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.

Varun Sivaram

Group Senior Vice-President, Strategy, Innovation, Portfolio, Partnerships and M&A, Ørsted, USA

Dr. Varun Sivaram is Senior Vice President and member of the Group Executive Team at Ørsted, a leading renewable energy company with the world’s largest offshore wind energy portfolio, where he leads strategy, innovation, portfolio and capital allocation, and partnerships and M&A. He previously served in the U.S. Biden-Harris administration as the managing director for clean energy and innovation for Secretary John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, where he spearheaded flagship U.S. initiatives such as the First Movers Coalition. He has also served as Chief Technology Officer of ReNew Power (NASDAQ:RNW), a multibillion-dollar renewable-energy firm that is India's largest; on the faculty of Columbia University and Georgetown University; as director of the energy program at the Council on Foreign Relations; and as senior energy advisor to the Los Angeles Mayor and New York Governor. TIME Magazine named him to its TIME 100 Next list of the next hundred most influential people in the world, and MIT Technology Review named him one of the top 35 innovators under 35. His books include "Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet," "Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission," and "Digital Decarbonization: Promoting Digital Innovations to Advance Clean Energy Systems." His TED Talk on India's clean energy transition has been viewed more than 1.5 million times. A Rhodes and Truman Scholar, he holds a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from Oxford University and undergraduate degrees from Stanford University.

E. Benjamin Skinner

Founder and President, Transparentem, USA

E. Benjamin Skinner is Founder and President of Transparentem. Previously, he co-founded TAU Investment Management, and prior to that 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 Smith

Partner, DLA Piper LLP, USA

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

Partnership Adviser, United Nations Joint SDG Fund, USA

Elaine Smith Genser is a senior financial executive with over 30 years of experience. In the last decade, she has worked on mobilizing resources from the private sector for institutions including the United Nations, World Bank, and World Economic Forum. Before that she was a trader and research sales manager for global investment banks including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and J.P. Morgan, where at the height of that career she oversaw daily trading of $75-$250 million of $2.5 billion in trading volume on the Brazilian Exchange.
Currently, Elaine directs partnerships for the UN Joint SDG Fund, which was created by the UN Secretary-General to blend $300 million annually from states with private sector investments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for the 2030 Agenda. She is also the Officer Investment Advisor of the Fund as of June 2022. Earlier, she held advising and community management roles with Global Future Council of Financial and Monetary Systems with top S&P100 institutions, as well as leading the agenda design of international gatherings of banking and exchange CEOs with public authorities.
Elaine’s career reflects her early vision of the need to incorporate social responsibility, sustainability, and environmental concerns into the strategy of public and private companies of all sizes. She also brings deep experience working with global financial markets most especially in developing strategy to create financial vehicles for the blending of public and private sector financing in developing countries.
Elaine holds a BBA from Mackenzie University, an MBA from University of São Paulo-FIA, and is a graduate of Harvard Business School's Owner/President Management Program (OPM). She has also completed executive programs in leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Yale School of Management, Stanford University and Saïd Business School at Oxford University. She is fluent in English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Italian.

Liam Sobey

Vice-President, Merchandising, Sobeys Inc., Canada

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.

Murad Sofizade

Managing Partner, SVTL Ventures, Inc, USA

Managing Partner,, 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).

Lorna Solis

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Project SHEro, USA

Founder & CEO of Elevate, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing continued education at world-leading universities to young women who have either been forced from their homes by conflict or climate change or are working in industries affected by climate change and looking to further education so that they can use every tool possible to stay in their country of origin.

Created Project SHEro, as an extension of her nonprofit’s work offering scholarships to refugees – including climate refugees. Project SHEro is a global climate activism documentary series that raises awareness not only about challenges but also solutions. It explores issues such as climate adaptation, climate justice, reducing emissions, food and water security, gender equity, indigenous rights, migration, and access to finance. Each episode showcases a brave young woman whose business is being affected by climate change, putting her at risk of becoming a climate refugee unless she can find ways to adapt. Local and international experts offer advice –and use cutting-edge technology or respect the old ways, to co-create the solution with her. Each SHEro is given a grant to invest in her business or continue her education.

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.

Yale World Fellow 2017. Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum since 2010; also, was a member of the Young Global Leaders Group advisory board, and Global Future Council on the Future of Humanitarian System (2016-2018), Women's Empowerment and Gender Parity (2011-2012). Advisory judge for Columbia University’s Dean Challenge at SIPA 2015-Present. Young Center Volunteer 2020-Present. Member of CFR (Council on Foreign Relations). Echoing Green Semi-Finalist in 2012. Former Organizational Partner of Global Dignity Day. Former UNHCR Innovation Council Board member. Former Advisory Board member of the Humanitarian Innovation Project at the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre. She finished undergraduate studies at the University of Florida, completed an Executive Leadership Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and coursed studies at Yale University and at Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.

Lorna is also a figurative sculptor whose work has been exhibited in NYC and has won numerous awards.

Marin Soljacic

Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

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).

Ian Solomon

Dean, Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, USA

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.

Kirstine Stewart

Founder, Media Mughals Inc., USA

Former Head, Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Information and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum. Prior to work at the Forum, occupied C suite positions in two successful technology start-ups, latterly, and currently serve on a number of media and technology boards. In the US, former Vice-President, Media, Twitter, after building and launching the Twitter Canada office. Prior to that, Head of English CBC after reviving the public broadcaster’s content on TV, radio and online. A series of media positions in Canada and the US including leading Canada’s HGTV and Food network and the International channels for Hallmark round out her professional career. Author of “Our Turn”, a leadership book.

Shelley Stewart

Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company, USA

Shelley Stewart III is a Senior Partner within McKinseys Growth, Marketing and Sales Practice, where he works across the US, Europe and Asia with industrial and technology companies to help them scale their businesses in a global context. Shelley leads the firms research on inclusive economic growth in his role as leader for McKinseys Institute for Black Economic Mobility. In this capacity, he focuses on conducting research related to Black economic development and translates these insights into tools that corporations, philanthropists and governments can use to create meaningful impact for Black individuals and communities. Shelley is on the Board of Directors of the National Black MBA Association, a non-profit supporting 15,000 members with career placement and development. He is also on the Board of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the first and only public foundation solely dedicated to Brooklyns charitable community. He is a member of the United Justice Coalition, a non-profit working across disciplines to raise awareness around social justice issues, emphasizing the need for criminal justice reform. Shelley has a BA in economics from Boston College, an MBA with a focus on finance from Columbia University, an MPA in political economy from Harvard and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of New Haven.

Richard Stromback

Founder, Stromback Global Advisors, USA

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.