These Brazilian leaders are fighting the status quo and inspiring youth

Despite recent challenges in Brazil, like the Rio Olympics scandalOperation Car Wash and the vote to impeach former President Dilma Rousseff, the country is still considered great by many measures.

Brazil is the fifth largest in the world in area and population, and the seventh in GDP. But the country also has some undesirable numbers.

For example, corruption is a serious problem; the Corruption Perceptions Index of 2015 ranked Brazil as 76th in terms of transparency perception. In other words, 75 of the 168 countries in the study are considered more corrupt than Brazil, and 92 countries are less corrupt and more transparent.

Additionally, the country is the 77th in GDP per capita, which means the average income is very low in comparison with other countries. To make it worse, since 2015, the country has been facing political instability and economic recession. With all those problems, one might think of running to the hills. But some Brazilians leaders are working to make life better for their country.

Flavio Augusto da Silva, Founder of Geração de Valor

Flavio Augusto da Silva. Source: Twitter

Flavio Augusto da Silva. Source: Twitter

Flavio Augusto da Silva is a billionaire who made his fortune from zero. Even though he’s incredibly successful and widely considered to be a leader in Brazil, most people know him as Flavio. He is working to change the way people think about entrepreneurship.

In Brazil, people often think that the only way to achieve financial success is either by becoming a public employee or by getting involved in corruption. In 2011, da Silva decided to change this mindset. He launched the Facebook page Geração de Valor (Value Generation), where he shares his experiences as an entrepreneur as well as the experiences of others.

Since then, he has garnered a strong following and inspired many people -- his page has more than 3 million likes and he has planted the seed of entrepreneurship in the minds of many Brazilians.

Da Silva has written two books describing his journey and the profits of those books go to refurbish public schools in Brazil. In 2015, he was nominated as the most admired Brazilian leader by the young generation. He has done a lot for the country, but according to him, his great project has yet to come.

Bel Pesce, Founder of FazINOVA Business School

Bel Pesce, also known as “Valley Girl,” was born and raised in São Paulo. She attended MIT and then worked at Microsoft and Google. Later, she was head of a startup in Silicon Valley called Lemon.

Additionally, Pesce wrote the book “The Brazilian Girl from the Silicon Valley,” sharing her experiences in Silicon Valley as an employee and an entrepreneur. True to her desire to inspire as many people as possible towards entrepreneurship, she published the book for free on the internet. The book has been downloaded more than 2 million times.

Pesce has also founded the company FazINOVA (doINNOVATE) in Brazil, which focuses on training people to become entrepreneurs. In 2014, she was chosen as the most admired female leader by the young generation. Watch her speak at a Webbdagarna event in Stockholm, March 20, 2014, here.

Sergio Moro, Federal Judge and Law Professor

Sergio Moro. Source: Spotniks

Sergio Moro. Source: Spotniks

Sergio Moro presided over Operation Car Wash, the biggest bribery scandal in Brazilian history. Brazilians were accustomed to see corruption cases going nowhere, as many cases were archived or the guilty parties were let off the hook.

Moro impressed a lot of people when he sentenced many corrupt leaders to prison and returned the money they had gotten illegally. So far, the operation has recovered approximately $2.8 billion USD, and more than 160 people have been arrested, including deputies, senators, ministers, and business executives. This year, Fortune ranked Moro as one of the 15 greatest leaders in the world.

Cover credit: Clip Art Best