TIME business leaders

These Are the Top-Rated Small Business CEOs

Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz Interview
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Kevin Hartz, chief executive officer of Eventbrite Inc.

The votes come from Glassdoor's latest executive survey

Job-hunter web site Glassdoor put out its third annual Employees’ Choice Awards today. They rank the top-rated CEOs in the country, based on votes by their own employees. Among the top-ranked CEOs of large companies (those with 1,000 or more employees) were big names such as Google’s Larry Page, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Tim Cook of Apple.

But the survey also honored CEOs of small and medium-sized companies (those with fewer than 1,000 employees), and Fortune readers may recognize quite a few of the names on that list.

The top six small-business CEOs, all with a 98% approval rating, were: Frank Williams of Evolent Health (founded in 2011, based in Virginia); Tobias Dengel of WillowTree (an app development company that’s been around since 2007); Renaud Laplanche of LendingClub; Greg Penske of Penske Motor Group (see Fortune‘s recent profile of Penske’s father Roger); David Durand of Best Version Media (a publishing company that owns 250 magazines); and Scott Smith of OneGuard, which offers home warranties.

Rounding out the top 10 are Kevin Hartz, cofounder and CEO of Eventbrite (a ticket marketplace and tech “unicorn”); John Dowd of the New Jersey travel agency Sundance Vacations; Darius Mirshahzadeh of Endeavor America Loan Services; and Brian Halligan, CEO of Boston-area marketing company HubSpot, which went public last year.

TIME Careers & Workplace

7 Conversational Tips to Be More Confident

coworkers-meeting-office
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Because having confidence carries many benefits

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Confidence can carry you through a lot in life. It can help you perform better in job interviews, appear more authoritative when addressing a crowd, and land more deals and partnerships in your business. Unfortunately, most of us don’t feel confident 100 percent of the time, and when we do feel confident it doesn’t always project outward in ways that enable us to succeed.

During the course of conversation, there are several tricks you can use to make your words sound more authoritative, and to address your audience with greater overall confidence. Here are seven of them.

1. Speak more slowly.

Some of us speak faster when we’re nervous. Some of us are naturally fast talkers. Regardless of your motivations, conscious or subconscious, speaking too quickly indicates a lack of authority or a lack of confidence. In addition, while speaking quickly, you’re more likely to make mistakes in your enunciation, and you have less time to think through your words. Focus on speaking more slowly in your conversation, allowing your words to draw out and giving your sentences a weightier rhythm. Your audience will have more time to digest the words you’re speaking, and you’ll be less likely to make any critical errors that compromise your speaking integrity.

2. Use pauses to your advantage.

Using pauses is another strategy that can help you speak slower, but it’s effective in its own right. Work on creatively using pauses to give more impact to your speaking. For example, if you have an opening for a public presentation that’s eight sentences long and you make a significant point after sentence three, throw in a sizable seconds-long pause. It will add more weight to whatever your last sentence was and give you audience time to soak it in. It also gives you a chance to collect your thoughts and prepare for the next section of your speech, adding to the total amount of authority and confidence you project.

3. Avoid asides.

In a scenario that allows for preparation, such as giving a speech to a public audience, asides are fine. You have advance time to prepare them, determine if they’re relevant, and include them if they are. In more natural conversations, however, improvised asides can be damaging. For example, if you’re in a job interview and you answer a question directly, then spiral into a related story about something that happened to you a few years ago, it could be a sign that you’re nervous and looking to fill conversational space. Instead, focus only on what’s immediately relevant.

4. Lower your vocal range.

Take a look at some of the most famous speeches throughout history, at currently popular politicians, and even at local newscasters. You’ll find that most of them have lower tones of voice, and this is no coincidence. People tend to view speakers with lower speaking voices as having more authority and confidence. As much as you can, practice speaking in a lower tone of voice. Don’t force yourself or you’ll sound unnatural, but if you can get yourself a tone or two lower, it can make a real difference.

5. Improve your posture.

Body language is just as important in conversation as the words that leave your mouth. Whether you’re sitting or standing in front of your audience, work to improve your posture. Stand or sit up straight with your shoulders back, and keep your head held high. This will make you appear bigger and more confident, and will help you feel more confident as well. Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of aligning your body so you can breathe–and therefore speak–more efficiently. Posture can demand a lot of work, so make sure to practice in advance.

6. Gesticulate.

Gesticulation–the practice of using your hands and arms to punctuate or enhance your verbal statements–is another valuable body language strategy. Speakers who use body language actively in their presentation tend to be viewed as more confident and more authoritative than those who do not. Obviously, different hand gestures can signal different things, and if you simply wave your hands wildly in front of your audience, it may make you come across as out of control. Instead, focus on reserving your hand gestures for your most impactful words, and try to keep your movements reserved and under strict control.

