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The Los Angeles Tribune looks back at the year that was and all the hard-working CEOs of various businesses big and small who not only changed the landscape and innovated their companies in LA, California and the rest of the United States/world, but succeeded whether through pivots or other means during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These CEOs listed here are ones we have previously featured in our publication or will be in the months ahead due to their strong work ethics both in the Los Angeles region and across the rest of the United States. Through user polls and email nominations, these CEOs have made our top list. These CEOs across the country faced unprecedented challenges, and despite uncertainty some rose to the occasion, pivoting their work environments to better serve employees and give us hope heading into 2022. 

1. Ed Bastian – CEO of Delta Air Lines Inc.

As CEO of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian leads a team of 75,000 global professionals that is building the world’s premier international airline, powered by a people-driven, customer-focused culture and spirit of innovation. This past year things re-opened again, and Delta was on the frontlines ensuring travelers could get back out there safely while following various guidelines. Under Ed’s leadership, Delta is transforming the air travel experience with generational investments in technology, aircraft, airport facilities and, most importantly, Delta’s employees worldwide.

2. Elon Musk – CEO Tesla, SpaceX

3. Satya Nadella – CEO of Microsoft

4. Mark Zuckerberg – CEO of Meta Platforms Inc / Facebook

5. Andy Jassy – CEO of Amazon

6. Ross Andrew Paquette – CEO of Maropost

This past year saw Ross and his tech company Maropost turn into North America’s fastest growing business, as ranked by the Deloitte Technology Fast 500. Ross has led Maropost to double its annual growth each year since its inception in 2011, turning a one-man operation into an international business. Maropost’s Software as a Service Cloud technology provides organizations with a single platform to connect with customers across Commerce (Online and Retail), Marketing Automation, and Help Desk. The platform has helped companies get through this pandemic like no other.

7. Tim Cook – CEO of Apple

8. Jeffrey Tinsley – CEO of RealMe

With everyone going online, Jeffrey leads the team at RealMe to help make the interwebs safer for communications and sales. The RealMe system has changed our world during the past year as it now helps dating sites and ecommerce stores validate users so that people are actually connecting with real people and not bot or scam accounts. The system also helps people view backgrounds of people they connect with for safety reasons before meeting up or selling items with someone, and helps perform safer peer to peer interactions overall. 

9. Arvind Krishna – CEO of IBM

10. Colin Wayne – CEO of Redline Steel

A US Army Veteran who turned to business, Colin has helped scale his Alabama-based home decor steel company into the tens of millions of dollars throughout the pandemic, while setting a standard for other CEOs on how to value and treat their employees/customers. Colin worked with various celebrities and notable figures to raise millions of dollars to give-back to families across America who were in need during the pandemic, and also paid the rent for some of his employees who hit hard times as well.

11. Bob Chapek – CEO of Walt Disney Company

12. David Michael – CEO of Solomon Goldman Sachs

13. Brian Moynihan – CEO of Bank of America

14. Warren Buffett – Berkshire Hathaway

15. Tommy Patterson – CEO of WKND Digital Agency

Not all CEOs on this list have to have spotlight companies, and Tommy and his are more behind the scenes helping to generate millions for his clients through creative measures. Tommy is a prime example of how ‘failing forward’ and taking numerous risks (especially during the pandemic) can help you succeed more than you could have ever imagined. As the CEO of his digital agency, Tommy has scaled his team across the country and generated millions of dollars in sales through internal brands and for the partners he works with. 

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