They are driven, innovative, intelligent and young. These leaders are wise beyond their years, have risen up in their industries and on their missions to become voices of their generation. From entrepreneurs to actresses and activists, below are the eight young leaders every business owner should watch and learn from in 2014.
Malala Yousafzai, Education Activist, 16
At the age of 11, Yousafzai was writing under a pseudonym for the BBC, detailing what it's like to live under Taliban rule. In 2009, The New York Times filmed a documentary about her life. Today, as a 16 year old, Yousafzai is an influential communicator and education activist. In October 2012, she was shot in the back of the head by Taliban gunmen, but survived the assassination attempt.
Yousafzai was the recipient of the UN 2013 Human Rights Prize and is the youngest person to have ever been a Nobel Prize nominee.
Rachel Haot, Technologist And Innovator, 30
Born in Manhattan and raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn, it makes sense that Haot would end up working for the city of New York, which is exactly what happened. In 2011, Mayor Michael Bloomberg named Haot as the city's first chief digital officer. Her job? To think of big-picture ways to improve the lives of New Yorkers by implementing digital and high-tech initiatives.
This includes overseeing the city's official website (nyc.gov) and nearly 300 social media channels that reach approximately 6 million visitors monthly.
In December, Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration announced that Haot would be joining the team as deputy secretary for technology. "Rachel brings a proven track record of success from her work in both the public and private sectors, and I am confident that she will help take New York state’s digital presence to the next level," Cuomo says.
Before working for the city, Haot launched journalism platform GroundReport, digital consulting group Upward, and worked as a business developer for file-sharing site LimeWire.
Jennifer Lawrence, Actress, 23
Just watch Lawrence on screen and you'll understand why she's one of the most sought-after actors of her generation. Despite her young age, her roles in films like The Burning Plain (2008), Winter's Bone (2010), and Silver Linings Playbook (2012) make her appear ageless. They've also earned her nominations for the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Satellite Award, Independent Spirit Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress.
In 2013, Lawrence was named one of TIME's 100 most influential people in the world.
Jennifer Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman, Rent The Runway, 29 and 33
As the co-founders of glamorous e-commerce venture Rent the Runway, Fleiss and Hyman have been everywhere. Their company, which has been compared to a "Netflix for fashion," is reportedly backed by approximately $55 million in venture capital funding.
Both Fleiss and Hyman, who met at Harvard Business School, have been recognized on Inc.'s list of "Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30" and Fast Company's "Most Influential Women" list in 2011.
Lena Dunham, Writer, Director And Actor, 27
Dunham's a triple threat whose hit HBO show Girls has received nominations for Emmy Awards and won two Golden Globe Awards as of 2013. The show is set to return in 2014. Dunham, a feminist and voice of her generation, whether she wants to be or not, has recently received $3.5 million in advance for a collection of book essays.
Magnus Carlsen, Chess Champion, 22
In November, Carlsen won the World Chess Championship and currently has the highest peak rating in history. Carlsen started playing chess from a young age. He's often been called the "Prince of Chess" for his young age and aggressive style during competition.
Evan Spiegel, CEO Of Snapchat, 23
Snapchat was just a neat photo app that young people used until it stirred headlines by reportedly turning down a $3 billion all-cash buyout from Facebook in 2013.
Spiegel's company handles more than 400 million photo messages on a daily basis, and the Pew Research Center reports that 9 percent of all Americans who own cellphones use it.
Snapchat's upcoming investment will reportedly value the company at $3.6 billion.
Not bad for a 23 year old.
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