Published On: Thu, Apr 15th, 2021

Meet some of the world’s most influential but least-known entrepreneurs

The Kim Kardashians and Brad Pitts of the world see their own kind of fame as their faces become recognizable with their time on screens in people’s homes. But the less recognized — and almost as, if not just as, influential — are people who work behind the scenes. People like Teneo’s Declan Kelly, the Irish-American businessman and entrepreneur, Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer, and Carrie Hammer, founder of the fashion line by her name, are lesser-known, but have carved out a space for themselves in the business world and made a huge impact.

Teneo's Declan Kelly

Declan Kelly is the founder and CEO of Teneo, an international consulting company. He started his career as a journalist, but worked his way through management at different Irish communications companies, eventually founding his own business, Gallagher and Kelly Public Relations in 1999. He’s advised Hillary Clinton and done consulting for the most recognizable American companies, like Coca-Cola and Dell.

Anousheh Ansari broke a lot of records. The first self-funded woman to fly to the International Space Station, the first Muslim woman in space, and first Iranian in space, Ansari is co-founder and chairman of Prodea Systems, a technology company. Ansari’s family offered a $10 million award to the first NGO to send a reusable, manned spacecraft to space twice in two weeks.

Carrie Hammer turned her career as an executive in advertising sales into running a fashion company aimed at business attire for women. She launched the brand, named after her, in 2012 with the goal of empowering women. She was the first to include a model in a wheelchair during New York Fashion Week in 2014, setting off change in the world of fashion.

Would you recognize any of these people in public? Probably not. But they’ve influenced business and entrepreneurship in the U.S. in ways you probably don’t realize.