Inspiring Future Innovators: 5 CEOs Share Their Thoughts

FedEx Young Innovators and other leaders share what mentoring means to them.

In producing The Access FYI: FedEx Young Innovators List and other recent stories, the FedEx team couldn’t help but notice a common thread: Most Young Innovators — no matter how busy they are — make mentoring a top priority. Here’s what a few of them have to say about connecting with the next generation of innovators.

photo of Simon Borrero, Rappi

Simon Borrero, CEO and co-founder, Rappi

“Things today are very different than they were 20 years ago. When our parents were young, they were educated with the concept that if they studied and if they had a degree, they would be able to find a job and earn enough money to be a happy person. Today, that is not a certainty, because today the companies that want to thrive in the market are not looking for an average employee. They are looking for innovators and entrepreneurs who can break boundaries. That is why we need to invest in and inspire our generation and future generations so they can learn how to become creators and gather the tools they need to do so — instead of only knowing how to follow orders. For the children of tomorrow to survive, they must know how to think outside the box.”

photo of Kathryn Finney, digitalundivided

Kathryn Finney, CEO, managing director and founder, digitalundivided

“If our greatest asset is our children, then mentoring is an investment in our future.”

photo of Alyse Nelson, Vital Voices

Alyse Nelson, co-founder, president and CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership

“Mentors aren’t always cheerleaders — but they’re always in your corner. My best mentors have told me things I don’t want to hear, but I’m a better leader as a result. At Vital Voices, we’ve found that mentorship is critical to catalyzing future leadership and spurring economic growth. Every woman has something to offer as a mentor, and every woman has something to learn as a mentee. If we can harness the power and potential of women who are committed to sharing knowledge, skills and access, then we can accelerate women’s leadership globally.”

photo of Simone Braunstein, Paradox Robotics

Simone Braunstein, CEO, Paradox Robotics; freshman, Harvard University

“I did a lot of work in high school with an organization called Black Girls Code, which provides young black women with the resources and support to get involved in STEM. It was really important to me to be a part of an organization that introduces young girls to STEM early so they have the confidence and experience to speak on a topic and stand up for their thoughts on team projects, and to code their own websites and design their own products. That’s why supporting programs like Black Girls Code so that other young girls can have that same opportunity is really important to me. I still have very far to go in terms of being a real mentor, but it’s been rewarding to be able to encourage people to get involved in what they’re passionate about, especially at a young age.”

photo of Uma Valeti, Memphis Meats

Uma Valeti, M.D., CEO and co-founder, Memphis Meats

“Mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and change-makers is crucial to the prosperity of the entire world.”

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  • How has a mentor made a difference for you?

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