Industry association Project Management Institute (PMI) announced its second yearly Future 50 list, which features 50 rising leaders using bold and innovative thinking to transform the world through notable projects.
The 50 standout project leaders, highlighted in a new digital experience on the company’s website and in a special issue of PM Network magazine, represent a new generation of fearless, young innovators who drive transformation and create positive social impact globally.
Honourees include ground-breaking achievements from people across many industries and countries, including young US technology pioneer Gitanjali Rao, Japanese phased array technology company Pixie Dust Technologies CEO Dr Yoichi Ochiai, and professional Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.
PMI research shows that only 40% of organisations say they prioritise attracting and hiring the next generation of project professionals. But what the Future 50 list highlights is that this new generation is capable of driving value for businesses and society now and in the future.
“In an exceptionally challenging year, this new generation of leaders have stepped up to drive innovation around the globe,” said PMI COO Michael DePrisco in a statement issued last month.
He said the next generation of leaders had a deep sense of social responsibility, and were deeply committed to protecting the natural environment, driving diversity, fostering environments of inclusion, and making the world a better place. DePrisco added that the 50 individuals featured on the Future 50 list are each changemakers whose wide range of projects exemplify the power and potential of transformation.
To identify this year’s Future 50 honourees, PMI reached out to hundreds of experts and stakeholders across the globe for nominations. A special committee vetted the rising leaders and narrowed the list of nominees.
Finalists were then individually researched or interviewed to create a list representing a full spectrum of regions, industries and achievements in The Project Economy – one in which people have the skills and capabilities they need to turn ideas into reality. The selected honourees were chosen to represent the full spectrum of regions, industries and achievements in the project economy.
While some honourees are Project Management Professional certification holders, others would not even describe themselves as project managers. What unites the Future 50 is a commitment to project work as the foundation for positive impact today and tomorrow.
Several honourees and their companies have roots in sub-Saharan Africa. For example, cellphone manufacturer Mara Phones CEO Ashish Thakkar applied serial entrepreneur skills to disrupt Africa’s telecom business, while South African fashion business Apara Global CEO Ayanda More turned trash into an eco-friendly fashion statement.
Social enterprise Water Access Rwanda founder Christelle Kwizera addressed water scarcity and youth unemployment in East Africa with a simple, durable solution; and engineering, project and construction management (EPCM) firm Hatch senior engineer and project manager Innocentia Mahlangu tackled tough infrastructure projects with an eye toward social and economic change.
Meanwhile, Kenyan EPCM company Synergetic Energy Partners assistant project manager Simon Njuguna joined the list for helping an African megaproject reach a smooth completion, and university publisher Unisa Press project editor, publisher and manager Tshegofatso Sehlodimela was added owing to her using her skills to spearhead a university-wide competency project ensuring the institution is future-fit in terms of skills and technology.
As a global professional association for a growing global community of millions of project professionals and changemakers globally, PMI is an authority on project management. PMI empowers people to make ideas a reality through global advocacy, networking, collaboration, research and education. The association prepares organisations and individuals at every stage of their career journey to drive success in a world of change.
PMI is a “for-purpose” organisation, working in nearly every country globally to advance careers, strengthen organisational success, and enable changemakers with new skills and ways of working to maximise their impact. PMI offerings include globally recognised standards, certifications, online courses, thought leadership, tools, digital publications and communities.