Community

The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a community of innovators from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Search current members and alumni by year awarded, sector or region.

Silje Vallestad

Founding Curator and Alumni, Palo Alto Hub, Royal Commission for Riyadh City, USA

Silje Vallestad is an accomplished entrepreneur, innovation leader, VC advisor, and ecosystem builder. She has an extensive track record of building transformative projects from idea to operation, curating networks, and ecosystems to drive impact through innovation and thought leadership and cultivating practices to boost organizational innovation performance.

Her expertise has been built over almost three decades of hands-on experience marked by entrepreneurial pursuit and a sharp analytical but equally out-of-the-box mindset. From building tech companies out of Silicon Valley, to advising enterprises and government bodies on innovation, to organizing the largest Global Investor Summit in Norway, to venture building for established companies seeking to diversify their portfolio, Silje is a proven builder who delivers results fast. She develops holistic and out-of-the-box solutions creating sustainable impact.

Silje is a strong believer that “magic happens when the right people meet”, and that magic requires that barriers created by geography, disciplines, and ages are broken down; “the old ways will not create the needed new solutions to our global challenges”. To facilitate change Silje has continuously curated communities that engage young talent alongside global leaders; Nobel Laureates, Presidents and Royals, C-suite executives of the largest tech companies, leading entrepreneurs and academics, Hollywood celebrities and artists. For over 20 years Silje has built and activated networks that inspire new partnerships and projects that drive change.
Engraved in Silje’s ethos is a commitment to global impact, and her work has been widely recognized earning her recognition as a Young Global Leader (World Economic Forum), a Top 20 Nordic Thinker (Nordic Business Forum), Female Entrepreneur of the Year (Ministry of Trade and Industry), Female Entrepreneurship Ambassador (European Union) and winner of the Rosing Creativity Prize - to name a few.

Educationally, Silje is a cross-disciplinary lifelong learner. She moved to Wales at 16 to attend United World College together with 400 teens from over 100 countries, which sparked her passion for cultures, diplomacy, and religions. Her undergraduate degree mixed World Religions, with public administration and social economics, and her Master's focused on strategy, business, and public-private partnerships. Silje has throughout her career continually pursued executive programs in leadership, innovation, and sustainability at world-leading institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Oxford, and Stanford.

Sumayya Vally

Founder and Principal, Counterspace, South Africa

Principal of Counterspace, an award-winning architecture and research studio, based between Johannesburg and London, Sumayya Vally’s design, research and pedagogical practice is searching for expression for hybrid identities and territory, particularly for African and Islamic conditions. Her design process is often forensic, and draws on the aural, performance, the supernatural, and the overlooked as generative places of history and work.

A TIME100 Next List honouree, named as a figure who will shape the future of architectural canon and practice; and designer of the 20th Serpentine Pavilion (2020/2021), Vally is the youngest architect ever to be commissioned for the internationally renowned architecture programme, which opened to unprecedented critical acclaim in 2021. She has recently worked on initiating and developing Support Structures for Support Structures, a new fellowship programme launched at the Serpentine, which supports artists and collectives who support community through their work at the intersections of art and social justice, art and the archive and art and ecology. Sumayya has also recently been named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and serves on several boards through her interest in dynamic forms of archive and supporting new networks of knowledge in the arts. She is presently immersed in several projects which work to create cultural typologies and platforms for the future, through the lenses of identity and embodied heritage - including work on the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Library in Liberia and through her role as creative director and contemporary commissions curator for the first-ever Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah.

