From the Editor

Fast Company - - Contents - STEPHANIE ME­HTA

An ex­er­cise in in­clu­sive­ness: how we chose this year’s

Most Cre­ative Peo­ple in Busi­ness.

One of the many in­sights Mary Kaye Schilling gleaned from spend­ing time with Reese Wither­spoon is that the award­win­ning ac­tress and pro­ducer likes to play a par­lor game with her fam­ily: They’ll watch tele­vi­sion, and Wither­spoon will pause the pro­gram­ming and ask her hus­band and kids to de­scribe what they just saw. They might of­fer an ob­ser­va­tion about the prod­uct or the char­ac­ters in an ad. Wither­spoon will note how many (or few) women were fea­tured.

Wither­spoon’s com­mit­ment to in­creas­ing the num­ber of women in prom­i­nent roles in Hollywood— on screen and be­hind the scenes—

pre­dates the rise of the Time’s Up move­ment, of which she is a leader. It is at the heart of Hello Sun­shine, her me­dia com­pany, which aims to tell women’s sto­ries across a va­ri­ety of plat­forms, and it has helped earn her the No. 11 spot on Fast Com­pany’s an­nual list of the Most Cre­ative Peo­ple in Busi­ness.

Oth­ers on the list share Wither­spoon’s pas­sion for sur­fac­ing un­der­rep­re­sented faces and nar­ra­tives, in­clud­ing Tonl’s Joshua Kissi (No. 64), whose stock photo com­pany fea­tures peo­ple of color in ev­ery­day sit­u­a­tions; au­thor Jason Reynolds

(No. 40), who writes young-adult fic­tion with African-amer­i­can teen pro­tag­o­nists; and Alma Har’el (No. 90), who formed a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion to in­crease the num­ber of fe­male di­rec­tors of com­mer­cials.

In­deed, this very list is an ex­er­cise in in­clu­sive­ness. Twelve of our Most Cre­atives are based out­side the United States, nearly a third are peo­ple of color, and 56 are women. For the first time, five teenagers— Jaclyn Corin, Emma González,

David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, and

Alex Wind—top the list, for do­ing more to change the con­ver­sa­tion on gun con­trol than pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions of ac­tivists. Our cover shoot fea­tured an al­most en­tirely fe­male crew, from our pho­tog­ra­phy di­rec­tor, Sarah Filippi, to leg­endary pho­tog­ra­pher Ellen von Un­werth, whose por­traits of Wither­spoon for Fast Com­pany have the feel of in­stant clas­sics.

None of this is by ac­ci­dent. My pre­de­ces­sor, Robert Safian, once told me that he would send early drafts of the Most Cre­ative Peo­ple list back to his edi­tors if half the nom­i­nees weren’t women. I was im­pressed and a lit­tle amazed: At the time, I’d spent my ca­reer at The Wall Street Jour­nal and For­tune, and de­spite my best ef­forts I’d never achieved that level of gen­der par­ity in the projects I’d edited.

It is my honor and priv­i­lege to con­tinue Bob’s work. In his 11 years as editor, he pushed Fast Com­pany to mir­ror the pas­sion, pur­pose, cre­ativ­ity, and in­no­va­tion of the com­pa­nies and lead­ers it cov­ers. Un­der his ten­ure, Fast Com­pany con­sis­tently found ways to sur­prise read­ers—fran­chises such as Most Cre­ative Peo­ple are burst­ing with char­ac­ters and ideas you won’t read about any­where else. (Editorial di­rec­tor Jill Bern­stein, who over­sees the Most Cre­ative pack­age, calls the list a trea­sure trove for re­cruiters look­ing for ground­break­ing tal­ent.)

I hope that you, as mem­bers of the Fast Com­pany cir­cle, will help us stay vi­tal and strong by telling us what you think of our jour­nal­ism. You can reach me at [email protected] fast­com­pany.com and on Twit­ter at @stephanieme­hta. Part of Fast Com­pany’s strength is that it’s not just a mag­a­zine and web­site; it’s a com­mu­nity.

Wither­spoon chats with Fast Com­pany’s di­rec­tor of video and partnerships, Shalini Sharma, on the set of the photo shoot in April.

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