World's Greatest Leaders

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In business, government, philanthropy and the arts, and all over the globe, these men and women are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same. Read more about our fifth annual list here. Read the 2019 edition of this list here.
RANK NAME TITLE AFFILIATION
1 The Students - Marjory Stoneman Douglas and other schools
2 Bill and Melinda Gates Cofounders Gates Foundation
3 The #MeToo Movement - -
4 Moon Jae-in President South Korea
5 Kenneth Frazier CEO Merck
6 Scott Gottlieb FDA commissioner -
7 Margarethe Vestager Commissioner for Competition European Union
8 Larry Fink CEO BlackRock
9 Gen. Joseph Dunford Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
10 Liu He Vice Premier China
11 Mary Barra CEO General Motors
12 Nick Saban Football coach University of Alabama
13 Emmanuel Macron President France
14 Tim Cook CEO Apple
15 Serena Williams Athlete -
16 Isabelle Kocher CEO Engie
17 Katie Bethell Executive director PL+US
18 Ryan Coogler Film director -
19 Huateng “Pony” Ma CEO Tencent
20 Indira Jaising Founder Lawyers Collective
21 Marc Benioff CEO Salesforce
22 The Gymnasts and Their Allies - -
23 Kathleen McLaughlin Chief sustainability officer Walmart
24 Mukesh Ambani Chairman and managing director Reliance Industries
25 Mick Cornett Former mayor Oklahoma City
26 Donald Hopkins Physician the Carter Center
27 Oprah Winfrey CEO OWN
28 Mitch Landrieu Mayor New Orleans
29 Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister New Zealand
30 Ma Jun Environmentalist China
31 West Virginia Teachers - -
32 Leymah Gbowee President Gbowee Peace Foundation
33 Jamie Dimon CEO JPMorgan Chase
34 Michael Sorrell President Paul Quinn College
35 Reese Witherspoon Actor/producer -
36 Daniel Servitje Montull CEO Grupo Bimbo
37 Izumi Nakamitsu Undersecretary general for disarmament United Nations
38 Bashar Masri Founder Rawabi
39 Leila de Lima Senator Philippines
40 Angela Nyambura Gichaga CEO Financing Alliance for Health
41 Timothy Keller Evangelical minister/author Redeemer City to City
42 Gwynne Shotwell President and chief operating officier SpaceX
43 Balkrishna Doshi Architect India
44 Feike Sijbesma CEO DSM
45 Kelly Chibale Scientist South Africa
46 Ana Botín Group executive chairman Banco Santander
47 Dina Meza Journalist PEN Honduras
48 Ridwan Kamil Mayor Bandung, Indonesia
49 Amy Gutmann President University of Pennsylvania
50 Ed Bastian CEO Delta Air Lines
34

Michael Sorrell

President, Paul Quinn College
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Courtesy of Michael Sorrell

In 2007, when Sorrell started as president of Paul Quinn, a historically black college in Dallas, the institution was on the brink of being shut down. Founded in 1872 at the height of Reconstruction, the school was losing students, and the campus, which housed 15 abandoned buildings, was “closer to a garbage dump than a grocery store,” Sorrell says.

Sorrell quickly set about challenging perceptions, both external and internal, by giving Paul Quinn a bigger vision of itself. Under his leadership, the football field was turned into a farm. He solicited the school’s first-ever seven-figure gift from a donor and used it to raze that campus blight, and he emphasized the recruitment of students from out of state to expand what’s now a 500-plus-member student body.

He also took aim at problems that ail all of higher education—the cost, and the disconnect with what comes after. Paul Quinn is now a federally recognized work college; students get jobs with area companies, helping them to pay tuition and prepare for life postgraduation. Sorrell, who calls this the “new urban college model,” now plans to open Paul Quinn campuses nationwide.

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