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Impacting the Conversation through Thought Leadership | Heather Dondis

Impacting the Conversation through Thought Leadership | Heather Dondis | 396

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Using thought leadership to compete on a higher level.

An interview with Heather Dondis about thought leadership’s value in market competition.

Traditionally, great marketing requires a big budget, a great deal of manpower, and broad advertising.

When your organization isn’t able to compete in those arenas, what can you do to punch above your weight class?

To help us train and level up we’ve invited Heather Donids, the Director of Thought Leadership and Insight at Harbor Capital Advisors to join us for a chat. Harbor Capital Advisors is an investment companythat specializes in helping clients achieve the financial security they deserve.

Together, we explore the ways thought leadership sits outside of the traditional streams of marketing. When done properly, thought leadership allows companies and individuals to compete on a higher level — but only if they have something to say, and the conviction to broadcast and shepherd that idea.

Once your organization has zeroed in on the message they want to share, you’ll need to get it to the right audience. Heather explains how she views thought leadership as an asset, comparing it to human capital. If you develop a content strategy and program, you can create a strategic asset that can be measured, compounded, and guided. The goal is to use many voices and mediums to reach your audience where they naturally spend their time; both in terms of what they are thinking about, and where they are, physically.

Three Key Takeaways:

  • Thought leadership needs to be in perfect alignment with your company’s business strategy and values.
  • If you have someone in your organization with something valuable to say, equip them with the tools they need to take that message to scale.
  • Proper curation of thought leadership will cut through the clutter and put the spotlight on important ideas.

Join the Organizational Thought Leadership Newsletter to learn more about expanding thought leadership within your organization! This monthly newsletter is full of practical information, advice, and ideas to help you reach your organization’s thought leadership goals.

And if you need help scaling organizational thought leadership, contact Thought Leadership Leverage or reach out to Bill Sherman on Linkedin!


Bill Sherman An organization’s ability to impact a conversation begins with a clear purpose and an understanding of its audience. It doesn’t matter what insights you have. If your audience isn’t listening to you, you go nowhere. So how do you bring your organization’s insights into the conversation? Today I speak with Heather Dundas. She’s the director of Thought, Leadership and insight at Harbor Capital Advisors. We talk about how thought leadership allows you to compete at a very different level. We explore how thought leadership aligns with individual and organizational purpose. And then we dove into examples of how to be part of the conversation and know what to share with impact. I’m Bill Sherman and you’re listening to Leveraging Thought Leadership. Ready? Let’s begin.

Bill Sherman Welcome to the show, Heather.

Heather Dondis Thanks so much. I’m glad to be here.

Bill Sherman So, I want to explore something with you that we haven’t talked about in detail on the show, but I think you will be an ideal person for this conversation. I’ve long said that thought leadership is a way for an organization to punch above its weight and to outperform other organizations. My first question is, do you agree with that? And if so, what comes to mind?

Heather Dondis Sure, I do. I do agree with it overall. And I think what it does is it in a sense, thought leadership, at least the way we’ve defined it and harbor it, helps level the playing field so it becomes more than a pure resource play. Meaning, you know, whether that’s budget for head count or advertising or things, you know, traditionally that were the really the impetus and crux behind marketing and managing those things are still very important. But having a point of view, having spokespeople, having a content strategy, all of that we believe fosters into a thorough and compelling thought leadership program at harbor. So if you have those things, well, all of a sudden now you’re able to maybe compete at a bit of a different level. You have to have something to say. You have to have conviction, hopefully have accuracy. You know, like what you’re saying is true, is appropriate. And we believe that that’s just as important, if not more important when it comes to potentially things that may have been covered solely by the size of a company or the breadth and depth of resources at that company. Again, those being still very important.

Bill Sherman So you mentioned something that I think is very relevant. You can spend large amounts of money on brand building. You can buy Super Bowl advertisements. You can put your brand in every airport in advertisements around the world. Right. There are endless possibilities on brand building. But ultimately, at the end of the day, if you are trying to reach an economic buyer or someone who’s trying to make a decision or you’re focusing on an individual.

