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.
E. Benjamin Skinner
E. Benjamin Skinner is Founder and President of Transparentem. Previously, he was Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism of Brandeis University. He was named one of National Geographic’s “Adventurers of the Year 2008.” His first book, A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery (Free Press; 2008), was awarded the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction, a citation from the Overseas Press Club in its book category for 2008, and a finalist for The Ryszard Kapuscinski International Award for literary reportage in 2011.
Previously he held a fellowship at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, served as Special Assistant to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and worked as Research Associate for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. His 50+ chapters, monographs, and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Bloomberg Businessweek, Time, Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, and others. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
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.
Elaine Smith Genser
Elaine Smith Genser is passionate about helping multilateral institutions and companies develop effective partnerships that leverage the power of the private sector to have a major impact on the world. She began working in the social sector in 2011 after 20-year career in the financial industry working for global investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan as a trader and research sales manager. In 2013 Elaine was elected a Young Global Leader (YGL) of the World Economic Forum. She holds a BBA from Univ. Mackenzie, an MBA from Univ. Sao Paulo-FIA, and is a graduate of Harvard Business School's Owner/President Management Program (OPM). She also completed executive programs in leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Gov't, Yale School of Mgm't, and Saïd Business School at Oxford University.
Her work in the social sector has included applying her business skills to social organizations in the areas of underprivileged youth, financial literacy, and impact investing. She is a Member of the YGL Advisory Group of the World Economic Forum and Member of the Selection Committee of the Annual Global Teacher Prize of Varkey Foundation.
Elaine worked in New York at the World Economic Forum from 2015 to 2018 as Manager of the Global Future Council of Financial and Monetary Systems and was also Community Lead for Banking and Capital Markets. She spent two years as a consultant with the World Bank Group in the Global Engagement & Partnerships, External and Corporate Relations Team, advising on the development and implementation of the Bank’s partnership strategy as well as to contributing to the thinking and formulation of the optimal financial vehicles for corporate partnerships and philanthropy to deliver the Bank’s mission. She also consulted with the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) on efforts to highlight the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Women Owned Business.
Most recently she joined the United Nations Joint SDG Fund as a consulting focusing on engagement and partnerships development efforts.
Nourishing families and communities is part of Liam's DNA. He is a value-driven leader with a passion to feed the world. He is Vice-President of Merchandising at Sobeys. Liam's drive to create impact can be seen through his involvement in countless food-drives throughout his career. Being an active member of his family business, Liam ascribes to its 113-year tradition of giving back to the community. His motivation to support fairness and equality among communities led him to be the only non-aboriginal executive member of NaMeRes, a not-for-profit group that supports Aboriginal men fighting homelessness and addiction in Canada. Liam is a member of his family firm's governance and business committees. He has founded two investment groups that help next-generation family members learn about the financial markets and the positive impact of investing responsibly for a sustainable future. Liam's passion for family and community has also led him to attend multiple family business seminars, including the Scone Project and the WEF Family Business Conference in Gstaad.
Richard Socher is CEO at you.com - a new search engine to make the world's information useful for you: Summarize the web without ads, with great privacy and values of trust, kindness and facts.
He is also founder and GP at AIX Ventures where he invests in AI+X companies that harness AI for positive impact.
Prior: Chief Scientist at Salesforce. Before that Richard was an adjunct professor at the Stanford Computer Science Department and the CEO and founder of MetaMind, a startup acquired by Salesforce in April 2016.
Richard was awarded the Distinguished Application Paper Award at the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) 2011, the 2011 Yahoo! Key Scientific Challenges Award, a Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship in 2012, a 2013 "Magic Grant" from the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, the best Stanford CS PhD thesis award 2014 and the 2014 GigaOM Structure Award. He is currently a member of the World Economic Forum's 'Young Global Leaders' Class of 2017 and on the Board of Directors for the Global Fund for Women.
Managing Partner, svtl.vc, Senior VP, BusDev, Svitla, YGL @WEForum, Harvard MBA, Deloitte'09 Tech Entrepreneur of the year, co-founder @TravelTipz & IPNet, IPNet, named Russia's fastest growing technology company by Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA (2009). Former President and Treasurer, Harvard Club of Russia. Named one of top young entrepreneurs in Russia, Finans magazine, 33 Perca (2009).
Founder and CEO of Blue Rose Compass, a nonprofit which impacts conflict regions by identifying brilliant young adults – especially girls, and mostly living in refugee camps – and arranging scholarships for them to world-leading universities. In return for the scholarships and guidance through the required exams, scholars commit to return to their country or region of origin on graduation and help rebuild their communities.
Founder and CEO of Lynke, a B-corp which engages the private sector as part of the solution to the refugee crisis through offering education and employment opportunities to refugees. After they have completed a six month customized app-building curriculum created by a leading tech company, we help secure gainful employment for the refugees and resettlement to a country that is open to hosting them.
