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30 Visionary Leaders in 2023

30 Visionary Leaders in 2023

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Last updated:
Feb 23, 2023
5 min read
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Article Summary

Shifting the leaders of change & people to the epicenter of business strategy in 2023

The most important asset for any business in 2023 is their leader. But it’s not a leader who simply implements cutting-edge innovation to enhance business revenue. It’s the visionary leaders who know how to use their most valuable business asset to drive sustainable growth and change – the people.  

The Thirst for New Growth

In the State of Skills Report, one trend is clear: while every business grapples with economic disruption, the real growth killers are; skill gaps, skills-based hiring and scalable upskilling solutions to develop and retain talent in volatile markets.  

With these growth killers plaguing organizations, every business is implementing change to find new growth and profit. What differs, however, is how each business triggers this change.

For some, their financial resources are invested into automation such as risk forecasting to determine their long-term strategy. But when automation is flawed, people are the first to feel the harsh consequence as business leaders scramble to protect revenue. This was exemplified with mass layoffs in the technology industry as market growth predictions undermined over-hiring initiatives.  

In 2023, the pressure is piling on businesses to trigger sustainable change that generates fresh growth and profits in a tight market. Meaning that harnessing the power of transformation and people centric leaders who can achieve this are key.

What do top leaders prioritize to transform a business into an agile, responsive and successful organization in 2023? They focus on combining two things.

Number One: Change

The golden business leaders prioritize change and transformation to adapt to new economic realities. They will take ownership of optimizing systems and resources to ensure global companies remain competitive in 2023.

This change, however, is sustainable. The ability to drive change this year means delivering on a global scale to clients, advancing innovation and accelerating productivity without compromising people or systems. With this in mind, these leaders cement themselves at the epicenter of business strategy by optimizing company structures such as supply chains and internal organizations to guide their business through change in 2023.

Number Two: People

With more businesses dependent on leaders to manage their growth during a turbulent year, golden leaders know how to optimize people to secure stability and manage risk. They will put the right systems and support in place to nurture agile, customer centric, and adaptive talent to remain steady when the business space shakes.

Some leaders may have the resources to implement widespread automated processes to drive rapid change in the workplace. But sustainable change occurs when you enable your people. After all, they are the core of your business DNA regardless of new technologies businesses adopt.

That doesn’t mean businesses should focus on people optimization in isolation of innovation. The companies winning the race to find new growth and revenue in 2023 will have leaders in place who harness the potential of technology and people to accelerate change and transformation.

30 Leaders of People & Change to reckon with in 2023

We’re celebrating 30 leaders of people and change  to show why they are at the epicenter of business strategy this year. No matter the continent or industry, each leader we’ve identified harnesses the capabilities of technology and people to catalyze transformation and new business growth. From Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives to utilizing innovation to boost talent performance, they accelerate business impact to create lasting change in 2023 and beyond.

Here’s Lepaya’s 30 Leaders to reckon with in 2023.

Sjoerd Cooijmans  

HR Director Continental Europe and Global Research Markets at RELX

With more than 20 years experience at Relx as a senior HR figure, Sjoerd specializes in the impact of hybrid working on talent, including career growth, talent retention and engagement. He promotes the increasingly important role of the people manager in a hybrid environment and how to properly support talent with technology and learning. 

Teemu Lilija 

Group Learning Culture & Community Lead at Telia 

Teemu specializes in talent and leadership development within sales to connect learning to business impact.  Teemu strategically maps the challenges of the business and talent performance with digital tools to develop change initiatives in cross-functional teams.

Michele Romanow 

CEO of Clearco

Michele helps global entrepreneurs from disadvantaged social and ethnic backgrounds to grow their business. Her company has invested over $3.2B in more than 7,000 different companies across 10 countries. She has also backed 25x more women than the VC industry average, including founders in all 50 states in America by using AI to make investment decisions. 

Nikki Isaac
Global Head of Learning & Development at Asos 

Nikki is a leadership, learning and talent specialist. She has played a key role in talent development, engagement and diversity in Asia as the former head of Avast. During this time, Nikkie helped the world’s fastest growing economy in China to partner business goals with retaining and developing talent.  

