Top 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life - 2016

This category recognises the achievements of individuals who have used their position in public life, for example as a campaigner, politician or journalist to make an impact in diversity

Christine Amanpour, Chief International, Correspondent for CNN (USA)
This British-Iranian journalist hosts a nightly interview show on CNN and is also a Global Affairs Anchor at ABC News – making her one of the journalists most world leaders follow on Twitter. Named by Forbes as one of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women, she is nominated for the impact she has made to gender equality in the media, and her message of aspiration to working women.

Chris Anderson, Entrepreneur, Creator of TED, (UK)
British entrepreneur and curator of TED, Anderson sits at the helm of a knowledge machine that now offers thousands of free online TED videos on topics including science, business, and development, attracting some of the world's most prominent thinkers to its stage. Anderson's strategy also includes the TEDx initiative, giving free licences to local organisers to hold their own TED-like events, in a bid to use the internet to spread knowledge and empowerment.

Mariela Baeva, Writer and Former MEP, (Bulgaria)
An incisive speaker and writer on global issues, including climate change, Beava recently supported a European initiative for the development of micro-credit to stimulate growth and employment. She champions inclusion and diversity, is pro-gay rights and women’s rights, and has added greatly to the debate in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe on these issues.

Andre Banks - Co-Founder and Executive Director, All Out (USA)
Respected LGBT rights campaigner Banks founded and leads All Out (www.allot.org), the largest on--‐line campaign for LGBT equality, with over 2,000,000 members around the world and over 300,000 in the UK. All Out has supported a number of campaigns, including one to persuade the IOC to recognise explicitly that the Olympic Charter does not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Caitlyn Jenner, Olympic Gold Medalist (USA)
The American TV personality and retired athletic champion, Jenner announced her identification as a trans woman in April 2015, and publicly announced her name change in Vanity Fair magazine. One of the world's most famous LGBT people, Jenner has acknowledged that part of her public transition was to highlight gender dysphoria and violence against trans women. She has visited the Los Angeles LGBT centre to address at-risk trans youth.

Angelina Jolie - Actress, Filmmaker, Humanitarian (USA)
Actress, humanitarian and adoptive mum, Jolie has forged a family built on diversity and the acceptance of it. She promotes various causes, from conservation and education to women's rights, but is most noted for her advocacy on behalf of refugees as a Special Envoy for the UN Commissioner for Refugees, travelling to war zones and authoring notable memoirs on her learning experiences.

His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales
Prince ‘Harry’ is patron of diverse charities, from the London Marathon Charitable Trust to the Invictus Games, which support rehabilitation and recovery, and generates understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women. With his brother, he organised the 2007 Diana Memorial Concert, raising millions for his late mother's charitable interests. He has most recently promoted the rehabilitation of disabled former servicemen back into civilian society.

Maria Aparecida da Silva Bento – Campaigner, CEERT (Brazil)
Author and activist Cida Bento founded a centre to work with labour unions, the government and employers, to help them to recognise racism and promote equal opportunities in Brazilian society. In a country still riven by biased employment practices, Bento's strategy is to expose discrimination and win public policy reform. She created a national network of key activists, and brings international standards to bear, while collecting research relevant to the Afro-Brazilian community.

Elizabeth Broderick – Sex Discrimination Commissioner (Australia)
Australian business and social change leader, Broderick is the former Sex Discrimination Commissioner. In this high-profile role, she worked on equal-pay cases and commented publicly on sexual harassment cases. Her signature project was Male Champions of Change (MCC), where she persuaded many of the most powerful men in the country to publicly commit to action on gender inequality. The group has now spread to other industries across Australia.

Sonia Brown MBE – Founder and Director National Black Women's Network (UK)
Brown founded the National Black Women's Network in 1999 to help women of colour overcome factors that impede their professional development. More recently, she launched the EVOLVE mentoring programme aimed at female black and minority ethnic (BME) entrepreneurs. She collaborates with banking institutions including NatWest, to address finance challenges facing BME businesses, and launched the MetGirlz network to support future business leaders in their growth.

Trevor Chandler – Human Rights Campaigner (USA)
Chandler is Associate Regional Field Director at Human Rights Campaign, which allows him to further the cause of LGBT rights and acceptance by working with supporters, allies and partners on strategy across the Western US. He trains activists on effective messaging, crafting plans and contacting legislators, as well as organising lobby days and rallies to boost awareness of the struggle for equality.

Mai Chen – Managing Partner, Chen Palmer Public and Employment Law Specialists (New Zealand)
A leading public practice lawyer, Chen was the inaugural Chair of Global NZ Women, Chair of NZ Asian Business Leaders, and is currently undertaking a super stock-take of diversity across New Zealand in public policy, business and society. Chen champions the role of non-white New Zealanders, noting that by 2035 some 50% of her country will be of Asian, Maori or Pacifica descent.

Christine Amanpour, Chief International, Correspondent for CNN (USA)
This British-Iranian journalist hosts a nightly interview show on CNN and is also a Global Affairs Anchor at ABC News – making her one of the journalists most world leaders follow on Twitter. Named by Forbes as one of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women, she is nominated for the impact she has made to gender equality in the media, and her message of aspiration to working women.

Chris Anderson, Entrepreneur, Creator of TED, (UK)
British entrepreneur and curator of TED, Anderson sits at the helm of a knowledge machine that now offers thousands of free online TED videos on topics including science, business, and development, attracting some of the world's most prominent thinkers to its stage. Anderson's strategy also includes the TEDx initiative, giving free licences to local organisers to hold their own TED-like events, in a bid to use the internet to spread knowledge and empowerment.

Mariela Baeva, Writer and Former MEP, (Bulgaria)
An incisive speaker and writer on global issues, including climate change, Beava recently supported a European initiative for the development of micro-credit to stimulate growth and employment. She champions inclusion and diversity, is pro-gay rights and women’s rights, and has added greatly to the debate in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe on these issues.

Andre Banks - Co-Founder and Executive Director, All Out (USA)
Respected LGBT rights campaigner Banks founded and leads All Out (www.allot.org), the largest on--‐line campaign for LGBT equality, with over 2,000,000 members around the world and over 300,000 in the UK. All Out has supported a number of campaigns, including one to persuade the IOC to recognise explicitly that the Olympic Charter does not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Caitlyn Jenner, Olympic Gold Medalist (USA)
The American TV personality and retired athletic champion, Jenner announced her identification as a trans woman in April 2015, and publicly announced her name change in Vanity Fair magazine. One of the world's most famous LGBT people, Jenner has acknowledged that part of her public transition was to highlight gender dysphoria and violence against trans women. She has visited the Los Angeles LGBT centre to address at-risk trans youth.

Angelina Jolie - Actress, Filmmaker, Humanitarian (USA)
Actress, humanitarian and adoptive mum, Jolie has forged a family built on diversity and the acceptance of it. She promotes various causes, from conservation and education to women's rights, but is most noted for her advocacy on behalf of refugees as a Special Envoy for the UN Commissioner for Refugees, travelling to war zones and authoring notable memoirs on her learning experiences.

His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales
Prince ‘Harry’ is patron of diverse charities, from the London Marathon Charitable Trust to the Invictus Games, which support rehabilitation and recovery, and generates understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women. With his brother, he organised the 2007 Diana Memorial Concert, raising millions for his late mother's charitable interests. He has most recently promoted the rehabilitation of disabled former servicemen back into civilian society.

Maria Aparecida da Silva Bento – Campaigner, CEERT (Brazil)
Author and activist Cida Bento founded a centre to work with labour unions, the government and employers, to help them to recognise racism and promote equal opportunities in Brazilian society. In a country still riven by biased employment practices, Bento's strategy is to expose discrimination and win public policy reform. She created a national network of key activists, and brings international standards to bear, while collecting research relevant to the Afro-Brazilian community.

Elizabeth Broderick – Sex Discrimination Commissioner (Australia)
Australian business and social change leader, Broderick is the former Sex Discrimination Commissioner. In this high-profile role, she worked on equal-pay cases and commented publicly on sexual harassment cases. Her signature project was Male Champions of Change (MCC), where she persuaded many of the most powerful men in the country to publicly commit to action on gender inequality. The group has now spread to other industries across Australia.

Sonia Brown MBE – Founder and Director National Black Women's Network (UK)
Brown founded the National Black Women's Network in 1999 to help women of colour overcome factors that impede their professional development. More recently, she launched the EVOLVE mentoring programme aimed at female black and minority ethnic (BME) entrepreneurs. She collaborates with banking institutions including NatWest, to address finance challenges facing BME businesses, and launched the MetGirlz network to support future business leaders in their growth.

Trevor Chandler – Human Rights Campaigner (USA)
Chandler is Associate Regional Field Director at Human Rights Campaign, which allows him to further the cause of LGBT rights and acceptance by working with supporters, allies and partners on strategy across the Western US. He trains activists on effective messaging, crafting plans and contacting legislators, as well as organising lobby days and rallies to boost awareness of the struggle for equality.

Mai Chen – Managing Partner, Chen Palmer Public and Employment Law Specialists (New Zealand)
A leading public practice lawyer, Chen was the inaugural Chair of Global NZ Women, Chair of NZ Asian Business Leaders, and is currently undertaking a super stock-take of diversity across New Zealand in public policy, business and society. Chen champions the role of non-white New Zealanders, noting that by 2035 some 50% of her country will be of Asian, Maori or Pacifica descent.

