Since I was born during WWII my generation is bookshelved by the "Greatest Generation Ever" and the "Baby Boomers", and since I am a North American my opinion will be influenced by the experiences of my life.
With all that being said there are two people who immediately come to mind, both of whom "pulled themselves up by the seats of their pants" from the black slums of America to eventually serve as the Secretary of State of the United States of America, and both were mentioned as potential candidates for President.
These two people have demonstrated that anyone can rise to positions of power and respect if they are willing to exert the effort and apply themselves. General Colin Powell and Secretary Condoleezza Rice are both true inspirations for the young people of today.
As a point of interest, you may wonder why I refered to Colin Powell as General and Coldoleezza Rice as Secretary. By American law once an individual holds the position of President, Vice President, Senator, Congressman, Secretary of any Federal Department, Governor, or Retired as Military Officer they are entitled to always be refered to by that title. In the case where a person has served in more than one of these positions he or she has the option to choose their title, which they prefer.