Can you suggest an inspiring leader?
August 1, 2012 11:34 AM   Subscribe

I need to find an inspiring leader. S/he does not have to be english speaking or from politics. Dead or alive. Please let me know why you find him/her so inspiring. If you have non-obvious links to/about the person, please post too. Thanks!!
posted by JiffyQ to Human Relations (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
There are many leaders from recent history who are inspiring because of the real difference and change that they made in ending various types of oppression -- Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, MLK, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela. This is a pretty broad and subjective question. Can you narrow it down or share how, specifically, you are using this list so that we can give more-targeted answers?
posted by Houstonian at 11:43 AM on August 1, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for your both comments. To answer your question, Houstonian, I'm searching for ordinary people who have accomplished extraordinary things. I prefer those inspiring leaders outside of the mainstream collective and would love to learn about leaders in science, sports, politics, art, etc in modern or ancient times. As for why, I want to feel the power of what can be accomplished and do so by a person that is not in the obvious "top ten leader" list.
Thank you.
posted by JiffyQ at 11:56 AM on August 1, 2012

Eve Ensler the creator of V-Day.
posted by alms at 12:00 PM on August 1, 2012

Lynn Hill, first person to free climb the Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite in 1993. The next year she went on to free climb it in one 24 hour period, a record that was not broken for over 10 years.
posted by ruhroh at 12:05 PM on August 1, 2012

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain - military leader, scholar and gentleman.
posted by jquinby at 12:17 PM on August 1, 2012

You might find some inspiration in this question from yesterday.
posted by rtha at 12:24 PM on August 1, 2012

As a handicapped person, I am a fan of Helen Keller. I am very fond of some of her quotes.

I also like the story of Josephine Baker. Along those lines, I find Tina Turner very inspiring.
posted by Michele in California at 12:27 PM on August 1, 2012

I prefer those inspiring leaders outside of the mainstream collective and would love to learn about leaders in science, sports, politics, art, etc in modern or ancient times.

I suppose they could have lead a very small group, but in general, if you're a "leader", you are, on some level, inside the "mainstream collective." Are you looking for an "inspiration" who was a loner, or an actual "leader", here?

There's Dennis Ritchie, the inventor of many of the technologies that our modern computing world are built on (C programming language, Unix), who got a lot of attention when he died around the same time as Steve Jobs, and it was pointed out that while Jobs was promoted as a modern magician, Ritchie was actually a giant of the field of Computer Science.

Pelayo, King of Asturias who in the 8th century won a small battle against one of the largest empires in the world, the Umayyad Caliphate (who regarded the loss as an unimportant skirmish), securing the independence of a small Christian kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula, which would form the basis for the Reconquista.

Being someone who's interested in Byzantine history, I got fixated on one of the Byzantine Empire's more obscure (and unpopular in his own time) emperors, Nikephoros I, who assumed power after being a an imperial finance minister and spent his relatively short reign engaging in massive financial and fiscal reforms which were both distinctly unsexy and somewhat unpopular but put the empire on a firmer financial and military footing in an unstable time when the empire was hemmed in by a lot of foreign enemies.
posted by deanc at 12:43 PM on August 1, 2012

Becky Robinson, co-founder and president of Alley Cat Allies, which was the first voice for Trap-Neuter-Return and is continually at the forefront of multifarious efforts to help improve the stray/feral problem. I mean, how can you even begin to address something so enormous and difficult? But ACA has kept at it, building on successes and trying new things year after year.
posted by jocelmeow at 12:47 PM on August 1, 2012

I've always found Theodore Roosevelt to be incredibly interesting.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:08 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

General Grant. Drummed out of the Army, failed at many businesses, began working under his younger brother at his father's tannery.

Then the Civil War broke out. He commanded the largest army ever known to that point, defeated his enemies, often by outlasting them and keeping his cool. He then became President of the United States.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:19 PM on August 1, 2012

I've always had a soft spot for Robert Moses, one of the main figures in the Freedom Summer project in 1964.

Then again, if we're looking at Mississippi in 1964, you have to look at Fannie Lou Hamer as well.
posted by RabbleRabble at 2:22 PM on August 1, 2012

Thomas Sankara.
posted by isogloss at 4:09 PM on August 1, 2012

One of my favorite leaders is Eugene Debs. He started out working on the railroad and became an international labor leader. He followed his conscience by opposing WW I and went to jail for it (and still ended up getting 3% of the vote in the 1920 presidential election).
posted by gteffertz at 7:39 PM on August 1, 2012

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