7. Talk more.

The conversations that matter in our lives–whether they’re in the form of a public presentation or a business negotiation–are somewhat rare. But that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for those meaningful conversations in our everyday lives. Seek out new opportunities to communicate with others whenever you get the chance, and in any context. Put these speaking strategies to practice and focus on improving your abilities over time. The only way to get better is to plunge in and keep working at it, so sign up to be a public speaker when you can and strike up conversations with strangers wherever you go.

The beauty of these conversational tricks is their sheer practicality; they can be used anywhere, in almost any context where you’re speaking to one or more other people. Experiment with them by practicing on a friend or a colleague. Over time, they will become second nature to you, and your natural speaking voice will convey a greater overall level of confidence and authority.

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article above was originally published at Inc.com.

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TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: April 6

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. A new program will recruit and train inspiring leaders to be principals at high-poverty schools. No education background required.

By Catherine Candisky in the Columbus Dispatch

2. Even with rising prosperity, seventy percent of deaths in Sri Lanka are from preventable diseases. It’s time for a new kind of care.

By Sandya Salgado at the World Bank

3. To protect ourselves from bioweapons, we may have to reinvent science itself.

By Patrick Tucker in Defense One

4. In Europe today, Russia is demonstrating its mastery of hybrid warfare. The U.S. and NATO are far behind.

By Nadia Schadlow in War on the Rocks

5. Encryption might not matter to most Americans, but it is a crucial tool for reporting the news.

By Kelly J. O’Brien in Columbia Journalism Review

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY privacy

It Took Just One Email to Compromise the Leaders of the Free World

G20 Summit Leaders
Reuters

Many of the world leaders who attended last year’s G20 summit in Brisbane had their personal data compromised. The cause? Human error.

Whether an autofill mishap or a “What in the name of God were you thinking?” move, somebody’s shrimp is on the barbie at Australia’s immigration department after an officer there emailed President Obama’s passport number and other personal information to an organizer at the Asian Cup football tournament. And before you think otherwise: Yeah, it matters.

An Australian freedom of information request recently revealed that the personally identifiable information (PII) of many of the world leaders who attended last year’s G20 summit in Brisbane — including President Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, China’s President Xi Jinping, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and UK Prime Minister David Cameron — was accidentally leaked by a government employee. Worse, there was an attempt to sweep this mess under the rug.

The freedom of information request revealed that an immigration official notified Australia’s privacy commissioner about the walkabout presidential/prime ministerial PII shortly after the misdirected email was received by its startled recipient.

“The personal information which has been breached,” an email notifying the privacy commissioner stated, “is the name, date of birth, title, position nationality, passport number, visa grant number and visa subclass held relating to 31 international leaders (i.e., prime ministers, presidents and their equivalents) attending the G20 leaders summit.”

“The cause of the breach was human error. [Redacted] failed to check that the autofill function in Microsoft Outlook had entered the correct person’s details into the email ‘To’ field. This led to the email being sent to the wrong person.

“The matter was brought to my attention directly by [redacted] immediately after receiving an email from [the recipient] informing them that they had sent the email to the wrong person.

“The risk remains only to the extent of human error, but there was nothing systemic or institutional about the breach.”

The decision not to inform any of the world leaders was based on the fact that the recipient of the wayward email had deleted it from their computer and then deleted the deleted email from the “deleted items” folder.

The Inevitable Weak Link

Unlike code, with its right/wrong, open/closed approach to data, humans make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes have catastrophic results. The Target breach is a good example of this. The retailing icon didn’t properly segment data, and someone at a heating and air conditioning company with a Target contract, and unknowing access to far more systems than anyone could have imagined, clicked on a phishing link in a fraudulent email that ultimately allowed hackers to access its point-of-sale systems — in other words, human error. Subsequently, multiple warnings from Target’s own security protocols — indicating the presence of malware — were overridden by someone(s), also human error.

In the G20 instance, the damage was most likely not great — at least to the world leaders in question. That said, Steve Wilson, a principal analyst focusing on digital identity and privacy at Constellation Research told the Guardian, “What I’d be worried about is whether that level of detail could be used to index those people in different databases to find out more things about them.”

Wilson went on to hypothesize: “If you had access to other commercial data sources you could probably start to unpack their travel details, and that would be a security risk.”

