The Maker’s List also celebrates disabled leaders and disability awareness advocates whose activism has transformed societal perspectives on disability
UNIONDALE, N.Y., Oct. 5, 2021 Marquis Who’s Who (MWW), the world’s leading biographical publisher, is proud to announce the honorees selected for its October Maker’s List, celebrating Arts, Culture, Sports and Entertainment Moguls. The Maker’s Lists are directed by Erica Lee, CEO of MWW. These lists aim to recognize both established and emerging leaders in their respective fields.
“While our Arts, Culture, Sports and Entertainment Moguls’ list is comprised of many esteemed and identifiable names, it is our Disabled Leaders and Disability Activists’ list that I would like to call special attention to,” said Erica Lee, CEO of MWW. “These are incredible individuals who are achieving, inspiring and innovating against all odds. They are each committed to empowering others, ensuring the availability of equitable services, and promoting inclusivity.” Lee continued, “It is my hope that one day the honorees on this list will be as recognizable as those on the Moguls’ list.”
The MWW Maker’s List series began in January 2021 with Thought Leaders and progressed to include African American Catalysts for Change, Women Luminaries, Business and Finance Leaders, Influencers in STEM and AAPI, LGBTQ+ Catalysts for Change, Attorneys, Activists and Agents of Change, and Latin American Leaders. MWW Maker’s Lists are curated by a selection committee to bring into focus outstanding thought leaders and change-makers across industries. Members of the selection committee hail from diverse professional backgrounds in publishing, entertainment, law, business, journalism, marketing, graphic design, public relations and print media.
The Arts, Culture, Sports and Entertainment Moguls list includes:
Andrea Gibson: Gibson is an American poet whose written works focus on contemporary issues related to gender norms, LGBTQ+ adversity and equity, and societal and political reform. After moving to Boulder, Colorado, in 1999, Gibson attended an open-mic event, which inspired them to pursue spoken word poetry. Since establishing themselves as a spoken word artist, Gibson became a four-time Denver Grand Slam Champion and, in 2008, became the very first poet to win the Women of the World Poetry Slam in Detroit. Alongside their poetic endeavors, Gibson is a vocal feminist and social activist, having performed for 20 years with Vox Feminista. Gibson recently published their book, “You Better Be Lightning” in 2021.
Lady Gaga: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, more widely known as Lady Gaga, is recognized for her diversity within the arts and entertainment industry and her humanitarian efforts on mental health awareness and LGBTQ+ rights. Involved in music from a formative age, Gaga released her debut album “The Fame” in 2008, followed by four additional solo studio albums, one collaborative studio album, one film soundtrack and three remix albums. Notwithstanding her success as a singer and songwriter, Gaga is the founder of the Born This Way Foundation, a nonprofit organization, which focuses on youth empowerment as it relates to mental health. She is also a steadfast advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, having participated in equality marches and pride events across the globe. In May 2021, Gaga was honored with the key to the City of West Hollywood, and May 23rd was named “Born This Way Day.”
Misha Collins: Collins is an actor and author who is most acclaimed for his role as Castiel on the television series “Supernatural,” the longest-running sci-fi/fantasy series in U.S. history. He attended the University of Chicago, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in social theory and interned at The White House during the Clinton administration in the Office of Presidential Personnel. Alongside his acting roles, Collins is a published poet and author. His first book of poetry, “Some Things I Still Can’t Tell You,” is scheduled for release in October 2021. Philanthropically involved, he is a co-founder and board president of Random Acts, a nonprofit organization that endeavors to fund and inspire random acts of kindness with a global outreach. He also founded the “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen” (often shortened to GISH) in 2011. Shortly after its founding, GISH broke the world record for most vows to perform acts of kindness in 2012.
Shailene Woodley: Woodley rose to prominence as an actress for her role as Amy Juergens in the widely recognized television series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” Branching off into film, she made her motion picture debut with “The Descendants” in 2011 and “The Spectacular Now” in 2013, the latter of which garnered her a Special Jury Award for Acting at the Sundance Film Festival. She achieved broader fame in her role as a teenage cancer patient in the film adaptation of “The Fault in Our Stars” in 2014. Woodley, an environmental activist, was profiled at the 20th Anniversary Global Green Environmental Awards in 2016, and received the Entertainment Industry Environmental Leadership Award for co-founding the nonprofit All it Takes, a youth leadership program. In 2019, Woodley became an Oceans Ambassador for Greenpeace and underwent a three-week expedition to the Sargasso Sea to study the effect of plastics on marine life.
Sidra Bell: Bell is a New York City-based educator and choreographer who is recognized as the very first African American woman to choreograph a dance for the New York City Ballet. Her work, “Suspended Animation,” debuted on September 30, 2021 at The Koch Theater during the New York City Ballet’s Fall Fashion Gala. Drawing upon 20 years of experience in ballet and modern dance, Bell established a nonprofit dance organization, Sidra Bell Dance New York, through which she has worked with schools and dance companies across the globe. Her teaching pursuits have included serving as a master lecturer at the University of the Arts, an adjunct professor at Ball State University and Barnard College, and an artist-in-residence at Harvard University. A highly sought-after master teacher, Bell was awarded First Place for Choreography by the 15th Internationales Solo-Tanz-Theater Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2011.
