We ask our Aspen Global Leadership Network Fellows to look inward, to understand themselves, to challenge their thinking. We ask them to be authentic, vulnerable, and courageous with one another, in community.
It only seems consistent, then, that we would want to hold ourselves to the same standard of awareness, self-learning, and growth.
So in 2019, we started a journey to look into the mirror, and to ask ourselves: How are we doing? How do we understand our story? Are we producing the results we seek? How do we know this to be true? What difference are we making?
These questions – complex yet critical – started us off on a year-long mission to design and build our first-ever impact framework and evaluation. We wanted to systematically understand, capture, and measure what difference we were having on Fellows and in turn, what difference they were having on the world.
Today, we’re proud to release the results of our first ever AGLN Impact Study. The study was conducted in the summer of 2019 as a retrospective exploration of the change that occurred as a result of the Fellowships over the last 20 years.
In the end, the results were both validating and yet stunning – confirming many of our assumptions and yet surpassing our hopes.
What We Learned from Our Fellows
More than 480 Fellows across 11 Fellowships provided insight and perspective through the study. This was complemented by over 4,580 survey responses, 15,200 close-ended measures, and 17,000 open-ended data fields over 10 years of data collection.
Three key themes emerged throughout the study:
- Personal Transformation: AGLN Fellowships are deeply transformative for Fellows, catalyzing them to become more values-based and purpose-driven.
- Societal Change: Fellows are influential levers of change, taking action in new, significant ways to create positive change in their organizations, communities, industries, and regions.
- The Power of the Network: The network is a critical platform for Fellows to mobilize support and collaboration for impact.
What the Evidence Tells Us
The report captures 10 key findings – the foundational outcomes that occur as a result of the Fellowship. Some of the top-level data that support these findings include:
- 98% of Fellows reported increasing their desire and/or confidence to have a positive impact
- 96% of Fellows reported becoming more intentional or mindful in the way they live and lead
- 95% of Fellows reported modeling high-integrity, purpose-driven leadership
- 92% of Fellows reported leading their companies or organizations differently
- 92% of Fellows reported feeling that other Fellows had become important advisors and/or confidants in their leadership journey
- 87% of Fellows reported stretching in new ways and taking on risks they would not have taken if not for the Fellowship
- 87% of Fellows reported mobilizing their resources (money, time, platform, and networks) to create positive change and/or confront societal wrongs in their communities
- 69% of Fellows reported influencing leaders, policies, practices, or reforms in their communities
What Comes Next
While the results were overwhelmingly positive, there is more work to do.
- First, the report highlights opportunities for increased impact, specifically in how we activate the power of the network for even greater good. We are excited to now imagine what is possible to catalyze more action, together.
- Second, the initial study is just the start of our evaluation efforts, not the end. Ongoing learning and evaluation efforts are being rolled out throughout the year, helping us continuously approach our work in smarter and more data-driven ways.
- Third, as we move into the next chapter of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, we do so with a clear understanding of where we uniquely and most powerfully have impact. We aim to double down on these efforts and be transparent, accountable, and evidence-based in the process.
This report is a summary of these evaluation efforts and findings to date. We hope it serves as a contribution to the field of leadership development, defining the many ways values-based leadership translates to societal change. We share them humbly, in the spirit of self-improvement and learning, and with gratitude to the global network of Fellows that we serve.