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.
Porter joined Bridgewater in 2009 and is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer. He partners with the co-CEOs to set and drive the strategic goals and oversee the day-to-day management of the firm. Previously, Porter was Lead of Portfolio Analytics, working closely with the co-CIOs to evolve the portfolio construction process, evaluate and manage investment risks, and design investment strategies for clients. His work has included evolving the risk controls and event risk strategy, researching how to best combine beta and alpha, and systemizing the portfolio construction and trade generation logic. Porter is also a member of the firms Executive Committee, Commercial and Business Strategy Committee, and a Partner.
Michael Drexler is the Chief Strategy Officer and Managing Director at Brightstar Capital Partners. He currently serves on the boards of America's Group and REMarkets, both Brightstar portfolio companies.
Prior to Brightstar, Michael was Managing Director and Global Head of Strategy and Business Transformation at J.P. Morgan Asset Management based in New York. He was a member of the division’s Operating Committee and worked with all business lines on strategic initiatives, including M&A, business efficiency, and decision making.
Previously, he worked for nearly a decade in a senior leadership role at the World Economic Forum as Member of the Executive Committee responsible for partnerships and content in the Alternative Investment industry and later the Forum’s content initiatives across the financial sector, infrastructure, and long-term investing. Michael also spent nearly a decade at Barclays Capital in London, as the Global Head of Strategy and Planning for the majority of his time there, following his role as a consultant at McKinsey & Co and a post-doctoral position at Stanford University.
Michael holds a doctorate in Mathematics from Oxford University and an M.Sc. in Engineering from the Technical University at Munich.
Joy Dunn is the Head of Operations at Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), a clean energy startup based in Boston, where she is responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations including manufacturing, construction and facilities, safety, and quality. CFS was spun out of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and works collaboratively with MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center to combine decades of government and academic research with the innovation and speed of the private sector. Supported by the world's leading investors, the CFS team is driven by the climate change crisis to develop the fastest path to commercial fusion energy. Before joining the CFS team in early 2019, Joy spent a decade at SpaceX developing and manufacturing the Dragon spacecraft to deliver cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station. She was heavily involved with the manufacturing of the Dragon 1 spacecraft and played an integral role in SpaceX's achievement of being the first private company to launch a spacecraft in orbit and also dock with the International Space Station. She managed the manufacturing engineering team responsible for substantially reducing overall spacecraft build hours and cost while overseeing Dragon's annual budget and construction of a high-tech production facility for the Crew Dragon vehicle. Joy also co-founded both the Women's Network and LGBTQ employee interest groups at SpaceX and she is actively involved in STEM outreach events, including sitting on the Board of Directors for Out For Undergrad, a non-profit that helps LGBTQ students reach their full potential. She was also named to Business Insider's list of the Most Powerful Female Engineers of 2017. Joy received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Re-elected to the Crescenta Valley Town Council in November 2018 to a second 3-year term, encompassing more than 22,000 residents in unincorporated Los Angeles County, California, and currently serving as its Corresponding Secretary, Sophal Ear, PhD, is a tenured Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles where he lectures on political economy, security, development, and Asia. Previously, he taught how to rebuild countries after wars at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and international development at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. He consulted for the World Bank, was Assistant Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme in East Timor, Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Advisor to Cambodia's first private equity fund Leopard Capital, and Audit Chair of the Nathan Cummings Foundation. A TED Fellow, Fulbright Specialist, and Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, he sits on the Boards of Refugees International (Washington, DC), Partners for Development (Silver Spring, MD), International Public Management Network (Washington, DC), the Southeast Asia Development Program (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), and the Center for Khmer Studies (Siem Reap, Cambodia). He is the author of Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2013, http://amzn.to/UXhoWc) and co-author of The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resources Quest is Reshaping the World (Routledge, 2013, http://amzn.to/WkxCEf). He wrote and narrated the award-winning documentary film "The End/Beginning: Cambodia" (47 minutes, 2011, news blurb http://youtu.be/QwsSDPRI25E) based on his 2009 TED Talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/sophal_ear_escaping_the_khmer_rouge) and has appeared in four other documentaries. He is an Executive Producer of In the Life of Music (92 minutes, 2018) and Some of My Best Friends Are Kimchi: A True Documentary (Coming soon!). A graduate of Princeton and Berkeley, he moved to the US from France as a Cambodian refugee at the age of 10.
