WHOSAY Hot Talent List: 17 Influencers to Match Your Brand During Back to School Season

It's that time of the year again! As educators, parents and kids return to school, our Talent Team used WHOSAY Match to curate a list of influential academics, authors, professors and motivational speakers whose engaged online followings make them the best candidates for your Back to School-related brands. 

1. Brené Brown:

Trailblazer, author, proffesor and speaker Brené Brown is currently a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Over the last fifteen years, she has been involved in research on a range of topics, including vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy. She is the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection (2010), Daring Greatly (2012), and Rising Strong (2015). She and her work have been featured on PBS, NPR, TED and CNN. She has 2.2 million fans (629K on Instagram, 1.2M on Facebook and 422K on Twitter). Thirty-three percent are ages 35-44 and 33% ages 45-54. Eighty-seven percent are female.

2. Sam Harris:

Samuel Benjamin Harris is an American author, philosopher, and neuroscientist. His first book, The End of Faith, is a critique of organized religion. He has 1.5 million fans across Instagram (27K), Facebook (506K) and Twitter (922K). His fans are ages 25-34 (24%), 35-44 (29%) and 45-54 (29%). Seventy-percent of Harris' followers are male.

3. Reggie Watts:

Reggie Watts was born as Reginald Lucien Frank Roger Watts. He is known for his work on The Late Late Show with James Corden (2015), Comedy Bang! Bang! (2012) and The Yes Men Fix the World (2009). He boasts 732 thousand fans, 146K on Instagram, 213K on Facebook, 240K on Twitter and 132K on YouTube. They’re ages 25-34 (31%), 35-44 (36%) and 45-54 (18%). Sixty-seven percent of Watts fans are male.

4. Sir Ken Robinson:

Sir Kenneth Robinson is a British author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. He has 503 thousand fans across Instagram (130K) and Facebook (372K). They’re ages 25-34 (31%), 35-44 (22%) and 45-54 (28%) and 51% are female.

5. Daniel Pink:

Daniel H. Pink is the author of five provocative books — including three long-running New York Times bestsellers, A Whole New Mind, Drive, and To Sell is Human. His books have been translated into 35 languages and have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and their three children. Pink has 441 thousand fans between Instagram (53K) and Facebook (389K). Fifty-five percent are male.   

6. Susan Cain:

Susan Horowitz Cain is an American writer and lecturer, and author of the 2012 non-fiction book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, which argues that modern Western culture misunderstands and undervalues the traits and capabilities of introverted people. In 2015, Cain co-founded Quiet Revolution, a mission-based company with initiatives in the areas of children (parenting and education), lifestyle, and the workplace. Cain's 2016 follow-on book, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, focused on introverted children and teens, the book also being directed to their educators and parents. She has 221 thousand followers (5K on Instagram, 121K on Facebook and 95K on Twitter). They’re ages 25-34 (25%), 35-44 (19%), 45-54 (30%) and 55+ (21%). Sixty-six percent are female.

7. Michael Shermer:

Michael Brant Shermer is an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and editor-in-chief of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. He’s followed by 195 thousand fans online, 66K on Instagram and 128K on Facebook. Shermer’s followers are ages 25-34 (20%), 35-44 (30%), 45-54 (29%) and 55+ (18%). Seventy-six percent are male.

8. Sarah Kay:

Sarah Kay is an American poet. Known for her spoken word poetry, Kay is the founder and co-director of Project V.O.I.C.E., founded in 2004, a group dedicated to using spoken word as an educational and inspirational tool. She has 184 thousand fans across Instagram (6K), Facebook (122K) and Twitter (56K). Kay’s followers are ages 18-24 (43%), 25-34 (29%) and 35-44 (18%). Seventy-eight percent are female.

9. Yves Rossy:

Yves Rossy is a Swiss military-trained pilot and an aviation enthusiast. He is known as the inventor of a series of experimental individual jet packs, the latest using carbon-fiber wings for flight. Rossy is followed by 182 thousand fans on Instagram (172K), Facebook (6K) and Twitter (4K).

10. Ze Frank:

Ze Frank is an American online performance artist, composer, humorist and public speaker based in Los Angeles. He is currently the president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. He has 175 thousand fans, 2K on Instagram, 56K on Facebook and 117K on Twitter. His fans are ages 25-34 (37%), 35-44 (22%) and 45-54 (21%). Fifty-six percent are female.

