The world has witnessed spectacular change throughout the pandemic—with the virus fundamentally altering our ways of working and living. But the past year also marked a different change—the first time millennials and Gen Z staked their claim as the majority in the global workforce.
They’ve wasted no time bringing forth bold and innovative thinking, as this year’s Future 50 show. Fearless and unflinching in these tumultuous times, they’ve leaned hard into transformation and positive social impact.
There’s Zhengkai Jiang, PMP, leading the way on autonomous high-speed rail, and Abigail Sandala, PMP, working to close the digital divide in Zambia. And Megumi Avigail Yoshitomi is building acceptance—and processes—to accelerate the rollout of lab-based food in Japan. There’s Omran Sharaf, who helped the United Arab Emirates become the first nation in the Middle East to orbit Mars. And in India, twin sisters Nishita and Nikita Baliarsingh are working to transform post-harvest waste into eco-friendly batteries.
These young leaders tackle problems with a naturally curious and collaborative mindset. “If we all share a purpose to genuinely create a better society, we can change the world,” Cristhian Ortiz Elizarbe, PMP, told us. And he’s delivering on that mission. Along with his work at Deloitte Perú, he founded a nonprofit that offers a virtual English- language skills program for kids and teens across Latin America.
In a year where crowds flooded the streets pushing for social justice, we saw young leaders make a powerful case for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. Amazon’s Angelina Howard is advocating for inclusion for employees and customers, while Ackeem Ngwenya is designing inclusion right into his project: eyewear better suited to fit Black people’s facial features.
There’s at least one face you’ll likely recognize among the Future 50 ranks: Marcus Rashford. The Manchester United football star caught our attention for his work off the pitch. Rashford grew up in poverty, and when he saw people struggling during the pandemic, he took the lead in working with government and community leaders to feed hungry kids across the U.K.
Famous or not, these rising project leaders are born changemakers redefining the post-COVID world.
Cheers to this year’s Future 50! We can’t wait to see what they do next.