Follow the Leaders: Inside the 2017 American Express Leadership Academy 2.0 at Aspen

A Progressive Storytelling Project, August 2017 | #amexleads

The American Express Leadership Academy 2.0 at the Aspen Institute is a Fellowship to develop the next generation of nonprofit and social enterprise leaders.

During the 5-day academy, which will take place Aug. 20-25, we will get an inside look at the experiences of two fellows, Terri Broussard Williams, from the American Heart Association, and Vanessa Leung, from the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families.

Meet Our Leaders

Vanessa Leung is the Co-Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families. She works on advocating on behalf of Asian Pacific American students and English Language Learners in New York City public schools. Terri Broussard Williams is the Vice President of Government Relations at the American Heart Association. Terri is managing thought-leadership, industry trends and fighting heart disease and stroke through public policy.

Both Terri and Vanessa agreed to let us follow them as they take part in the unique approach Aspen uses to leadership development.

Aspen 2.0 Academy Facts

Aspen is pretty unusual when it comes to leadership training. Using the Aspen Institute method of text-based dialogue, the Fellowship offers participants a neutral forum in which to reflect on timeless human values, pursue common ground, and cultivate a richer understanding of the human condition. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Aspen meadows, they will examine values such as freedom, equality, justice, and community. Hear from Jane Wales,Vice President of the Aspen Institute, who oversees the American Express Leadership Academy about the great purpose of this five-day training:

Scenes from Aspen 2.0

What is it like to be reading the classics and interacting with some of the most innovative emerging leaders in the social purpose sector? Vanessa, Terri, their fellow leaders and Aspen staff will share some of the key insights and inspirational moments, in real time from August 20th to 25th . STAY TUNED for amazing photos and takeaways.


Day 4


Photo of Academy fellows Terri and Vanessa on the last day of #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy.

Photo taken by #amexleads Aspen Academy fellow Vanessa of some of the philosophical paragraphs that the fellows read during the academy.

Photo of the last hike our 15 social change fellowes took during the #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy hikes.

Day 3


our #amexleads Aspen Fellow Vanessa during a session about justice and equality.

How can Walt Whitman remind us of our connection to each other? Vanessa’s thoughts from #amexleads Aspen Academy sessions.

Photos captured by our #amexleads Aspen Academy fellow Vanessa during a hike in the mountains.

#amexleads Aspen Academy fellows Cheryl & Terri took a tour at the Catto Center at Toklat. Academy moments.

#amexleads Aspen academy fellow Annie Burridge chatting with an artist in Ashcroft. Academy moments.

#amexleads Aspen academy fellows enjoyed the philosophy of Aspen during a night outing in Ashcroft. Academy moments

“I feel so fortunate to challenge my own thinking,” our #amexleads Aspen Fellow Terri during a session about justice and equality.

Day 2


The #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy Fellows Vanessa and Annie
having a discussion on Aspen Mountain.

Day 2 at the #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy seminar room.
Vanessa and Terri are taking a trip to Omelas (Ursula K.Le Guin).

Day 2 at the #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy. Our fellowship class took a
break from the seminar to hike the top of Aspen Mountain.

Day 2 at the #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy. Fellows Kevin Vuong,
Akshai Patel, and Annie Burridge continued their conversation about
Locke and Machiavelli in the gondola headed up Aspen Mountain.

Day 1


Our #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy fellows stepped out of a seminar
room to watch the eclipse.

Day 1 at the #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy seminar room. Down to business
with Aristotle and Machiavelli.

Day 1 at the #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy seminar room.

Day 1 at the #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy. Academy fellow Terri
taking notes during a discussion of John Locke.

A few of our #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy fellows meeting for the
first time at the Academy opening dinner at Aspen Institute.

Day 1 at the #amexleads Aspen 2.0 Academy. Welcoming our Academy
fellows Terri and Vanessa alongside 13 other changemakers from all around the world.