President and CEO, NAACP
The NAACP was losing money, members, and clout when Benjamin Jealous became president in 2008.
“The association took a gamble when it hired a young community organizer to lead it,” he says. The gamble paid off. Jealous has increased membership and revenues by 10 percent each year. And when President Obama—another past community organizer—invited progressives to the White House, Jealous had a seat at the table. He played an important role in Obama’s reelection, focusing staff on upping voter registration among minorities and beating back laws he saw as designed to suppress the vote. No doubt that seat at Obama’s table remains open to him.