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.

Iliyana Tsanova

Chief Risk Officer, Deputy Director-General, Chief Risk Officer, DG Budget, European Commission, Belgium

Iliyana is Deputy Director-General and Chief Risk Officer at DG Budget of the European Commission. Prior to that, she was Deputy Managing Director of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), an EUR 26 billion-guarantee facility launched jointly by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group to boost and support investments in the European Union. She has over ten years of experience in development finance with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London, UK. Iliyana has held several board positions in international infrastructure companies and investment funds. In 2013 and 2014, Iliyana was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in two consecutive caretaker governments in Bulgaria. She holds MSc in Finance from the University for National and World Economy, Bulgaria and a postgraduate diploma in Financial Management from George Washington University, USA.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

Director, France, The ONE Campaign, France

Former Minister for Women’s rights and then for Education. Director France of the One Campaign.

Silje Vallestad

Founder, FutureTalks, Norway

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.

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.

Karien van Gennip

Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands, Netherlands

Karien van Gennip has been the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands since January 2022.

Until her appointment as Minister she was CEO of Coöperatie VGZ. With over 4 million policyholders, VGZ is one of the largest health insurance companies in the Netherlands. In this role Karien combines her passion for addressing challenges in society, with leading large transformations, build on a strong belief in ‘people first’, customer engagement, sustainability and digitization.
Karien was a member of the Board of Directors of INSEAD from 2019 to 2022, one of the world's leading graduate business schools. From 2020 to 2022, she was a Board member of the OranjeFonds, a Dutch charitable fund with a focus on social participation. Until March 2021 Karien was Co-President of Financi’Elles, the leading federation of networks promoting gender diversity in banking, financial and insurance in France.

Previously, Karien worked for ING, where she served as CEO of ING Bank France from 2015 to 2020. ING in France is both a leader in online banking and among the top 5 international players in wholesale banking. Karien joined ING Group in the Netherlands in 2008 as Director of Group Public & Government Affairs, and was appointed Director of Private Banking & Investments in September 2010.

From 2003 to 2007, Karien served as State Secretary of Economic Affairs / Minister for Foreign Trade in the Dutch government with responsibilities for bilateral and multilateral Foreign Trade, entrepreneurship, regional policy, investment climate and consumer policy. She also served as a member of the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament 2006-2008.

Karien began her career in 1994 as a management consultant for McKinsey&Company in Amsterdam, and later in San Francisco. In 2002, she continued her career with the Dutch Authority for Financial Markets (AFM).

She also served as a Board member and vice chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce until 2019. In 2017 she was a member of the steering committee of the Institut Montaigne publication ‘L’Europe dont nous avons besoin’. Before 2015, Karien was a member of several Supervisory Boards in the Netherlands (eg. SOS Children’s Villages the Netherlands, Cordaid and Deltares).

Karien is married with four daughters. She holds a Master degree from Delft University of Technology and an MBA from Insead (1995, Dean's List). In 2008, Karien was elected Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In her spare time, Karien enjoys running, dinners with friends, and being a field hockey coach.

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, Solvay, 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

Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, The Conduit, United Kingdom

Paul van Zyl is the Chief Executive Officer of Maiyet, a luxury fashion brand that sources its products from artisans, mostly from developing economies, to empower women, alleviate poverty and promote peace. He is also Director of the New York University School of Law's Transitional Justice Program and a Professor of Law in New York and Singapore. Previously, van Zyl served as Executive Vice-President of the International Centre for Transitional Justice, a Researcher on the Goldstone Commission, Department Head at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Johannesburg, Associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York, and Executive Secretary for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. He has a BA and LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand, a LLM in International Law from the University of Leiden, a LLM in Corporate Law (Hauser Global Scholars Program) from New York University School of Law and an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Santa Clara University.

Leo Varadkar

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leader of Fine Gael, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment 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. Youngest member of the Irish Government, the only gay member of the cabinet.

Vyron Vasileiadis

Chairman, V Group, Greece

Vyron Vasileiadis is Founder and Chairman of V Group, a robust Group of Companies with a strong presence and continued growth in Waste Management, Renewable Energy Sources and Financial Investments.

Vyron is a self-made entrepreneur, who began his career in 1995 as a site worker for a cleaning services company before successfully progressing to the innovative leader he is today. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the American College of Greece in 1998 and completed the Executive Course on Global Leadership & Public Policy for the 21st century at Harvard Kennedy School in Boston, Massachusetts.

During his career, Vyron has received numerous achievements and awards, including the KOUROS-Development and Innovation Award by the Greek Entrepreneurship in 2014 and the nomination as a Young Global Leader (YGL) in 2017. Recognized for the performance of V Group and the added value generated to the society, he has been honored by various national, international, and global stakeholders in business, environmental, circular economy, and sustainability aspects, together with: Environmental Awards, Waste & Recycling Awards, Manufacturing Excellence Awards, Circular Economy Awards, Bravo Sustainability Awards, Diamonds of the Greek Economy, European Business Awards, and Global Business Excellence Awards.

Constantly in search of future opportunities and striving to shape advanced ideas, Vyron Vasileiadis seeks to add value to his growing business portfolio, while positively impacting the world for future generations.

In 2021 V Group’s assets approached €93m and over the next few years, plans to invest in various environmental and renewable energy assets.

Vyron’s corporate philosophy is motivated by his strong ambition to achieve net ZERO carbon footprint, adopt ZERO Waste practices, and raise new sustainable business models.

Knowing what truly matters, his vision would not be complete without his constant support for those in need and the advocacy of animal rights. Having said this, Vyron Vasileiadis has established the Deppy Vasileiadis Foundation, a philanthropic organization, whose main goal is to award grants in the areas of children’s education, fight against animal cruelty, and protection of the environment.

Diana Verde Nieto

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Positiveluxury.com, United Kingdom

Diana Verde Nieto is the Co-founder of Positive Luxury, a company that help companies adapt and transition to a new climate economy by assessing their ESG performance, enabling them to forecast social and environmental risks and future proof their business.

Diana is a pioneer in ESG and a globally recognised figure in the sustainability field. Diana holds a degree in Global Leadership & Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, and she has been trained by Former USA Vice President, Al Gore at the Alliance of Climate Protection and subsequently being honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. Diana sits in various boards, including BA&SH and Grass Roots Soccer, an adolescent health organisation that leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilise youth in developing countries.