October 16, 2019 Print

The think tank industry has plenty of researchers, academics, fundraisers, and communicators, but a business perspective is often missing. To address this gap in the market, Atlas Network recently launched Executive Accelerator, an intensive leadership and strategic planning workshop that helps prepare think tank professionals for the challenges of management. The inaugural six-day workshop, which replaces the Think Tank MBA program, hosted 22 think tank leaders representing 12 countries.

Executive Accelerator is designed to equip senior managers, directors, and mid-level managers at new and established think tanks with a comprehensive understanding of strategic planning, team management best practices, and leadership skills, and offers data-driven insight into each participant’s strengths and growth opportunities for building sustainable, high-performing teams.

The 2019 cohort provided a diversity of background and professional experience, and they were uniformly positive in their takeaways from the training. Participant Daniel T. Richards, who is vice president & director, digital of The Federalist Society, said, “The Executive Accelerator program exceeded all of my expectations. Not only was it a six-day masterclass in leadership and strategy. It was also a platform for meaningful personal growth and a place to meet like-minded colleagues whose wisdom and friendship have been invaluable. My organization, my team, and I will benefit from this program for years to come.”


Daniel T. Richards presents during one of the breakout sessions of the Executive Accelerator workshop.

Three core aspects to the workshop were the development of a personal leadership style analysis, customized for each participant; organizational management tactics, such as understanding personnel administration and stewarding organizational culture; and strategic planning. On these themes, participants developed a strategic focus and organizational priorities, built personal leadership plans to overcome blind spots, and learned tools and frameworks to leverage their individual leadership styles to drive organizational results.

The 2019 cohort provided a diversity of background and professional experience, and they were unified in their takeaways from the training:

Rachel Guy, director of development for Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs, said, “It has been a challenging six days at the Executive Accelerator program, but challenging in the best ways possible. I have learnt how to develop and implement a strategic plan within my organisation using the tools that were taught and put into practice throughout the program. Just as importantly, I have also been able to understand more about myself as a leader and how addressing my style and traits can enable me to become more effective for my team and my organisation. Being able to share honestly and openly with a group of my peers who understood my challenges and were there to help me work through them was incredibly encouraging.”


Rachel Guy (center) works with Dugan Bridges of Taliesin Nexus in a breakout activity.

The 2019 class of Executive Accelerator left the program with a global cohort of colleagues engaged in similar work, in-depth insight into their personal leadership styles, understanding of best practices of team building and managing, and a set of tools designed to focus the human and financial resources of their organizations to achieve outsized impact.


The 2019 class of Executive Accelerator.