Salimah Yvette Ebrahim
A serial founder, Salimah got her start in building communities by co-founding the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition to help protect BC’s endangered Spirit Bear and its habitat in the Great Bear rainforest. Under her stewardship the Coalition - which started with just two members and grew to a network of over 6 million members in 64+ countries. Their campaign to save the spirit bear – named the official mascot of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver – was recently recognized as one of the most supported conservation initiatives in Canadian history.
After beginning her international journalism career in the alleyways of Cairo, Salimah spent years filling on culture and politics from the Middle East, covering the war in Iraq and reporting on environmental security challenges in Africa. She also was on the trail for the historic 2008 US presidential campaign, and for a time was based in DC covering the White House. She has worked on assignment for Reuters, A&E, CBC Television, the Globe and Mail, The Walrus Magazine and the Cairo Times.
A fellow and graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York, Ebrahim also holds an honours degree in Middle Eastern History and International Relations from Trinity College, University of Toronto. She has been awarded and recognized for her work as both journalist and community builder, having been chosen and profiled by CBC Television as one of 25 Canadians who are changing the world; named by Chatelaine magazine one of its 80 amazing Canadian women to watch; and honoured by the World Economic Forum in 2009 as a Young Global Leader.
Her latest adventure: co-founding Artery.is and Bramble.live and thinking about how technology can facilitate our humanity online and off.
Margot Edelman is the third generation in her family business, Edelman PR, and leads the New York office for the company. In her role as General Manager, she advises tech giants and industry disruptors alike on how to build trust and reputation.
Suzanne Ehlers is the Executive Director and CEO of USA for UNHCR (effective 1/17/2023) where she is working toward a world where refugee crises would cease and people fleeing are welcomed into new communities with dignity and security.
Prior to this appointment, Suzanne served as CEO of Malala Fund and, in this role, she provided leadership to a global staff of experts and advocates who are breaking down barriers that prevent girls from going to school. Suzanne worked closely with co-founders Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai and a highly regarded board of directors and professional team to advance progress toward girls’ education around the world.
Previously, Suzanne served as President & CEO of PAI, a global leader in the effort to protect and promote the reproductive rights of women and girls. Suzanne led the organization for 10 years, and was at PAI for 16 years. Under Suzanne’s leadership, PAI’s budget almost quadrupled and the organization dramatically expanded its work to more countries, spreading more shared wealth, technical assistance and capacity building.
Suzanne repeatedly served on the U.S. government delegation to the United Nations’ Commission on Population and Development under President Obama. She currently serves as a board member for Ibis Reproductive Health in Boston and the Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington, DC; she was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2012; and she has served on the boards of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, the Global Health Council, the Janelia Family Foundation, The Biodiversity Project, and the Asia Pacific Alliance.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Ehlers was a grantmaker at the Wallace Global Fund. At WGF, she supported a grants portfolio that broke new ground in the fields of sustainable forestry and laid the early foundation for philanthropic engagement on climate change.
Ms. Ehlers served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Central African Republic following her graduation from Cornell University with a degree in Government. Suzanne speaks French, Spanish and Sango at various levels of proficiency. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two daughters.
Dr. Elisseeff is the Morton Goldberg Professor and Director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Wilmer Eye Institute with appointments in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Materials Science and Orthopedic Surgery. She was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and is a member of the National Academy of Inventors, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine. She is committed to the translation of regenerative biomaterials and has founded several companies and participates in several industry advisory boards including the State of Maryland’s Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO).
Sofia Elizondo is a biotech entrepreneur. She is co-founder and COO of Brightseed, an AI company that discovers bioactive molecules for health based in San Francisco. Brightseed makes proactive, precision health a reality by using pioneering advancements in machine learning to identify bioactive molecules in nature. Brightseed has commercialized novel bioactives in gut health and has a pipeline with nutritional and therapeutic applications across a dozen health areas. It been selected as a Technology Pioneer by the WEF and awarded distinctions by Forbes, Nutritional Outlook, R&D World, Rabobank, FastCompany, Nutra Ingredients and Nutritional Business Journal.
Sofia has helped build multimillion-dollar companies and brands in the consumer goods, pharmaceutical, and technology industries. Before Brightseed, Sofia led the commercialization of plant-based protein products, including the novel mung bean protein isolate. She began her career at the Boston Consulting Group and was also a founding member of the BCG Henderson Institute; the consulting firm's think tank on the future of business innovation. She also served as a Special Advisor to the United Nations supporting their work with the private sector. Her decades of leadership now enable Brightseed's mission to illuminate nature to restore human health.
