MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy

MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy is a leadership development programme for professionals from partner organizations of the MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature. It brings together two generations of leaders – senior and young professionals.

Building a strong conservation community has always been core to MAVA's approach. Leaders that can carry on and multiply efficient and innovative initiatives, long after MAVA's closing, are a key component of this community.

The Academy aims to develop leaders who can bring about positive change both within and across partner organizations to increase their sustainability and impact. It will run each year for four years until 2022.

The Academy is launched online. Participants will then experience the power of working together in person during two face-to-face events, as well as continuing the learning online and remaining connected throughout the Academy year.

Konstantinos Perikleous, Young Professional, Terra Cypria

"The most unexpected journey, to become the best version of yourself. Priceless training for a leader indeed!"

How does it work?

The thought leadership guiding the Academy is ‘Leading Beyond Authority’. People who can Lead Beyond Authority work with peers, partners and other stakeholders to produce change beyond their direct circle of control.

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The Academy combines a number of key elements:

  • Individual personal development through 360-degree feedback, coaching and mentoring
  • Leadership development customized for both senior and young professionals, which means that participants are able to work with and learn from colleagues at a similar stage in their career
  • Inter-generational exchange and collaboration to generate innovative ideas, to meet a compelling challenge facing the conservation sector

The approach is highly experiential – it will include exchanges with contributors from different sectors and visits to organizations to explore leadership in practice.

Each participant will have opportunities for individual personal development through:

  • 360 feedback – a questionnaire based on Leading Beyond Authority will be completed at the beginning and end of the Academy
  • Coaching – senior professionals will receive one-to-one development
  • Leadership Development Fund – participants can apply for support to undertake further learning and development opportunities.

The first part of the Academy will focus on Leading Beyond Authority. Senior and young professionals will work together online, and then participate in separate face-to-face elements that will explore Leading Beyond Authority in practice.

The second part of the Academy will bring all the participants together. They will be guided through a process of innovation to develop ideas to meet a compelling challenge facing the nature conservation sector.

Senior professionals and young professionals will be ‘matched’ with someone from a different organization by Mowgli Mentoring. The matched pairs will work together as mentor and mentee during the Academy year. The senior professionals will receive mentor training at the start of this process.

In order to help participants to reflect on what they have learnt from the Academy, we have included the following online modules:

  • Accelerator for teams/peers – this will provide participants with the tools to cascade the learning from the Academy within their teams and wider peer groups
  • Translate – this session will enable participants to reflect on their experience, and consider how they will translate what they have learnt back into their organization/role. Line managers, coaches, or board members will join this session to explore what the key actions, for both the individual participants and their organizations, will be as a result of the Academy

The senior and young professionals will take part in separate versions of these modules relevant to their career stage.

Why should you apply? Here is a short film about the MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy. You will hear from some of the 2018 participants who share their experiences.

André Hoffmann, MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature

"Effective leadership in the conservation sector is essential if we are to protect biodiversity for the benefit of people and nature. This investment in our partners will build capacity and capability, both for the individuals who take part and for their organizations. We have chosen to work with Common Purpose and Mowgli Mentoring as leaders in their respective fields.”

Who is it for?

MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy is intended for senior and young professionals from all MAVA direct and sub-contracting partners, meaning any organization that receives directly or via sub-contracting funds from MAVA to implement their work.

One senior and one young professional must apply together as a ‘duo’ – they should be from the same organization. There can be more than one application per organization.

We are seeking highly motivated individuals who show commitment to bring about positive change, and who can demonstrate their leadership potential and/or capability.

Senior and young professionals do not need to be on the same team or have a direct management relationship. Applicants will also require:

  • Senior professionals – more than ten years of work experience
  • Young professionals – less than ten years of work experience

Why take part?

This Academy will equip the participants to lead more effectively within and beyond their organizations. Participants will:

  • enhance their ability to Lead Beyond Authority – increasing their ability to lead and collaborate across boundaries
  • stretch their analytical and creative skills – by being exposed to a new approach to innovation
  • grow new networks – by connecting with diverse participants, contributors and speakers
  • explore how to apply what they have learned to their own leadership and in their organization
  • develop greater inter-generational understanding and cooperation
  • experience the power and potential of mentoring which supports long term personal and professional growth
Joan Marc Simon, Senior Professional, Zero Waste Europe

"I didn't know what to expect from mentoring only six months ago, but I'm very happy that I 'trusted the process', for it helped me detect and develop skills that are very necessary for my professional and personal development."

Practical information

Applications for the next English Academy will be open in September 2019.


The main language of the Academy alternates each year, starting with English in 2018 and French in 2019. All materials will be available in English and French.

Contact person

Grace Owen, Senior Programme Director (English speaking Academy)
Reem Assil, Senior Programme Manager (French speaking Academy)

What is the time commitment?

Online – four online modules totalling ten hours
Face-to-face – two four-day events
Mentoring – at least two hours per month
Coaching – senior professionals will have two, 90 minute coaching sessions

What is the cost?

MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature is making a significant investment in the leaders who join the Academy. Once accepted to join the Academy, each participant will be given a budget for travel and subsistence costs. These costs will be reimbursed when the expense procedure is completed accurately. If this budget is exceeded, participants will have to cover the additional costs. 

Common Purpose 

Common Purpose is a leadership development organization that specializes in cross-boundary leadership. A not-for-profit, we run programmes in over 100 cities worldwide. Founded in 1989, we have over 80,000 alumni globally. Our leadership development programmes inspire and equip people to work across boundaries. This enables them to solve complex problems in organizations and in society.

Mowgli Mentoring 

Mowgli Mentoring is a not-for-profit organization which runs EMCC accredited mentoring programs across the Middle East, Africa and the UK. Through the delivery of over 100 mentoring programmes, over 1000 professionals have been trained to support entrepreneurs, corporate employees, women and youth across all sectors.

MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature

MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature is a family-led, Swiss-based philanthropic foundation with an exclusive focus on the conservation of biodiversity. MAVA is active in 4 programmes: Mediterranean Basin, Coastal West Africa, Sustainable Economy and Switzerland. With these programmes, it supports around 200 partners for a total annual budget of 70 million CHF. MAVA Foundation is implementing its last strategic cycle 2016-2022 meaning that it will phase out its funding to all partners by 2022.