3. She Feeds the World
As the executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin leads the world’s largest humanitarian organization, with a staff of more than 13,000 who feed more than 170 million hungry people in more than 83 countries.
Cousin sees herself as a soldier for peace and a champion of social change. A published author also known for her quotes she said, “If we’re afraid to stand in our own skin with those we work with, then how do we lead those who have no voice at all?”
An attorney and native of Chicago, Cousin transitioned from a successful career in the American food service industry to a career in philanthropy when she became CEO of Feeding the Hungry (then known as America’s Second Harvest). She led the organization’s work feeding the hungry during and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
She would later serve President Bill Clinton as a liaison to the U.S. State Department, before being appointed to the position of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture and head of the U.S. Mission to the U.N. Agencies in Rome by President Obama.
Named one of the 100 most powerful women in the world in 2014 by Forbes, Cousin’s leadership has increased WFP donations by 17 percent to more than $4 billion. She braves wars in Syria and Sudan and epidemics in Haiti and throughout Africa to carry out her mission. — Sheree Crute