The early 2020s have suffered a lot of misfortune. Everything from war to a global pandemic, sometimes it seems that we can’t get a break. Amongst all of this confusion and chaos are a few iconic leaders who seek to be a leading voice in these trying times.
Our communities need inspirational leadership, but we’re not all born to the task. What are some of the character traits we can emulate to help us get there? Let’s take a closer look.
A controversial tech leader who has garnered a massive following on social media.
Born in June 1971 in South Africa, Elon Musk came from a wealthy family thanks to his parents Maye and Errol Musk.
However, his parents divorced when he was a child. Musk lived with his father, a decision he would later regret. At an early age, he became interested in video games and computers. He then learned computer programming by the age of 12. Musk sold the code to a video game he created for $500.
Musk migrates for his education.
Elon Musk then went to college in both Canada and America. He would later get internships in Silicon Valley in 1994. A year later, he enrolled at Stanford but dropped out so that he could take part in the Internet boon by creating his own startup.
Along with his younger brother and a colleague by the name of Greg Kouri, Musk founded Zip2. This was done with the help of angel investors. The company provided an Internet city guide. Because all of their funds were used in this investment, Musk and Co. had to rent an office space to sleep in and shower at the local YMCA.
One sale begets another company for Musk.
Musk then moved fast. The Musk brothers sold Zip2 and, in 1999, Musk himself co-founded X.com as a financial services and payment company. X.com would then have a change of hands and was rebranded as PayPal in 2001.
Musk was then inspired by plans to grow plants in space and joined the nonprofit Mars Society. He would then travel to Russia in an attempt to buy refurbished intercontinental ballistic missiles that could send greenhouses to space. With the fortune he had amassed, he founded SpaceX in May 2002.
Since then, Elon Musk has been determined to get humanity to space with SpaceX. He also founded Tesla, Inc., The Boring Company, Neuralink, and OpenAI. And then, of course, he bought Twitter. As of May 2022, Elon Musk is the richest person in the world with a net worth of $265 billion.
A former actor and comedian turned wartime leader for the country of Ukraine.
Born in January 1978 in Kryvyi Rih in the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Zelenskyy’s father was a professor and computer scientist and head of the Department of Cybernetics and Computing Software at the State University of Economics and Technology. His mother was an engineer. Zelenskyy is of the Jewish faith. Most of his family perished in the Holocaust during World War II.
Zelenskyy received an education grant to study in Israel. However, his father would not allow him to take it. He later got a law degree from the Kryvyi Rihana’s Institute of Economics. However, he did not go on to work in the legal field.
Zelenskyy begins his career as a performer.
When he was 17, Zelenskyy participated in a comedy competition on Ukrainian TV. His team won in the major league in 1997. Zelenskyy then built his own team called Kvartal 95 and toured across the post-Soviet countries. Kvartal 95 then began producing TV shows for Ukraine.
Zelenskyy then starred in his first film in 2008 and went on to have a successful career as an actor. He also was a board member and producer on the TV channel Inter.
In 2014, Zelenskyy called out the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture for banning Russian culture from entering the country. A year later he was the star of the television series Servant of the People where he played the part of the president of Ukraine. The show was a hit and in 2018, several members of Kvartal 95 created a new political party called Servant of the People, named after Zelenskyy’s show.
Make-believe leads to Zelenskyy playing the part in real life.
Zelenskyy said he was not interested in joining politics anytime soon. However, he was already a frontrunner in the polls. He then announced his intent to run for president on New Year’s Eve.
His campaign was extremely unorthodox.
Almost all of it was online. Instead of rallies, he used stand-up routines, did not have a detailed policy platform, and had little interaction with the media. Zelenskyy won on April 21, 2019 in the second round of voting, taking nearing three-quarters of the vote.
Since then, Zelenskyy has worked to change the electoral system, reform Ukraine’s media laws, and attempted to end the war in Donbas, a separatist-held region in Ukraine’s east.
Later in 2022, Zelenskyy faced his greatest challenge: Russia.
The military superpower built up an army around Ukraine and then invaded for a myriad of reasons. Rather than fleeing the country, Zelenskyy remained in the capital of Kyiv. The world views him as a national and even global hero for standing up against Russia. He now has worldwide recognition as a wartime leader. Many have even compared him to Winston Churchill.