Hillary Clinton – Former Secretary of State, Politician (USA)
American politician and one-time First Lady of the US, Clinton is currently a Presidential candidate for the 2016 election. She has a long record of liberal voting in government, and her manifesto includes diversity and equality for ethnic minorities, LGBT people and women. She has long stated that the strength of her country lies in its diversity, and could be on the verge of proving that by becoming America’s first female leader.

Ambassador Ruth Davis - 24th Director General, United States Foreign Service (USA)
US diplomat Ambassador Ruth Davis was the first woman of colour to be appointed as Director General of the Foreign Service, and the first African-American Director of the Foreign Service Institute. Described as a “diplomatic pioneer” she was central to the establishment of the Thomas Pickering Fellowship Program and the Charles Rangel Fellowship Program, schemes which have been lauded for their influence on the diversity of the modern Foreign Service.

Bill Gates – Co-founder Microsoft (USA)
Business magnate Bill Gates is famously the richest individual in the world, but his reputation as a philanthropic donor was cemented in 2000 when he founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focused on large-scale public projects such as health and development. So far, Gates has donated £28billion to charity, and plans eventually to give some 95% of his wealth away – setting an example for other super-rich people to follow.

Right Honourable Harriet Harman QC – Lawyer and Labour Party Politician (UK)
A UK Labour Party MP since 1982, Harriet Harman has been Deputy Leader and Leader of the Opposition, as well as the first-ever Minister for Women and Equality. She is a proponent of positive discrimination in work recruitment and in party political short-lists, and is vocal in her support for non-traditional family arrangements. She was the first female Labour minister to take Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament.

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet (Tibet)
The 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and has lived in exile since 1959, campaigning for autonomy for his country from China. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and has since travelled the world advocating for the welfare of Tibetans, teaching Tibetan Buddhism, and talking about the importance of compassion as the source of a happy life.

Arden Hoffman – VP and Global Head of HR, Dropbox (USA)
Last year Arden Hoffman left Google HR to become “VP of People” at Dropbox, the cloud-based storage service with some 300 million global users. With an international perspective on people management, openly-gay Hoffman has displayed a deep expertise in diversity, coaching, leadership and change management, and has promoted Gay and Lesbian Networks as a way to educate colleagues on diversity, and learn about global approaches to the issue.

Dr Freeman Hrabowki – President, University of Maryland Baltimore County (USA)
Dr Hrabowski is President of the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a US leader on access and diversity in higher education. He has been featured on the news show ‘60 Minutes’ and on Time magazine's 2012 list of ‘The World's 100 Most Influential People’. Also in 2012, he was appointed to chair the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African-Americans.

Jesse Jackson – Civil Rights Activist Baptist Minister & Politician (USA)
Long-time civil rights leader and activist, Rev Jackson was candidate for US Presidential election in 1984 and 1988. He founded Rainbow/PUSH, a trail-blazing organisation that worked for social and political emancipation for black people across the US. From employment and training to business skills and affirmative action, thousands of African-Americans, Native Americans, other minorities and women have benefitted from the work of Jackson's Rainbow coalition of diverse supporters.

Rabina Khan – Councillor, Tower Hamlets (UK)
Khan has made a significant contribution in recent years as a Tower Hamlets councillor and role model for the local Bengali community. As a Muslim woman, she has campaigned for affordable housing and an end to zero hours contracts in the Borough, and speaks out to prevent Muslim women from being radicalised by such groups as ISIS.

Teresa Ko – China Chairman and Founding Partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (China)
Ko is founding partner of Freshfields' equity capital markets practice. Over her 25-year career, she has helped numerous clients with many high-profile and ‘first of a kind’ securities transactions. Teresa has successfully balanced raising a family with working on the most complex corporate deals in Hong Kong. She has also pushed for and inspired more female lawyers to enter the legal industry, which is still very much male-dominated.

Javier Torres-Goitia Torres MD - Healthcare Specialist (South America)
A Bolivian healthcare specialist still publishing his work in his tenth decade, Torres was awarded the WHO Sasakawa Award and two PAHO awards in 2014 because of his dedication to community participation in health care in Bolivia and Latin America. Infant mortality was cut dramatically thanks to Torres' intervention, and he led the country's bid to eradicate endemic throat goiters in a population long-plagued by iodine deficiency.

Luis Larrain – President, Fundacion Iguales (Chile)
Luis Larrain is president of Fundacion Iguales, a major LGBT rights organisation in Chile. Despite undergoing two kidney transplants, Larrain is a tireless rights campaigner whose work has recently paid dividends with the approval of a civil union law in notoriously conservative Chile. Fundacion Iguales also promotes dialogue and cooperation with partner groups made up of women and indigenous peoples.

