Field Leaders

Humanities Majors are Leaders in a Range of Fields

Leaders with a background in the humanities can be found in every sector, from technology to entertainment, philanthropy, and space exploration. We have aggregated some of the most notable in this section. Click on the categories to the left to browse these field leaders, both historical and contemporary, and see their majors.

Many of these leaders explicitly credit their study of the humanities with their career success. From the business world, Clyde Tuggle, Senior Vice President and Chief Public Affairs Officer of Coca-Cola, notes, I never had finance or accounting, yet I help run a huge business. [As a religion studies major,] I learned communications, research, and critical thinking, the perfect education for the business world. John Loose, CEO of Corning, earned a B.A. East Asian history. He credits his studies with allowing him to land his first big international assignment: “To have an understanding of the history and culture of Koreans, Japanese, Indians and Chinese was invaluable.”

In tech, Stewart Butterfield, Co-Founder of Flickr and Slack Technologies, earned a B.A. and M.Phil. in philosophy. He contends: “Studying philosophy taught me two things. I learned how to write really clearly. I learned how to follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings. And when I studied the history of science, I learned about the ways that everyone believes something is true—like the old notion of some kind of ether in the air propagating gravitational forces—until they realized that it wasn’t true.”

Danielle Sheer, Vice President of cloud backup service Carbonite, believes that her philosophy degree has given her unique value on her team: “I don’t believe there is one answer for anything. That makes me a very unusual member of the team. I always consider a plethora of different options and outcomes in every situation.” Leaders in government, meanwhile, have similar points to make. Jerry Brown, Governor of California, who earned a B.A. in classics, notes that “the humanities are… windows into what it is to be human. And, therefore, the drama, the story, the history, the thinking and philosophy of what it is to be human is the subject matter.”(video)