“In three years I will transform my village. I don’t want money. I want people and organizations to adopt projects in my village as often projects fail owing to lack of a local connect and that is what I am here to provide by bridging that gap.”~ Chhavi Rajawat, Sarpanch (political leader) of Soda

Summary: Chhavi Rajawat abandoned her comfortable air-conditioned cubicle and moved to her village to empower her people. She has worked with multi-million dollar companies like The Times of India, Airtel, and Carlson Group of Hotels. She is a MBA degree holder and now the sarpanch (equivalent of a Mayor) of her village, Soda in Rajasthan, India. She was motivated to take on her grandfather’s legacy forward, who played the same role for 2 decades, and bring about positive change from grass-root level. Her efforts have won her a recognition by late former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and was also conferred as ‘Young Indian Leader’ by IBNLive.

Nationality: Indian

Industry: Politics & Activism

Q: What are some management initiatives of which you are the proudest? on forbes.com

A: I came here with almost nothing and I’ll always have a grateful heart toward America for the opportunities that it’s provided me. And I wanted to pay it forward. During the Great Recession of 2008, armed with strong cash flow from the privately-held company, my husband and I opened more stores and aimed to create 7,000 jobs within a year. At an annual prayer meeting with office employees, we announced plans to focus not only on sales and profit but on increasing jobs–a goal we successfully met.