Richard Lui – Journalist and News Anchor, MSNBC and NBC News (USA)
Lui was the first Asian-American male to anchor a daily cable news show in the US, and has reported extensively on issues of gender, economic, ethnic and LGBTQ equality. Outside his award-winning journalism, he takes part in some 50 diversity events per year as organiser or keynote speaker, and is hugely influential when discussing equality and diversity on his popular social media channels.

DeRay Mckesson – Leader, We The Protestors (USA)
DeRay Mckesson is an American civil rights activist, and leader of the organisation ‘We The Protesters’ which organises protests that centre on African-American issues. Mckesson is known for his activism globally via social media and has been active in the recent Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland protests. He also launched “Mapping Police Violence”, which collected data on people killed by police in 2014.

Purnima Mehta – Director General, American Institute of Indian Studies (India)
Purnima Mehta has served for over a decade as the Director General of the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS). Under Mehta’s leadership, the AIIS provides in-country language training in 16 South Asian languages, including three of the “critical languages” designated by the U.S. Department of State. The support provided by the AIIS is one of the crucial ingredients for improving and facilitating Indo-American relations regarding economic development, trade and diplomacy.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka - United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director of UN Women (South Africa)
Mlambo-Ngcuka is a ground-breaking South African politician, serving as the first female Deputy President of South Africa (2005-2008). Her career began in teaching and youth development, and in 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed her Executive Director for the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment for Women (UN Woman).

Michelle Obama – Lawyer, Writer, First Lady (USA)
As America's first-ever First Lady of colour, Michelle Obama is a role model for women and minorities, an advocate for poverty awareness, and a campaigner against HIV/AIDS. She has publicly supported gay marriage equality, and supported Democratic policies such as the repeal of ‘Don't Ask Don't Tell’ in the armed forces. Employment law, gender identity and renewed efforts to fight HIV are hallmarks of her humanitarian brand of politics.

President Barack Obama - President (USA)
The first African-American President of the United States is nominated for the changes he has made in health care, worker benefits, trade, and potentially, gun control. A vocal supporter of LGBT rights, racial and gender equality, Obama has presided over the repeal of ‘Don't Ask Don't Tell’ policy in the armed forces and the legalisation of gay marriage, putting him at the forefront of a diversity revolution in the 21st Century.

Hon. Donald H Oliver, Q.C - Retired Senator and Lawyer (Canada)
The retired Canadian Senator and lawyer is also a member of Nova Scotia's black minority, and is descended from slave refugees who went to Canada during the war of 1812. In a 25-year career, Oliver has been a Crossroads volunteer in Ethiopia, an activist, and political power-house, representing black Nova Scotians at the highest rank and encapsulating diversity in politics.

Ratna Omidvar - Founding Executive Director, GDX (Canada)
Based at Ryerson University, GDX identifies and amplifies the links between prosperity, diversity and migration and anchors these in policy, research and practice. Omidvar has dedicated her life to helping integration and inclusion of peoples and was appointed to the Order of Ontario 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, which recognised her advocacy work and commitment to reducing inequality in Canada.

Dr Bindeshwar Pathak – Found,er, Sulabh International (India)
Humanist, social reformer and diversity champion Pathak works as an advocate for to the so-called ‘untouchable’ caste, so they may work, live and pray as a fully integrated part of Indian life. His work in the improvement of sanitation and production of bio-gas is changing health and wealth outcomes for the poorest people and is cited as one of the Globally Best Practice by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements.

Rev. Gary Patterson - 41st Moderator, United Church of Canada (Canada)
The Very Reverend Paterson was the Moderator of the United Church of Canada from 2012-15. He was the first openly gay person to take the role since the formation of the Church in 1925 – and the first in the world to lead a major Christian denomination. He lives with his partner in Vancouver, and is nominated for his public commitment to bring inspiration and hope during times of change in the church.

Queen Noor of Jordan - Queen (Jordan)
Philanthropic campaigner since her marriage to King Hussein of Jordan in 1978, Queen Noor has enjoyed a varied career as supporter of the arts, of anti-landmine campaigns and of women's rights. She is founder of Ground Zero, the global movement working for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Recent work involves advocating for those displaced by conflicts in Iraq, Jordan and Syria.

Gwen Rhys - CEO, Women in the City (UK)
Rhys is the Founder and CEO of Women in the City and has worked to promote, recognise and reward women working in traditionally male-dominated sectors in the City of London. She has launched a successful lunch and awards scheme, and speaks at high-profile events, where she advises public and private sector organisations. Last year she was judge for the European Diversity Awards.

Dr. E. Thomas Rowe - Creator, International Career Advancement Program (USA)
Rowe created ICAP in the belief that the diversity of U.S. society should be reflected in its leadership. To mitigate institutionalised discriminatory practices, he promoted the idea of mentors and role models, and created mid-career support and advice to deal with obstacles to people of colour rising to the highest echelons of international affairs and the private sector.

