Niki Okuk is working to create social and economic justice and worker dignity.

Why you should listen

Niki Okuk founded Rco Tires in 2012. They've since recycled more than 300 million pounds of rubber, diverting 70 million gallons of oil from landfills with 16 employees, making it one of southern California's largest sustainability plants. Rco creates alternative uses for trash tires, turning them into new products. Because of Okuk's progressive hiring and management practices, it provides stable jobs for local black and Latino residents who struggle to find employment because of past criminal convictions or legal status.

Okuk grew up in Los Angeles and majored in economics at Columbia University. After working in development with the office of Joseph Stiglitz and working in finance in Korea and Singapore, Okuk completed her MBA with Nanyang University in Singapore, including a sustainability certificate at Sloan School of Business at MIT.