Best Activist

Howard Watts


If mad political scientists wanted to create an army of community-activist Terminators to eradicate injustice, they could use Howard Watts as a template. The 25-year-old Las Vegas native passed on opportunities to leave town for college, because he decided he could make an impact on his hometown if he studied at UNLV. He’s followed the textbook trajectory: club leader at the Las Vegas Academy to political science major to outreach coordinator for the Volunteer Center of Southern Nevada to fellow at a national training center for community organizers. And it all culminated in 2008 at local office of Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, where, as field director, he gets boots on the ground marching in the direction of social justice. Recent PLAN causes for which Watts has marshaled troops include marriage equality, immigration reform and the mining tax. The erratic schedule of door-knocking, press conferences, protests and recruiting agrees with Watts, who discusses human folly and impending environmental disasters with the relaxed, engaged air most people reserve for talking about sports or wine. “I feel lucky every day to be doing this, even during stressful times,” he says. “I’m always happy to get up and go to work.”

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Jason Strauss


Jason Strauss

The tastemaker and nightlife impresario is a partner of Tao Group, a leading restaurant and nightlife company that develops, owns and operates numerous high-profile food and beverage facilities nationwide, including Tao, Lavo and Marquee. Along with his partners, Strauss was named Hospitality Operator of the Year by Nightclub & Bar in 2006, and their work with Marquee has been profiled as a case study by Harvard Business School.