Now comes the unavoidable question: When it involves the protection of a president or prime minister, is “most likely safe” an acceptable standard? For a government employee to send out such internationally sensitive information in an email and for a privacy commissioner to decide not to notify anyone that the breach had occurred needs to get tagged as “human error” as well. (If anyone should know better, one would assume it might be the “privacy” commissioner, yes?) One of the more crucial protocols in a data compromise is transparency, at least with respect to those who have been exposed. If you’re not aware of the fact that you are in harm’s way, how can you possibly protect yourself?

You may remember the scene in the 2006 remake of the Pink Panther where Clouseau, played by Steve Martin, gets his hand stuck inside a vase. He asks the casino owner if the item is valuable, and is told that it’s a worthless imitation. Mindful of that information, Clouseau slams the vase on a desk to free his hand, breaking both in the process.

“But that desk,” the casino owner says, “was priceless.”

So now anyone wanting to get their hands on that PII knows where it isn’t, but they also have some clues as to how to piece it together, and where it might be. (Of course, no hacker has ever raised deleted files from the dead.) They also now know that Australia has porous defenses, even if their vulnerabilities exist only at the level of a human resources failure to properly train employees on data security best practices. But then there’s the question of the privacy commissioner’s handling of the situation, which none of this explains. Sigh…

The leak of PII belonging to world leaders is an extremely serious matter. For years many have warned that any system is only as secure as its weakest link … and that humans are almost always the weakest link. So the beat goes on.

This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

TIME Leaders

Pope Francis Will Speak at the U.N.

Pope Francis talks about importance of grandparents
Marco Campagna—Demotix/Corbis Pope Francis blesses the faithful, Vatican City, March 11, 2015.

The Pope will hold a town hall meeting with U.N. staff

Pope Francis will visit the U.N. in September during its annual gathering of world leaders.

The Pope will address the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25, meet with U.N. leadership and participate in a town hall meeting with U.N. staff, according to a statement issued Wednesday by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s office.

“His Holiness Pope Francis’ visit will inspire the international community to redouble its efforts to achieve human dignity for all through ensuring greater social justice, tolerance and understanding among all of the world’s peoples,” the Secretary General’s statement says.

Pope Francis’ visit to the U.N. will come one day after he is scheduled to address Congress in Washington, D.C. He will be in the United States from Sept. 22-27.

TIME Leaders

Old Pentagon Study Says Putin Has Asperger’s

President Vladimir Putin during an annual press conference on Dec. 18, 2014 in Moscow.
Konstantin Zavrazhin—Getty Images President Vladimir Putin during an annual press conference on Dec. 18, 2014 in Moscow.

The theory can't be proven without a brain scan

A 2008 study from a Pentagon think tank claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin has Asperger’s syndrome, an autistic spectrum disorder.

While the researchers can’t prove their theory without a brain scan, Brenda Connors, an expert in movement pattern analysis at the U.S. Naval War College, says that Putin’s “neurological development was significantly interrupted in infancy,” according to USA Today.

Stephen Porges, a University of North Carolina psychiatry professor, says in the study that “Putin carries a form of autism.” But USA Today reports that he has since retreated from the conclusion, saying he had never seen the finished report and “would back off saying he has Asperger’s.”

Whether or not the Russian leader is actually on the autistic spectrum, the authors of the study have determined the most effective way to deal with his personality type. “If you need to do things with him, you don’t want to be in a big state affair but more of one-on-one situation someplace somewhere quiet,” says Porges.

Obama, take note.

TIME leadership

12 Behaviors That Successful Leaders Should Never Tolerate

messy desk
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Tolerance is a virtue — most of the time

By and large, tolerance is a good trait. The differences we encounter enrich our lives and organizations. But to attain a successful life and meaningful leadership, we must refuse to tolerate the things that deplete, and ultimately destroy, us.

Start by declaring these things intolerable in yourself and those around you—and see what changes as a result.

1. Dishonesty

Living an honest life allows you to be at peace with others and yourself. Dishonesty imposes a false reality on your life and those around you.

2. Boredom

Successful people are generally exploring something new. Life is too short for inactivity and staying in your comfort zone.

3. Mediocrity

It’s easy, and a constant temptation, to settle for less. But what makes some people stand out is their willingness to make the hard choices that allow a life of greatness.

4. Negativity

Every negative thought keeps you from being your best. If you hear yourself complaining, out loud or to yourself, find a way to shut it down.

5. Toxicity

At work or at home, a toxic environment will literally make you sick. If it doesn’t feel right, if it makes you tired or fills you with dread, cut yourself loose.

6. Disorganization

Clutter and disorder cause stress and affect your emotional and mental well-being. Get rid of what you don’t need and keep everything else where it belongs.

7. Unhealthy anything

Unhealthy food, unhealthy relationship, unhealthy habits—choose what you do wisely. Remind yourself that you deserve better, and then give yourself better.

