LinkedIn creates new list series to highlight industry leaders

LinkedIn Next Wave recognizes 150 professionals under 35, including Leslie Dewan of Boston.
LinkedIn Next Wave recognizes 150 professionals under 35, including Leslie Dewan of Boston.

Click. Skim. Share. Lists lend themselves to the quick attention span of social media users, and LinkedIn is leveraging this by creating its own content.

LinkedIn on Tuesday revealed LinkedIn Next Wave, a list of the top 150 professionals in 15 fields who are transforming their industries (and are age 35 or under). It’s  the first of a new quarterly list series, LinkedIn Corp. announced on Tuesday.

Seven greater Boston-area based professionals, according to their LinkedIn profiles, are included in the list.

  • Maura McCarthy, 35, a former venture capitalist, is the co-founder and vice president of market development at Blu Homes of California and Waltham, which designs precision-built homes. Launched in 2008, Blu Homes is the largest maker of luxury prefab homes in the United States. She is included under “Real Estate” on the Next Wave list.

Dhruv Khullar, 28, is a second-year resident physician at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He has written health care-focused articles for The New York Times, Slate, and The Atlantic, and is part of the “Healthcare” list.

Anna Young, 29, designs inexpensive medical devices with simple objects at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Little Devices Lab and posts the hacks on her Pinterest board. Young co-founded the MakerNurse Initiative in 2013, a website that encourages nurses to invent gadgets at a patient’s bedside. She is listed under “Healthcare.”

Caleb Harper, 33, is the principal investigator and director of the Open Agriculture (OpenAG) Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. Listed under “Education,” his work involves leading engineers, architects, and scientists in the exploration and development of future food systems.

Leslie Dewan is chief executive and co-founder of Transatomic Power of Cambridge, a company of nuclear engineers with a new approach for electricity generation. She has also been named to Forbes’s “30 under 30,” MIT’s “35 Innovators Under 35,” and TIME Magazine’s “30 People Under 30 Changing the World.” She is included under LinkedIn’s “Energy” section.

David Bradwell, 33, is chief technology officer and co-founder of Ambri, an electric utility company. He spent two stints at MIT as a visiting researcher and scientist and is part of the “Energy” list.

Nathan Hancock, 30, is senior director of research and development at Oasys Water of Boston, an early stage commercial enterprise focused on treating the world’s most difficult waters. He has a PhD in environmental science and engineering from Colorado School of Mines and is pursing a MBA at Harvard Business School. Hancock is included in the “Energy” list.

Don’t fret if these names are unrecognizable. Dan Roth, executive editor at LinkedIn, acknowledges that most of the individuals are up-and-coming, and will be more widely known in the next five years.

Roth started this project because he knows the power of lists, if there is real thought behind the content. The goal of LinkedIn Lists, which will spotlight industry leaders every quarter, he said, is to educate professionals, who are already in the work mindset when on the website, and to celebrate individuals who are captivating their industry.

To populate the list, LinkedIn looked at which profiles are most viewed by people in the same industry, social engagement performance, the frequency that candidates appeared in the news, and other metrics, according to a press release. LinkedIn influencers, a program launched in 2012 that consists of the top 500 professionals who write and share on the website, also recommended individuals.

LinkedIn, which has more than 380 million users, said more than 80 percent of the “Next Wave” professionals did not attend an Ivy League school for undergraduate education, and only 15 percent earned an MBA. (Many, however, did attend the top universities for graduate school.) Roth speculates that the majority of the recognized individuals care more about doing what you love than going to a school that is regarded as top notch.

“When you have a path that has been laid out for you, it’s very easy to see where you are going to end up and how to get there,” Roth said in reference to Ivy League schools. “A lot of people don’t know where the path goes or didn’t care what the path was. They are self-starters and entrepreneurs, got into a field, saw a problem, and decided to go out and try to fix it.”

The next LinkedIn List in the series will feature individuals who write, share, and develop their brands through curation and creation.