Training the next generation of leaders in microfinance

"Cultivating the Next Generation of Leaders" plenary

Glynis Ranking facilitated the “Cultivating the Next Generation of Leaders” plenary at the 17th Microcredit Summit.

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We feature an interview with Glynis Rankin, CEO of Creative Metier in the UK, in Mapping Pathways out of Poverty: The State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report, 2015. Rankin and her team work to ensure that the financial inclusion industry possesses the leadership and capacity to ensure long-term success. In this interview, Rankin describes a study of industry leaders to understand their perspectives on leadership qualities that Creative Metier undertook in preparation for the 17th Microcredit Summit in Mexico last year. (Registration for the 18th Microcredit Summit is now open!)

Cultivating the next generation of leadership is an important consideration for the microfinance and financial inclusion sector. We have an important role to play in achieving universal financial access by 2020 and ending extreme poverty by 2030. According to Rankin, we need leaders that have these four essential qualities for leaders:

  • Resilience
  • The ability to stick with one’s own beliefs
  • A clear vision and ability to inspire it in others
  • The ability to change and innovate

Leaders need do the following need to understand the clients’ perspective, as many have already said. They also need to know and understand how new technology is impacting the industry and how to use technology to better serve the clients’ needs. They need to figure out how to motivate and empower others, build strong teams, and manage stakeholders. And, perhaps as important as the previous three, leaders need to recognize diversity as a significant benefit to leadership and an essential factor for meet the challenges of a changing context.

The Harvard Business School and Accion offer a valuable training experience to develop the leadership skills needed in our industry if we’re going to help achieve the bold goals set by the global community.

HBS - Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance Is Accepting Applications

Deadline to submit an application: December 31, 2015
Learn more.

Accion invites you to apply now!

The 2016 Harvard Business School – Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance is now accepting applications for what will be another exceptional week of learning and exchange among world leaders in financial inclusion. The program will take place March 28 — April 2, 2016 at the HBS campus in Boston, Massachusetts. Learn more here.

The 2016 HBS-Accion Program builds on ten successful years and over 600 alumni – CEOs, presidents, executive directors, and other high-level professionals – from roughly 100 countries.

Today’s landscape of financial services for the base of the pyramid is increasingly complex, with a diversity of products, providers, and support organizations extending services to previously excluded populations. Disruptive technologies and new ways of doing business are creating new possibilities for reaching more people with more types of services. It’s an exciting time for financial inclusion, though for leaders steering their organizations through this landscape, the pace and magnitude of change may look overwhelming. Financial service providers participating in the program will benefit from the guidance of some of the world’s best business minds to better understand the possibilities and the pitfalls of today’s financial services marketplace. Policymakers, regulators, and investors will find it valuable to get a closer look at how the industry is evolving in countries around the world.

The HBS-Accion Program is an intensive week-long immersion. At its core are cases drawn from impact investing, microfinance and inclusive finance, as well as examples of business at the base of the pyramid. The program employs the famous HBS case method approach in which participants work through real-life situations and decisions while exploring the key issues shaping financial inclusion. Class discussions are highly participatory, getting everyone involved. The program is led by HBS faculty members V. Kasturi Rangan, co-chair of the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative and chair of the Marketing Department, and Michael Chu, Senior Lecturer in the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative and recognized microfinance leader, together with other HBS faculty members.

Previous participants have included leaders from microfinance institutions, traditional banks, technology providers, investors, and policymakers.

For more information, including details on how to apply, please visit the program website, or email