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.

Suzanne Ehlers

Chief Executive Officer, Malala Fund, USA

Suzanne Ehlers is the CEO of the Malala Fund (effective 2/3/2020). In this role, she provides leadership to a global staff of experts and advocates who are breaking down barriers that prevent girls from going to school. Suzanne works closely with co-founders Malala and Zia Yousafzai and a highly regarded board of directors and professional team to advance progress toward girls’ education around the world.

Prior to her appointment at Malala Fund, 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.

Jennifer Elisseeff

Professor, Johns Hopkins University, USA

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).

Brooke Ellison

Associate Professor, Stony Brook University, USA

Undergraduate and Master's degrees, Harvard University; PhD, Stony Brook University. Policy and ethics expert in stem cell research for over 15 years, has been committed to changing the perception of life-saving science. Currently, Assistant Professor, Stony Brook University; Director, Education and Ethics, Stony Brook Stem Cell Facility. Co-Founder, VENTure Think Tank, to provide policy and technological solutions for ventilator users. Associate Director, Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development, to empower underserved communities. Former Member, Empire State Stem Cell Board, which designed New York State's stem cell policy. At age 11, was in an accident leaving her paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a ventilator. Author of memoir, Miracles Happen (2002), which was made into a movie, The Brooke Ellison Story, directed by Christopher Reeve.

Ilwad Elman

Chief Operating Officer, Elman Peace Centre, Canada

Ilwad Elman is a young female leader at the forefront of the Somali peace process, and a global authority on ending conflict and preventing violent extremism. After finding asylum in Canada with her family, she returned to Somalia at age 19 and co-founded the Elman Peace Centre. At just 20, she founded Somalia’s first rape crisis centre. Since then, Elman has become a champion of building peace and gave those impacted by conflict a seat at the table. She has designed interventions aimed at security sector reform to create an inclusive space for women in peacebuilding, and aimed at developing programmes for the disarmament and rehabilitation of child soldiers and for the rehabilitation and reintegration of adults associated with armed groups. Elman is also an advocate for the Kofi Annan foundation initiative ‘Extremely Together’ to prevent and counter-violent extremism.

Abasi Ene-Obong

Chief Executive Officer and Founder, 54gene, USA

Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of 54gene, a health technology company advancing the state of healthcare through large-scale discovery and translational research, advanced molecular diagnostics, and clinical programs for the benefit of Africans and the global population. He holds a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of London, a Masters in human molecular genetics from Imperial College London, and a Masters in Business Management from Claremont Colleges, California. He also worked as a cancer researcher and published a seminal paper on pancreatic cancer immunology, Gastroenterology Journal. He has extensive experience operating in the US, UK, and Nigerian healthcare industries. Prior to 54gene, Dr. Ene-Obong worked with leading healthcare organizations, including Fortune 100 pharmaceutical companies, academic and research institutions, and governments as a management consultant with PwC and IQVIA (formerly QuintilesIMS). Founded in 2019, 54gene has made the Time Magazine list of 12 innovations that would change healthcare in the 2020s and has been listed by Nigeria’s Punch newspaper as 1 of 5 innovations that would improve healthcare for Africans. 54gene also made the Fast Company list of the world's Most Innovative Companies’ in 2020. It was also awarded the best health technology solution by AppsAfrica. Dr. Ene-Obong was listed as 1 of the 30 most innovative entrepreneurs on the African continent in 2019 by Quartz Africa. In September 2020, Dr. Ene-Obong was labelled a Nigerian hero in the fight against COVID-19, by a Nigerian newspaper, ThisDay. Dr. Ene-Obong is also included in Fortune’s 40 under 40 most influential people in healthcare for the year 2020.