Caroline Tervoort-Visser 

Chief People Officer bij KPMG

Caroline invests in the resilience and potential of people to trigger organizational growth and versatility. She is passionate about helping organizations to translate strategy and complex business issues into practical solutions through organizational design, process optimization, behavioral change, talent identification and leadership development.

Joanny Lijbers

Unilever Head of HR Benelux & Nutrition Europe 

Joanny is a people-oriented leader with a strong passion for digital innovation to impact both consumers and colleagues. With 15+ years of experience in building and innovating brands and workplaces, Joanny is the current lead of HR and digital transformation at Unilever, tasked with driving their growth strategy in the Benelux markets. 

Simona Vidova 

CEE Learning Innovations Senior Consultant at PwC Czech Republic 

Simona applies the latest learning technologies to design L&D frameworks, including artificial intelligence, metaverse, microlearning and coding. Her digital and learner-centered solutions have had a transformative impact on the CEE (Central Eastern Europe) learning community. 

Theodora Lau

Found of Unconventional Ventures 

Theodora sparks innovation for the benefits of the forgotten demographics to create a more inclusive society. She is the founder of Unconventional Ventures, which focuses on growing an ecosystem of financial institutions, corporations, startups, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to benefit underrepresented founders.

Diederik Heinink 

Director of Marketing & Communication at DIF Capital Partners

With 20+ years experience in the EMEA, APAC and US region as a changemaker,  Diederik successfully positioned global businesses and leadership profiles across different sectors. As an example, at ING he played a key role in positioning the bank globally as an innovation and technology frontrunner.

Jan Rijken

Adjunct Professor IE University 

Jan has transformed corporate academies, implemented digital learning strategies and shaped talent management in more than 47 countries. Now Jan co-facilitates the Global Master program Learning & Development Leadership: the first global fully-hybrid development programs for the next generation of talent leaders.

Sam Jamieson 

Talent Development Leader at GBG plc

Sam specializes in designing learning and talent development programmes that create inclusive and engaging environments to solve business challenges. Her strengths lie in aligning learning investments with business strategy and working with stakeholders to deliver sustainable changes in talent behavior.

Simon Gibson 

Global Head of Learning & Development at Marks and Spencers

Simon delivers meaningful commercial solutions to transform businesses via L&D initiatives. Simon has executed these learning solutions in different sectors and economic climates, from start-ups to multinational corporations in fields such as Finance, I.T., Sales, SaS, Solar Energy, Media & Digital and Retail.

Claire Thomas 

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Hitachi Vantara 

Claire implements strategies for diversity, equity and inclusion across Hitachi Vantara. Calire’s global leadership role operates across all business functions to understand the current DEI landscape. And after two maternity leaves, Claire is passionate about supporting working parents to have a fulfilling career alongside their parenting journey.

Lavinia Mehedințu
Co-founder at Offbeat

In the past decade Lavinia has worked with start-ups and scale-ups to engage, retain and help employees perform better. She has specialized in recruitment, leadership development, and career development initiatives. Now as the co-founder of Offbeat, she is acquiring new learning technologies and looking closely at measuring the L&D impact. 

Anne Boden 

CEO Starling Bank

Anne is a rarity in the banking industry. As a female CEO, her personal story is inspiring to many women looking to change expectations in male-domaintred industries.  Anne launched Starling Bank to offer people a fairer, smarter and more human alternative to banking with world-class technology.

Anna Ott 

VP of People at HV Capital 

Anna Ott is responsible for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at HV Capital, one of the leading venture capital funds in Europe backing technology and internet companies. She has more than two decades of experience in HR and has dedicated her people expertise to helping European start-ups. 

Marc Coleman


Marc is revolutionizing the HR industry through communities, technology and Ai. Marc creates dynamicevent experiences to form people connections, valuable partnerships and lifelong learning. With his unique blend of human insight and event expertise, Marc's ambition is to shape the future of work for the greater good.

Doreen Cooper 

International Trainer for Communication & Self-Development

Voted as HR influencer of the year and as the most influential Filipona woman on Linkedin in 2022, Doreen has built a successful career in L&D. Doreen is highly skilled in communication skills, training delivery, employee training, talent recruitment, and project coordination to help global businesses in Southeast Asia. 

