Many of the paths EAs take towards impact are difficult, confusing, and very heavy-tailed: the most effective people on that path can achieve far more impact than the median. Under those circumstances, it is especially useful to have role models: examples of people achieving very high impact doing roughly the thing you are trying to do.
Finding role models, however, can be easier said than done. It's not enough for very inspiring people to exist: you need to learn about them, identify them as people you could benefit from emulating, and access key information about the things you might want to emulate (traits, habits, decisions, et cetera). The usual way to do this is via media (podcasts, biographies, et cetera) – but if your ideal role model isn't famous, or doesn't appear in media you consume, they are likely to pass you by. The main alternative to media is gossip – but gossip is quite low-bandwidth and is often least accessible to those who are in greatest need of role models.
EAs seeking role models have two broad places they can look: within the EA community, or outside it. Role models within the community are ideal in that they (i) are likely to more closely match the kind of thing you are trying to do, (ii) align with your values in a way that helps you emulate them more whole-heartedly, and (iii) are more likely to appear in media you already consume (especially the 80,000 Hours podcast).
However, the EA community is relatively small, and high-status public figures within the community are highly enriched for certain groups at the expense of others. If you want to do AI safety research, or global priorities research, or grantmaking, there are a decent number of well-known and super-impressive people in the community for you to emulate; if instead you want to do operations, or community building, or a host of other important paths, you will often need to identify role models on your own.
Role models outside the community are far more numerous and diverse, but also far less discoverable: one person on a given path might identify and benefit greatly from a particular role model, but another person on the same path might completely miss them, simply because they listen to different podcasts or read different books. Under these circumstances, it's valuable to create a place where people can share information on their favourite role models, so that other people with similar goals can discover them more easily.
So, with all that said, who are your role models? Whose example inspires you, and why do you find them inspiring? What resources (books, podcasts, articles, et cetera) can other people use to learn about those role models, and hopefully be similarly inspired?
I'm particularly interested in collating information on lesser-known role-models: either inspirational people from outside the EA community, or role models from within the community whose example should be better known. Role models for career paths that tend to be under-represented among public figures (e.g. operations roles, community builders, event organisers, civil servants...) are especially welcome.