Who we are
The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a community with the vision, courage and influence to drive positive change.
During a transformational five-year experience, YGLs are inspired to be bold in undertaking a sense of shared responsibility, impact and ambition.
Discover how science and technology are being brought together to help those affected by paralysis walk.
Greenland Impact Expedition
Learn the story of YGLs who travelled to Greenland to observe first-hand the effects of climate change.
Explore the annual awards programme that celebrates, showcases and promotes circular economy innovation.
Discover a community of strategic philanthropists who use their resources to improve the health and rights of girls and women worldwide.
Kakuma Impact Expedition
Learn the story of YGLs who travelled to Kakuma in Kenya to help refugees gain access to the global economy.
Meet our members
Sarah Al Suhaimi
Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange, the largest stock market in the Middle East. With full support from the government, and under the framework of Vision 2030, leading comprehensive efforts to further integrate the Saudi capital markets into the global system, including changes to Tadawul’s operational activities, systems and regulations. Concurrently, Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors of NCB Capital, the investment banking arm of the National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest bank. NCB Capital is the largest asset manager in the Middle East and the largest Sharia-compliant asset manager globally.
BA in Physics, University of Chicago; PhD in Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology. Currently, Irani Chair of Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Southern California. Director of O'Brien Nanofabrication Laboratory. Research is focused on advanced functional materials for integrated photonics for telecommunications and cancer diagnostics/prognostics. Fellow: OSA. PECASE, NIH New Innovator, ONR Young Investigator Awardee. Northrop Grumman Faculty Fellow.
Zack is co-founder & managing partner of Data Collective (DCVC), a VC fund that backs entrepreneurs applying deep tech to transform giant industries. Data Collective’s portfolio includes Planet Labs, Tala, LendUp and Zymergen. Zack has over twelve years of experience in Silicon Valley as an entrepreneur, lawyer, advisor and angel investor in start-ups such as Square, Uber and Docker. Zack is also a founder and managing partner of Founders Den, an exclusive co-working space and clubhouse for experienced entrepreneurs. He serves on the non-profit boards of the East Palo Alto Charter School and The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Zack graduated with honors from Harvard University with an AB in Environmental Science and earned his JD with honors from Georgetown Law School. Zack is passionate about promoting nuclear energy.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, TerraCycle, a global leader in the collection and recycling of post-consumer waste. Developed a unique business model that offers free recycling programmes funded by brands, manufacturers and retailers around the world. By creating turnkey and affordable recycling options, TerraCycle enables these parties to move from a linear to circular economy. Author of three books: “Revolution in a Bottle” (2009), “Outsmart Waste” (2014) and “Garbage is Great” (2016). Recipient of numerous social, environmental and business awards from the United Nations, World Economic Forum and Environmental Protection Agency.
Ashish is a Portfolio manager in a leading macro hedge fund. His experience as an investor in the international financial markets spans over the last decade. His area of expertise is Global Macro with a specific focus on Asia. The first visually impaired student to have graduated from Wharton business school, he has the distinction of becoming the first Visually impaired trader in the world. He has been honoured with India’s highest civilian award for a disabled individual - the National Award for the empowerment of persons with disabilities by the President of India, and The Josep P Wharton award, selected by his peers, given to one individual who best represents The Wharton Way of Life. In the past three years he has raised funds annually for different charities raising more than 50,000 dollars for causes ranging from education of poor children in India to Blindness Research and International Peace. He is also passionate about theatre and is a supporter of The Print Room, a new theatre based in London.
Edward "Smitty" Smith has emerged as a rising star in the technology and telecommunications policy arenas.
A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, he translated his academic success into professional success as a corporate attorney at one of the world’s largest law firms, Hogan Lovells. While in private practice as a corporate lawyer, Smitty advised clients and helped close over $40 billion worth of merger transactions for publicly traded companies.
