The founder and CEO of Thirst, Mina Guli is a global leader, an entrepreneur and adventurer passionate and committed to making a difference in the world. Following a 15-year successful career as a world leader in climate change, including cofounding Peony Capital – a company that provides capital and knowledge to Chinese companies to help them mitigate their impact on the environment – Mina established Thirst, an organizational initiative of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum.
Thirst is harnessing social media and technology to inform and inspire 14-24 year olds about water and the steps they can take to reduce their own water consumption. Since its launch in 2012, Thirst has educated over 2million students in China, trended no 1 on Chinese Twitter, established 170 Thirst Clubs, set up offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing and 28 hubs across 12 other provinces, set 1 Guinness World Record, run innovation competitions with the participation of over 600,000 students and the support of the government, and reached over 250 million people with its messages.
Mina is also a keen ultra-distance athlete, having started running only at the age of 22 after a severe injury. She runs to raise awareness and inspire action around the global water crisis and in doing so, has set two world firsts. In 2016 in just 7 weeks, Mina ran 40 marathons across 7 deserts on 7 continents, including Antarctica – a continent that left an indelible impression on her for its critical role in the water cycle. In 2017, Mina ran 40 marathons in 40 days on 6 continents down 6 of the World’s great rivers – to promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 (water). Along each of her routes, Mina interviews local people and water experts, putting together a real and very visual representation of the water crisis we are facing. Currently available in short film format, Mina and the team are documenting these stories so they are accessible to the millennial generation. Incredible journeys whose messages reach over 5 billion people – and all for one reason of course: water.
Mina is an acclaimed public speaker and frequent media commentator, featuring in over 400 local, national and global newspapers, magazines and television programs around the world including UN Radio, CNN, BBC, ITV, ABC, Forbes, Fortune, CCTV and Al Jazeera.
Mina was appointed by the Chinese Government as an Advisor to their Education for Sustainable Development Program and runs with the support of the United Nations Development Program. She was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010, is a recipient of a Future Leadership Award from the Australia Davos Connection, named as one of Australia’s “50 for the Future”, was a finalist for the Australian Female Alumni of the Year, and honored as one of Australia’s 100 most influential women – twice. She is an advisor to the Chinese Government’s sustainability program and on the Academy for the USD$1 million Global Teachers Prize.
In recognition of her incredible achievements, Fortune Magazine named Mina as one of the 50 greatest leaders in the world, and UBS gave her the title of “Global Visionary”.
Now in partnership with the United Nations Development Program, Mina is currently planning her next expedition – to run 100 marathons in 100 days for one reason: water.