The founders of DHL were pioneers who changed the logistics industry. Here are 50 other innovators who helped make a difference to the world – in either small or significant ways.

Of course, this is just a small selection of trailblazing names – not an exhaustive list. But all have, in one way or another, helped make our world a more interesting, informed and progressive place. And for that, we salute them.

Roland Thomas at the Mount Everest

Roland Thomas and DHL Team
In May, inspired by DHL’s 50th anniversary, DHL Express manager Roland Thomas climbed Mount Everest. He also inspired 14 colleagues to trek across Nepal to Mount Everest’s base camp. Between them they have raised over $100,000 for charity Direct Relief.

Jane Snowball (1912 – 1995)
A 72-year-old grandmother from Gateshead in the U.K. who, as part of a 1984 initiative to help the elderly, used her TV remote control to order groceries (margarine, cornflakes and eggs) from her local supermarket. Arguably, Snowball was the first-ever online shopper.

Lisle Hesse (1919) 
Former schoolteacher who, in 2019, was elected to her home town’s council in Germany at age 100.

Pelé (1940)
Brazilian soccer legend – and the only player to have won three FIFA World Cups.

Kathrine Switzer (left), Junko Tabei (right)

Junko Tabei (1939 – 2016)
Japanese mountaineer who, in 1975, became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Tabei was also the first woman to scale all “Seven Summits” – the highest mountains on every continent.

Kathrine Switzer (1947)
Activist who made history in 1967 as the first woman to officially take part in the Boston Marathon which, until that point, had been an all–male event. During the race, some officials physically tried to stop her running, but she defiantly carried on. Fifty years later, Switzer ran the marathon again, aged 70.

Billie Jean King (1943)
Former number one tennis player, outstanding advocate for gender equality and winner of the “Battle of the Sexes” match against Bobby Riggs in 1973.

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (1945)
French sailor who, at 73, became the oldest person to sail solo around the world, winning the Golden Globe Race 2018 after almost six months at sea.

Vans Dobbie (left), Aase Brieg Lindberg (right)

Vans Dobbie
The first woman in New Zealand to own and captain her own fishing trawler. Besides being a solo parent, Vans was over 50 years old when she bought the fishing vessel in the 1970s, enrolled in Nautical college and passed her seamanship and navigation exams. In a totally male industry, Vans successfully fished the waters out of Auckland before selling out of the industry some 10 years later.

Aase Brieg Lindberg (1935)
After Aase Brieg Lindberg retired from a 40-year-long career with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), she realized she wasn’t ready to be a pensioner, so became a Customer Service Advisor at DHL Express Denmark. Today – at the age of 84 – she’s still not ready to clock off.

George Resch, Aka Tank Sinatra (1980)
“Tank” scours the world for good news stories and publishes them on his website, Instagram and Facebook. His positive message has hit a nerve: On social media, he has more than a million followers.

Published: September 2019

Meet more trailblazers

Images: Studio Pong for DHL Delivered.;  Boston Globe/Getty Images; DHL; Ang Tsering/Yomiuri Shimbun/Asian News Network/dpa; private; DHL