Sheryl Sandberg - CEO, Facebook (USA)
Sandberg is an American technology executive, activist and author. She is Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, being the first woman to reach board status at the company. Her 2013 million-seller book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, deals with the lack of women in government and business leadership roles. Her goal is for more women to strive for leadership, asserting that more female voices in power creates more equitable opportunities for everyone.

Ivan Scalfarotto - Politican & Activist (Italy)
Scalfarotto is a committed LGBT rights activist and was the vice president of the Democratic Party of Italy since 2009, elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2013. He has promoted same-sex marriage, the establishment of paternity leave and, for trans rights, the opportunity to request the correction of attribution of sex. Openly gay, he is a supporter of the adoption by homosexual couples.

Debra Searle MVO, MBE - Expert, Diversity and Inclusion (UK)
Writer/ presenter/adventurer and motivational speaker Searle is known for her daring rowing race from Tenerife to Barbados, which she completed in 111 days. She also works as a TV presenter and has undertaken a number of adventurous challenges. In 2014, Searle and her business partner founded MIX Diversity Developers Ltd, a consultancy firm specialising in Diversity & Inclusion, Unconscious Bias and Cultural Change.

llen Johnson Sirleaf – President, Republic of Liberia (Liberia)
Sirleaf has been the President of Liberia since 2006, and is the first elected female head of state in Africa. She was jointly awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakel Karman of Yemen. The women were recognised for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work.” As of 2014, she is listed as the 70th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.

Dr. Paula Thaqi - Director, Florida Department of Health (USA)
Under Dr Thaqi’s administration, her department of health has successfully altered healthcare protocols by effective structural changes. To accomplish this goal, she ensured that the department had multilingual staff in addition to a language line to improve the quality of service and alleviate overcrowding at clinical sites. She was proactive in targeting populations at greatest need of immunisation within Broward County and has significantly reduced congenital STIs.

Andreas Wiesand - Executive Director, European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research (Germany)
Honoured for his contributions to his country’s cultural infrastructure, Wiesand continues to be a force for change and enlightenment in Germany. He is author/editor of over 50 publications on political, economic, or legal questions in the arts, literature and media fields, including the 'Compendium of Cultural Policies & Trends in Europe'. He has conducted studies on national, European and international cultural development and is an expert in cultural anthropology.

Conchita Wurst - Winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest (Austria)
Tom Neuwirth, as his alter-ego ‘Conchita Wurst’, came to global prominence by winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011. His ‘bearded diva’ drag persona challenged accepted norms and pushed the envelope for social and artistic freedoms. Since then, he has been an ambassador and symbol for tolerance in Austria and beyond. His motto: "Be the best version of yourself rather than a bad copy of someone else."

Jean Wyllys - Lecturer, Journalist & Politician (Brazil)
Gay rights activist Wyllys won Brazil’s Big Brother and now runs Brazil's first gay-rights election platform. The gay academic, born into poverty, had already gained a professorship when he entered the show and five years later became the first federal deputy to campaign for the LGBT movement. Wyllys is a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party, which advocates greater spending on health, education and action on behalf of marginalised communities.

Malala Yousufzai - Activist for Female Education, Nobel Prize Laureate (Pakistan)
Despite the Taliban attack to assassinate her, Yousufazi continues her work on human rights from her base in the UK and is an inspiration to all. She champions female education and is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. Named as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World" by Time magazine, she won Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize and the recipient of the 2013 Sakharov Prize.

Prof. Dr. Mohammed Yunus - Banker to the Poor (Bangladesh)
Entrepreneur, economist and society leader Yunus believes: "Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways to break out of poverty." A ground-breaking academic of microcredit theory, his system alleviates poverty, empowers women and uplifts communities. Now, 74m poor people take microloans world-wide, totalling more than $38bn. He is recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize; the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom; and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero - Former Prime Minster (Spain)
In 1979, Zapatero joined the Socialist Party (PSOE) and later in 1986, became Spain's youngest MP. As Prime Minister, this progressive politician legalised gay marriage in Spain, fighting opposition from conservative Catholics. He also introduced legislation to allow fast-track divorces alongside laws to promote gender equality and tackle domestic violence. He also introduced an amnesty for undocumented workers, ending exploitation for many.

