Social Leadership: Lessons from and

Creating social change is tough work.  What does it take to be an effective leader and to sustain yourself over the long-term?

Together with the American Express Leadership Academy, we designed this +Acumen short course around a one hour webinar featuring a conversation between Nancy Lublin, CEO of, and Ami Dar, Founder of, at the American Express Leadership Academy Inaugural Alumni Summit in March 2015.

At Acumen, we believe that effective leadership is illustrated by an individual’s ambition to learn at the edge, wisdom to admit failure and courage to start again. Leaders who are effective at creating social change do what’s right, not what’s easy. They embody the essence of moral imagination – the humility to see the world as it is and the audacity to imagine the world as it could be. This conversation between Nancy and Ami is a great opportunity to reflect on what this means for each of us.

Learn from Nancy and Ami’s stories, but do not stop there. Use the course discussion guide and exercises to help you further your journey as a social purpose leader.

The world needs you to lead. This is your invitation.

Our Course Partner

Leadership Academy

The American Express Leadership Academy is an initiative of Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow, one of American Express’ three platforms for its philanthropy. Recognizing the significance of strong leadership in the nonprofit and social sectors, American Express makes grants focused on training high potential emerging leaders to tackle important issues in the 21st century. More than 15,000 emerging nonprofit and social sector leaders worldwide have benefitted from American Express leadership programs. Launched in 2008, the American Express Leadership Academy addresses the growing deficit of leadership talent in the nonprofit sector. To date, American Express has hosted over 50 Leadership Academy sessions in six countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Japan, Mexico and Canada, supporting more than 1,600 nonprofit and social sector leaders. In 2015, the Academy will extend with programs in China, Kenya and Senegal. To learn more, please visit

Our Course Instructor

Round AmiAmi Dar is the founder and executive director of Built in 1996 with $3,500, has become one of the most popular nonprofit resources on the web, with information provided by 100,000 organizations around the world and millions of visitors every month. Ami was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Peru and in Mexico, and lives in New York.


Round Nancy

Nancy Lublin is the CEO of, the largest organization for teens and social change in the world. In 2013, while still CEO of, Lublin turned her popular TED talk into her third company, Crisis Text Line (CTL). CTL is the first 24/7, free, nationwide text line for teens. Prior to leading and CTL, Nancy turned a $5,000 inheritance into Dress for Success, which helps women transition from welfare to work in more than 125 cities in 15 countries.

You'll Love This Course If

  • You want to learn from established social purpose leaders such as Ami and Nancy
  • You work for a social purpose cause/organization and want tips from like-minded individuals
  • You are interested in becoming a social purpose leader and want to learn more about what it could look like

What You'll Learn

By the end of this course, you will:

  • Understand the experiences that have shaped Ami’s and Nancy’s leadership styles
  • Lean how Ami and Nancy tackled their respective challenges and reflect on the leadership qualities that drove their actions
  • Understand the mistakes Ami and Nancy have made and reflect on how these lessons may apply to you
  • Use Ami’s and Nancy’s stories to inform and strengthen your personal journeys as a leader with social purpose

How the Course Works

There are no in-person teachers or facilitators for this course. Once the course starts, you will receive access to our course materials, including the video and the activity guide. We strongly encourage you take this course with a group, but you can also take it individually.

To start, we suggest setting aside 1 hour to watch the video and then 1 hour for your group’s discussion/activities. The activities can be done on your own as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a certificate be awarded upon completion of the course?

We will provide a Statement of Accomplishment for individuals that complete all requirements. The requirements for this course include 1) going through the recorded webinar 2) completing a designated assignment (instructions will be included in the guide that you will receive when the course starts)


We recommend signing up with a group that is all physically located in the same place. Much of the value of this course derives from the in-person, peer-to-peer learning that happens between group members.

With that said, we have had groups cover many of the group discussions over Skype or Google+ hangouts so it is possible to have a remote group. It will be better if you have a video call so that you can show what you produce in your group discussion visually. is another free tool that allows you to host a group video conference if you have internet access.

Remember, all members of your group need to register for this course individually.


We generally recommend a group of 3 to 5 individuals. If your group is too big, it can be more difficult to coordinate schedules and conduct discussion together.


This is a +Acumen Short Course. You should be able to complete the whole thing in 2 hours. We have intentionally designed these courses to be shorter and manageable so that you can fit them into your busy schedule. There will still be hands on exercises, but if you want a more intensive learning experience, you might want to check out other Acumen’s longer courses.

How much does it cost to take this course?

All +Acumen courses are free.

Are there any prerequisites for taking this course?

This is an introductory course and there are no prerequisites.

What are the technical requirements?

You need a computer that allows you to watch our video, download our course materials (PDF guide) and the ability to upload your assignment.

More Questions?

Please contact

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