11. Jane McGonigal:

Jane McGonigal is an American game designer and author who advocates the use of mobile and digital technology to channel positive attitudes and collaboration in a real world context. She has 158 thousand fans between Instagram (11K) and Facebook (147K). McGonigal’s fans are ages 18-24 (34%), 25-34 (38%) and 35-44 (16%) with 69% of them male.

12. Sleepy Man:

Sleepy Man is a bluegrass music band from Lebanon Township, New Jersey, United States. It is composed of the Mizzone brothers: Jonny, Robbie and Tommy as well as bass player, Josh Thomas. They have 138 thousand fans across Instagram (6K), Facebook (128K) and Twitter (3K). They’re fans are ages 35-44 (12%), 45-54 (28%) and 55+ (40%) with 54% of them male.

13. Amy Cuddy:

Amy Joy Casselberry Cuddy is an American social psychologist, author and lecturer known for her research on stereotyping and discrimination, emotions, power, nonverbal behavior, and the effects of social stimuli on hormone levels. Cuddy is an Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit. Her TED talk, delivered at TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and posted in October 2012, has been viewed more than 40 million times and ranks second among the most-viewed TED talks. She has 138 thousand fans on Instagram (11K), Facebook (58K) and Twitter (68K). They’re ages 25-34 (10%) 35-44 (40%) and 45-54 (40%). They split evenly between male and female ones.

14. Cameron Russell:

For SS18 @RagAndBone decided not to show during #NYFW, instead asking models to take self portraits and direct funds to organizations doing important work. I choose @BRACworld directing the funds specifically at people effected by flooding in Bangladesh where 100,000 houses have been destroyed and over 1200 people have died across South Asia. 👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼WHY? Bangladesh has close ties to the fashion industry. The country has a $26 billion-a-year ready-made garment industry that accounts for 82% of total exports and employs about 4 million people, mostly women. Also, as I've spoken about before, the fashion industry is the 2nd dirtiest industry in the world, contributing heavily to climate change which, as this summer's flooding has made apparent, "In Bangladesh...is already happening at a scale that involves unprecedented human tragedy." (Scientific American). 🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱But, when we know just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions (the guardian) it's hard not to wonder what personal responsibility we each have for the mess we're in, and what power, if any, we have to change it. For now I've just been thinking that being part of an ecosystem means for all the things I cannot control, there are also perhaps dozens of reactions to my actions that I may not see. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟If you'd like to join in and make a donation go to https://bracusa.org/southasiarecovery/ and you will see an option which confirms that the donation will reach those who are in Bangladesh. #rbphotoproject #RBgiveback LINK IN BIO

Cameron is a model who gave one of the top ten most popular TED talks of all time on the power of the image. She's produced viral video content on topics ranging from climate change to race and gender equity, and you can find her writing about climate change,  fashion, public art and political power. She's one of the lead organizers behind Model Mafia, a growing network of over 400 fashion models building community and power, striving for a more equitable just sustainable industry (and world). She has 127 thousand followers across Instagram (74K), Facebook (22K) and Twitter (31K). They’re ages 25-34 (27%) and 35-44 (36%) with 61% of them male.

15. Andy Puddicombe:

Andy Puddicombe is the co-founder of Headspace, a digital health platform that provides guided meditation training for its users. He is a former Buddhist monk with a degree in Circus Arts, and he founded Headspace, together with Richard Pierson, in London in May 2010. He is also the author of three books, The Headspace Guide to Meditation & MindfulnessA Mindful Pregnancy and Mindful Eating. He has 116 thousand fans across Instagram (12K), Facebook (46K) and Twitter (58K). They’re ages 25-34 (18%), 35-44 (36%) and 45-54 (18%). Fifty-seven percent are female.

16. Theo Jansen:

Theodorus Gerardus Jozef "Theo" Jansen is a Dutch artist. In 1990, he began building large mechanisms out of PVC that are able to move on their own and, collectively, are entitled, Strandbeest. The kinetic sculptures appear to walk. He has 4K fans on Instagram, 40K on Facebook and 2K on Twitter.

17. Hyeonseo Lee:

Hyeonseo Lee, best known for her book, The Girl with Seven Names, is a North Korean defector and activist who lives in South Korea. She escaped from North Korea and later guided her family to freedom from the country through China and Laos. She has 32 thousand fans.