8. Regrets

We all have regrets, but you can’t move toward your future if you’re dwelling on the past. Learn from it, right any wrongs where you can, and leave it behind.

9. Disrespect

Relationships are at the heart of success, and respect is at the heart of good relationships. Disrespect—whatever the form and whomever it’s directed toward—is one of the most destructive forces you can harbor.

10. Distrust

Distrust often arrives through a succession of little compromises here and there, so be watchful. Focus on building your own integrity and surround yourself with others who do the same.

11. Anger

We all feel anger, and in its place it can move you to action. But holding onto anger is paralyzing and accomplishes nothing. Learn to direct anger toward problems, not people, and then get over it.

12. Control

Don’t worry about the things you can’t control. Focus your energy where it can do good, and learn to let go of the rest.

Pay attention to the difference between the things that are truly positive in your life and the things you just let happen.

Remember, you are sum of what you tolerate!

TIME Media

What Happened to the ‘Future Leaders’ of the 1990s?

Dec. 5, 1994, cover
Cover Credit: CRAIG FRAZIER The Dec. 5, 1994, cover of TIME

In 1994, TIME picked 50 people to keep an eye on

Exactly 20 years ago, the the Dec. 5, 1994, issue of TIME made a gamble, predicting the 50 people who were the most promising leaders for the future.

The magazine’s editors selected “50 for the Future”: 50 people under the age of 40, from the worlds of politics, science, activism, business, media and the arts, who seemed poised to take charge of America’s next steps. They had, David Van Biema wrote, “the requisite ambition, vision and community spirit to help guide us in the new millennium.” We decided to see just how well that group has turned out. Whatever happened to that Bill Gates guy, anyway?

 

Tundi Agardy, then 37 and a marine biologist

The World Wildlife Fund scientist made it to the original list for the way she used her hard-science chops to advocate for conservation. During the past two decades, she has continued that work, founding the marine conservation organization Sound Seas; leading the Marine Ecosystem Services Program at Forest Trends, a nonprofit that uses business ideas to protect the environment; and participating in the United Nations-led Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

Helen Alvaré, then 34 and an antiabortion leader

The self-described “pro-life feminist” lawyer was the U.S. spokesperson on the subject of abortion, on behalf of Catholic bishops. She left her job with the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2000, after which she began teaching at the George Mason University School of Law. She has received several awards for her service to the Church, and continues to consult for the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Marc Andreessen, then 23 and co-creator of Mosaic

Andreessen’s Mosaic browser and the company he founded, Netscape, landed him on the cover of TIME in February 1996. In recent years Andreessen, 43, has become one of Silicon Valley’s most successful venture capitalists through his firm Andreessen Horowitz with payoffs from Twitter, Facebook and Skype. He is now one of the tech industry’s most visible leaders. He is on Twitter at @pmarca.

Evan Bayh, then 38 and Governor of Indiana

After two terms as Governor of Indiana, Bayh, 58, served in the Senate for twelve years until 2011. The Democratic lawmaker flirted with running for president in 2007, but ultimately endorsed then-Senator Hillary Clinton. He is now a partner at DC lobbying firm McGuireWoods.

Dr. Regina Benjamin, then 38 and a rural health-care provider

With an M.D. and an MBA, Benjamin took advantage of a federal program to fund her practice in coastal Alabama. After continuing to work in healthcare in the region during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, she was named Surgeon General of the United States by President Barack Obama in 2009. She resigned in 2013 and was appointed to an endowed chair in public health sciences at Xavier University.

Henry Bonilla, then 40 and a Texas Congressman

The Texan was a frequent surrogate for President George W. Bush, but redistricting made his seat more favorable for Democrats, and he lost re-election in 2006 after serving seven terms in the House. He is now a partner at the Washington government relations firm The Normandy Group.

John Bryant, then 28 and founder of Operation HOPE Inc.

Bryant continues to serve as the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Operation HOPE Inc. In 2008 he was appointed by President George W. Bush to be vice-chair of the President’s Council on Financial Literacy. President Barack Obama appointed him Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment for the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, where he focused on forming local financial literacy councils in cities across the country.

William Burns, then 38 and a foreign-service officer

After 33 years at the State Department, Burns retired in November 2014 as Deputy Secretary of State, the department’s number two, under Secretary of State John Kerry. One of the most decorated diplomats of his time, Burns continues to play a role in the P5+1 Iran nuclear negotiations. In February of 2015 he will become the next president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Stephen Carter, then 40 and a law professor at Yale University

The William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale Law School, Carter is a renowned fiction and nonfiction author of titles like The Violence of Peace: America’s Wars in the Age of Obama and The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln. He has taught and written extensively about the law and ethics of war and is also a columnist for Bloomberg View.

