Why the Women’s March on Washington Organizers Are Among the World’s Greatest Leaders

March 24, 2017, 2:00 PM UTC

The staff of Fortune and a panel of experts recently assembled our annual list of the World’s Greatest Leaders. Here’s a profile of the Women’s March on Washington National Cochairs Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Bob Bland, and Carmen Perez.

Women’s issues, from equal pay to reproductive rights, have long been central to political debate. When Donald Trump won the presidential election on a platform that many people believed would roll back those rights, Mallory, Sarsour, Perez, and Bland wanted to send the message that these issues were nonnegotiable. Veteran civil rights activists, the four were able to coordinate the Women’s March on Washington in barely two months. Their original 250,000-attendee estimate was eclipsed by a crowd that reached nearly half a million. Add simultaneous marches held in hundreds of cities worldwide, and the total approached 5 million—a testament to the leadership potential of vibrant, diverse, and self-organizing groups. To capitalize, the cochairs launched 10 Actions/100 Days as a hub through which citizens could find nearby protests, strikes, and other events to sustain the fire they had started.

“The Women’s March stands out as a remarkable example of leadership that eschews ‘command and control’ in favor of ‘connect and collaborate,’ two-way over one-way conversation, and wielding moral over formal authority.”—Dov Seidman, CEO, LRN and author of “How”

This article is part of the 2017 World’s 50 Greatest Leaders list, our annual directory of world-changing leaders in business, government, philanthropy and beyond. Click here to see the entire package.

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