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Major Influential Industry Leaders Everyone Should Know About

To be an incredible manager, you should be an extraordinary leader, and a large number of the world's most notable organizations have some truly brilliant leaders in charge. Moreover, whether these leaders are running a fairly new startup or overseeing a more established brand, they need to innovate to keep up with the latest technological trends.

The people on this list hail from a variety of backgrounds, yet each one of them has pushed limits and come up with visionary ways of advancing their businesses. We all have probably heard about Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates at some point or another, but through this article, we look at some of the not-so-mainstream leaders that most of us probably don’t know about.

1. Tim Cook

Tim Cook presenting new cutting-edge innovation at one of the WWDC

Apple – the brand – has become a household name all over the world and there are no second thoughts about that. However, it’s still majorly known by the genius of Steve Jobs to this day – and rightfully so. For the unversed, Tim Cook is the current CEO of the most valuable organization on the planet, Apple. He took over Apple after the organization's founder, Steve Jobs, died due to cancer in 2011.

Ever since Cook has helped Apple navigate through the leadership shift after Jobs' passing as well as growing new product lines and opening Apple’s retail stores in China. He has likewise led an extremely open battle against the FBI and their demand that Apple develops a backdoor for users’ iPhones.

2. Mary Barra

Marry Barra –the most influential CEO in the history of GM

Barra is the CEO and director of General Motors. At GM, Mary is currently seeking a strong position in the electric vehicle industry and at the cutting edge of the improvements being made in the EV sector. Recently, she presented the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which has a battery that beats the one utilized by the Tesla Model 3 – quite a breakthrough considering the benchmarks Tesla has set in terms of EVs. Moreover, with Robert Iger's solid rooting for Barra, she was appointed to the Disney governing body in 2017 and she vows to keep making innovative advancements in the coming future.

3. Huateng "Pony" Ma

Pony Ma sharing his business next ideas with journalists at a tech conference

Also called Pony Ma, he is the founder and leader of Tencent, Inc. Tencent is one of the biggest internet organizations in China. He has been named on Time's most powerful people list twice (2007 and 2014). Ma disrupted the social messaging domain in China with the introduction of WeChat and the mobile gaming industry with PUBG. He is known for his secretive way of life however holds significant power both locally and with international organizations.

4. Jacqueline Nwando Olayiwola

Dr. Jacqueline Nwando posing for the magazine feature in Future 50

Dr. J. Nwando Olayiwola is Senior Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer of digital healthcare organization Humana, Inc., where she brings a health equity lens to all parts of the business.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Olayiwola has dedicated a huge piece of her professional life to developing innovation to further develop access to care for underprivileged communities, as well as medical healthcare reforms. Her work has likewise assisted with changing medical frameworks as far abroad as Australia, Nigeria, and the UAE.

5. Jan Koum

The founder of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, presenting to a wide audience during a tech conference in 2017

Today’s generation might know WhatsApp to be a product of Facebook but that’s not entirely true. It was Jan Koum who changed the whole social messaging landscape with the innovation of WhatsApp. He was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, however, moved to the United States when he was 16 years of age. He soon found his enthusiasm for programming and joined San José State University. After a short spell at SJSU and filling in as a security analyzer at Yahoo, Koum started WhatsApp. WhatsApp immediately became one of the quickest downloaded applications in the App Store, and one of the most globally used applications. Later on, in 2014, WhatsApp was sold to Facebook for around $19.3 billion and joined the innovative arsenal of Facebook that it possesses today.

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