Sean Carroll, then 33 and a molecular biologist and inventor

A co-founder of Ophidian Pharmaceuticals, Carroll (not to be confused with the CalTech theoretical physicist of the same name) also used his non-commercial side to study butterfly wings in order to investigate the relationship between genes and evolution. In addition to contributing to the Science section of the New York Times, Carroll has written several books about evolution for popular audiences. One of them was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award for non-fiction. His latest, Brave Genius, was released last year.

Christopher Chyba, then 35 and a planetary scientist

His research on comets and asteroids concluded that Earth was unlikely to be majorly damaged by a collision with one, and he worked with the White House to make sure that planetary damage wouldn’t come from unsecured nukes either. He received a MacArthur ‘Genius’ grant in 2001, and is now director of the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

James Dimon, then 38 and president of Travelers Group

Back in 1994, about a decade after founding the New York Academy of Finance — a program that prepped underprivileged kids for Wall Street jobs — he was considered one of the stock world’s top 10 figures. Now, as CEO of JPMorgan Chase, “Jamie” Dimon has since become even more recognizable in the Wall Street world. Though the bank has not had a completely smooth run in recent years — the “London Whale” mess cost it billions — he is credited with helping JPMorgan Chase get through the financial crisis with minimal damage. He has been a frequent honoree on TIME’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and currently ranks at #18 on the Forbes list of the most powerful people in the world.

Chaka Fattah, then 38 and a Pennsylvania Congressman-elect

About to enter his 11th term representing parts of Philadelphia in the House of Representatives, Fattah is the ranking member of the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies and the Vice Chair on the House Gun and Violence Task Force.

Bill Gates, then 39 and co-founder of Microsoft Corp.

Gates was already America’s richest man in 1994 (TIME estimated his net worth at $9.35 billion) — but Forbes now estimates his net worth at a whopping $82.1 billion. And while Microsoft continues to chug along, he now dedicates much of his energy to the major philanthropic organization that is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which he and his wife launched in 2000.

Dr. Pedro Jose Greer Jr., then 38 and an advocate for the homeless

Not content to provide healthcare for the homeless by visiting them on the streets and in public parks, Greer had founded four free clinics to make sure they got the best care possible. Since 1994, he has continued to provide healthcare for underserved populations in Florida and teach at the Florida International University School of Medicine. His autobiography, Waking Up in America, was released in 1999, and in 2009 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

John Kaliski, then 38 and an urban architect

Kaliski used a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to research L.A.’s urban sprawl, to help avoid mistakes as the cities of the future were built. In 2000, he founded the architecture firm that carries his name, and he is a co-author of the book Everyday Urbanism. He continues to design award-winning projects throughout California.

John F. Kennedy Jr., then 34 and a health-care entrepreneur

In 1995, JFK, Jr. founded the short-lived political/fashion magazine George. He died in 1999 after losing control of his Piper Saratoga airplane in a crash that also killed his wife and sister-in-law.

Randall Kennedy, then 40 and a Harvard law professor

A nationally recognized expert on race issues, Kennedy is the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School where he continues to write about race, discrimination, and the law.

Alan Khazei, then 33 and co-director of City Year

By co-founding the “public-service entrepreneurship” that had, by 1994, helped hundreds of people find yearlong jobs, Khazei recruited corporations to help pick up the tab. City Year also inspired President Clinton to start AmeriCorps. Since then, Khazei also founded Be the Change, a nonprofit of which he’s now CEO, which promotes service among an even wider swath of the population. His runs for Senate in Massachusetts, however, have proved unsuccessful.

Ronald A. Klain, then 33 and chief of staff to Janet Reno

Klain was chief of staff to two vice presidents, Al Gore and Joe Biden. His role in the 2000 Florida recount was immortalized by Kevin Spacey in the HBO movie Recount. He is now serving as the White House’s Ebola Response Coordinator and is rumored to be next in line to be President Barack Obama’s chief of staff or senior advisor.

Wendy Kopp, then 27, Founder of Teach for America

In 1994, Teach for America was active in 17 districts and received a few thousand applications for 500 positions. Kopp’s organization has since become one the biggest movers in the education. In the 2013-14 school year, according to TFA’s numbers, 750,000 students nationwide were taught by 11,000 TFA teachers. The organization has also expanded to include Teach for All, a global education network, and Kopp has written two books.

Samuel LaBudde, then 38 and a biologist

A video LaBudde shot while undercover on a Panamanian tuna boat helped make dolphin-safe tuna a national issue. He has continued to work for environmental causes in the years since.

