Social Impact

Unleashing Leadership Potential At American Cancer Society

Learn how 8works teamed up with the American Cancer Society to help transform its organizational dynamics and strengthen its leadership


One of Oliver Wyman’s pillars is to serve clients who serve communities making an impact in everyone’s lives. Our partnership with the American Cancer Society (ACS) perfectly embodies that mission, impact and service. Founded in 1913, the nonprofit has 3,000 employees and 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to the mission of providing research, advocacy, and support for cancer patients and their families to ultimately end cancer as we know it for everyone. Their tireless work has contributed to a 32% drop in the overall US cancer death rate since 1991.

ACS held a leadership conference in Atlanta with the purpose of engaging and equipping their 125 senior leaders. Led by representatives from 8works, Oliver Wyman’s people-led change capability, the group engaged in three days of immersive discussions and co-creative exercises aimed at improving their leadership competencies to enhance community impact. ACS wanted to inspire and equip leaders to think, act and connect more holistically across teams, lead with a strategic focus, and role model a One ACS culture.

This gathering of our 125 senior leaders from across the country was critical for us to move forward under our mission to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families
Dr. Karen Knudsen, CEO, American Cancer Society

Unleashing organizational alignment and transformation to eradicate cancer

ACS wanted to increase collaboration between newer team members and veterans.The interactive experience, designed and facilitated by 8works, modeled how organization’s leadership competencies alone won’t deliver long-term change. Leaders left the three-day session having experienced first-hand the leadership competencies are, what they mean to the organization, and how they manifest. Leaders defined collective and personal actions and changes to bring this back to their teams to inspire and activate the OneACS culture and leadership across the organization.

The event was purposely designed to engage participants through a variety of activities, utilizing behavioral, cognitive, and social sciences to create the space and opportunity for learning and teaming. Some activities modeled leadership behaviors and gave participants the agency to define how they will operate more effectively and build greater trust. Other work helped to build leadership acumen and styles, important skills they will deploy with their teams and peers. Leaders were able to deeply engage and explore their place in the organization, their role as leaders, and the shifts in their own leadership required to lead this dynamic organization into its next era.

This was one of the best opportunities we had to do a couple of things: One, live our values—we believe in making a social impact. And two, we believe that if you can empower and energize leaders, and give them the right equipment to lead, you will see huge changes in the results you can get
Holly Noto, 8works Director in North America