Our Runners-Up for 2014 SUCCESS Achiever of the Year

UPDATED: September 30, 2015
PUBLISHED: February 9, 2015

A Model Citizen: 

Christy Turlington Burns

She has one of the most photographed faces in the world, and Christy Turlington Burns is using that fame to help some of the globe’s most underprivileged women.

After Burns delivered her first child, she suffered a terrifying hemorrhage. Luckily she had access to first-rate medical care and was soon back in good health. Then on a visit to her mother’s birthplace of El Salvador, Burns became aware of the plight of women who lacked access to good obstetric care. She discovered that the same problems existed all over the developing world: Every two seconds, a woman dies from complications of pregnancy or childbirth—and of these deaths, up to 98 percent are preventable.

Burns traveled the world to make a heralded documentary on the state of maternal health, No Woman, No Cry, which debuted in 2010. The same year, she founded Every Mother Counts, a nonprofit dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. She is a mother of two, is still a model at 46, has started two successful businesses… and she’s running marathons with 100 other women on Team Every Mother Counts. In the fall, this achiever conquered 26.2 miles of the Windy City in the Chicago  Marathon.

—Susan Kane


A Young, Powerful Voice: 

Malala Yousafzai

Last fall Malala Yousafzai, 17, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for—with her life in peril—supporting education for girls in her homeland. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel recipient, as the “pride of Pakistan.”

The acclaim follows years of activism. In 2008, after many Taliban attacks on girls’ schools in Pakistan, Yousafzai gave a speech critical of the fundamentalist Islamic militia for trying to “take away my basic right to education.” She later blogged about the oppression for the British Broadcasting Corp. and in 2011 received Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.

In October 2012, a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus and shot Yousafzai in the head. Her recovery included surgeries in Britain, where the activist now lives with her family. In 2013, the European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. And on Oct. 10, 2014, Yousafzai shared the $1.1 million Nobel Prize with India’s Kailash Satyarthi, 61, another children’s rights  advocate.

—Mary Vinnedge


Courageous in the Face of Danger

Brantly, Writebol

In July, during the height of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Kent Brantly, M.D., and nurse Nancy Writebol became the first Americans diagnosed with the deadly virus. The medical missionaries had volunteered to work in some of the most affected areas of Monrovia, Liberia, and were courageous even while their conditions  deteriorated.

“I don’t think I was being brave,” Writebol told NBC after her recovery. “Looking back, I just think it had to be the peace [from] the Lord. There was no fear.”

After being given the experimental drug ZMapp, Brantly and Writebol were airlifted to the United States and made full recoveries. Afterward Brantly continued to help medical efforts by donating his plasma to Americans who were later infected, including Dallas nurse Nina Pham.

—Jennifer Chang


Surge to the Mainstream

Spiegel, Snapchat 

In 2011 three Stanford University students created the next big thing in social media when they developed and launched Snapchat, an app that allows users to send photos and videos to friends, “snaps” that in a matter of seconds are deleted from the receiver’s device and the company’s servers.

The free app has grown exponentially from early 2012, when it claimed 20,000 users, to 2014, when more than 100 million users shared some 700 million snaps daily.

Perhaps most impressive of all, Snapchat’s 24-year-old CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel has shown the utmost confidence in his app’s potential for growth. In late 2013, he turned down a reported $3 billion offer for the app from Facebook. Good call: Snapchat is now valued at $10 billion following 2014 upgrades that integrated a lucrative advertising model.

—Jesus Jimenez


Forgot About Dre?

He’s Better Than Ever

The prodigious rapper and music producer Dr. Dre rose to heights previously untouched in entertainment when his entrepreneurial venture, Beats Electronics (co-founded with Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine), sold to Apple for $3 billion in May 2014, making it the largest purchase ever for the tech giant. The Beats by Dre headphones and earbuds line launched in 2008 and built a massive following thanks to its co-founder’s music industry cachet and cool factor.

The deal made Dr. Dre—real name Andre Young, who turns 50 on Feb. 18—the highest-earning entertainer ever for a single year, as valued by Forbes. After taxes, his net worth is believed to have settled around the $800 million mark—not bad for a guy straight outta Compton.

—Josh Ellis

See the nominees for last year’s SUCCESS Achiever of the Year. 

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