join the Conversation: #amexleads


The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org. 

About American Express’ Leadership Initiatives
One of American Express’ three philanthropic platforms is Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow. Under this giving initiative, which recognizes the significance of strong leadership in the nonprofit and social purpose sectors, American Express makes grants focused on training high potential emerging leaders to tackle important issues in the 21st century. More than 100,000 emerging nonprofit and social sector leaders worldwide have benefitted from American Express leadership programs, including the American Express Leadership Academy among others.  For leadership journey stories and additional resources, visit LeaderStories.org.

View Comments