Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]
Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]
Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]
Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]
Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]
By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]
Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]
Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]
Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]
Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]
Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]
Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]
Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]
Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]
Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]
Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com
keep it real
I help people discover, explore, and develop their passions, talents, and interests so they’re happy and satisfied. I started on this track when I was a child who was always bored in school. I did well in school, graduating from college very early – at age 19 – with all As, at the top of my class. But during all those years of education, I was bored out of my mind. I graduated from college with no idea what my own passions, talents, or interests were. No one had bothered to ask or to care.
My burning question was always, “Why am I doing all of this work?” I would ask adults how to know what to do, but they only said to keep getting an education and good grades and everything would fall into place. That seemed like a big lie to me.
Eventually, I went into the field of education. I decided that the big issue is the lack of honesty about how we discover and develop our talents, passions, and interests. My personal mission has become to help schools become more relevant.
We have such a test-obsessed culture right now. We think that if we measure more, students are going to learn more, but they end up learning less. The teachers are not teaching – they’re just assessing.
I’m interested in helping people – children and adults – know what their options are. Students and parents have felt so unempowered by the government education system, as though the government controls them, when actually they control themselves. Students and parents have the right to do what they think is best for themselves, for their own emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing.
It would be great to go back to the school I was in as a teenager and really put the principal and the teachers on the spot about what the school’s values were. I’d require them to answer some hard questions, like “Why are you torturing us rather than helping us focus on what might be important to us?” They’d say, “Oh, you’ll understand when you’re older.”
I was very naive then, but I’m older now – and I’m doing something about the lies in our educational system.
– Lisa Nielsen