The Power to Move and Cure
Mary Barra, CEO and Chairwoman of General Motors
In 2014, Barra took over the storied automaker at arguably the most challenging time in its 108-year history. After flawed ignition switches led to more than 100 deaths and millions of recalled vehicles, Barra worked to right the ship. By focusing GM’s leadership and culture on transparency, her efforts led to record profits for fourth quarter 2015 and even higher in 2016. GM and Barra continue to innovate with cleaner, more sustainable transportation. The automaker revamped its plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt and challenged Tesla by introducing the $35,000 Chevrolet Bolt EV, which has a 60-kilowatt-hour capacity battery that offers an EPA-estimated 238 miles per charge. Talk about going the distance.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc., CEO and CTO of SpaceX
With Tesla, Musk brought fully electric vehicles to the mainstream consciousness. At the same time, his other company, SpaceX, designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft with the goal of helping humans live on other planets. The company has achieved several significant milestones, including becoming the first private company to return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit and to attach a spacecraft to the International Space Station, exchange cargo payloads, and return safely back to Earth. Musk’s latest venture takes us in the opposite direction: underground, at SpaceX headquarters, where he’s experimenting with tunneling technology in an effort to alleviate traffic problems.
Mustafa Suleyman, Cofounder and Head of Applied AI at DeepMind
The artificial intelligence company DeepMind, which was acquired by Google in 2014, is heading into the world of health care at the urging of cofounder Suleyman. Using AI to analyze medical data, the company partnered with the National Health Service in the U.K. and is collaborating with the NHS-funded Moorfields Eye Hospital to find out whether machine learning can detect eye diseases earlier. DeepMind built Streams, a mobile app that the company hopes will save lives in NHS hospitals by providing clinicians with more timely patient information to make diagnoses. The Royal Free Hospital in London found that within a few weeks Streams was saving nurses up to two hours of work daily.
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
The self-made billionaire is best known for his conglomerate bearing the Virgin name. One of his most daring projects yet is Virgin Galactic, which is, in his own words, “the world’s first commercial space line.” In December 2016, over the Mojave Desert, the company successfully completed a first glide flight of the SpaceShipTwo commercial aircraft, which is intended to fly to 50,000 feet attached to the WhiteKnightTwo jet and then separate into suborbital space. Branson’s ambitious venture aims to bring opportunities for space travel to a broader group of people and spark interest for generations to come.
Deborah DiSanzo, General Manager of IBM Watson Health
As manager of the IBM business unit charged with advancing health at a global scale, DiSanzo leads more than 7,000 employees to expand the capabilities of the IBM Watson Health Cloud, enlisting startups and industry leaders to use the cognitive technology in their practices. In 2015, the health-care provider Mercy Health Select used an IBM Watson Health platform to aggregate patient data from 450 of its facilities, including hospitals. The provider was then able to identify and prioritize care for 150,000 at-risk patients in Ohio and Kentucky. This is one example of the effort DiSanzo is making to manage health-care data and improve care for at-risk patients.
Mark Fields, Former President and CEO of Ford Motor Company
Under Fields leadership, Ford expanded its business model to become an automotive and mobility company. Through its subsidiary Ford Smart Mobility, Fields aimed to make the company a leader in connectivity, mobility, and autonomous vehicles. Last year, the automaker tripled its autonomous vehicle test fleet, putting 30 vehicles on the roads in Arizona, California, and Michigan, making it the largest autonomous test fleet of any automaker. It also announced plans to triple the fleet again in 2017.
Update: On May 22, 2017, Fields was replaced as CEO by Jim Hackett, who oversees Ford’s autonomous vehicles program.
Howard Rose, CEO and Design Director of Firsthand Technology, Founder and CEO of DeepStream VR
For more than 20 years, Rose has been exploring the ways virtual reality can enhance human health. Through his companies Firsthand Technology and DeepStream VR, Rose has developed treatments for people living with chronic pain and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. By allowing users to walk through serene landscapes with changing seasons in DeepStream VR’s Cool!, patients may overcome their conditions. The company reported that neuropathic pain patients saw reductions in symptoms of 30% to 50% immediately after treatment, and relief lasted up to 48 hours after the treatment ended.
Anne Wojcicki, Co-Founder and CEO of 23andMe
Wojcicki and her genomics company, 23andMe, can help identify genetic health risks using a simple at-home saliva sample collection kit. For $99, 23andMe customers can get an extensive global ancestry composition, and for $199, they receive a comprehensive report about their genetics information including inherited conditions and how their DNA influences traits such as facial features and smell. Since its founding in 2006, the company has processed genotype tests for more than 1 million customers. In April 2017, 23andMe was granted FDA authorization to let customers know whether they have genes linked to 10 conditions including harmful blood clots, late-onset Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
Travis Kalanick, Co-Founder and CEO of Uber
Since launching in 2010, Kalanick has turned the ride-sharing service into one of the most innovative transportation companies of all time. He has led Uber’s charge in autonomous vehicle research as its fleet of self-driving cars hits the streets of Pittsburgh in fall 2016 for a pilot. Now, Uber is pursuing ways to cut down on pickup confusion in heavily trafficked areas. With Uber Beacon, announced late last year, riders can choose a unique color from their smartphones that will be displayed in the windshield of their driver. This means no more scrambling to figure out which car is theirs when a concert lets out or sporting event ends.
Myra Davis, SVP and CIO of Texas Children’s Hospital
In her roles at one of the country’s top pediatric centers, Davis is helping to break down the division between the information-system and clinical sides. Under her leadership, the hospital has been called the “most wired” by the American Hospital Association’s Hospitals & Health Networks magazine three times. Davis ensures mutually beneficial engagement between patients and physicians by promoting the hospital’s patient portal, MyChart, and software like Rover, an application that uses bar codes to prevent medication errors.