The full Arts, Culture, Sports and Entertainment Moguls list is organized alphabetically below, by first name:
David Alan Grier
Jada Pinkett Smith
Mark Fischbach (Markiplier)
Marquis Who’s Who has also announced the release of its supplemental Maker’s List for October: Disabled Leaders and Disability Activists. The list pays homage to disabled leaders and disability awareness advocates whose activism has transformed societal perspectives on disability.
The Disabled Leaders and Disability Activists list includes:
Alice Wong: Wong serves as the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, an online community dedicated to amplifying disabled voices, media and culture, which was established in 2014. Heavily involved with the online movements #CripLit and #CripTheVote, she has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Teen Vogue, Vox, PEN America and Uncanny Magazine, among others. Additionally, she has been featured in The Huffington Post, The Hill, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, CNET and the CNN series “United Shades of America.” In 2020, Wong was named by Time magazine as one of 16 people fighting for equality in America and, in 2021, was named a changemaker by Marie Claire Magazine. Outside of her primary work, Wong is an independent research consultant, having previously served on the National Council on Disability via appointment by former President Barack Obama. Her forthcoming memoir, “Year of the Tiger,” is scheduled for release in 2022.
Dior Vargas: Vargas, a mental health activist based in New York City, is the creator of the “People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project,” a project through which people of color submit photos identifying their life and battle with mental illnesses. Combating against the widespread belief that mental illness is a white-centric disease, Vargas aims to amplify BIPOC voices struggling with mental illness and raise awareness of the lack of representation of people of color who have various mental health disorders. Vargas began her ascent to activism during her undergraduate studies at Smith College, through which she interned for several activism-based entities. She presently serves as the outreach coordinator for Project UROK, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to destigmatizing mental illness and reducing the rate of teenage suicide through social media content.
Jessica Benham: Benham is a disability rights activist and politician who assumed office as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 36th District in 2021. Noteworthy for being the first openly LGBTQ+ woman and the first openly autistic individual elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Benham is further recognized as one of the only autistic state lawmakers in the United States. Her political platform focuses on health care, education and worker’s rights. Prior to her political work, Benham was the co-founder and director of development of the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy, an LGBTQ+ and autistic-led group that demonstrates support for the disabled community in the legislative process.
Judith Heumann: Heumann is an internationally recognized civil rights advocate for people with disabilities, having worked with government and non-governmental organizations, nonprofit groups and other disability groups since the 1970s. She is a past special advisor on international disability rights under former President Barack Obama and was the assistant secretary of education for special education and rehabilitative services. During her career, Heumann has aided in the establishment of several legislative works, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and served as co-founder and co-director of the World Institute on Disability. Notably, Heumann was the World Bank Group’s first advisor on disability and development, through which her work spearheaded the mainstreaming of disability rights into an international sphere. In 2020, she was honored with the Henry Viscardi Achievement Award and, in 2018, the Society for Disability Studies bestowed her with their President’s Award.
Shain Neumeier: Neumeier is a Los Angeles-based attorney and disability justice advocate whose platform focuses on autism rights, youth liberation and transgender rights. After receiving a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Suffolk University Law School in 2012, they shifted their attention to the Judge Rotenberg Center, an institution in Canton, Massachusetts, that leverages controversial electric shock therapy on patients with developmental disabilities. An unwavering advocate against coercive and forced treatment, Neumeier has testified before the United Nations rapporteur on torture in support of permanently closing the Judge Rotenberg Center. Through their legal work, Neumeier served Disability Rights New York, an advocacy agency for those with disabilities, prior to entering private practice in Massachusetts. Neumeier earned the Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award from the Massachusetts Bar Association in 2018 and the Leadership in Advocacy Award from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities in 2015.
The full Disabled Leaders and Disability Activists list is organized alphabetically below, by first name:
Cyrée Jarelle Johnson
Gregg Beratan, PhD
John Elder Robison
Leroy F. Moore Jr.
Michael J. Fox
Natalie Jane Rochelle
Vilissa Thompson, LMSW
About Marquis Who’s Who®
Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the first edition of Who’s Who in America®, Marquis Who’s Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion, and entertainment. Today, Who’s Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians, and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® publications may be visited via the official Marquis Who’s Who® website at www.marquiswhoswho.com.
About the Marquis Maker’s Lists
The Marquis Maker’s Lists seek to highlight, celebrate and recognize those people whose ideas, philosophies, positions, example or standards, talents, gifts or aptitude, discoveries, innovations or breakthroughs have the ability to influence, affect and transform. The selection committee for the Marquis Maker’s Lists is comprised of diverse professionals from a variety of backgrounds in publishing, entertainment, law, business, journalism, marketing, graphic design, public relations, and print media. Committee members conduct extensive independent research and analyses to vet candidates relevant to each Maker’s List theme. The committee meets routinely to thoughtfully dialogue through individual nominations to determine eligibility for inclusion. Thereafter, a thorough and objective ranking system is utilized and applied by the committee and tabulated by the executive director to confirm, authenticate and finalize each list.