The Atlas Corps Effect: Reframing “Shouldering the World” to “Sharing the World” through Positive Psychology
social change leaders
Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Atlas Service Corps, Inc. (Atlas Corps) supports a global community of social change leaders dedicated to driving social and cultural change by providing world-class training, experiences, and opportunities. Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, what was originally developed as a temporary virtual leadership program due to restricted travel has now become a core program offering that they hope to expand from 300 to over 5,000 annual participants in the next few years. One of the challenges that social change leaders face is burnout due to long hours, limited resources, and complex problems. To support Atlas Corps’ social change leader community, a series of positive psychology lessons were developed to help them learn about high-quality connections, positive stress response, and thinking traps and apply learned skills in practice. These lessons were specifically designed for their virtual leadership program, which could then be applied toward other populations, including in-person program participants, alumni, and Atlas Corps staff themselves. The implications and desired outcomes include fostering improved connections virtually and in-person, enhancing resilience and stress management strategies, and ultimately preventing burnout particularly within the context of a diverse population of nonprofit leaders and the organizations they serve.