Heather Dondis That’s right. And you have to relate to them. And there’s their part of that is a fun Super Bowl ad that’s memorable, hopefully beyond that, after the day after the Super Bowl. And there’s a place for all of it. You know, there’s a place for that type of brand building in advertising. But what we’re trying to do, what we believe fundamentally, is that every human is deserving of financial wellness and financial security. And if you believe in that, then it’s not only going to be a Super Bowl ad that you have to that that is utilized to convey financial, you know, deserving of financial security. It’s how you go to market. It’s the type of investment solutions you put out. It’s the way you put them out. And it’s the way you communicate with those people that hopefully have that. They understand that, number one, they are deserving of financial security and that, you know, there are great organizations out there and entities that can help them get that. Because it’s hard.

Bill Sherman You implied something that I want to draw a line underneath. The thought leadership strategy needs to be not only aligned with the marketing strategy or the communication strategy, but also the business strategy and its values. Because if it’s only aligned with marketing and it’s not aligned with what are you trying to achieve or who are you trying to serve? Then it’s thought leadership in search of a purpose.

Heather Dondis Correct. Correct. The purpose should drive it. The purpose should drive everything that an organization does. And frankly, if we as humans have our own purpose, we have our own guiding principles, and hopefully they’re all aligned. Right. If they’re not aligned, you’re probably going to find, you know, for whatever reasons, maybe a change needs to be made, whether in your, you know, human or day to day self or your professional self, whatever it may be. And I think what we’re trying to do is align the interests align at all. So there are some investment solutions that it is just an old, older way of going to market where it’s I get my brochures, I make sure I have a website. It’s more it’s more transactional. Frankly, that website, early days, I’m dating myself, but now it’s about experiences and experience. Those investment solutions are also experiences, right? Not only because we’re, you know, like anything, a very commoditized business, but it’s like do I cannot do I connect with what that firm stands for with not only the investment solutions that they offer, but the insights that they’re talking about? Oh, these insights. I’m actually getting something from this. Your roundtable that we had our meeting last week was my first, by the way. It was lovely. And I just feel like I’m surrounded now by other people who are as passionate as we are about this subject. But it was really great to hear even how people define thought leadership and how it’s this evolving term. And but at the end of the day, and again, after one meeting here and I’m looking forward to so many more, it was very clear that everyone was very passionate about what they do and for whatever, whether that’s promoting a specific individual that they deem has really valuable things to say and want to get their not only their name out there, but their thinking out there. More importantly, or someone like where I was coming from saying, well, the thought leadership is that and, you know, an entire program entire way of life in a way, as we just started to talk about here, the punch above that way. But it’s because if we just relied on one person or we just relied on, again, one form of marketing, then then we’re just we’re not only doing a disservice to what thought leadership could be and what that goal is that we want it to be for the user. Frankly, that experience, we’re just we’re minimizing it and then we’re not helping the people that we’re serving to help. And that’s what it has to be about. Yes.

Bill Sherman Oh, absolutely not there. So, yeah. And I want to I’ve got a few notes here. So one would be on commoditization. I think that’s a force that no matter who you are as an individual or who you are as an organization, we all feel a commoditization pressure. It’s very much like gravity. You will get pulled down and you have to keep reinventing yourself and have something new to add to the conversation. Either as an individual, as an organization and thought. Leadership is an excellent vehicle for that. Right. And so you defined thought leadership in an interesting way. And I want to explore that. You used the term. Firm of calling it an asset. So let me hand it over to you, unpack your thinking about how you think about thought leadership.

Heather Dondis I think similar as we explain humans are human capital as an asset to a company and even that is evolving and how you’ll say the expertise that the company brings. So, the service, they provide an asset to the company. You know, I have the privilege of managing people at my firm and I always say so-and-so is an asset to our company. Meaning, if they were to not be with our company for whatever reason, we are losing out on something. We are missing out on something. It’s the great knowledge that they bring, the service they bring there, their whole package. And again, we take that very seriously. I take that very seriously. So why would you not treat thought leadership? Again, whatever the evolving definition is. But why would you not treat it the same way as you would your most important human capital? It doesn’t make it doesn’t make sense to me. So, to pull on the thread, that needs a little bit more. If you’re putting out great solutions, albeit in the form of for us, its investment solutions, for its investment insights, that again, we can be very smart people, but if we’re not putting out these insights in a way that someone grabs them and says, I got it, and that helps me. It helps me either do my job, it helps me provide a service, it helps me think through a problem. It educates me that is very important, that it’s important to do that, to make people better, to help them with something to solve or something. And similar to the way human capital is important to an employer, I guess I see it very similarly. You get to treat it that way. You have to resource it that way. Again, that might not be the traditional way of resourcing. I mean, you it I’m no expert, but while compensation is important in human capital, of course it is. People need to be valued. Value is obtained in so many different ways, right? They’re rewarded by what they do. I know speaking at Harbor, we’ve had this discussion very often because we genuinely are enjoying what we’re doing and that we feel like that gives us even a higher ability to perform what we’re doing. So, I think it’s the same with your thought leadership program. You can be out there and you can say, okay, I’m going to serve up so-and-so who’s an expert in what they do. But then by taking what they have to say and then compounding it through a content strategy and program. Now you’ve just made that a strategic asset of your firm. I hope several things there.

