The Compassionate Leaders Circle Awards
Every year we honor a select group of individuals who embody compassionate leadership.
The world faces unprecedented global challenges. Compassion at work and in our communities is key to human thriving and continued progress in facing and addressing those challenges.
Leadership insights from the 2022 Honorees
From staying Civil in the face of harassment to getting Curious about the potential of cruelty-free meat... the 2022 Honorees share leadership insights and advice based on the 7 C's of Compassionate Leadership.
New Delhi, India
Compassionate: Use influence to prevent and alleviate the suffering of others.
Our first honoree is the compassionate and cheerful, Kirtipriya, a high schooler at The Army Public School Dhaula Kuan. She participated in the first Learn with Leaders' Take the World Forward Fellowship, which empowered her to develop a product called Devann that combats malnutrition. Learn with Leaders is a borderless education platform for teens to build their dreams from the inside out. Her research included visiting slums nearby which showed her the pandemic had worsened food security for many. Devann is a nutritionally balanced instant porridge-like product inspired by her ethnicity. With an exploratory grant from MIT Solv[ED] she is perfecting the formula, and ultimately aspires to help create a healthcare system accessible and inclusive to everyone. She is an excellent model representative of the next generation of compassionate leaders and we want to give her and her parents special recognition for staying up so late to be with us live today.
COO, US Venues, Top Golf Entertainment Group
Dallas, Texas, US
Confident: Believe in their visions and themselves.
Congratulations to our next honoree, Genifer (Gen) Gray, Chief Operating Officer U.S. Venues for Topgolf Entertainment Group, where she confidently inspires her team of over 20,000 every day. Gen is a talented communicator who uses a balance of storytelling, strength, and humility to create positive change. Like many leaders in hospitality and entertainment, she was tested during the pandemic, and at one point, all her US venues were closed. A clear vision to get her team back to work and her customers back to play drove her forward. She worked tirelessly with each local government across the US to show them how each Topgolf could reopen and operate safely. Miraculously, she and her team got every location open and brought all employees who wanted to work back to work over four months. She is passionate about Top Golf's commitment to inclusivity and enjoys supporting other organizations like Make-A-Wish® and Habitat for Humanity.
Deborah Sass and Thomas Reemer
Founding Partners and Co-CEOs Space Hero
Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain and Müncheberg, Germany
Collaborative: Empower all stakeholders to use their strengths and be leaders.
Deborah Sass and Thomas Reemer are Co-CEOS at Space Hero, democratizing space training and travel. Space Hero is the world's first-ever global competition series where contestants compete for a $55-million, 10-day trip to Space, the biggest prize ever awarded on TV. The competition for this once-in-a-lifetime journey will be open to anyone over 18 who speaks English, and the pre-registration process is now available. Deborah is a seasoned entertainment industry executive and has recently joined the World Economic Forum Global Space Council. Thomas is a leader in the information technology and media industries with over 25 years of experience. Their exciting venture is a case study of how co-leadership can be highly effective and how creative collaboration can change the world. Congratulations, Deborah and Thomas, and we will all look forward to watching your first season in 2023!
Catherine Togba Woyee
Founder of Black Parent Magazine, The National Black Youth Summit, and After School AI
Durham, NC, US
Contemplative: Take time to pause and deeply reflect, emerging wiser and more self-compassionate.
Catherine Togba Woyee is a contemplative leader who grew up in Liberia, West Africa, and the United States. Her ventures are deeply rooted in humanitarianism and ensure that marginalized communities, particularly black and brown children, have equal opportunities. As a very busy community organizer and serial entrepreneur, she has created Black Parent Magazine, The National Black Youth Summit, and After School AI. Her personal approach to contemplation involves walking, her phone, and Slack. She walks at least 25 minutes a day to connect to intuition, and her system communicates her light bulb moments to her team in real-time. One of her best ideas came during the pandemic when she pondered how to help her local teens who lost their after-school activities. She invested her stimulus check to launch After School AI, a program that introduces underrepresented youth in grades 6–12 to Artificial Intelligence through a project-based approach, hands-on learning, and civic engagement. You can honor Catherine for her work in global and local communities by making a donation of any amount at afterschoolai.org.
Founder, Author, and Speaker, Empowering Differences
Apollo, FL, US
Civil: Demonstrate respect when confronted with differing points of view and other challenges.
Ashley T Brundage started her career in empowering differences to survive discrimination and instead of becoming bitter, she got busy using civility as a path to power. While fighting harassment and homelessness, she found employment as a part-time associate and then rose to national VP of Diversity and Inclusion at a large financial services organization in less than five years. She captured this unique career development process in her new award-winning book and online course called Empowering Differences. Ashley's approach to culture change in organizations and communities starts with how we are ALL different, some seen and some unseen. If we follow her example of civility, these differences can be a foundation for courageous and civil conversations. Thank you, Ashley, for giving us a roadmap for understanding and addressing bias through your beautiful life and work.
CEO & Co-Founder of Eat Just, Inc
San Francisco, CA, US
Curious: Learn and listen proactively.
Josh Tetrick is the immensely curious CEO & Co-Founder of Eat Just, Inc., a food technology company with a mission to build a healthier, safer, and more sustainable food system in our lifetimes. His impressive background speaks to his passions for learning, teaching, and making the world better. Before founding Eat Just, Josh led a United Nations business initiative in Kenya and worked for former President Clinton and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. As Fulbright Scholar, Tetrick taught schoolchildren in Nigeria and South Africa and is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Michigan Law School. The company's expertise is powered by a world-class team of scientists and chefs spanning more than a dozen research disciplines. Eat Just created America's fastest-growing egg brand, which is made entirely of plants, and the world's first-to-market meat made from animal cells instead of slaughtered livestock. We are grateful to Josh for following his curiosity to an innovative path that is more just for animals, people, and the planet.
Advisor, Author, and Executive Coach
Courageous: Advocate strongly for themselves, their values, and their stakeholders.
Laila Tarraf is a courageous senior human resource executive with over 25 years of professional experience advocating for workers at innovative large companies. After graduating with her MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, she served as the Chief People Officer at Walmart.com, Peet's Coffee and Tea, and Allbirds. Currently, Laila is a sought-after speaker, human capital advisor, and executive coach to several private equity and venture-backed companies. She is the author of Strong Like Water which tells the story of how she became a more integrated and compassionate leader. The book is raw, real, and revelatory. Strong Like Water should be required reading for all current and future leaders who want to become more courageous themselves.