Winona LaDuke, then 35 and a Native American rights activist

A two-time vice presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket, LaDuke is the executive director of environmental non-profits the White Earth Land Recovery Project and Honor the Earth. She has worked extensively to raise the political awareness and clout of Native American tribes.

Maya Lin, then 35, a sculptor and architect

In the last two decades, Lin’s art and architecture projects have continued to make news. About five years ago, Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., announced that a new project called What Is Missing? would be her “last memorial”: the project memorializes environmental loss with a web site, art installations and a foundation. She will be working on it, she has said, for the rest of her life.

Roderick von Lipsey, then 35 and a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps

After 20 years as a Marine Corps Aviator, during which he served as director of the National Security Council and as a senior aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, von Lipsey is now a Managing Director at UBS Financial Services, Inc. in Washington in the firm’s private wealth practice.

Jonathan Lunine, then 35 and a planetary astronomer

Then head of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Committee, he was studying whether it would one day be possible to send a manned mission to Mars. (By 2030, maybe, he guessed.) He has continued to advise NASA — he worked on the 2011 Juno mission to Saturn — and he teaches at Cornell. (Manned missions to Mars remain an idea of the future — but Lunine may yet be proved right.)

Frank Luntz, then 32 and a Republican pollster and analyst

The GOP messaging guru who popularized terms like the “death tax” and “climate change” and the man behind Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America has worked extensively in American and international politics on behalf of conservative candidates. In 2010 he branded the Affordable Care Act a “government takeover” of healthcare, a talking-point used extensively by Republicans as they retook the House of Representatives. He is also a prominent commentator on Fox News.

Wynton Marsalis, then 33 and a Jazz musician

Not content to be a virtuoso trumpeter, Marsalis was also an ambassador of jazz, dedicating his time to visiting schools and introducing the music to a new generation. Since 1994, he has received the National Medal of the Arts and a Pulitzer Prize, and has been appointed a U.N. Messenger of Peace. Jazz at Lincoln Center, the program he helped found, is now one of New York City’s leading jazz venues, and Marsalis remains one of the genre’s most famous players.

Fred McClure, then 40 and a corporate consultant

Now the Chief Executive Officer of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, McClure was an aide to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Then-Governor George W. Bush appointed him to the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University. He was previously a managing partner of the international law firm, SNR Denton.

Cynthia McKinney, then 39 and a Congresswoman from Georgia

McKinney served six terms in the House of Representatives, become a vocal critic of the Bush administration and the Iraq War. She gained notoriety for accusing the Bush administration of having advance warning of the 9/11 attacks and allowing them to take place, and has since become a vocal critic of American interventions overseas. She was twice defeated by Democratic primary challengers before abandoning the party. She was the Green Party’s presidential nominee in 2008.

Wayne Meisel, then 35 and founder of COOL

After leaving the foundation he helped found, Meisel, who is a Presbyterian minister, served as Director of Faith and Service at the Cousins Foundation in Atlanta. Earlier this year, he became the founding director of a new center at the McCormick Theological Seminary, focusing on the intersection of religion and public service.

Nancy-Ann Min, then 37 and a White House budget official

Nancy-Ann Min DeParle served as President Barack Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy from January 2011 to January 2013 after a stint as director of the White House Office of Health Reform. She coordinated the administration’s efforts to pass and implement the landmark Affordable Care Act in 2010. She is currently a Partner & Co-Founder at Consonance Capital Partners, a healthcare-focused private equity firm.

Albert Mohler, 35, and president of the Southern Baptist Seminary

Only about two years after becoming president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he returned the school to older traditions, by forcing out the school’s first female theological professor—and he promised to spread his values throughout the Baptist community. He remains president of the Seminary to this day.

Susan Molinari, then 36 and a Congresswoman from New York

After three terms in the House, Molinari quit Congress to take a job at CBS News. She later became a Washington lobbyist and now runs Google’s Washington, D.C. office, where she is Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations.

Charles Munn, then 39 and a conservationist-zoologist

Munn turned a love of birds into a career in conserving their tropical habits, particularly by encouraging ecotourism and promoting land-management by tribal communities from the areas in question. One of his more recent ecotourism ventures was a jaguar-focused photo-safari center in Brazil.

Jim Nussle, then 34 and a Congressman from Iowa

Now the president of the Credit Union National Association, Nussle served in the House from 1991-2007, where he was chairman of the House budget Committee. In 2007, President George W. Bush selected him to run the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Ralph Reed, then 33 and Executive director of the Christian Coalition

The conservative political activist became one of the leading evangelical powerbrokers in Republican politics, despite a brief fall from grace in the late 1990s and ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Reed now runs the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a nonprofit organization whose conferences are regularly attended by Republican presidential hopefuls.