Hajo van Beijma

Founder, Atilax, Netherlands

Founder at Atilax: Executive Search for Tech Companies and Scale-Ups. Hajo is an entrepreneur who operates as an international leader in the field of technology and human behavior. Hajo combines commercial focus with user centered design principles growing projects and organizations from basic ideas to internationally scaled-up successful enterprises. Hajo's passion and purpose is building creative teams around new tech driven ideas with the goal of influencing people’s lives. Expertise in: Mobile tech, mobile payments, loyalty programs, content & technology, scale-ups, behavior change, international expansion, emerging markets, growth strategy, multi stakeholder partnerships & headhunting. Skills: Business development, closing deals, headhunting, pioneering, change management, leading virtual teams, strategic thinking, team-building, risk-taking, networking. Hajo is a member of the World Economic Forum group of Young Global Leaders since 2014 and has been trained at Harvard, Oxford, Singularity University, Insead, THNK and the University of Amsterdam. Hajo is the co-author of many publications on the use of mobile technologies in emerging markets and received a UN leadership award from the deputy Secretary General in 2014 for his work.

Ganzorig Vanchig

Chairperson, Down Syndrome Association Mongolia, Mongolia

Ganzorig Vanchig is the chairman of Down Syndrome Association Mongolia and founder of the Board at Bat Solution Partners, a business consulting firm specializing in strategy and communications. Ganzorig earned his Master’s degree in Electronic Business Management from the International University of Japan and Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame Australia. He has been awarded the title of Mongolian Certified Management Consultant from the Mongolian Management Consultants’ Institute. As part of his social responsibility, Ganzorig is the Founder and Chairman of Young Professionals’ Group – Mentorship program as well as founding board Member of the Special Olympics Committee Mongolia, and Academy member of the Global Teacher Prize. Furthermore, he is a columnist at the leading news portal sites as well as a host of ‘Syndicate Talk with Vinzo’ multi-format talk show. Since 2017, he has held the position of President of the CEO Club Mongolia, which is one of the most respected and reputable business advocacy associations representing top Mongolia based business groups and companies.

Andrés A. van der Horst

General Manager, Fiduciarias Reservas, Dominican Republic

Andrés van der Horst Álvarez is Secretary of State, Founder and Executive Director of the National Competitiveness Council of the Dominican Republic. He has successfully engaged the public and private sector to develop a comprehensive competitiveness strategy for the Dominican Republic, resulting in the first National Competitiveness Plan of the Dominican Republic, praised by international organizations and donors such as the Inter-American Developing Bank and European Union. Under his leadership the DR has committed to initiatives such as the Country-Brand Strategy, the Business Climate Initiative with the IDB, and cluster development, consistently increasing the number of clusters in the DR since 2004. He has presented more than 10 policy reforms on competitiveness, resulting in the country's recognition as one of the top 10 reformers according to Doing Business 2009. An author and former negotiator for the Dominican Republic, Central America and the United States Free Trade Agreement, he has been invited as professor, lecturer and special guest speaker at over 100 international events.

Karien van Gennip

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Social Affairs and Employment (2022-2024), Netherlands

Minister Van Gennip serves as the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands since January 2022; and also as Deputy Prime Minister since September 2023. Her portfolio includes labour market policy, purchasing power, working conditions, labour migration, civic integration, labour market discrimination, childcare and child benefit schemes, international policy and inspection.

Equitable opportunities and inclusion have been a common thread throughout her career. Until January 2022 she served as the CEO of VGZ, the second largest health care insurer in the Netherlands. She has been board member of the OranjeFonds & INSEAD. Chair of the supervisory board of children’s charity SOS Kinderdorpen Nederland. Vice-chair of the supervisory board of emergency development charity Cordaid & the International Chamber of Commerce.

Van Gennip has broad experience in politics and business. After studying applied physics at the Technical University of Delft, followed by an MBA at INSEAD, she worked at management consultancy McKinsey & Company in Amsterdam and San Francisco. In 2002 she joined the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets. She was appointed State Secretary of Economic Affairs and Minister for Foreign Trade in 2003. In 2006 she became a member of parliament for the Christian Democrats. Van Gennip joined ING in 2008 and became CEO ING France in 2015.

