Olympian Ennis-Hill tops poll of most inspirational figures

Jessica Ennis-Hill.Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Olympic Heroine Jessica Ennis-Hill has been voted ahead of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King as the most inspirational figure of under-25 year olds in the UK, a new survey shows.

The Sheffield-born heptathlete was selected ahead of Mahatma Gandhi and Stephen Hawking in the Inspiration Index, published today.

The research crowd-sourced nominations for inspirational figures from more than 1,000 16-24 year olds, rating them for inspirational qualities and leadership characteristics, such as: integrity, effort, judgement and having a positive impact on society.

Ms Ennis-Hill is currently expecting her first child.

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Among the top 25 role models, more than a third are women with Ellen DeGeneres, Dame Judi Dench, JK Rowling and Rebecca Adlington all ranked highly.

Ms Adlington, of Mansfield, was the only under-25 year old nominated in the survey.

She said: “It’s exciting to see so many successful women viewed as inspirational to the youth of today. It’s also interesting that our younger generation chose these women as role models, above more popular names - it shows how highly they value hard work and genuine personalities. These are all high achieving women who have shown commitment to working hard to reach their goals, whilst continually learning and developing their trade to build and maintain a career.”

The poll shows the characteristics most revered in a leader are hard work and being results-driven.

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The Inspiration Index is published to coincide with the launch of Starbucks Youth Action.

Simon Redfern, communications director at Starbucks said: “Our future leaders see hard work, integrity and commitment as the most admirable characteristics in inspiring figures and it seems for millennials, actions speak louder than words.

“With half of our UK workforce aged under 25 years, we know this generation has a lot to offer.”