Condoleezza Rice, then 40 and Provost of Stanford University

During the 2000 Bush campaign, Rice took a leave of absence from Stanford to serve as the then-Texas governor’s top foreign policy advisor. When he won the White House, she was selected as his first National Security Advisor, a position she held until 2005 when she was nominated to be the first black woman to serve as Secretary of State. After Bush left office, Rice returned to Stanford, where she is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. One of the first two women invited to join the Augusta National Golf Club, she also serves as a member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee and is frequently mentioned as a possible successor as commissioner of the National Football League.

John Rogers, then 36 and a mutual-fund manager

Notable for his relatively frugal lifestyle, the stock savant was the first African American president of the Chicago Park District and helped put dozens of inner-city students through school. He remains Chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments, the company he founded, while serving as the chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, which councils the President on how to work toward future economic stability by educating young people about how money works.

Jeffrey Sachs, then 40 and an economist

The director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Sachs has put his economics background to use as an advisor on developing countries across the globe. The author of books like The End of Poverty, Sachs is one of the leading thinkers on sustainable economic development and has twice been named to the TIME 100.

Bret Schundler, then 35 and Mayor of Jersey City

As the Republican lawmaker of a Democratic city, Schundler drew acclaim as a reformer until he left office in 2001. He twice unsuccessfully ran for governor of New Jersey and briefly served as Commissioner of Education under New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2010.

Tavis Smiley, then 30 and a radio talk-show host

These days, Smiley does television too: his eponymous PBS talk show is in its tenth year. He’s written more than a dozen books and, in 1999, started a foundation focused on mentorship and leadership.

Lawrence Summers, then 40 and Treasury Under Secretary

The outspoken economist quickly rose to be President Bill Clinton’s final Treasury Secretary, where he led efforts to deregulate the financial sector. After leaving office, he became the 27th President of Harvard University, where he had a tumultuous tenure. After President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he selected Summers to be Director of the National Economic Council, a post from which he helped lead the administration’s response to the global financial crisis. He left the White House in 2010.

Terri Swearingen, then 37 and an environmental activist

Concerned with a hazardous-waste processing incinerator too near her local elementary school, she devoted herself to the environment, went on a hunger strike and ended up influencing national environmental policy. In 1997, she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. She has stayed out of the news in recent years.

Urvashi Vaid, then 36 and a gay-rights advocate

She was the first woman of color to head up the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Her first book came out in 1996; she has written or edited two more since. In 2012, she helped launch the first lesbian political action committee, and since 2011 she has been the director of a Columbia University project that examines the role of tradition in the success or failure of gender justice advocacy.

Fidel Vargas, then 26 and Mayor of Baldwin Park, California

After a successful career in private equity, Vargas is now the President and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for Latino students to succeed in college.

Kevin Vigilante, then 40 and Founder of Community Outreach Clinic

After a failed run for Congress, Vigilante returned to treating female HIV patients in Rhode Island. He now works at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he consults with government clients about public health topics.

Rebecca Walker, then 25 and co-founder of Third Wave

The Third Wave Foundation continues to be dedicated to encouraging female leaders of the future, registering female voters and making feminism work for women of color. In the last two decades, Walker has also written or edited more than a half-dozen books. She teaches memoir writing, and in 2009, she co-founded Write to Wellbeing, a business that helps writers improve their lives.

Oprah Winfrey, then 40 and a talk-show host

Her talk-show business was making her more than $50 million a year, and her openness about her own past had helped get the National Child Protection Act through Congress. Twenty years later, her earnings, her power and her media empire are even bigger. She remains, in short, Oprah.

Naomi Wolf, then 32 and a feminist author

The author of The Beauty Myth was credited with bringing feminism “back to life” when she accused the cosmetics industry of hobbling advancement for women. Wolf — who has also worked as a political consultant and in the nonprofit space — continues to inspire conversation with her writing, as with her 2013 book Vagina: A New Biography.

Read the full 1994 list of 50 future leaders here, in the TIME Vault: A New Generation of Leaders

Correction: Luntz coined the phrase “climate change” instead of “global warming.”

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 22

1. A stacked deck: reform the modern fee-based system of criminal justice that has pushed poor communities to the brink.

By Alex Tabarrok in Marginal Revolution

2. Real political change in Iraq – and a strong regional partnership – is the only way to defeat ISIS.

By Michael Breen in US News and World Report

3. To avoid the next Ferguson and address the nation’s systemic racism, America needs black leaders to take a stand together.