Jacki Zehner - CEO, Women Moving Millions (USA)
A former partner and managing Director at Goldman Sachs, Canadian-born Jacki Zehner dedicates her energies and talents to the advancement of gender equality. Now living in the US, she is CEO of Women Moving Millions: a non-profit organisation that mobilises resources to this end. She serves on the boards of several organisations and speaks, writes and consults on issues relating to women at work, investment, financial current events and philanthropy.
American politician and one-time First Lady of the US, Clinton is currently a Presidential candidate for the 2016 election. She has a long record of liberal voting in government, and her manifesto includes diversity and equality for ethnic minorities, LGBT people and women. She has long stated that the strength of her country lies in its diversity, and could be on the verge of proving that by becoming America’s first female leader.

Ambassador Ruth Davis - 24th Director General, United States Foreign Service (USA)
US diplomat Ambassador Ruth Davis was the first woman of colour to be appointed as Director General of the Foreign Service, and the first African-American Director of the Foreign Service Institute. Described as a “diplomatic pioneer” she was central to the establishment of the Thomas Pickering Fellowship Program and the Charles Rangel Fellowship Program, schemes which have been lauded for their influence on the diversity of the modern Foreign Service.

Bill Gates – Co-founder Microsoft (USA)
Business magnate Bill Gates is famously the richest individual in the world, but his reputation as a philanthropic donor was cemented in 2000 when he founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focused on large-scale public projects such as health and development. So far, Gates has donated £28billion to charity, and plans eventually to give some 95% of his wealth away – setting an example for other super-rich people to follow.

Right Honourable Harriet Harman QC – Lawyer and Labour Party Politician (UK)
A UK Labour Party MP since 1982, Harriet Harman has been Deputy Leader and Leader of the Opposition, as well as the first-ever Minister for Women and Equality. She is a proponent of positive discrimination in work recruitment and in party political short-lists, and is vocal in her support for non-traditional family arrangements. She was the first female Labour minister to take Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament.

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet (Tibet)
The 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and has lived in exile since 1959, campaigning for autonomy for his country from China. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and has since travelled the world advocating for the welfare of Tibetans, teaching Tibetan Buddhism, and talking about the importance of compassion as the source of a happy life.

Arden Hoffman – VP and Global Head of HR, Dropbox (USA)
Last year Arden Hoffman left Google HR to become “VP of People” at Dropbox, the cloud-based storage service with some 300 million global users. With an international perspective on people management, openly-gay Hoffman has displayed a deep expertise in diversity, coaching, leadership and change management, and has promoted Gay and Lesbian Networks as a way to educate colleagues on diversity, and learn about global approaches to the issue.

Dr Freeman Hrabowki – President, University of Maryland Baltimore County (USA)
Dr Hrabowski is President of the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a US leader on access and diversity in higher education. He has been featured on the news show ‘60 Minutes’ and on Time magazine's 2012 list of ‘The World's 100 Most Influential People’. Also in 2012, he was appointed to chair the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African-Americans.

Jesse Jackson – Civil Rights Activist Baptist Minister & Politician (USA)
Long-time civil rights leader and activist, Rev Jackson was candidate for US Presidential election in 1984 and 1988. He founded Rainbow/PUSH, a trail-blazing organisation that worked for social and political emancipation for black people across the US. From employment and training to business skills and affirmative action, thousands of African-Americans, Native Americans, other minorities and women have benefitted from the work of Jackson's Rainbow coalition of diverse supporters.

Rabina Khan – Councillor, Tower Hamlets (UK)
Khan has made a significant contribution in recent years as a Tower Hamlets councillor and role model for the local Bengali community. As a Muslim woman, she has campaigned for affordable housing and an end to zero hours contracts in the Borough, and speaks out to prevent Muslim women from being radicalised by such groups as ISIS.

Teresa Ko – China Chairman and Founding Partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (China)
Ko is founding partner of Freshfields' equity capital markets practice. Over her 25-year career, she has helped numerous clients with many high-profile and ‘first of a kind’ securities transactions. Teresa has successfully balanced raising a family with working on the most complex corporate deals in Hong Kong. She has also pushed for and inspired more female lawyers to enter the legal industry, which is still very much male-dominated.

Javier Torres-Goitia Torres MD - Healthcare Specialist (South America)
A Bolivian healthcare specialist still publishing his work in his tenth decade, Torres was awarded the WHO Sasakawa Award and two PAHO awards in 2014 because of his dedication to community participation in health care in Bolivia and Latin America. Infant mortality was cut dramatically thanks to Torres' intervention, and he led the country's bid to eradicate endemic throat goiters in a population long-plagued by iodine deficiency.

Luis Larrain – President, Fundacion Iguales (Chile)
Luis Larrain is president of Fundacion Iguales, a major LGBT rights organisation in Chile. Despite undergoing two kidney transplants, Larrain is a tireless rights campaigner whose work has recently paid dividends with the approval of a civil union law in notoriously conservative Chile. Fundacion Iguales also promotes dialogue and cooperation with partner groups made up of women and indigenous peoples.

