Inspiration can come from all types of places and sometimes hearing the career paths and journeys of other people can be more motivating than any inspirational quote or message. Hearing how ordinary people use their skills to become leaders of their industries and transform the world around them gives us the drive we need to convince ourselves we can do the same. Even if someone has excelled in a different industry to yours, it can be worth hearing their story to see how they were able to harness their knowledge and experience to their advantage. Thanks to the rise of social media, we are now able to follow our mentors and role models online and learn more about them and their day-to-day lives. Here are ten inspirational industry leaders, from a wide variety of industries, who you should be following for some daily motivation.
Susan Wojcicki became CEO of YouTube in 2014 and has made waves in the industry ever since. When she was four months pregnant, she quit her job to become the 16th employee of a then unnamed startup, working out of a garage. That startup would become Google. Together, with the rest of the team, she helped transform Google into the behemoth it is today, while championing women’s rights in the workplace. She emphasised the importance of maternity leave while at Google and since becoming CEO of YouTube has grown the company’s female presence to almost 30% – an incredible feat in an industry largely dominated by men. As well as this, she is a mother to five children and speaks out on issues of social justice such as gendered violence and racism. As CEO, she highlights the profound impact video can have on affecting change as well as acting as an employment practices model in the way she runs the company. You can follow her on Twitter and YouTube.
At the helm of the social media marketing industry is self-made millionaire Gary Vaynerchuk. The child of immigrant parents, who began selling baseball cards as a kid to make money, he is now the CEO and founder of VaynerMedia, a digital marketing company that services Fortune 500 clients and has been known to charge up to $80,000 for one meeting. He is also a best-selling author and has been described as a serial entrepreneur. With 1.1 million followers on Twitter, Vaynerchuk has built himself an empire in the social media and digital marketing space. While he has a lot of critics, he is known for being brutally honest and for his relentless use of social media, and can offer a lot of insight into how you turn a business into a hugely successful company. For any business owner, regardless of industry, following him could help you learn how to scale your business. You can follow him on his website, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Beth Kanter is known for being a thought leader in the nonprofit space, with more than 35 years’ experience working with nonprofits. She has gained success by looking at the way technology can be harnessed for the benefit of nonprofits. She is internationally recognised as an industry leader and is the author of three successful books that focus on new ways of working in the nonprofit industry. Having worked for many nonprofits across many continents, such as the Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Brainerd Foundation, Kanter is often in demand as a keynote speaker on facilitation, the use of social media and training for nonprofits. She was named one of BusinessWeek’s ‘Voices of Innovation for Social Media’. You can follow her on her blog, on Twitter and on LinkedIn.
President and founder of Eurasia, a political risk consultancy, Ian Bremmer has been credited with establishing political risk as an academic discipline and shining a light on the way political risk can shape financial markets. He started Eurasia using his savings in 1998 and last year the company made $100 million globally, with offices in New York, Washington, San Francisco, London, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and Singapore. Bremmer’s company provides advice to CEOs, business leaders, diplomats, bankers and heads of state. He is the foreign affairs columnist and editor-at-large for TIME Magazine and has published nine successful books. He also teaches political risk at New York University. In an increasingly uncertain geopolitical environment, he is an important voice to listen to. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Described as the internet’s top fitness influencer and winner of Business Insider’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2015, Kayla Itsines has amassed almost 12 million Facebook followers thanks to the success of her Bikini Body Training Guide. The programme comes in the form of an eBook that costs $19.99 a month and the workouts are designed to be done at home or the gym in 28-minute sessions. Her empire now includes recipe books, stadium tours and a hugely successful mobile app. Her use of social media is one of the reasons she went from being a personal trainer in Adelaide to a multimillionaire businesswoman. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram for a snapshot into her life.
Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management platform that has amassed more than 16 million users and its valued at over $1 billion. Holmes, surprisingly, grew up on a farm with no electricity and lived completely off-the-grid. He set up his first business, a paintball company, when he was just sixteen before founding Invoke Media, the company that would develop Hootsuite. He taught himself how to code and mentors other startups. He is seen to be an important voice when it comes to social business and the digital world, and as a college drop-out he is proof you don’t need a degree to find success as an entrepreneur. Find him on Twitter.
Zoe Sugg, also known as Zoella, is an English fashion and beauty Youtuber who, since starting her YouTube channel, has become a bestselling author with her own line of beauty and lifestyle products. In fact, in 2014 when her book Girl Online was released, she became the fastest-selling debut author in history. Forbes Magazine has named her the most powerful beauty vlogger and her YouTube channel has millions of dedicated fans. She regularly talks about her battle with anxiety, something that has seen her become a digital ambassador for Mind. You can follow her on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Deepak Chopra is a controversial figure. He is a world-famous doctor known for being an advocate of alternative and New Age medicine, the author of 86 books and a veteran public speaker. He has been described by TIME as one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century and is the founder of the Chopra Foundation, cofounder of Jiyo.com and the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. He is a meditation mentor and often writes about the power of integrative medicine and how to find mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being in day-to-day life. You can follow him on Twitter.
Tim Ferriss is an American author, podcast host, public speaker and entrepreneur who has been listed as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Business People. He shot to fame when his first book, The Four Hour Work Week, was published in 2007 and since then has been recognised worldwide as a self-improvement master, with other ‘four-hour’ books published since then. He is also an angel investor and advises many of the giant tech companies, such as Facebook, Uber and Stumbleupon. You can find him on Twitter and his blog.
Brad Smith is the President of Microsoft, one of the world’s largest and most successful companies. Smith says that his secret to success is being conscious of time. He says that while you can always find more money and more people, time is a limited resource so you have to use it as effectively as possible. You can find him on Twitter.
Laura Martins is a content manager for RateCity, where you can make smarter financial decisions and compare thousands of financial options.