By Bob Herbert in Jacobin

4. With their educations on the line, smartphones for teenagers are a critical tool for success.

By John Doerr in the Wall Street Journal

5. To solve the riddle of women turning to extremist violence, we must address the security issues that deeply impact their lives.

By Jane Harman in CNN

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME foreign affairs

Putin’s Power: Why Russians Adore Their Bare-Chested Reagan

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Alexey Druzhinin—AFP/Getty Images Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

The history of strongmen leaders helps fuel a passion for capitalism—even if there's a cost

There he is, the President of Russia, riding bare-back and bare-chested astride a galloping steed; spending $50 billion on a resort town most Russians will never see; seizing Crimea, instigating unrest in Ukraine; maybe even making himself indirectly responsible for the murder of nearly 300 innocents aboard a downed passenger plane: Vladimir Putin, shaking his fist in the face of a West that often seems unable to do more than avert its eyes.

When we in The West do look, it can seem perplexing: How can Russians buy into such blatant bravado? How can a country that is (at least nominally) democratic support such near-authoritarian power? And why does Putin remain so popular?

“Why,” Russians might ask us in return, “do you support a system of government that is so weak?” In 2010, traveling through Russia to research a novel, I was asked this a lot. I’d press people on the way Putin had cowed political opposition, castrated the parliament, brought the media mostly under his control. Usually, they’d shrug. Then they’d tell me, “At least he does stuff, makes stuff happen. Unlike in America. Where your government can’t get even the smallest things done.” Yes, Putin goes big, they’d say—maybe even sometimes goes wrong—but we in America can’t manage to go anywhere at all. Heck, we can barely manage to fund our own government, let alone set aside our squabbling long enough for anyone to actually lead.

I’m not a political scientist; I couldn’t respond with more than a layman’s opinion. I’m not a scholar of Russian history; it’s not my place to proclaim intimate knowledge of a complex and multifaceted culture. And I’m not Russian; I’d never purport to speak for the people themselves. But I am a novelist. And, as a novelist, my job is to listen—to the voices of others, to the voice of a place—and then to attempt to understand, not just intellectually but emotionally. In other words, to empathize.

Courtesy Grove/AtlanticThe Great Glass Sea, by Josh Weil

Everywhere in Russia that I traveled to research my new novel, The Great Glass Sea, I felt a yearning. Sometimes it took the shape of nostalgia: a man who’d made a fortune in the early ‘90s lit up talking about that wild time of unleashed, unfettered capitalism when millions could be made overnight; a school teacher spoke of the way, under communism, everyone knew their neighbors, shared what little they had—a birthday cake cut into dozens of tiny slices to serve the entire apartment block, an apartment block now filled with families too busy trying to make ends meet to even know each others’ names; I even spoke to young men who hungered for a return of the tsar. Sometimes the yearning was for a future for which they fiercely grasped: I saw a deep appreciation for the opportunities that the release from communism had afforded, the new paths capitalism had opened up.

But in all of it there was an undercurrent of aggrievement; a sense of having to restart after seven decades of the Soviet State, having to retrace steps back to the path the rest of the world had been on—and then struggle to catch up; a feeling that the chance for Russia to remake itself had been hampered by the hegemony of the West; a knowledge that the county was less than it could be, should be, that their individual lives were lessened too; or maybe just a knowledge—especially among the populace in poorer towns and villages outside of Moscow—that what wealth and success has come to the county has come only to a very few.

That’s a feeling a great number of Americans can relate to: not only the frustration with growing inequality, but the sense that our country is also somehow becoming smaller than it should be. Here, when our sense of self is threatened, we turn to historical mythology that buttresses our belief in who we are: The American Dream, our forefathers wrestling with what that would be, the presidents who, through our beloved democracy, shaped how we understand it now—FDR, JFK, Reagan. We look for the next in that mold.

But Russians don’t have that history. Theirs is one in which revolutionary uprisings led to instability before being channeled by a system of control; one in which democracy is associated with a time of devastating economic collapse. We all know the long history of Russian strongmen—from Ivan the Terrible to Joseph Stalin—but can you imagine having that history as our own, having those leaders to look back on? Can you imagine our own country collapsed, our own inequality increased, our own dreams squeezed? Maybe you can, all too well. Now imagine that we had a leader who not only gave us hope, promised us change, but delivered.

Jilan Carroll GlorfieldJosh Weil

Josh Weil is the author of the novel The Great Glass Sea and the novella collection The New Valley, which was awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. A Fulbright Fellow and Nation Book Award 5-under-35 honoree, he has written for The New York Times, Granta, and Esquire.

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