Van Gennip is a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau in the Netherlands and a Knight of the Legion of Honour in France. In her spare time she is a field hockey coach and enjoys running. She is married and has four daughters.

Coen van Oostrom

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, EDGE, Netherlands

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, EDGE, one of Europe’s largest commercial property developers and a global leader in tech-enabled sustainable building design for ambitious customers worldwide. Since founding the firm in 1997, has led the growth of EDGE (formerly OVG Real Estate) to its current scope with more than a million square meters of development across the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany and United States. Recently introduced EDGE Next: a sensor and data-driven platform that can optimize any office building’s performance, making it smarter, healthier, and more sustainable.

Mabel van Oranje

Chair, Girls Not Brides, United Kingdom

Mabel van Oranje is a serial entrepreneur for social change working globally to advance equality, freedom and justice. During the last decade, she played a catalytic role in the global movement to end child marriage, including the creation and growth of three entities central to efforts to support girls’ futures: Girls Not Brides, the Girls First Fund, and VOW for Girls. Mabel is currently a board member of Fondation Chanel, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, and VOW for Girls (Chair). She is also an advisor to Apolitical Academy Global, Co-Impact’s Gender Fund, Global Witness, and The Elders. Mabel is a global champion of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage, and a co-founder and chair emeritus of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Nathalie van Ypersele de Strihou

Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer; General Manager, Communication, Syensqo, Belgium

Nathalie van Ypersele de Strihou is Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer as well as General Manager, Communication at Solvay. She was previously partner at Akkanto, a consulting firm in communication, based in Brussels and Editor-in-Chief of Trends-Tendances, the number one business weekly magazine in Belgium. She won two press prizes. Nathalie van Ypersele is leading a Foundation with social projects (schools) in the Philippines, India and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Paul van Zyl

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Conduit, United Kingdom

Paul grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era and served as the Executive Secretary of South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 1995 to 1998. His background is in human rights law, and he has received a number of scholarships and accolades for his work in global social impact. Paul was selected as a Hauser Global Scholar at NYU, a program which selects 10 of the finest students from countries across the world, chosen on the basis of their intellectual and leadership ability, as well as their capacity to participate productively in a global community of scholars and practitioners. He received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2009 with Juan E. Mendez, with whom he founded the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), an international human rights organisation based in New York City which works for justice in over 40 countries that have endured massive human rights abuses under repression and in conflict. Paul was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2008. He has served as an adviser and consultant to many NGOs and Governments on transitional justice issues in over 30 countries. Paul co-founded The Conduit in 2018, and that year was named by London Tech Week as one of its 30 "Change Makers", celebrating the companies and people harnessing technology to inspire social and economic impact and drive global innovation.

Leo Varadkar

Teachta Dála (Member of Parliament), Parliament of Ireland, Ireland

Studied medicine at Trinity College Dublin and qualified as a General Practitioner. Former Member and Deputy Mayor of Fingal County Council. 2007, first elected to Dáil Eireann, Ireland (House of Representatives) as the TD (Member of the House of Representatives) for Dublin West. 2011-14, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. 2014-16, Minister for Health. 2016-17, Minister for Social Protection. Since June 2017, Leader of the Fine Gael Party and Taoiseach.

Mariana Vasconcelos

Chief Executive Officer, Agrosmart, Brazil

Mariana Vasconcelos is the Chief Executive Officer of Agrosmart, a technology pioneer alumni of the World Economic Forum and serves as an advisory board member at Thought For Food, Fundação Espaço ECO (BASF) and Instituto Interamericano de Cooperação para a Agricultura (IICA). She is a climate activist and an expert in digital agriculture, considered one of the most influential people in Latin America by Bloomberg Linea. An advocate for gender equality, she was recognized by Globant with a "Women That Build" award in the game-changer category. With a business background and degrees from UNIFEI, LSE and Singularity University, she was also recognized as an Innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review, Forbes 30 Under 30 Brasil and Fast Company world's 100 Most Creative in Business.