David B., but I know him as my dad. I’ve looked up to him as long as I can remember, because he’s the kind of father who’s done everything for his family. My sister, brother, and I were fortunate enough to grow up with parents who were invested in our lives, and when I went to university far away from home, my dad was the one who made me believe I could stick it out. Once the three of us had all grown up, Dad realized that he wanted to change his body, motivated by a desire to prevent bad health. Over the last couple of years, he’s lost around 100 pounds. This transformation is more than a simple “before and after”; to me, he’s tangible proof of what hard work can do. It’s not just about losing weight, but rather the notion that there is never a point in one’s life that is too late to achieve your goals. It may sound cheesy, but I’m so proud of my dad, and so happy that he’s finally done something for himself. 


There are few people on this planet that I can honestly say “if I hadn’t met this person, then I wouldn’t be where I am.” Conor O'Keefe is one of those people.

In 2007 I walked by his bar - The Emerald Loop in Chicago - and it started to rain. Taking cover, we ended up talking, and he offered me a job on the spot. Every Saturday night I played music at the bar, using my laptop or CDs, during which he and I would have long, alcohol-imbibing conversations about “what it all means.” It remains one of my favorite jobs, if only for those conversations. 

It was during one of these conversations I said “I’m interested in writing for magazines.” He said: “500 words on this bar by the end of the night,” and walked away. He checked back every hour to see how my little article was progressing. At the end of the night, handing me my usual $150, he handed me an extra $50. “There,” he said, “You got paid for an article." 

The next week, we talked more about it, and he read over pitch emails I was sending out to magazines for internships. He sat there and helped me arrange the words, making sure they came across as serious and truthful without sparing my voice. 

Two weeks later, I get an internship at a magazine in Los Angeles back in my home state of California, largely in part thanks to Conor taking the time to help and believe in me, and helping me shape the initial emails that got the ball rolling. Now I do this for a living. 

Conor is a spectacular mentor and an exceptional man. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. Truly. I owe a lot to that crazy-brilliant Irish bastard. :)

B. Heath

Ben left his high-paying corporate job in San Francisco this summer in order to follow his passion for photography. Since creativity isn’t always rewarded financially—regardless of talent or drive—he understands abandoning his old life for a career one-eighty is a huge risk that may or not may pay off. And still he’s willing to gamble. He has to. That’s what I admire about, Ben. That’s how he inspires me. Not only is he a true nice guy, thoughtful and sensitive and artistically wise; but he’s also brave enough make hard decisions and follow his heart. For Ben, it’s not about making money. It’s about capturing a moment and making art.

Ronnie K.

Ronnie K. has been working on creating a grassroots movement that would aim to celebrate our diversity, but more importantly it would focus on the things we all share in common. Ronnie teamed up with Elliot L. had who had been interviewing youth on what it is like to grow up and their experience of being bullied. Together they collaborated to create the Friend Movement ( Friend is a hybrid of a feature film and photo-campaign grass roots movement.  This grass-root effort inspires people to prevent bullying by enabling them to be a better friend; providing entertaining and educational resources, cultivating global partnerships, and leveraging the latest social media technology. Friend Movement was created to help show positive anti-bully images through art and media. Images of people of all ages, race, gender, sexuality, and spirituality that invoke inspiration & conversation. Friend movement inspires people to prevent bullying by enabling them to be a better friend. As part of this movement, Ronnie and his team have begun a 921-mile walk from Chicago to NYC. At each mile a purple ribbon is being tied in memory of someone lost too soon to bullying. Today on spirit day this nomination carries even greater meaning. This walk will culminate on Nov 10, 2013 on that bridge where Tyler C. left us as result of bullying. Ronnie is a supermodel, actor/director & an activist. He is truly deserving of this award and I am very proud to nominate him. 

Lasse L.

Meet Mr. Exceptional. His name is Lasse and his mission is simple; help empower as many people as he can through his passion for conscious living. His dedication to this mission is evident through his program called My Vegan Journey, a 90 day experience that leads newbies through the rigors and triumphs of a plant based diet and self discovery. He gifts three lucky souls with scholarships each session and is a coach, mentor, and friend all wrapped up in one. His program is unique and combines the mind, body, and spirit to create lasting change. He is the founder of his non profit called The Sexiest Non Profit ever whose aim is to introduce the idea that healthy is the truest form of sexy by operating a buy one, give one model to end food deserts. He is set to hit the road next spring with Caravan of Change a group of artists and advocates who will be visiting farmers markets, festivals, and street corners to educate and share knowledge on healthy living, again free of charge. As you can see his passion, dedication, and talent are what truly make him a shining example of what is possible when you lead with your heart.

Iner L.

