Executive Fellowship

The Access Ventures Executive Fellowship Program, seeks to develop the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders because at the heart of any transformative change in a company, community, market or movement… is people.

What It's All About

The Program

Each year, The Access Ventures Executive Fellowship is comprised of 4-6 leaders is chosen to engage in a thought-provoking journey of personal exploration—to move beyond success to a place of growing significance in the world. Our fundamental belief is that an investment in the whole person (spiritual, relational, physical, emotional and intellectual) will achieve far greater outcomes and lead to a lifetime of impact.

Have Questions?

AV Executive Fellows

Each class of Executive Fellows is chosen from a wide pool of accomplished entrepreneurial leaders between the ages of 35 and 45. These Fellows have already achieved considerable success in the private sector and are at an inflection point in their lives or careers—looking toward the broader role they might take on in their communities or globally. The two-year program consists of structured discussions presented over 5 in-person sessions (approximately 3-5 days each) and monthly group calls. These are held in various locations, and each constantly evolving session is led by experts in emotional well-being, nutrition, theology, leadership, and impact.

Individuals Recommended as Candidates for the Access Ventures Executive Fellowship Program Should:

  • Be Between 35-45 Years Old 

  • Be Successful

    We want primarily domestic leaders – we appreciate success is defined in many ways, but our overwhelming preference is for business leaders and they will always form the bulk of any class. We realize success in some fields does not yield financial rewards. 

  • Have Resilience & Grit

    We like to see candidates who have weathered challenges, even failure, either professionally or personally.

  • Be Willing to Come to the Table Fully Open & Engaged

    We look for candidates with a willingness to be fully present, authentic, vulnerable and kind.

  • Be at an Inflection Point

    This is challenging, but vitally important. Essentially ready to paint on a broader canvas.

  • Be Entrepreneurial

    We look for a track record of starting things. With some candidates, this is hard to tease out of a bio and resume, so it’s important for the nominator to address this in their letter of recommendation.

  • Understand the Time Commitment

    We expect 100% participation and we publish our seminar dates in advance. Help us by stressing this non-negotiable. Offers of just missing a bit or calling in are not acceptable. As Access Ventures Executive Fellows, the bonding process is of utmost importance for each individual and the cohort as a whole.

  • Pay It Forward

    You will consider how you might personally continue the spirit of this program forward in your own life and context.

Nomination Process

Individuals may not apply to the Access Ventures Executive Fellowship Program; they must be nominated by recognized leaders of business and community organizations, or by previous Fellows, or members of the Access Ventures Board of Directors. Nominators are asked to submit a letter stating their reasons for recommending the candidate, with a special focus on (a) the candidate’s entrepreneurial experience and (b) why you think this is the right time in their life and career to participate in the program. Please include a résumé indicating the candidate’s educational background, current position, age, email and phone number, voluntary activities and any information that will help us evaluate their qualifications for the program.

Selection Process

By August 31
Interviews Concluded
By October 31
By November 15
Executive Fellowship Begins


Access Ventures Executive Fellowship FAQ

  • Who is the ideal candidate?

    We are looking for candidates who have achieved significant success in their career and who are now at an “inflection point”—looking toward the broader role they might take on in their communities or globally. 

  • How can my nomination letter be even stronger?

    Your nomination letter is a very important part of our nominee evaluation process. In addition to providing your candidate’s basic contact information–date of birth, cell phone, and email address—we ask that you share personal details, including struggles or hardships the candidate has had, that you wouldn't normally put into a recommendation. The strongest nomination letters are those that help us understand the candidate’s inflection point and why this is the right time for them to take full advantage of what the fellowship offers. We always look for signs of grit and for ways the candidate has had to overcome obstacles to achieve success.

  • You say you want successful entrepreneurs, how do you define success?

    We are primarily interested in candidates who have built, created or innovated something. Maybe they have several failed start-ups. Maybe their innovation has changed the game for thousands of customers, even if it isn't yet reaping monetary returns. Maybe they aren't the CEO, but are the head of Corporate Innovation, the Chief Marketing Officer, or leading the company into new territory that will have a profound impact on society. In sum, we are looking for leaders who have made a difference and who are now ready to have an even wider impact.

  • How does my candidate find out about the results?

    Every candidate, nominator, and supporter receives a personal email from the Managing Director when the class is announced. Although email is not as personal as a phone call or letter, the number of nominations submitted makes email the most efficient way to communicate with all of our nominees and their nominators. We do our best to treat all nominators and candidates with dignity, professionalism, and the respect deserved.

  • Should I tell my candidate they are being nominated?

    Yes! We expect that you will not only tell them you are nominating them, but that you will explain to them who Access Ventures is and what the fellowship entails to ensure they are both interested and available to participate on the cohort dates if chosen. Please forward the nomination materials to them and make sure they visit our website, so they understand the program – including its goals, time commitment, and other requirements – and are fully prepared to engage.

  • Who is not a great fit?

    We get many candidates who we consider to be fully baked, meaning they have already reached the point where we hope our Fellows to be when they graduate the Fellowship. We get other candidates who are wonderful people but who may not be at the right stage in their life/career for this program. Some are so busy building their business or organization that it’s clear they won’t be able to make the time for or truly focus on all the Fellowship experience entails. We feel this focus is necessary in order to be open to deeply examining the world through the new and different lenses of the Fellowship experience.

  • What does “evidence of entrepreneurial (or intra-preneurial) spirit” mean?

    We are looking for people who make things happen. Our strongest candidates have started something, grown something – even if this happens inside an organization. Bluntly, we are looking for entrepreneurs who fix the plane while they are flying it.

  • How can I prepare my nominee for an interview?

    Please ask them to be open and honest. At this point in the process, we are confident the candidate meets our earlier criteria (success, entrepreneurial, lenses of diversity). The interview is all about getting to know them as a person. Are they at an inflection point in their life? Are they willing to be open and vulnerable with their group? Do they have a kind heart and generous spirit to take this journey for themselves and their group? The interview is a chance to really get to know each of our top candidates and see how their personality would fit. Everything said at the interview is confidential, so please encourage your candidate to feel comfortable sharing anything they feel is important about who they are as a leader and potential Executive Fellow. 

  • Does it help for a candidate to have more than one nominator?

    Only if each nominator can add a new dimension to the candidate's profile. If all are saying essentially the same thing, then a quick note of support via email will do rather than a complete nomination. If each nominator has a unique perspective on the candidate, then by all means, please add a full letter of recommendation.

  • How well do I have to know the candidate to nominate them?

    We prefer that the candidate is nominated by someone who knows them very well.

Have Questions? Email info@accessventures.org