Bill Sherman One. Making an investment in people and thinking of it from a human capital perspective and really even from a talent pipeline perspective, that it’s not just one person at the top of the house. It’s not just purely an exact comms sort of play for your executive leadership team, but to be able to look across an organization and say, who has something valuable to say and how do we equip them to take that idea to scale within the organization and beyond the organization? And there’s also a piece like when you say it becomes an asset for the firm. That, too, when you start using the organization’s skills, it’s collective relationships, whether with media partners or PR or on the sales side. Any of those tools to bring an idea before more people? Because really, if the idea’s just sitting on a shelf or we talked about before in a white paper somewhere and nobody reads it, that’s a problem.

Heather Dondis It’s just an idea in a white paper or on a shelf. And you’re exactly right. And why not get many voices in many formats compounding? So, a firm of our size, we can’t afford not to do that, frankly. And we view data as a strategic asset too. So, with better it enables people to then if you’re putting these the whole are the head of distribution. We have a distribution ecosystem. That’s what we call it, because it’s not just sales, it’s not just marketing, it’s not just data and sales enablement. Right? Not even to mention the investment side. It’s all of these things, a holistic and integrated approach that compound. Right. Very much like investing. You know, if you think of it. But you’ve got well.

Bill Sherman And it has a longer period of return from it to continue the investment perspective. Right. It’s not that you put it, you make an investment in thought leadership on day one and by day seven, it’s matured. That’s unrealistic, right? But if you make recurring investments similar to like product research or pure research, that’s where compounds.

Heather Dondis That’s right. And our firm, too. I’m sorry to. No, go ahead. Just building on that, we we’re in a very. Powerful, in my opinion, position to cure it at my firm. And that’s a fundamental principle in my belief of really good thought. Leadership, too, is cutting through the clutter, right? Putting the spotlight on what is important or we believe is important for whatever reason. And just the foundation of our firm has really been built on that of a curation, not only service and mindset, but it is just a complete approach, meaning some of the strategic investment partners we select are outside of our firm and some of them are within our firm. So that means you’re able to get many different points of views and insights and things like that. But again, what we are adding is that layer and thoughtfulness and saying, okay, look at this, pay attention to this because we’ve done a little work on you and we believe this is going to help you out.

Bill Sherman And so we’re talking in sort of an abstract way. Yeah, let’s get a little bit specific. So can you give an example of some of the thought leadership work that you’re doing at Harbor? Who is it for and what does that look like?

Heather Dondis Sure. Yes, we as happy to. We as I indicated, we work with a lot of investment partners outside of harbor and within harbor. And we come up with different investment solutions. And we also have a growing multi-asset division. And so one of the things we do is literally each quarter collect information about questions and things on people’s minds. Right now, from an investment perspective, largely, I would say they’re probably ticked off about the weather, but that’s not going to do them much good given what we do. But if we say things like, well, what do you think about inflation right now? Right. A very topical subject. And where do you think it’s going? A prolonged period? Is it if we hit the peak, we know we don’t necessarily have all those answers, but we can say, okay, we’ve talked to over ten, 15 of our providers, plus we have our own multi-asset division that looks at viewpoints over a 18 month, 24 month time horizon. And so, as a result, here’s what we think. And if you’re building a portfolio tomorrow or if you’re thinking about right now, all good at the supermarket, like I’m you know, it’s hit in my wallet a little bit more. We have some short term and longer-term things. So, we recently had a couple of our professionals be part of several media interviews. We had them on podcasts as featured guests. We’ve also actually produced some content and I’ll say that more, whether that’s articles, social media posts, whole different formats about what we think, because let’s face it, it’s very top of mind for people right now. And we’ve got some things that, again, can help them debunk summits and cut through some clutter.

