The Hot List

These bold innovators--all under the age of 40--are shaping our world

Basketball Association, Major League Lacrosse, Major League Soccer, FIFA Soccer, UEFA Soccer, U.S. Soccer, and Olympic sports leagues. In addition, she oversees ESPN programming across a variety of media platforms, including radio, print, cable television, broadband, and wireless. Durant played a key role in hammering out ESPN’s eight-year contract extension with the NBA. Prior to her appointment in June 2007, she served as the cable network’s senior director of programming.

Chinedu U. Echeruo. Founder, CEO / Hopstop.com / 34. Why he’s hot: After working in the mergers and acquisitions and leveraged finance groups of J.P. Morgan and a convertible arbitrage hedge fund, Echeruo changed course and launched Hopstop.com in 2005. He instinctively knew there was demand for a Website that provided bus and subway directions for large metropolitan areas such as New York, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. He was right. Hopstop.com, named one of the Top 25 travel sites of 2007 by Travel and Leisure magazine, has proven to be a hit with commuters and travelers. His company pushed toward $3 million in revenues for 2006. The latest venture for Echeruo, who holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, is Tripology.com, a Website that connects consumers with travel agents. As co-founder of the site, Echeruo raised $1.25 million in venture capital in January 2007.

Kirk Franklin. Singer / 37. Why he’s hot: Franklin is more than just a gospel singer. He’s a faith-based conglomerate. As president and CEO of Fo Yo Soul Entertainment Inc., he operates a record label, a production company, an advertising firm through a joint venture with Dallas-based Loomis Agency, and a youth outreach initiative. Franklin has positioned himself to take on a slew of high-profile projects in the coming months. He will be busy promoting his latest album, The Fight of My Life, and continuing hosting duty for BET’s Sunday Best, the network’s gospel talent competition. He’s also preparing for the 2008 release Church Boy, the biopic that tells his rags-to-riches story of being abandoned by a teenage mother and raised by a great aunt in Fort Worth, Texas. Selling more than 10 million albums over his 15-year career, the five-time Grammy winner was the first gospel artist to go platinum and a force in bringing faith-based music to the mainstream—especially to the hip-hop generation. —Hyacinth B. Carbon

Lisa Ellis. Executive Vice President / Sony Music Label Group / 37. Why she’s hot: Her roster of artists includes some of the biggest names in music such as Beyoncé, John Legend, and 3 Six Mafia, the rap group that won the 2006 Oscar for Best Original Song. Considered one of the most effective executives in the industry, Ellis has quickly risen up the industry’s ranks. She started her career at Columbia Records in 1995 as a local promotion manager and, by 2005, was named president of Sony Urban Music, a post she held before her current positio
n.

Amy Ellis-Simon. Managing Director, Head, Multiproduct Sales & Emerging Client Coverage / Merrill Lynch / 35. Why she’s hot: This Wall Street powerhouse is responsible for managing a hedge

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