23. Clara Shih
40u40 main clara shih
Age: 30

Co-founder and CEO, Hearsay Social

Shih's impressive resume -- she developed Facebook's first business application in 2007, and in 2009 published The Facebook Era (the de facto social networking handbook for corporations) -- led her to launch Hearsay Social with her college friend and former Microsoft exec Steve Garrity in 2009, backed by $21 million in funding. The fast-growing platform helps large companies actively manage their social media presence across multiple sites. Equally notable is Shih's clout beyond the office. After stints working at Google and Salesforce, she counts Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff as her mentors. Last December, Shih was named to the Starbucks board of directors, where she rubs shoulders with the company's CEO, Howard Schultz; Juniper Networks CEO Kevin Johnson; and Ariel Investments president Mellody Hobson.

Best advice: Underpromise, overdeliver.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated October 17 2012 05:11 PM ET
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