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Associate Director, Foundry



London, UK
Posted on Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Acumen is looking for an Associate Director with 12+ years of experience to lead the development of offerings to our community of changemakers, who are ~1200 strong and growing. This role is based in London so as to span time zones in both the Eastern and Western hemisphere. Acumen London is operating under a hybrid model.

About Acumen
At Acumen, we’re working to solve problems of poverty and build a world based on dignity. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services help people living in poverty to transform their lives. To date, Acumen has positively impacted over 500 million lives by investing $154M in 167 innovative, early-stage companies in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States. But investment isn’t just about capital, we’ve been investing in relationships for years, connecting with emerging leaders in their own countries and engaging them in extended collective dialogue, moral inquiry, and skill building.

About Acumen Academy
Acumen Academy is the world’s school for social change. We’re looking to support a new generation of social innovators and leaders with the character and competence to solve problems of poverty and build a world based on dignity.

About the Foundry
Graduates of Acumen’s Fellows Programs enter the “Foundry”, a community of people with a shared ethos and vision: to build a world based on dignity that centers people and planet. It’s easy to then think that the Foundry is “one community”... sure, it is, and people onboard from radically different regions in the world, with different sets of life experiences and the desire to have those differences respected. The phrase you’ll hear is “locally rooted; globally connected”. These ~1200 change-makers could use greater accompaniment. What would that entail? That’s what this role is all about. Enter the Associate Director of Academy’s Foundry.

About the Role
Together with the Chief of Academy, and in collaboration with Fellows Program Leads, think through what Acumen is best poised to offer our community to increase their impact (take the long view, we’re talking about life-long accompaniment) … and then designing it, executing, testing, and improving or changing altogether. This role reports into the Chief of Academy, has a team that reports directly to them, and will have a dotted line from program leads in each geography.


  • Understand Foundry members’ organizations, opportunities, and challenges. This is paramount.
  • Work with the Chief of Academy and Fellows Program Leads to hone a vision and direction (life-long accompaniment may require adjusting your timelines). And if you hone and build alone, you may have already “missed the boat”.
  • Design and manage “programs” and resources for Foundry members (e.g., one such program is Acumen Angels, where Acumen Fellows may compete for early-stage funding).
  • Oversee and expand Acumen Angels. What is the vision here? Some say offer bigger capital; others say smaller dollar amounts and fewer strings. Some say one program; others say regional or country specific programs. What will it be? Who will you consult?
  • Strong second on Fundraising.
  • Manage Foundry impact and reporting. This is core to our purpose, not an afterthought: How are we going to know if we are delivering real value? How does that translate into Fellow’s impact in the world?
  • Help Foundry members get more connected to other regional partners. We’re calling it a growing “opportunity library” (For example, Who should be connected to the Zayed Sustainability Prize? And what’s the equivalent in Latam? Is there a regional “TED” like conference for a Foundry member to speak in Asia? Europe? Where are the more exciting conversations per sector taking place? How do we get Foundry members connected?)
  • Develop a mentorship program. This is not a no-brainer if you’re in it for the long haul and resources are scarce.
  • Lead a team: develop them, challenge them and work with them to get the outcomes that matter.

Skills and Qualifications

  • 12+ years of experience.
  • Extensive experience developing products and services for defined communities
  • Extensive experience managing people, managing relationships toward outcomes that matter
  • Ability to build with both vision and in relationship. Yes, you need to lead and you can’t go it alone.
  • Ability to define and execute programs (concept, buy in, resources, budget, etc.)
  • Ability to lead a team who will help build a community that seeks to change “business as usual”
  • Excellent at managing across functions, and influencing without authority. This role has to leverage other teams and external partnerships to create programs for Foundry members.
  • Extensive experience across cultures and differences. Cultural fluency is a must.
  • Change management skills: an ability to lead change across multiple, overlapping, stakeholder groups.
  • Experience managing a “central” team (e.g. supporting and challenging regional, product, or services teams).
  • Self reflective and aligned with Acumen values
  • Authorized to work in the UK.

Deadline to apply:
Apply as soon as possible as applications will be reviewed and interviews scheduled on a rolling basis.