Richard Lui – Journalist and News Anchor, MSNBC and NBC News (USA)
Lui was the first Asian-American male to anchor a daily cable news show in the US, and has reported extensively on issues of gender, economic, ethnic and LGBTQ equality. Outside his award-winning journalism, he takes part in some 50 diversity events per year as organiser or keynote speaker, and is hugely influential when discussing equality and diversity on his popular social media channels.

DeRay Mckesson – Leader, We The Protestors (USA)
DeRay Mckesson is an American civil rights activist, and leader of the organisation ‘We The Protesters’ which organises protests that centre on African-American issues. Mckesson is known for his activism globally via social media and has been active in the recent Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland protests. He also launched “Mapping Police Violence”, which collected data on people killed by police in 2014.

Purnima Mehta – Director General, American Institute of Indian Studies (India)
Purnima Mehta has served for over a decade as the Director General of the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS). Under Mehta’s leadership, the AIIS provides in-country language training in 16 South Asian languages, including three of the “critical languages” designated by the U.S. Department of State. The support provided by the AIIS is one of the crucial ingredients for improving and facilitating Indo-American relations regarding economic development, trade and diplomacy.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka - United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director of UN Women (South Africa)
Mlambo-Ngcuka is a ground-breaking South African politician, serving as the first female Deputy President of South Africa (2005-2008). Her career began in teaching and youth development, and in 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed her Executive Director for the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment for Women (UN Woman).

Michelle Obama – Lawyer, Writer, First Lady (USA)
As America's first-ever First Lady of colour, Michelle Obama is a role model for women and minorities, an advocate for poverty awareness, and a campaigner against HIV/AIDS. She has publicly supported gay marriage equality, and supported Democratic policies such as the repeal of ‘Don't Ask Don't Tell’ in the armed forces. Employment law, gender identity and renewed efforts to fight HIV are hallmarks of her humanitarian brand of politics.

President Barack Obama - President (USA)
The first African-American President of the United States is nominated for the changes he has made in health care, worker benefits, trade, and potentially, gun control. A vocal supporter of LGBT rights, racial and gender equality, Obama has presided over the repeal of ‘Don't Ask Don't Tell’ policy in the armed forces and the legalisation of gay marriage, putting him at the forefront of a diversity revolution in the 21st Century.

Hon. Donald H Oliver, Q.C - Retired Senator and Lawyer (Canada)
The retired Canadian Senator and lawyer is also a member of Nova Scotia's black minority, and is descended from slave refugees who went to Canada during the war of 1812. In a 25-year career, Oliver has been a Crossroads volunteer in Ethiopia, an activist, and political power-house, representing black Nova Scotians at the highest rank and encapsulating diversity in politics.

Ratna Omidvar - Founding Executive Director, GDX (Canada)
Based at Ryerson University, GDX identifies and amplifies the links between prosperity, diversity and migration and anchors these in policy, research and practice. Omidvar has dedicated her life to helping integration and inclusion of peoples and was appointed to the Order of Ontario 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, which recognised her advocacy work and commitment to reducing inequality in Canada.

Dr Bindeshwar Pathak – Found,er, Sulabh International (India)
Humanist, social reformer and diversity champion Pathak works as an advocate for to the so-called ‘untouchable’ caste, so they may work, live and pray as a fully integrated part of Indian life. His work in the improvement of sanitation and production of bio-gas is changing health and wealth outcomes for the poorest people and is cited as one of the Globally Best Practice by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements.

Rev. Gary Patterson - 41st Moderator, United Church of Canada (Canada)
The Very Reverend Paterson was the Moderator of the United Church of Canada from 2012-15. He was the first openly gay person to take the role since the formation of the Church in 1925 – and the first in the world to lead a major Christian denomination. He lives with his partner in Vancouver, and is nominated for his public commitment to bring inspiration and hope during times of change in the church.

Queen Noor of Jordan - Queen (Jordan)
Philanthropic campaigner since her marriage to King Hussein of Jordan in 1978, Queen Noor has enjoyed a varied career as supporter of the arts, of anti-landmine campaigns and of women's rights. She is founder of Ground Zero, the global movement working for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Recent work involves advocating for those displaced by conflicts in Iraq, Jordan and Syria.

Gwen Rhys - CEO, Women in the City (UK)
Rhys is the Founder and CEO of Women in the City and has worked to promote, recognise and reward women working in traditionally male-dominated sectors in the City of London. She has launched a successful lunch and awards scheme, and speaks at high-profile events, where she advises public and private sector organisations. Last year she was judge for the European Diversity Awards.

Dr. E. Thomas Rowe - Creator, International Career Advancement Program (USA)
Rowe created ICAP in the belief that the diversity of U.S. society should be reflected in its leadership. To mitigate institutionalised discriminatory practices, he promoted the idea of mentors and role models, and created mid-career support and advice to deal with obstacles to people of colour rising to the highest echelons of international affairs and the private sector.

