How We Chose the New Class of Next Generation Leaders

In the wake of Mahsa Jina Amini’s death, Iranian chess master Sara Khadem defied her country’s mandatory dress regulations during competition. Indian ­YouTuber Dhruv Rathee is facing threats for fact-­checking trending topics on Indian social media for millions of his followers. Jonathon Heyward recently became the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s first music director of color and, at 31, the youngest current music director of any major U.S. orchestra. These are three of the individuals profiled in this fall’s class of Next Generation Leaders, the nine-year-old franchise made possible by our partnership with Rolex. Their stories continue to reshape for us what leadership can be.

[time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

Through Next Generation Leaders, we explore influence in many forms, including artistry, athleticism, and activism. And we examine rising leaders breaking barriers in traditional realms of power like politics. Representing this fall’s group on the cover is the First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, who has earned himself a growing series of firsts: At 27, he became the youngest member of the Scottish Parliament to join the Scottish government. Now 38, he is the first Muslim politician to lead a Western democracy, as well as the first nonwhite and youngest First Minister of his country.

Yousaf is leading at a moment of competing crises­—scandal hitting his Scottish National Party and significant increases in the cost of living, to name just two. He knows that his identity matters to voters and to history. He says of seeing his portrait hung at Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister, “I really stand out because I look different. It was really emotional. I remember looking at it and thinking, almost whatever happens now … mine will always be the one that looks different.”

We look forward to taking Next Generation Leaders into its second decade next year.