5 Religious Figures in Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders 2017

Men and women of Fortune‘s World’s Greatest Leaders list are transforming the world.

Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders ranking is an annual list of leaders who have an impact on the community around them and the global scale at large. The list not only features governmental world leaders, but other people who are regarded to have had an impact as well.

5 Religious Figures in Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders 2017[/tweetthis]

The purpose of the list is to recognize the efforts of these leaders in their bid to make the world a better place through visionary leadership. Three themes recur among these leaders’ projects:

  • Acknowledging hope and reality
  • Bringing followers physically together
  • Building bridges

Some notable people on the list who are also important in the religious world are Pope Francis, Katharine Hayhoe, Linda Sarsour, Chance the Rapper, and Sadiq Khan.

Pope Francis


At #3 on the list, the Latin-American Pope has been an inspiring figure to many, not just the Catholic faithful. The Pope has reconciled the conflicting demands of traditional Catholic belief and Modernity. In the publication, Amoris Laetitia, the Pope asked the Church hierarchy to be accommodative of divorced Catholics and LGBT worshippers. His four-year tenure has seen him reconcile the Catholic and the Orthodox Church. Beyond the Church, the Pope has not shied from criticizing capitalism. In a December gathering at the Vatican, the Pope called on world leaders to do more to reach out to the people shut out from the fruits of the global economy.

“The Pope has used his role to spread the message of unconditional love, forgiveness, humanity and humility.” -Ariana Huffington, the founder of Thrive Global.

Katharine Hayhoe


Ranking 15, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is a Canadian climate scientist and an Evangelical Christian who resides in Texas. She is a climate change advocate and has since been a formidable force in educating the population on climate change through her series on PBS, Global Weirding. She is patient and compassionate in her approach towards the issue be it to fellow parishioners or her digital audience. Her husband is a linguistics professor and a pastor. Together, they authored Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions in 2009.

Linda Sarsour


Ranked at 34 together with Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, and Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour is a Muslim Palestinian-American political activist. The former executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York has been on the forefront of championing for women’s rights from equal pay to reproductive rights. The four activists coordinated the women’s march in Washington to send a message that women’s rights were non-negotiable.

Chance the Rapper


Born Chancellor Bennett, he is a musician and activist at #46 on the list. The 23-year-old is independent and releases mixtapes only. His style infuse Christian themes into hip-hop music and refer to Jesus Christ. Chance is a Christian faithful. Recently he released a mixtape entitled Coloring Book, and it has won him three Grammy awards. Coloring Book became the first stream-only record to win a Grammy. Chance is an anti-violence campaigner in Chicago, his hometown. The rapper donated a million dollars to public schools in Chicago claiming that the Illinois governor had neglected educational funding.

Sadiq Khan


2016 saw Sadiq Khan, ranked #48, become the first ever Muslim Mayor in London to the surprise of many. The son of Pakistani immigrants is a charismatic human rights lawyer and a proud vocal feminist. Mayor Khan is the face of the diverse, global city and business hub London. The Mayor has been unwavering in defense of “open” London following Brexit. He has been vocal in his opinion that a hard Brexit, separating the city from the European Union, will be spell doom for Britain’s engine of growth.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter