5 of Today’s Most Inspiring CEOs [LIST]

These days, chief executive officers need to do more than just succeed in business - they’ve gotta be inspirational.


Blake Mycoskie.

(Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com) 

The CEOs on this list have graced the pages of Forbes and Fortune and have often been in the limelight for their successful business ventures. Their intelligence and savvy approach to business have landed them as the heads of powerful and prestigious companies  - with a good number building their corporations from the ground up. Armed with a responsibility to their customers and shareholders, these five CEOs have prospered financially while also giving back to the community and their employees. Learn more about the leaders behind some of your favorite brands and how they function as chief inspirational officer as well as chief executive officer.


It all started in 1978, when Mackey opened a little vegetarian food store in Austin, Texas. The idea for that store has now blossomed into a major natural and organic food retailer in the United States, Canada and the UK.
OUT AND BEYOND: Mackey is dedicated to offering quality and vetted products from animal and seafood to cleaning products that undergo rigorous standards. In the spirit of transparency, by 2018 Whole Foods will label all food products that contain GMO (genetically modified organisms). In 2006 Mackey informed all this employees that he was reducing his salary to $1 a year and would donate his stock portfolio to charity, in addition to setting up a $100,000 emergency fund for Whole Food workers facing personal problems.


Becoming CEO in February 2014, Marcario is putting her own mark on Patagonia, while maintaining the well established company’s values. Dedicated to reducing its environmental footprint on the planet, Patagonia made headlines when it put out an ambitious ad telling people to not buy their products in an effort to minimize waste.
OUT AND BEYOND: The outdoor apparel company offers customers resources on how to repair and recycle any item, in addition to buying back worn Patgonia products that become reused and repurposed into new goods. Under Marcario’s leadership, the green-loving company has branched into food with Patagonia Provisions, which aims to build a healthier and more sustainable food chain by addressing specific environmental issues.


Mycoskie is the brains behind the One for One business model, which helps a person in need with every product purchased. The buy-one give-one way of doing business has inspired such Goodnet favorites as eyewear from Warby Parker, toothbrushes from Bogo Brush and homes from the World Housing Project.   
OUT AND BEYOND: It started with shoes, and now TOMS has branched into the world of eyewear and coffee. The newest venture TOMS Roasting Company provides one week of clean water to a person in need for every bag of coffee purchased.


At 40 years old, Hsieh heads up the massively successful online shoe and clothing shop Zappos, which has a reputation for attentive customer service.
OUT AND BEYOND: Hsieh spearheads the Downtown Project - an initiative to revitalize the downtown area of Las Vegas into a community-focused city. With a budget of $350 million, the Downtown Project is investing in real estate development, education, tech startups and small businesses , inserting inspiration, creativity and innovation into creating a bustling urban community.


Starting out as an assistant buyer at Saks, Meyrowitz in 2007 took over the retail brands TJ Maxx, Home Goods and Marshalls. The CEO is focused on providing low-cost options to shoppers looking for great deals on clothes and housewares.
OUT AND BEYOND: TJX has upped their environmental commitment by participating with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) 2014 Climate Change Information Request which resulted in TJX receiving a score of 98 out of 100 for their green practices. Community giving is also part of the TJX agenda with the TJX Foundation at the helm inviting nonprofits to apply for grants. Meyerowitz herself was recognized in 2004 for her philanthropic efforts when she was voted Woman of the Year by the Needlers’ Foundation.