Previously, Lorna was Director for Latin America and Africa at Institutional Investor, focusing on increasing FDI for infrastructure projects. She also worked at IDEA on Wall Street, covering Latin America, and at Water & Air Research – an environmental consulting firm – on creating national parks in Honduras and Brazil.
Graduated from the University of Florida and Harvard Kennedy School's Global Leadership & Public Policy Executive Program. Member of CFR (Council on Foreign Relations). Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum; also, member of the Young Global Leaders Group advisory board, and Global Future Council on the Future of Humanitarian System (2016- present), Women's Empowerment and Gender Parity (2011-2012). Echoing Green Semi-Finalist in 2012. Organizational Partner of Global Dignity Day. UNHCR Innovation Council Board member. Advisory Board member of the Humanitarian Innovation Project at the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre.
Lorna is also a figurative sculptor whose work has been exhibited in NYC and has won numerous awards.
Professor of Physics, MIT. 2007, Founder, WiTricity Corporation; 2017, Founder, LuxLabs and Lightelligence. Main research interests are in nanophotonics and artificial intelligence. Co-Author of more than 200 scientific articles, more than 100 issued US patents. International Member, Croatian Academy of Engineering. Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum. Recipient of awards and honours, including: Adolph Lomb medal from the Optical Society of America (2005); TR35 award, Technology Review magazine (2006); MacArthur fellowship “genius” grant (2008); Blavatnik National Award (2014); Order of the Croatian Daystar, with the image of Ruđer Bošković, the Croatian President’s top medal for science (2017); Order of the Croatian Interlace medal, President of Croatia (2017).
Degree, Harvard University; degree in Law, Yale University. Formerly: Associate Dean, Yale Law School; Consultant, McKinsey & Company, New York; Acting Director, lending subsidiary for small businesses and entrepreneurs, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone; Senior Adviser to Secretary of US Treasury Department; 2005-08, Legislative Counsel to then US Senator Barack Obama. Formerly, Chairman, New Haven, Connecticut Port Authority. Co-Author.
Digital strategist, trend spotter and blogger. Publisher, JoshSpear.com, a global trend-spotting blog. Frequent speaker and adviser to start-ups and companies in gaming, social, commerce and not-for profits. Josh is regularly sought out for his fresh perspective on the world. His recent focus has been the power of social technology, and the impact this new digital landscape is having on people and businesses. He is a Founding Partner and Chairman of Undercurrent, a business strategy firm that applies a digital worldview to the challenges and ambitions of complex organizations. Josh has appeared in Time Magazine, the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Inc and many other major media outlets. He has presented for diverse clients and large conferences around the globe. He is a frequent angel investor and serves as an advisor to startups in the gaming, social and commerce sectors. Most recently, he joined Millennium Promise as the chair of the digital advisory board.
Entrepreneur and investor. As Founder/CEO of The Weal Life (www.theweallife.com), she is passionate about leveraging technology to transform how we care for our loved ones during a health crisis and as they age. Previously, she built global initiatives, including one of the world's first and largest private equity funds focused on balancing social impact and commercial returns ($300M AUM). She also built the world's first online community for social entrepreneurs (Social Edge). She has worked on five continents with the Skoll Foundation, UN, Acumen, Triodos Bank, Royal Bafokeng Nation and the California Legislature. Studied: Politics, UC Berkeley; MBA, Oxford University (Skoll Scholar). Since 2020, she serves as WEF's YGL Champion for the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area.
Richard D. Stromback is the founder of Stromback Global Advisors. He is a former professional hockey player, entrepreneur, investor and advisor. Stromback founded several successful ventures in the information technology and the clean technology space, most notably Web Group and Ecology Coatings. He currently serves on multiple boards and advisory boards and is a shareholder in many ventures. For the past 10 years, he has advised Fortune 1000 CEOs on business strategy, leadership development, market development and positioning within global spheres of influence. In this capacity, Mr. Stromback leverages his deep global relationships and knowledge of influential organizations and international markets to assist businesses with their global business interests.
Mr. Stromback’s repeated successes have been acknowledged by both the media and the global business community. His insight has been sought out by such publications as The New York Times, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. His accomplishments as founder and CEO of Web Group were recognized by Inc. Magazine, which named Web Group the 189th fastest growing private company in the United States in the year 2002. In 2006 his leadership of Ecology Coatings garnered a Wall Street Journal Innovation Award and a Technology Pioneer Award from the World Economic Forum. In 2007, Stromback was named a Young Global Leader and in 2008, Crain's Business listed him as one of the top 40 leaders under 40 years of age.
Stromback holds a Bachelor of Computer Science Degree from Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. He also completed Harvard Kennedy School’s invitation only program in Global Leadership and Public Policy.