This is my dad; a wonderful father of 28 years and a dedicated and loving husband of 30 years. My father was raised to work before going to school and with that frame of mind, my father was money and education motivated at a very young age. After college, my dad went overseas to Saudi Arabia as well as other East Asian countries to earn money. All of the money he made from hard labor, he sent to his family in the Philippines to put his younger siblings through school and provided for them to attend classes and graduate high school and college. When my mother and father met and got married, my dad worked hard to earn enough money to buy a home for a future family. My dad was well known in our neighborhood as a much disciplined, very loyal, very talented, and very hard working man. At the age of 5, we moved to Guam for a better future and then moved to the United States. My dad was determined to move across the world just to provide a better life and education for his wife and children. My dad has always put his family before himself and that is what makes him so lovable yet very charismatic. Even now, my dad has dedicated his life to make sure we can afford what we need as well as earn enough money to send to the Philippines to put my cousins through high school and college. Even through recession, my dad managed to always keep a positive attitude just to get us through the tough times. His passion and dedication for his goal was to ensure his family is happy and to always look at the positive sides in every situation. He is everybody’s super hero, our Superman.

This is my fiancé Tom Q.

Years ago, Tom hit rock bottom, losing all family ties and becoming homeless. Through hard work & dedication he has secured an apartment, regained relationships with his family & now works for his Dad as a licensed apprentice plumber. Tom is currently in school and taking the journeyman plumber test soon. In August 2014 he will marry his fiancé Kaylee and once again show the world that neither his difficult past nor the struggles posed by living with the metabolic disorder PKU will ever keep him down. He is a hard working role model for anyone struggling in life and a true character in every sense of the word. Tom never gives up and he is always there to help those in need.

Meet Ivan P.

I met Ivan at my best friends wedding in Argentina, with no expectations, our conversation flowed so naturally and I felt a relief at the moment to have had the opportunity to meet someone that gave me hope, peace, someone who with little words let me know his values and his appreciation and respect to life.  I only got see him a few days, but strangely we connected.  He had a bright future in soccer; an unfortunate injury put a stop to this, but it did not stop him from following his other dreams.  With only ten months after seeing him, he made all the arrangements and driven by his ambition to get the best education possible and to come after me, he moved to the US in search of his dreams.  Since then, he has managed to become fully independent, work full time, his dedication has landed him consecutive terms as part of the Dean’s List of one of the best Aviation Schools in the US and his passion has made me, his girlfriend who is 6 years older than him, madly in love with who he is.  His determination is obvious, his intentions are always transparent, and in no way is he selfish, he is one of the few people that I can actually say has a big heart as he never expects anything in return from others, what he does, he does with the kindness of his heart.  Its no wonder how many people love him.  He is an unconditional grandson, son, brother, friend and soul mate.  Ivan has been blessed with an exceptional family, who has made him a man of character, and the most impressive thing of all, he is only 23.  With such determination, I wonder what is yet to come from him.

Michael L.

A tried and true friend, brother, and an outstanding single Father of two sets of twins. Michael L. He is a inspiration to everyone that is lucky enough to know him, a heart of gold for sure, a true silent blessing. He is the upmost selfless soul I have ever truly encountered and deserves everything positive life has to offer. He enjoys the simple things, mainly taking pictures of sunsets, taking his children to the beach to explore mother nature’s beauty & bike rides. He is the most sincere, loyal and honorable man. He deserves the best of recognition. 

Name: Denny G.

Denny G is a high school English teacher who has been challenged and challenges others to think more critically, engage more deeply, and reason more sharply. Following in the footsteps of his mentors, who have helped him to achieve greatness, Denny aims to transform the world by educating one child at a time. His students not only look up to him, but also acknowledge that he has managed to change their lives in just 3 weeks of teaching.

Name: Carl L.

Carl, a New York City native, works with a non-profit organization that helps individuals in the metropolitan area who have either been within the foster care system or suffer from developmental disabilities. Along with providing kids of all ages with proper life skills and community assimilation, he acts as a “big brother” to children, often taking them to out for recreation activities like the zoo or library or just being there to listen in a time of need.

William B.
William is a 26 year old Staff Sergeant in the Air Force. Being the eldest of 4 brothers can often come with great responsibility as the younger ones look to him as a role model. William took on this role with ease and grace. William graduated top 10 in his high school class but realized his parents would never be able to afford to send 4 boys (every other year) to college, yet he had great aspirations. Unwilling to take on enormous college debt William enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Because his brothers always looked up to him for guidance the next 2 boys also joined the Air Force and Navy respectively while the youngest is now a junior in college encouraged by William. In less than 6 years Will had been promoted to Staff Sergeant and will test for Tech Sergeant shortly. While serving William met and married a wonderful woman and now is the father of 2 year old Emma & 12 week old Brady (aptly named after Ugg man himself Tom Brady, his favorite athlete). William has almost achieved his goal of attaining his Master’s in Electrical Engineering while serving, being a soldier, father, husband, son, brother, grandson…William is kind, loving, generous and one of the greatest men I know. He makes time to still be the greatest brother even though they are separated by countries even. He finds a way to lead them while living his life as a good man. We are all better people for knowing this young man. He is still striving everyday to be better and the world needs more role models like William B.

I nominate Connor F. Connor is not only extremely passionate about his exceptional work with YouTube, but he is dedicated to make not only his life the best it could be, but also all the people around him. He works hard every day to help the people around him have a better life. He is an overall good person. When you talk to Connor, he is very humble, and I think this would be a great honor for him if he one this. He puts his fans before himself, setting a president for all role models. Just looking at those boxes you provided, I see adjectives you could describe Connor with.