Smitty left his firm to join the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. After the campaign, Smitty served as Deputy General Counsel of the Presidential Inauguration Committee and joined the Obama Administration.
At the Department of Commerce, Smitty spearheaded national broadband programs that generated critical data about broadband availability and capability and leveraged technology to create new economic opportunities for millions of Americans. After an emergency detail to the Economic Development Administration, where he led teams developing economic response strategies in the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Smitty joined the Federal Communications Commission where he served as Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel for a special technology taskforce
Smitty left the FCC to run in the first election for Attorney General of the District of Columbia. Though he lost in a hotly contested race, Smitty received over 35,000 votes citywide and gained the endorsements of nearly every major union and labor organization in the District.
Smitty entered local government and served in the Mayor’s Cabinet as the Director of the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants.He then returned to the FCC as Legal Advisor to the Chairman.
Smitty is now a Partner at the international law firm of DLA Piper, where he advises clients on a broad range of telecommunications and technology issues in countries around the globe.
Silje Vallestad is an entrepreneur, innovator, speaker and writer. Since the young age of 14 she has continuously built projects, organisations and companies around the world, ranging from running soup kitchens for the homeless, publishing a book on visions for the future written by youth and world leaders, and building two tech companies. Fall of 2017 Silje co-founded FutureTalks - an impact driven initiative - to engage the youth and established leaders, from all sectors and all over the world, in the most important discussions of our time. When everything soon is possible, what paths should we choose? Silje is a firm believer in the need to engage the youth and give them seats at the table in all matters regarding the future.
• Co Founder&CMO of PlenEat (100% Organic Food)
• Co Founder&CEO of RUSTICAE (Boutique Hotels)
• Entrepreneur, Mentor & Speaker
• WEF Young Global Leader advocating for Entrepreneurship, Gender equality, Sustainability & Water
Carlota Mateos co-founded Rusticae in 1996 and it soon became the most prestigious brand gathering a curated collection of more than 320 boutique hotels in 16 countries (Mediterranean & Latin America).
Rusticae has achieved great brand recognition not only for its excellent image and prestige, but also because it has been a true agent of change in the Spanish tourism development of the last two decades. Rusticae has led the emergence of a new tourism sector that has given value to the interior of the country focusing in quality rather than quantity. Along with its hotels Rusticae have also facilitated an unprecedented change in the economy of these territories. From a purely agricultural and very dependent on European subsides model to a long-term sustainable economic model based on high-end tourism.
She also co-founded PlenEat in 2016, a pioneering company which also encourages the virtuous circle Countryside-City. PlenEat offers 100% certified organic homemade meals to companies, restaurants, supermarkets, vending machines, etc. Through its different business units in the city and the countryside PlenEat has become a triple impact company which brings health to the city at the same time that helps to set the rural population and seeks a cleaner production with the environment.
Carlota has a strong commitment in many other fields beyond her business. Worried about the environment, she launched in 2011 the “Portable & Sustainable Suite” to demonstrate the building industry there were other formulas to develop building projects less aggressive for the planet.
DISTINCTIONS & AWARDS
2015 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum
2014 START-EX Award for Global Companies, by the Spanish Ministry of Finance & ICEX
2012 "Entrepreneur Award” by the Global Entrepreneur Week (IESE Business School)
2011, 2012 & 2013 Listed among the Top 100 Women Leaders in Spain by Women&Cia foundation.
2011 “Madrid´s Best Entrepreneurs Award” by Madrid City Council
2011 Entrepreneur of reference in the Impulsa Forum launched by the Princess of Girona Foundation, established by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, to foster entrepreneurship among today´s youth.
2009 “Entrepreneur of the year Award” by FEDEPE (Association of Female Executives and Entrepreneurs)
Maya's has a long and effective track record promoting gender equality and gender rights. This is a topic of particular importance at this juncture in time, as report after report suggests that progress in this area has stalled. In her leadership at YWCA, Maya has secured millions in funding to promote women's financial and social position in Canada.