Earlier this week, Forbes released their highly-anticipated 30 under 30 for this year. The 20 categories, ranging from food and drink to retail and e-commerce to media were chock full of celebrities and rising stars. Of course, we here at Empire Life are big on acknowledging those who need even more recognition in our eyes. We’ve compiled a list of those people who we found to be super interesting and just know that this is only the beginning for them.
Quinta Brunson, 27
DEVELOPMENT PARTNER, BUZZFEED
The writer, director and actor got her start–how else–with a viral Instagram series about “The Girl Who’s Never Been on a Nice Date.” The clip helped earn her a gig at Buzzfeed in 2014, where she went on to become a development partner. Last year, she created three shows and sold two, including “Broke,” to YouTube Red.
LaKeith Stanfield, 25
California native scored a breakout role alongside Oscar winner Brie Larson in 2013’s “Short Term 12” before hitting the mainstream in “Atlanta.” Stanfield co-stars with 30 Under 30 alum Donald Glover as his best friend, Darius, in the critically-acclaimed FX series. Next up: a part opposite Brad Pitt in “War Machine.
Skyler Grey, 16
Los Angeles high schooler Grey was in his first art show at age 11. Now represented by Miami’s Avant Gallery, he has painted murals at the Four Seasons in Dubai and outside the Cipriani building in Abu Dhabi. His work, in silkscreen, paint, and acrylic marker, riffs on cartoon figures and luxury brands, like a limber Popeye and Olive Oil forming the interlocking Cs in the Channel logo.
Ann Mathews, 28
VICE PRESIDENT, GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP
Top-performing salesperson on equities derivatives desk, working with the biggest macro hedge funds. Born in Kenya and raised in Queens after parents granted U.S. asylum
Jamila Burley, 28
NATIONAL DEPUTY MILLENNIAL VOTE DIRECTOR, HILLARY FOR AMERICA
Most recently, Burley served as National Deputy Millennial Vote Director on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. By the age of 15, Burley had witnessed the incarceration of all 10 of her older brothers as well as both of her parents. The first of her 16 siblings to graduate from high school and college, she served under Mayor Michael Nutter as the youngest executive director in Philadelphia’s history, overseeing the Philadelphia Youth Commission and millennial-focused policies.
Sophie Ash, 28
PROJECT MANAGER, PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT
After graduating from New York University with a BFA in Recorded Music, Ash parlayed jobs at Def Jam and Translation into a project manager gig at Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment. There, she helped launch her boss’s sixth No. 1 album, “Lemonade,” and her Formation World Tour, which has grossed over a quarter of a billion dollars.
La Mar Taylor, 26
CREATIVE DIRECTOR, THE WEEKND
As creative director for The Weeknd–the 30 Under 30 alum who raked in $55 million last year–Taylor crafts the pop star’s elaborate stage sets viewed by hundreds of thousands on his most recent international tour.
Muhga Eltigani, 25 & Sam Roberts, 26
COFOUNDERS, NATURALL CLUB
Eltigani decided to forego law school to work full-time with cofounder Roberts on their startup NaturAll Club, a subscription e-commerce company with hair products geared towards women of color or those with curlier hair types. The company is fully bootstrapped, with Eltigani investing $18,000 of personal savings. The two source ingredients from Ghana and Malaysia.
Jacob Allen, 28 & Marie Dandle, 27
COFOUNDERS, PILOTED SCHOOLS
PilotED teaches students of color from Chicago to “develop strong identities as black and brown scholars.” Launched in 2013 as an after-school program, pilotED reports excellent results: a 93% high school graduation rate, 88% reduction in suspensions and 28% increase in attendance. Both Allen, the first youth president for the NAACP in Wisconsin, and founding principal Dandie are Chicago TFA alumni. pilotED will launch as nation’s first “identity-based” charter school for K-8 students in September 2017.
Rhonesha Byng, 27
FOUNDER, HER AGENDA
Byng is founder and CEO of Her Agenda, a digital media platform for millennial women. Byng won an Emmy award as part of team breaking news coverage for while she was a field producer with NBC New York, and has also received awards from the Associated Press and other organizations.
Sixto Cancel, 24
CEO, THINK OF US
Think of Us is a web and mobile life-coaching platform that helps foster youth navigate their transition to adulthood. The platform is like an Asana or Trello for foster youth, and it ensures that they are aware of all of the steps they have to take to navigate the foster-care system and that they are prepared to live independently after they turn 18 and are on their own.
Mario Jovan Shaw, 27 & Jason Terrell, 26
COFOUNDERS, PROFOUND GENTLEMEN
Terrell and Shaw met as roommates in 2012 while doing Teach For America and came up with the idea to cultivate mentorship opportunities for black men, from “cradle to career.” Profound Gentlemen works to provide career support for the teachers while also developing mentorship opportunities for their students, young boys of color.
Nneka Ogwumike, 26
POWER FORWARD, LOS ANGELES SPARKS
Ogwumike became a WNBA Champion and the MVP in 2016, was the Rookie of the Year in 2012, is a three-time All-Star, and is a two-time All-Defensive First Team honoree. She has a partnership deal with Nike.
Who was your favorite 2017 honoree? Tell us below!