Sofia's accolades include Top 40 Under 40, San Francisco Business Times; WEF Young Global Leader; 100 Women of Influence, Entrepreneur Magazine; EXTRAORDINARY leaders in Health, Newsweek; Top 100 Female Founders, Inc. Magazine; Women in AI Award, VentureBeat. She has spoken at conferences ranging from nutrition industry with the American Nutrition Association to artificial intelligence and global affairs with the Milken Global Institute and JP Morgan Tech Revolution. Sofia holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Marcela Escobari serves as the Assistant Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. For over two decades, the Hon. Marcela Escobari led organizations focused on promoting inclusive economic growth. She is spearheading USAID’s efforts to advance a collaborative, regional response to the historic displacement of over seven million people across the LAC region. Working with the US Government and regional partners, USAID is driving forward a three-pronged strategy focused on addressing root causes, expanding legal pathways, and promoting the integration of migrants into host communities. She is also expanding the bureau’s efforts to help democratic reformers in the region to deliver for their citizens in the face of the economic contraction caused by COVID-19, which hit Latin America and the Caribbean harder than any other region in the world.
Escobari previously served in the Obama-Biden Administration in this role in 2016, during which time she reinforced U.S. support for Peace Colombia, helped mobilize a humanitarian response plan to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, and helped unlock obstacles to deliver humanitarian aid in Venezuela. In response to Congress’ doubling of funding to Central America, she led changes in strategy, organization and execution to help USAID expand programs to improve citizen security, strengthen governance, and create economic opportunity.
Prior to serving in government, Escobari was Executive Director at the Center for International Development at Harvard University. During her tenure, the Center launched projects in 17 countries across five continents focused on unlocking constraints to economic growth. Most recently, as a senior fellow at Brookings, she created the Workforce of the Future initiative and applied international economic development models to map the industrial path of American cities and identify policies to help workers prosper in the face of evolving labor markets. She worked with US local leaders, companies and policy makers, including in Idaho and Texas, to strengthen paths to the middle class.
Her career has spanned the private sector, government and academia, with a common thread of producing growth that is inclusive and sustainable. She began her career as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan and worked across the globe on export competitiveness projects as a strategy consultant. The World Economic Forum named her a Young Global Leader in 2013. She co-authored the book “In the River They Swim: Essays from Around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty.” She holds a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College and an M.A. in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Karen Fang is Managing Director, Global Head of Sustainable Finance at Bank of America. Formerly, she was the head of Global Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities (FICC) Cross Asset Trading, and the head of Americas FICC Sales & Solutions prior to that. She is a member of the Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) committee, the Sustainable Markets Committee, as well as the firm wide Asian Leadership Council.
Prior to joining Bank of America, Karen was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs where she was the head of the Pension, Endowment and Foundation Cross Asset Solutions Group. Previously, she held senior positions in derivatives structuring, including at Merrill Lynch in Tokyo and Deutsche Bank in London.
Karen was named one of Fortune’s “40 under 40”and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF). She was selected to be a member of the WEF Expert Network. Karen was a member of the Bank of America team recognized by American Banker as part of their “Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance” feature and was called out as one of five leaders who has made a significant impact in a short amount of time. She served as a mentor for the Global Ambassadors program, a Bank of America partnership with Vital Voices and was honored by the Women’s Venture Fund for her work with female entrepreneurs. Karen was chosen by Investment Dealers’ Digest as one of the “40 under 40” bankers and she was also a recipient of the Women’s Bond Club of New York’s “Rising Star Award.”
Karen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Tokyo.
Jonathan Fantini Porter
Jonathan Fantini Porter is a government official and executive in the private and social sectors. He currently serves as CEO of the public-private Partnership for Central America and previously held leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, The White House, U.S. Congress, and McKinsey & Company.
Under his tenure, the Partnership raised $4.2 billion in foreign direct investment, procurement, and lending in 18 months for projects in the region and delivered programs to 5 million individuals across environmental, social, and governance programs to address the economic roots of migration in frontier and emerging markets. The Partnership has been cited by the President of Microsoft, Administrator of USAID Samantha Power, and the President of the World Bank as a case study on how to mobilize private sector investments for public-private economic development partnerships.
Jonathan previously served as an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company; advisor on national security and private sector engagement to the Presidential transition of Joe Biden; a White House advisor on transnational security during the Presidency of Barack Obama; as a senior congressional aide in the U.S. Congress; and Chief of Staff in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where he oversaw management operations of a $6 billion homeland security budget supporting 22,000 personnel in 48 countries.
He was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and has served on advisory bodies to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, World Economic Forum, Amnesty International, and as a consulting fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Jonathan is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Georgetown University and was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship. He speaks Spanish, French, and German.