The Most Creative People in Business 2022

These 56 individuals are moving their entire industries forward, with ingenuity and purpose. What have they accomplished? Read on.

Photos: Stine Heilmann (Vestager); Emmanuelle Yang (Gagné); Elianel Clinton (N’Diaye-Mbaye); Adria Malcolm (Ozoma)

Photos: Stine Heilmann (Vestager); Emmanuelle Yang (Gagné); Elianel Clinton (N’Diaye-Mbaye); Adria Malcolm (Ozoma)

We at Fast Company have spent the past year searching for individuals across every sector of business who’ve done the impossible: They’ve accomplished something that’s both groundbreaking in their industries and meaningful to the wider world—and that’s already making an impact. You may not recognize their names yet—most were new to us as well—but we assure you that each is worth getting to know. We are impressed by what each one has managed to achieve, and very much inspired. We hope you will be too.

  1. Arooj Aftab
    For striking a chord with ancient poetry
    Arooj Aftab
    Singer, songwriter, composer
    READ MORE
  2. Luis Antonio
    For creating a video game that treats characters like real people
    Luis Antonio
    Creator, Twelve Minutes
    READ MORE
  3. Gina Asoudegan
    For giving hot dogs a higher purpose
    Gina Asoudegan
    VP of mission and regenerative agriculture, Applegate Farms
    READ MORE
  4. Asad Ayaz
    For marketing like a Jedi
    Asad Ayaz
    President of marketing, Walt Disney Studios
    READ MORE
  5. Bilal Baig
    For turning the idea of visibility inside out
    Bilal Baig
    Writer, actor, and producer
    READ MORE
  6. Maxine Bédat
    For (really) moving the needle
    Maxine Bédat
    Founder, the New Standard Institute
    READ MORE
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  8. Maria Elena Bottazzi
    For open-sourcing a COVID-19 vaccine for the rest of the world
    Maria Elena Bottazzi
    Codirector, Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine
    READ MORE
  9. Tom Burt
    For using the legal system to thwart the biggest cyberattacks
    Tom Burt
    Corporate VP for customer security and trust, Microsoft
    READ MORE
  10. Natalie Candrian
    For optimizing performance, stylishly
    Natalie Candrian
    Product creative director, Omorpho and Saysh
    READ MORE
  11. Ellis Carr
    For developing real estate developers
    Ellis Carr
    President and CEO, Capital Impact Partners
    READ MORE
  12. Sophia Dominguez
    For fostering the future of computing
    Sophia Dominguez
    Head of AR platform partnerships, Snap
    READ MORE
  13. Crystal Díaz
    For leading Puerto Rico’s fight to achieve food sovereignty
    Crystal Díaz
    Cofounder, PRoduce
    READ MORE
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  15. Jay Edelson
    For representing the people against Big Tech
    Jay Edelson
    Founder and CEO, Edelson PC
    READ MORE
  16. Josh Fabian
    For connecting gamers with pros in a way that everyone wins
    Josh Fabian
    Cofounder and CEO, Metafy
    READ MORE
  17. John John Florence
    For getting customers stoked with a community-led outdoors brand
    John John Florence
    Surfer; cofounder Florence Marine X
    READ MORE
  18. Jessica Lee Gagné
    For exposing the myth of work-life balance
    Jessica Lee Gagné
    Cinematographer
    READ MORE
  19. Norma Edith García-Gonzalez
    For turning L.A. County’s parks into tools for pandemic response and racial equity
    Norma Edith García-Gonzalez
    Director, Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation
    READ MORE
  20. Kingsley Gbadegesin
    For building a fashion brand where queerness leads
    Kingsley Gbadegesin
    Founder, K.ngsley
    READ MORE
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  22. Anai Green
    For devising a sun-powered solution
    Anai Green
    Founder and CEO, LumiWeave
    READ MORE
  23. Gustav Hasselskog
    For making electric boats fly
    Gustav Hasselskog
    CEO, Candela
    READ MORE
  24. Alison Heller
    For preventing fentanyl overdoses
    Alison Heller
    Founder, FentCheck
    READ MORE
  25. Peter Hotez
    For open-sourcing a COVID-19 vaccine for the rest of the world
    Peter Hotez
    Codirector, Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine
    READ MORE
  26. Michael R. Jackson
    For sending theatergoers for a one-of-a-kind loop
    Michael R. Jackson
    Playwright, composer, and lyricist
    READ MORE
  27. Josiah Johnson
    For dominating on NBA Twitter
    Josiah Johnson
    Writer
    READ MORE
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  29. Heba Kadry
    For lending an empathetic ear
    Heba Kadry
    Audio engineer
    READ MORE
  30. Jodi Kantor
    For teaching student journalists how to get to the truth
    Jodi Kantor
    Journalist and author
    READ MORE
  31. Jonas Kron
    For inserting a 'W' in ESG
    Jonas Kron
    Chief advocacy officer, Trillium Asset Management
    READ MORE
  32. Mike Lavitola
    For upgrading the convenience store
    Mike Lavitola
    Cofounder and CEO, Foxtrot