Sheryl Sandberg - CEO, Facebook (USA)
Sandberg is an American technology executive, activist and author. She is Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, being the first woman to reach board status at the company. Her 2013 million-seller book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, deals with the lack of women in government and business leadership roles. Her goal is for more women to strive for leadership, asserting that more female voices in power creates more equitable opportunities for everyone.

Ivan Scalfarotto - Politican & Activist (Italy)
Scalfarotto is a committed LGBT rights activist and was the vice president of the Democratic Party of Italy since 2009, elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2013. He has promoted same-sex marriage, the establishment of paternity leave and, for trans rights, the opportunity to request the correction of attribution of sex. Openly gay, he is a supporter of the adoption by homosexual couples.

Debra Searle MVO, MBE - Expert, Diversity and Inclusion (UK)
Writer/ presenter/adventurer and motivational speaker Searle is known for her daring rowing race from Tenerife to Barbados, which she completed in 111 days. She also works as a TV presenter and has undertaken a number of adventurous challenges. In 2014, Searle and her business partner founded MIX Diversity Developers Ltd, a consultancy firm specialising in Diversity & Inclusion, Unconscious Bias and Cultural Change.

llen Johnson Sirleaf – President, Republic of Liberia (Liberia)
Sirleaf has been the President of Liberia since 2006, and is the first elected female head of state in Africa. She was jointly awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakel Karman of Yemen. The women were recognised for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work.” As of 2014, she is listed as the 70th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.

Dr. Paula Thaqi - Director, Florida Department of Health (USA)
Under Dr Thaqi’s administration, her department of health has successfully altered healthcare protocols by effective structural changes. To accomplish this goal, she ensured that the department had multilingual staff in addition to a language line to improve the quality of service and alleviate overcrowding at clinical sites. She was proactive in targeting populations at greatest need of immunisation within Broward County and has significantly reduced congenital STIs.

Andreas Wiesand - Executive Director, European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research (Germany)
Honoured for his contributions to his country’s cultural infrastructure, Wiesand continues to be a force for change and enlightenment in Germany. He is author/editor of over 50 publications on political, economic, or legal questions in the arts, literature and media fields, including the 'Compendium of Cultural Policies & Trends in Europe'. He has conducted studies on national, European and international cultural development and is an expert in cultural anthropology.

Conchita Wurst - Winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest (Austria)
Tom Neuwirth, as his alter-ego ‘Conchita Wurst’, came to global prominence by winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011. His ‘bearded diva’ drag persona challenged accepted norms and pushed the envelope for social and artistic freedoms. Since then, he has been an ambassador and symbol for tolerance in Austria and beyond. His motto: "Be the best version of yourself rather than a bad copy of someone else."

Jean Wyllys - Lecturer, Journalist & Politician (Brazil)
Gay rights activist Wyllys won Brazil’s Big Brother and now runs Brazil's first gay-rights election platform. The gay academic, born into poverty, had already gained a professorship when he entered the show and five years later became the first federal deputy to campaign for the LGBT movement. Wyllys is a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party, which advocates greater spending on health, education and action on behalf of marginalised communities.

Malala Yousufzai - Activist for Female Education, Nobel Prize Laureate (Pakistan)
Despite the Taliban attack to assassinate her, Yousufazi continues her work on human rights from her base in the UK and is an inspiration to all. She champions female education and is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. Named as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World" by Time magazine, she won Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize and the recipient of the 2013 Sakharov Prize.

Prof. Dr. Mohammed Yunus - Banker to the Poor (Bangladesh)
Entrepreneur, economist and society leader Yunus believes: "Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways to break out of poverty." A ground-breaking academic of microcredit theory, his system alleviates poverty, empowers women and uplifts communities. Now, 74m poor people take microloans world-wide, totalling more than $38bn. He is recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize; the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom; and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero - Former Prime Minster (Spain)
In 1979, Zapatero joined the Socialist Party (PSOE) and later in 1986, became Spain's youngest MP. As Prime Minister, this progressive politician legalised gay marriage in Spain, fighting opposition from conservative Catholics. He also introduced legislation to allow fast-track divorces alongside laws to promote gender equality and tackle domestic violence. He also introduced an amnesty for undocumented workers, ending exploitation for many.

Jacki Zehner - CEO, Women Moving Millions (USA)
A former partner and managing Director at Goldman Sachs, Canadian-born Jacki Zehner dedicates her energies and talents to the advancement of gender equality. Now living in the US, she is CEO of Women Moving Millions: a non-profit organisation that mobilises resources to this end. She serves on the boards of several organisations and speaks, writes and consults on issues relating to women at work, investment, financial current events and philanthropy.