8. Autumn Adkins, 37

Distinction: In 2009 Adkins became the first female and the first person of color to serve as president of Girard College, a historic Philadelphia boarding school for low-income students.

What do you hope to accomplish over the next ten years? I want Girard College to show the world it's possible to give inner-city children a private school education that prepares them to be leaders.

What drives you to succeed? My mom's favorite saying was, "If you're going to be a ditchdigger, you better be the best ditchdigger you can be." That pushes me.

Any bad habits? I wish I didn't love eating as much as I do. I don't believe it's dessert unless it's chocolate.

Do you have a mantra? "With privilege comes responsibility." Privilege is not just financial. It's about class, race, gender, education, and access. It's not necessarily something you've earned; it's bestowed upon you.

Fill in the blank: I wish I could... Draw and paint. I don't even doodle well.

People would be surprised to learn that... I cry every week when I watch The Biggest Loser. I also like Hell's Kitchen—Gordon Ramsay is a riot.

How would you like to be remembered? As someone who cared for children and did what I said I was going to do.

Designer: Ports 1961 By Tia Cibani

Next: Novelist Hannah Tinti


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