    READ MORE
  33. Diarrha N'Diaye-Mbaye
    For taking a natural approach to inclusive beauty
    Diarrha N'Diaye-Mbaye
    Founder and CEO, Ami Colé
    READ MORE
  34. Casey Neistat
    For pointing the camera at social media stardom
    Casey Neistat
    Director
    READ MORE
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  36. Toby Olié
    For pulling off an otherworldly puppetry challenge
    Toby Olié
    Puppetry designer and director, Spirited Away
    READ MORE
  37. Donnie Oliphant
    For lapping the competition
    Donnie Oliphant
    Senior director of XPS, Dell
    READ MORE
  38. Ifeoma Ozoma
    For protecting workers who speak out
    Ifeoma Ozoma
    Tech whistleblower and founder and principal, Earthseed
    READ MORE
  39. Whitney Pegden
    For meeting customers where they live
    Whitney Pegden
    VP and GM, InHome, Walmart
    READ MORE
  40. Gretchen Peters
    For blowing the lid off organized crime on social media
    Gretchen Peters
    Founding member, Alliance to Counter Crime Online
    READ MORE
  41. Sharon Prince
    For cleaning up construction
    Sharon Prince
    Founder and CEO, Grace Farms Foundation
    READ MORE
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  43. Liz Reid
    For shortening the search
    Liz Reid
    VP of Search, Google
    READ MORE
  44. Mark Rober
    For engineering a good time
    Mark Rober
    YouTube creator; owner, CrunchLabs
    READ MORE
  45. David Samad
    For giving the shipping industry a needed jolt
    David Samad
    Venture partners, Stillstrom, by Maersk
    READ MORE
  46. Kyla Scanlon
    For being the coolest econ nerd on the internet
    Kyla Scanlon
    Content creator
    READ MORE
  47. Dean Shold
    For preventing fentanyl overdoses
    Dean Shold
    Founder, FentCheck
    READ MORE
  48. Frank Simonetti
    For knowing where Gen Z lives
    Frank Simonetti
    Cofounder, Sweety High Media/Gem Street Music
    READ MORE
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  50. Christian Smalls
    For shifting the power at Amazon
    Christian Smalls
    President, Amazon Labor Union
    READ MORE
  51. Saket Soni
    For empowering workers on the front lines of climate change
    Saket Soni
    Cofounder and executive director, Resilience Force
    READ MORE
  52. Sebastian Klasterer Toft
    For giving the shipping industry a needed jolt
    Sebastian Klasterer Toft
    Venture partners, Stillstrom, by Maersk
    READ MORE
  53. Megan Twohey
    For teaching student journalists how to get to the truth
    Megan Twohey
    Journalist and author
    READ MORE
  54. Rob Van Varick
    For redesigning canes, walkers, and more for CVS
    Rob Van Varick
    Partner, Michael Graves Architecture & Design
    READ MORE
  55. Reynold Verret
    For minting more Black doctors
    Reynold Verret
    President, Xavier University of Louisiana
    READ MORE
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  57. Margrethe Vestager
    For finally putting limits on Big Tech
    Margrethe Vestager
    Executive vice-president of the European Commission for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age (Competition)
    READ MORE
  58. Pavel Vrzheshch
    For reinforcing bravery as Ukraine's brand
    Pavel Vrzheshch
    Cofounder and chief creative officer, Banda
    READ MORE
  59. Shanon Washington
    For steering brands through difficult conversations
    Shanon Washington
    SVP, executive creative director, R/GA
    READ MORE
  60. Timoni West
    For turning real locations into metaverses
    Timoni West
    Vice president, emerging tools, Unity
    READ MORE
  61. Molly White
    For puncturing the Web3 hype
    Molly White
    Creator, Web3 Is Going Just Great
    READ MORE
  62. Evelyn Wolff
    For placing senior citizens at the center of their urban communities
    Evelyn Wolff
    Executive director, Selfhelp Realty Group
    READ MORE
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  64. Veronica Zelle
    For knowing where Gen Z lives
    Veronica Zelle
    Cofounder, Sweety High Media/Gem Street Music
    READ MORE
  65. Amir Nizar Zuabi
    For humanizing the refugee crisis with a 12-foot-tall puppet
    Amir Nizar Zuabi
    Artistic director, The Walk
    READ MORE

Writers: Jeff Beer, Nate Berg, Jill Bernstein, Adam Bluestein, Gabe Boyd, Amy Farley, Yasmin Gagne, Devin Gordon, Amanda Grooms, Elise Hannum, Ainsley Harris, Mike Hofman, KC Ifeanyi, Elizabeth Johnson, Charissa Jones, David Lidsky, Connie Lin, Harry McCracken, Steven Melendez, Pavithra Mohan, Adele Peters, Rachel Raczka, Clint Rainey, Aimee Rawlins, David Salazar, Mark Sullivan, Kristin Toussaint, Talib Visram, Mark Wilson, Shelley Wolson, Amy Wong, Christopher Zara

Development: JJ Guaragno, Cayleigh Parrish

Design/Photo: Alice Alves, Lauren Bulbin, Jeanne Graves, Celine Grouard, Haewon Kye, Katie Orzeck, Eric Perry, Alex Pirani, Maja Saphir, Mike Schnaidt

Look back at the Most Creative People in Business 2021 and Most Creative People in Business 2020 lists.