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. 

Starting in 2018, the Academy will run each year until 2022, up to the foundation’s closure.

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 the following key elements:

  • 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

The approach is highly experiential – it will include exchanges with contributors and organizations from different sectors 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 and debriefed with a professional coach
  • Coaching – senior professionals will receive one-to-one development with a professional coach. Learn more about the coaching journey here

Senior and young professionals will work together during the first Cohort Gathering to explore Leading Beyond Authority in practice.

The Academy will then bring all the participants together for a second Cohort Gathering where 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, who use a tried and tested method. The matched pairs will work together as mentor and mentee during the Academy year. Senior professionals will receive mentor training at the start of this process and Mowgli Mentoring supports each pair throughout the Academy year.

Mentors support their mentees in developing and working on their goals, both personal and professional. The benefits for mentors can include developing their active listening and communication skills, as well as becoming more empathetic and self-aware. For mentees, the benefits can include increases in confidence, a clearer idea of the direction of their career and improved leadership skills. Through mentoring, both the young and senior professional co-create and develop a meaningful inter-generational relationship which enables them to support each other on their leadership journeys.

Learn more about the mentoring journey here

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

  • Sharing learning – this will provide participants with the tools to cascade the learning from the Academy within their teams and wider peer groups
  • Maximizing impact – this facilitated online session will enable participants to reflect on their experience, and consider how they will sustain their learning and translate this back into their organization/role

Why should you apply? Here is a short film about the MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy. You will hear from some of the 2019 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.”

Read the latest news about the MAVA Academy

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

To learn more about who successfully completed the MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy, visit the alumni gallery page.

Why take part?

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

  • Raise their awareness of leading self and impact on others
  • Develop greater inter-generational understanding and cooperation
  • Enhance their ability to Lead Beyond Authority – increasing their ability to lead and collaborate across boundaries
  • Experience the power and potential of mentoring which supports long term personal and professional growth
  • Stretch their problem-solving 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

Hear from one of our alumni as they recount their experience of the Academy here

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

Upcoming application phase

Applications for the 2020–2021 English-speaking Academy will open on 8 October 2020.

What is the time commitment?

  • Two 360 degree assessments – two debriefings with a professional coach up to one hour
  • Online – modules totalling 10 to 12 hours
  • Cohort Gatherings – 50 to 60 hours of virtual sessions spread over the year
  • Mentoring – two to three hours per month over 10 months
  • Coaching – senior professionals will have three, 90-minute coaching sessions at their convenience, starting April 2021


The fourth and final cohort will be English-speaking. 

Information webinars

Join us on the date below to have your questions answered and to find out more on how to make a successful application:

Thursday 22 October, 14.00–15.30 (UK time)

To book your date, contact us

Application deadline

Applications to the 2021 English speaking Academy open on Thursday 8 October and will close on Thursday 5 November at midnight (UK time).

What is the cost?

For this online Academy, there is no cost for participants because MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature is covering all participation 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 90,000 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 mentoring programmes accredited by the European Mentoring & Coaching Council across the Middle East, Africa and the UK. Through the delivery of over 100 mentoring programmes, over 1,000 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 four 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.