Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

The 50 most inspirational thought leaders of 2023 have been revealed – and they comprise an inspirational mix of human rights campaigners, veterans, and pioneering global explorers.

The top ten features six men and four women and is topped by ‘unshakable optimist’ Simon Sinek.

Sinek is the founder of The Optimism Company whose thought-provoking TED talk, ‘Start With Why – How Great Leaders Inspire Action’ has now been viewed by over 60 million people.

Also making the top ten is Malala Yousafzai, who made global headlines after being shot by the Taliban, in an attempted assassination due to her outspoken advocacy for women’s educational rights in Pakistan.

Other Brits on the list include the first Briton in space Helen Sharman, world record breaking Paralympian and disability rights campaigner Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and historian and writer David Olusoga.

The list, created by The Motivational Speakers Agency, includes legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, comedian and mental health advocate Ruby Wax and businessman and TV personality Sir Alan Sugar.

The top 50 was compiled using verified data from nearly 4,000 events the thought leaders spoke at.

Jack Hayes, Founder of The Motivational Speakers Agency, who compiled the list said: “Across the globe, countless individuals have made significant achievements and contributions to society – and over the past 12 months they’ve proved themselves to be global thought leaders. Whether that be through business management or philanthropy, overcoming adversity or being resilient in the face of discrimination, these 50 global thought leaders are equipped with the tools to inspire real change throughout society.

“Following verified feedback from 3746 events across 2023, The Motivational Speakers Agency has made an official selection of the top 50 global thought leaders to hire based on vetted evaluations and industry insights.

“Congratulations to Simon Sinek who came out on top – but he’s just one of a myriad of inspirational speakers who wowed audiences in 2023 and are set to do the same next year.”


TOP 10:

1. Simon Sinek, Founder Of The Optimism Company          

Described as an “unshakeable optimist”, Simon Sinek has devoted his career to creating a world in which all people feel inspired and fulfilled. Simon uses his skills as a trained ethnographer to help generate long-lasting impact, renowned for his thought-provoking TED talk Start With Why – How Great Leaders Inspire Action which was viewed by over 60 million people. Also the bestselling author of titles such as Leaders Eat Last and The Infinite Game, Simon is acclaimed for his unconventional thoughts surrounding business and leadership – which he shares as the Founder of The Optimism Company.


2. Tony Robbins, Chairman of Robbins Research International

Named the World’s No.1 life and business strategist, Tony Robbins is a renowned global thought leader who has spent the past four and a half decades empowering personal development. Honoured as one of the Top 50 Business Intellectuals in the World by Accenture, Tony has not only shared his unparalleled knowledge in his six internationally bestselling books, including titles UNSHAKABLE and LIFE FORCE, but also as the Chairman of Robbins Research International. Also a passionate philanthropist and business advisor, it is without surprise that Tony has inspired and empowered over 50 million people across 195 countries.


3. Arianna Huffington  – Founder and CEO of Thrive Global

Arianna Huffington is the Founder and CEO of Thrive Global – Founder of the acclaimed media outlet The Huffington Post. Renowned for sitting at the helm of a company dedicated to changing the way in which we work and the narrative surrounding burnout being the price of success, Arianna has been honoured as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine and as one of the Most Powerful Women by Forbes. The bestselling author of 15 books, including the titles The Sleep Revolution and On Becoming Fearless… in Love, Work and Life, Arianna is a global thought leader on everything from building a culture of resilience to how to lead in the age of uncertainty.


4. Duncan Wardle –  Founder of ID8

Duncan Wardle is a renowned creative, dedicated to embedding innovation into not only organisations but into the DNA of all people. Currently the Founder of ID8, Duncan is best known for his tenure as the former Head of Innovation and Creativity for The Walt Disney Company – propelling the business to new heights with his revolutionary concepts of innovation. Now a leading innovation consultant, Duncan is revered as a global thought leader on creativity, helping organisations stay ahead of the curve by embedding cultures of innovation into the heart of companies worldwide.


5, Akala Rapper, activist and poet

Akala is a renowned rapper, activist and poet who has forged a reputation for his outspoken advocacy on countless social issues. Named on the Powerlist of the 100 Most Influential Black British People in the UK, Akala has quickly gained status as one of the most dynamic and literate talents in the UK. The author of NATIVES, a Sunday Times Bestseller, and The Ruins of Empires, Akala uses his platform to discuss everything from youth engagement to British/African Caribbean culture – having also launched The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company, globally renowned since its inception.


6. Malala Yousafzai   Founder of the Malala Fund

Malala Yousafzai made global headlines after being shot by the Taliban, in an attempted assassination due to her outspoken advocacy for women’s educational rights in Pakistan. Surviving the gunshot, Malala has since become the Founder of the Malala Fund and has dedicated her life to achieving gender equality – spearheading opportunities for female education. In honour of her bravery, Malala was awarded the National Youth Peace Prize, the youngest person to receive this award, and countless other awards from the Anne Frank Award for Moral Courage to recognition on the 100 Most Influential People in the World list by Time. A global thought leader on educational and women’s rights, Malala is a true inspiration to all.


7. Carey Lohrenz   First-ever female pilot of the F-14 Tomcat.

Carey Lohrenz is acclaimed for excelling in the male-dominated Navy, as the first-ever female pilot of the F-14 Tomcat. As a Combat Pilot, Carey learned to navigate hostile and dynamic environments, performing under high pressure. Retiring from the military, Carey has dedicated her time to motivational and keynote presentations – also sharing her military experience in her Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling books Span of Control and Fearless Leadership.


8. Matthew Syed   Co-Founder of Matthew Syed Consulting

Matthew Syed is renowned for helping the World’s top organisations build mindsets of continuous improvement – through his work as the Co-Founder of Matthew Syed Consulting. Named one of the HR Top 30 Most Influential Thinkers by HR Magazine, Matthew has shared his unparalleled thought leadership in The Sunday Times, The Times and in his bestselling books such as Rebel Ideas, Dare To Be You and Black Box Thinking. Matthew expertly explains the evident connections between high performance and mindset, in our fast-paced world.


9. Amy C Edmonson – Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School

Amy C. Edmondson is a global thought leader on human interaction, currently working as the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School. Educated with a PhD in Organisational Behaviour from Harvard University, Amy’s expertise on human behaviour and psychological safety is unparalleled – commended with recognition as the No.1 Most Influential Management Thinker by Thinkers50. To share her global thought leadership on human behaviour, Amy has authored the bestselling books The Fearless Organisation, Extreme Teaming and Building the Future to name but a few.


10. John Amaechi – Former basketball player and Founder of APS Intelligence Ltd

John Amaechi is a former professional basketball player turned acclaimed organisational psychologist and Founder of APS Intelligence Ltd. The first British player to compete in the NBA, John has built astute knowledge of performance, now helping his clients understand organisational performance. Having also sat on the Diversity & Inclusion Board of Sanofi and the Inclusive Leadership Board of KPMG, John always has EDI at the heart of his agenda as a global thought leader – having also been the first NBA player to come out as gay.




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By Editor