Marcela Escobari

Assistant Administrator, US Agency for International Development (USAID), USA

Marcela Escobari is senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where she is leading an initiative on the Future of the Workforce. Previously, she was a Senior Advisor to the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. She was the Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. Nominated by President Obama, and approved by the US Senate, she led a Bureau with an annual budget of approx $1 billion focused on poverty, inequality, citizen security, and governance. From 2007-2016, Ms. Escobari served as Executive Director at the Center for International Development at Harvard University, a research center working to generate breakthrough ideas that bring stable, shared, and sustainable prosperity to developing countries. Prior to the Center for International Development, Escobari was head of the Americas region at the OTF Group, where she advised governments on how to increase export competitiveness and harness the private sector to eradicate poverty. She began her career as a mergers & acquisitions banker at JP Morgan in New York. Ms. Escobari holds a BA in Economics from Swarthmore College and an MA in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. She is co-author of the book “In the River They Swim: Essays from around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty

Karen Fang

Managing Director; Global Head, Sustainable Finance, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, USA

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.

Joelle Faulkner

President and Chief Executive Officer, Area One Farms, Canada

Joelle Faulkner co-founded and manages four funds with aggregate commitments of C$300 million. Area One Farms has maintained over 120,000 acres under Canadian ownership and control, helped 28 families establish equity positions in land that they farm, and brought over 15,000 acres into agricultural production from Area One's unique methods of land rehabilitation. Faulkner is a Director of Cognicity Inc., Baycrest Global Solutions Inc., Western University Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and the Canadian Rhodes Scholars Foundation.

Valerie Feldmann

Senior Vice-President, Strategy, Verizon Communications, USA

Valerie is a Senior Vice President in Verizon's Strategy and New Business Development team with a focus on 5G, mobile edge compute, and infrastructure strategy across Verizon's business units and its global network and technology assets. Previously, Valerie served as COO in a cleantech start-up, as an Associate Partner in McKinsey's High Tech practice in New York and Beijing, as a policy advisor to the International Telecommunication Union, and as Adjunct Faculty at Free University Berlin. Valerie holds an M.Sc. in business management and a M.A. from University of Muenster, a Ph.D. from Free University Berlin, and an Executive Certificate in Technology and Operations Management from MIT.

Alvaro Fernández Ibáñez

Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief, SharpBrains, USA

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez runs Sharp­Brains, an inde­pen­dent mar­ket research firm track­ing how neu­ro­science and neu­rotech­ can improve health and per­for­mance across the lifes­pan. A fre­quent pub­lic speaker, he has been quoted by The New York Times, The Wall Street Jour­nal, CNN, Reuters, and Asso­ci­ated Press. Alvaro is the Editor-in-chief of a recent report on Pervasive Neurotechnology, and co-authored "The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness", translated into Spanish, Japanese, Polish, and Portuguese. He holds an MBA and MA in Edu­ca­tion from Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity and a BA in Eco­nom­ics from Uni­ver­si­dad de Deusto, in his native Spain. Previously he worked in McKinsey & Company, Bertelsmann and Ashoka: Innovators for the Public.

V. R. Ferose

Senior Vice-President, Globalization Services, SAP Labs LLC, USA

V. R. Ferose is Managing Director of SAP Labs India, responsible for research and development based in India. He drives innovation, customer-focused initiatives and delivers operational efficiencies at SAP Labs facilities. At the age of 33, he was one of the youngest managing directors of a global multinational in India. Ferose is also a Member of the IT Vision Group of Karnataka and a Member of the Development Advisory Board of HOPE worldwide in India, and he is actively involved with multiple non-profits in the education, disability and social entrepreneurial space. Ferose is Co-Founder of the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Karnataka Hub, with a vision of creating opportunities for youth in Karnataka. He graduated from the National Institute of Technology in Warangal, India, in 1997 with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering. He is a regular speaker in academia and several industry forums.

Rossanna Figuera

Co-Founder and Ambassador of Good Things, Wafels & Dinges, USA

Rossanna Figuera is Co-Founder and Ambassador of Good Things at Wafels & Dinges, a gourmet food concept that has been credited with pioneering the food truck revolution in New York City. Wafels & Dinges is about giving people the best moment of their day while improving local communities with its iconic, award-winning yellow food trucks, which are ranked Best Food Truck in NY by Zagat and have been consistently voted Best Food Truck in America. Rossanna's latest social venture, Perros & Vainas, brings authentic Venezuelan street-style hot dogs to NYC to benefit the children of her native country. She received an MA in Government from St John's University and is a Columbia University-certified Executive Coach.