Ross Seychell 

Chief People Officer at Personio 

Ross is a business leader with a focus on how people and culture enables companies to achieve their mission. Ross has accumulated 20+ years experience in the delivery of highly commercial and impactful people strategies - skills and leadership development and workforce planning - that add value to global organizations. 

Charlotte Eaton 

Chief People Officer at OVO 

Charlotte has implemented HR solutions internationally in sectors such as banking, FMCG and technology to drive change and transformation. Now at Personio she supports the CEO and senior leadership team, ensuring that employees are engaged in their work and grow their careers. 

Jodie Soussan 

Managing Director of Europe at Allbirds 

Allbirds recognizes that diversity makes more competitive, innovative, and successful teams and therefore, appointed Jodie to lead their commercial strategy in Europe. Jodie has a strong track record of achieving brand transformation and growth at Canterbury and Mitre, having led her teams through change to deliver break-through results.

Carola Boer

Director of People & Organization Development at

Carola is committed to bringing the best out of people to support organizations’ growth. Carola leverages talent job satisfaction, engagement and development to help  organizations attract and retain talent. Developing people in her eyes is as important as any other tool a company has to realize a strategy for sustainable success.

Juan Domínguez

Head of Latin America at True Search 

Juan has two decades experience of learning and leading HR and organizations’ teams in different countries and industries.  Recognized as one of the top CHROs in Mexico, Juan’s work is motivated to help the welfare and dignity of people at organizations. He believes that by putting people at the center of corporate development, businesses achieve sustainable growth.

Wendy Van Ierschot

CEO of VIE People 

Wendy is dedicated to developing people and technology to build high performance cultures at companies. Wendy’s business, VIE People, is the HR partner for innovative companies that have the ambition to grow. Their people technology leverages businesses’ organizational design and talent attraction. 

Guido Bosbach

CEO of ZUKUNFTheute 

Guido is an expert in management design, leadership development and organizational structures. He helps businesses to tackle sustainable change in small and targeted steps to prepare for the future. Guido uses his expertise in digitization and workforce agility to execute transformation topics and improve talent performance. 

Brigette Hyacinth

Keynote Speaker on Leadership, HR, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation

Brigette is an internationally recognized influencer, having shared her expertise in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For over 15 years, she has been advising global CEOs, entrepreneurs, governments and leaders on how to build innovative organizations, unlock creative potential, and increase productivity.

Maggie Xin Sun

Global HR Expert & Management Trainer at Lepaya 

Maggie is Senior HR Leader in the management and consulting industry. Maggie brings cutting edge advantage to businesses in leadership development, workforce planning and change management in the USA and Asia. Her HR initiatives across these regions are a source of innovation and change for businesses and their  people.

​​Stephane Crosnier 

UK & Ireland Managing Director at Accenture

Stephane advocates that the next stage for supply chain managers is sustainability, continuing profitability and ensuring human working rights are upheld throughout the value chain. Stephane helps clients create enduring change by reimagining tomorrow’s supply networks to positively impact business, society and the planet. 

Ellyn Shook  

CHRO at Accenture 

Ellyn Shook is responsible for fueling Accenture’s purpose: to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity. Her global team of HR leaders is re-imagining leadership and talent practices to lead large-scale talent and culture change for clients. 

Donald H Taylor 

Chair at Learning Technologies Conference 

Donald is an influential writer and researcher in adult learning, skills and technology as seen with the annual production of the L&D Global Sentiment Survey since 2014. Donald has chaired the Learning Technologies Conference since 2000 and focuses on bringing together people and ideas to network at learning events.

Leading the Race for new Growth & Revenue    

Businesses that have leaders who drive sustainable change using people and technology will be the industry leaders in 2023. 

These 30 leaders source new growth and revenue streams for their organizations in 2023. For each chosen leader, we see the meaningful change that their capabilities bring to businesses and people. Their vision supports global companies to adapt to new economic and technological realities, driving strategies in 2023 that are concentrated on digital and people transformation.  

These strategies treat technology and people, not as isolated subjects but as a unified approach  to build competitive businesses and talent. These leaders have the vision to switch business strategy from innovation-dependent to people-orientated to yield optimal business results.  

They are the leaders at the epicenter of business strategy and are to be reckoned with in 2023.

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