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Fortune names its World's 50 Greatest Leaders

Last updated on: April 20, 2018 12:41 IST
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The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and other United States schools, Tim Cook, India’s Indira Jaising and Mukesh Ambani.

The names mentioned above have nothing in common… until now.

They have all been named as Fortune’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.

Here are some of the prominent names mentioned in the list.

>> The Students 
Marjory Stoneman Douglas and other schools 

IMAGE: Tears roll down the face of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez as she observes 6 minutes and 20 seconds of silence while addressing the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, DCPhotograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Gun violence in the United States has always been a problem – it’s an epidemic that steals nearly 100 American lives every day. However, 2018 became the year that tackled gun violence and it’s all thanks to the courage, tenacity, and sheer eloquence of students like Emma González, who bore witness to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in Florida and others who marched along with her, who said #NeverAgain.


IMAGE: Students prepare to lead protesters during the March for Our Lives rally. Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It’s because of students like David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and others that the United States saw one of its biggest ever protests in the form of the ‘March for our lives’ rally.

On the legislative front, the students have already driven substantive change. New Jersey, Vermont, and, Florida, have passed various reforms to curb gun violence.

>> Bill and Melinda Gates
Cofounders, Gates Foundation

IMAGE: Bill and Melinda Gates have pledged to give away their wealth for charitable causes.Photograph: Juda Ngwenya

The billionaire couple have been fighting the good fight against malaria and looking to cure the disease. In fact, Bill, founder of Microsoft, has pledged to give over half their wealth to charity during their lifetime or after death.

IMAGE: Bill and Melinda Gates have taken an increasingly impassioned stand for gender equity.Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

The Gates family has been making good on this pledge for nearly two decades through The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which donates money to improve healthcare and cut down on poverty across the world, among other things.

The couple have also taken an increasingly impassioned stand for gender equity; their foundation is now a key financial partner in Aspect Ventures, an investment fund focused on combating sexual discrimination in tech. 

>> MeToo movement

IMAGE: A woman with "#metoo" written on her face and wearing a pink "pussyhat", attends the second annual Women's March in Cambridge, Massachusetts.Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

In 2017, no conversation was complete without the mention of the #MeToo movement.

The movement against sexual harassment and assault became a universal trend after the public revelations of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

IMAGE: The MeToo movement was strong and spread worldwide. Time Magazine also named 'Silence Breakers' the Person of the Year.Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

So powerful was the movement that Time Magazine also named it the ‘Person of the Year’.

And the effects of the movement are still being felt with leaders in every industry, not just ­media and entertainment, changing their way of thinking.

>> Tim Cook
CEO, Apple

IMAGE: Tim Cook, Apple Ceo was ranked 14 on the list for his ability to maintain Apple as a cash-generating machine without sacrificing innovation.Photograph: John Gress/Reuters

The CEO is ranked 14 on the list of World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. The magazine while writing about Cook says, “Cook has maintained Apple as a cash-­generating machine without sacrificing innovation.”

He engages ­gingerly with China’s rights-challenged government, even as he leads ­Apple’s pro-privacy ­crusade. Should Apple ever be worth $1 trillion, his place in the leadership pantheon will be forever secure.”

>> Serena Williams
Tennis player

IMAGE: Serena Williams is considered one of the best tennis players, winning 23 grand slams.Photograph: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Considered as one of the greatest of all times (GOAT), Serena didn’t spend much of 2017 on court as she was pregnant with her first child.

But that didn’t stop her from being a trailblazer.

IMAGE: Serena spent most of her 2017 off court and after a complicated pregnancy started advocating for women's health.Photograph: Serena Williams/Getty Images

After complications with her pregnancy, she focused a spotlight on women’s health issues -- including the fact that maternal mortality rates for African-Americans are three times as high as those for white women.

She also returned to court and her winning ways on Internal Women’s Day. Here’s to more winning…

>> Indira Jaising
Founder, Lawyers Collective 

IMAGE: Indira Jaising has fought on behalf of victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, helped Syrian Christian women in India win property rights equal to their male counterparts’, and helped draft India’s first domestic violence law. Photograph: Indira Jaising/Twitter

The Indian lawyer finds herself on the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders list ranked at number 20. Jaising has fought on behalf of victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, helped Syrian Christian women in India win property rights equal to their male counterparts’, and helped draft India’s first domestic violence law.

Fortune said of Jaising, “When the poorest in India need a voice, they find one in Jaising, a lawyer who has dedicated her life to battling injustice.”

>> Mukesh Ambani
Chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries

IMAGE: Fortune magazine has ranked Mukesh Ambani, India's richest number 24 on their World's Greatest Leader list.Photograph:Larry Busacca/Getty Images

The richest Indian has “in less than two years, brought mobile data to the masses — and completely upended the country’s telecom market,” Fortune said ranking him No. 24.

“Since Ambani, chief of the $47 billion conglomerate Reliance Industries, launched Jio -- the first mobile network in the world to be entirely IP-based -- in September 2016, the company has signed up a staggering 168 million subscribers.

“The secret? Offering dirt-cheap data and free calls (and plowing billions of dollars into the infrastructure that transmits them). The effect, dubbed ‘Jio-fication’, has driven India’s higher-price carriers to drop costs (if not run them out of business), and it fuelled a 1,100 per cent rise in India’s monthly data consumption,” it said.

>> Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister of New Zealand

IMAGE: Jacinda Ardern is the youngest female head of government.Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

When Ardern, 37, became New Zealand’s Prime Minister in October, she ushered in a new perspective in more ways than one. The world’s youngest female head of government, who is expecting a baby in June, is also normalising the idea of a pregnant woman leading a nation. “I’m pregnant,” she says, “not incapacitated.”

She’s ranked 29 on the list.

>> Balkrishna Doshi
Architect, India

IMAGE: Balkrishna Doshi won this year's Pritzker Prize, architecture's highest honour.Photograph: Balkrishna Doshi's website

The architect, who won this year's Pritzker Prize, architecture's highest honour, finds himself on the list at number 43. Doshi has spent the bulk of his 70-year career championing accessible housing, earning the moniker ‘the architect for the poor’.  

“His designs include the Aranya low-cost housing project in Indore, a labyrinth of homes and courtyards that provide around 80,000 residents with a balance of open spaces and communal living, and the mixed-income Life Insurance Corporation Housing in Ahmedabad, where several generations of a family can occupy levels of the same building. Underlying all his work is the ideal that all economic classes deserve good housing,” it said.

>> Oprah Winfrey
Media Mogul

IMAGE: Oprah Winfrey finds herself ranked 27 on the list.Photograph: Oprah Winfrey/Instagram

Media mogul. Philanthropist. Actress. Is there anything Oprah can’t do? It turns out many fans hope to see the former talk show host add “US President” to her résumé, after her powerful speech -- heavily inspired by the #MeToo movement -- at the Golden Globes in January.

IMAGE: Oprah Winfrey poses with the Cecil B. DeMille Award in the press room during The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards.Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Winfrey, 64, has since denied interest in running, but she continues to spotlight social causes as a frequent correspondent on CBS’s 60 Minutes. She has also doubled down on healthy-living advocacy as a shareholder and board member at Weight Watchers.

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