Stefania Mallett thinks like an engineer--a legacy of her computer science graduate degree from MIT--so it's no surprise that when founding ezCater in 2007, she created "a system for everything." Customers visit the website and order a tasty spread from one of 80,000 restaurants and caterers, and ezCater coordinates fulfillment for any event in which a group of people want to nosh while they work.

Mallett credits her success to creating clever systems to entice the right talent to join her, and then nourishing their hearts and minds. "My purpose is to create jobs that people want to have," says Mallett. Job candidates complete mock exercises to get a feel for the work they'll be doing. One example: translating a printed menu into an appealing digital layout. "After an hour," Mallett says, "either they say, 'I hate this!' or 'This is kind of fun.' "

Her management mantras are "Respect the heck out of your employees" and "Give them so much authority they gasp"--two things that inspire her team to bring their full passion and creativity to work. That's doubly important as she pivots in the era of Covid. "I deeply believe," she says, "that if you can just give people the biggest opportunity, the most freedom to be their best selves, you will get that."