By Staff Reporter

Common Purpose is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1989, we deliver face-to-face and online leadership programmes for multiple generations of leaders: from students in universities to senior leaders in organizations and society.

We live in a world full of complex problems. These problems cross boundaries – yet most leaders do not. Common Purpose is devoted to developing leaders who can cross boundaries. Between geographies, generations, sectors, specializations, backgrounds and beliefs. Both at work and in society.

Common Purpose delivers leadership programmes in over 200 cities worldwide. We believe leaders who cross boundaries make cities work better; and cities that work better will be better at dealing with their own problems, and the world’s. Find out why cities are so important to us and which cities we work in.

We work out of four global hubs:

• London (covering Europe and MENA)
• Johannesburg (covering Africa)
• Singapore (covering Asia-Pacific)
• Chicago (covering North and South America).

A number of Common Purpose entities operate under a licence agreement with the Common Purpose Charitable Trust. Each has its own independent Board.

Common Purpose is completely independent and non-aligned. Independence is at the heart of what we do; without it, we wouldn’t be able to convene incredibly diverse groups from across different boundaries.

Our independence is made possible because of our funding model. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, we recover our costs through programme fees paid by participants, their employing organizations, or by other organizations who commission our programmes such as businesses, universities and foundations.

We are committed to ensuring that they are open to all and not simply to those who can afford the full fee, which is why ability to pay is not part of the application criteria. We maintain a bursary fund for people who are unable to meet the full fee.

Common Purpose, believes that now, more than ever, we need leaders who can cross boundaries to solve big and complex problems in our organisations, cities, country, on our continent and in the world. It is for this reason that we are delighted to bring these two impactful leadership programmes.

The Africa Venture is an annual leadership development programme for exceptional emerging leaders from government, businesses and non-profits across Africa. It focuses on applied leadership learning. Tackling the Challenge set by a Think Tank of eminent Africans, participants are guided through a process of creativity and innovation to discover how to bring new solutions to old problems. The programme connects these leaders with one another in order to create a new generation of leaders who have the Cultural Intelligence to work fluidly and flexibly across the continent. Apply by 30 June 2022. Further details on the programme, please click here.

January Global Leaders Programme is Common Purpose’s flagship global leadership programme, developed in collaboration with Google Digital Academy. This highly interactive and experiential programme gives deeply experienced senior cross-sector leaders the skills, networks and mindset to make the next transition in their leadership and face a rapidly changing world, head on. January leaders become hyper-global connectors, agenda setters, problem solvers and cross boundary leaders. These outcomes are delivered using a unique experiential learning techniques, stemming from our 30+ years working with global leaders, focused on Agile Creativity, Cultural Intelligence and Broadened Horizons. This inspires leaders to have a bigger impact in their work and society. It begins in July 2022. Further details on the programme, please click here.

On the driving seat of Common Purpose: Dr Elsbeth Dixon

Elsbeth is Head of African Operations for Common Purpose, and Chief Executive Officer of Common Purpose South Africa. She has over 25 years of experience in group process facilitation across a wide variety of domains, including energy and technology, strategy and operations, but most deeply, and for over 15 years, in leadership development. Since joining Common Purpose in 2006, she has been a lead facilitator of the organisation’s open leadership courses, which bring together senior and emerging leaders from a very wide range of organisations across the public, private and NGO sectors, and on in-house customised assignments. She has designed and delivered customised leadership and cultural intelligence programmes for a range of organisations including EY Global, Proctor and Gamble, Rand Merchant Bank, Nedbank, the South African National Department of Health, and EU, German and Australian-funded leadership initiatives for Africans from across the continent.

Elsbeth has been the Chief Executive of Common Purpose South Africa for 14 years. In addition to heading the South African operation, Elsbeth is a member of the senior management team of Common Purpose Charitable Trust. In 2012-2013 she headed the Global Student Team of Common Purpose, orchestrating the presentation of courses in many international destinations, including at universities such as Harvard, Oxford, and Hong Kong University and the National University of Singapore. From 2014, her global role shifted to heading the African operations of Common Purpose, driving the roll-out of leadership programmes in Accra, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi, including the flagship annual pan-African leadership programme, the Africa Venture.

Prior to joining Common Purpose Elsbeth was co-founder of the Da Vinci Institute, a private university specialising in leadership and management education. This was an expression of her experience of several years as organiser of the South African Technology Top 100 awards, which allowed for deep observation of best leadership practice in this sector. Her professional origins are in science. Elsbeth spent the first ten years of her career as a consulting applied mathematician at the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, culminating in her role as founding Director of CILLA – CSIR’s Innovation, Leadership and Learning Academy.

Elsbeth holds a PhD from Cambridge University, UK, in applied mathematics. During her early years as a scientist she obtained a Certificate in Group Process Facilitation. Some 15 years into her career she undertook a period of retraining, obtaining a B.Sc. in Psychology, a Counselling Certificate from the Family and Marriage Association of South Africa, and completing a Diploma in Coaching with Creative Consciousness International.