Bill Sherman Well, and you raise an interesting point, too, with inflation as an example. Right. So, for the last ten, 15 years, inflation really hasn’t been on anyone’s radar. You could argue that we haven’t seen significant inflation of any sort since the seventies and early eighties. And so, there’s not a recent playbook of content that you can simply dust off, put a new introductory paragraph on and say, hey, you know, because in the eighties, we weren’t doing podcasts, for example.

Heather Dondis That’s right. And to add to that bill, it’s really interesting because the people who are maybe asking about it now. We’re either too young in a different phase of life, like they don’t even know the questions to ask. So to your point, we’re not going to just dust off and replace, cut paste, if you will. It’s you have to view it while you have people that have been through different market cycles. That’s very good. So they know how to contextualize it and say, okay, go panic. You know, we’ve seen things before. We’re smart, we’ve done this research, right? It has to be grounded in research to be grounded in facts. At least we can again cut through some of that noise we may be hearing and help put things in perspective so that people, again, tying it back to that purpose. Right. Deserving of financial security. What is one thing you’re concerned about right now then? If you’ve not lived through this and you’ve not had the experiences that financial security that I’m frankly entitled to, maybe there’s some noise around it right now. Right. I’m not at risk is too extreme. But you want to just help put things in perspective for folks. I mean, this is a it’s one of the most important things. It’s people’s livelihoods. This is their money. And we we take that very seriously. So.

Bill Sherman And there’s the old quote that history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes. And having an organization that can say, okay, you’re facing these questions that maybe your parents dealt with in a generation before, here are the issues they had to deal with double digit mortgages, for example. Right. Which I don’t think anybody has had an 18 point mortgage for years and years at this point.

Heather Dondis Right. So it’s, again, contextualizing things and also providing resources, whether that’s in the form of different forms of content or even folks to now it’s more about, you know, follow this person on social media. There are some amazing social media influencers out there that are talking about these topics. In a way, they’re doing it via a TikTok video now and not even a white paper. But what’s really interesting is what their motivation is to talk about these things like they feel, you know, I’m providing this service because I, I owe it to my constituents. Right. And their constituents are not the traditional. So we are both marketing towards. And so if we can help them, you know, again, cut through some of the clutter and they make a snazzy little, you know, video off of it or something that they can talk to some people who either aren’t thinking about it and should be or are worrying about it and should be.

Bill Sherman If you are enjoying this episode of Leveraging Thought Leadership, please make sure to subscribe. If you’d like to help spread the word about the podcast, please leave a five-star review and share it with your friends. We are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all major platforms as well as at Leveraging Thought Leadership dot com.

Bill Sherman You have to meet people where they are and that’s both in terms of what’s in their head and where are they looking for content.

Heather Dondis Right, exactly. And you got to be nimble about it, too, right? Because as much as I believe we’re in a sustained period of inflation for a while, we don’t want to. You also don’t want to be alarmist, too. Right. I want to make that really clear, to not let panic. Panic. And that feeds into, you know, people looking for a story or whatnot. So, again, that’s what I put as part of contextualizing. But you want to be timely about it. We have great debates across my firm about with timely needs and they’re good debates because there’s some things that you’ve got to react very, very quickly and be and be in the conversation in a meaningful way, not just to hear yourself to.

Bill Sherman Well, and if thought leadership, part of its function is to peer around the corner, figure out what signal and noise and share it back. You’ve got to be good at determining what is likely signal versus noise, because if you peer around the corner and you bring every single potential worry back to your audience, you turn into a little boy who cried wolf.

Heather Dondis Exactly. It’s a little bit. You run the risk again. There’s that. There’s times to be in. I keep saying be in the conversation because it is very, very important. But if you’re in the conversation and not breaking through, not again, impactful. And that definition is going to be to the user, viewer, listener, whoever that is, then don’t be in the conversation. So, yes, there’s a bit of proactivity, reactivity, and it’s a it’s a balance.

Bill Sherman I want to turn a little bit to your background. And I want to ask, how did you come into the world of thought leadership?

Heather Dondis Oh, that’s a really great question. And I was so lucky I did. I’ve been in marketing roles for over 20 years, and they’ve all been a stepping stone to where I am now, which is just a thrill. I work with so many great marketers and some of these marketers are more and a thought, leadership and insights role now. So really, as I evolved in the career, I think. Our industry, you know, it evolved and it said, okay, we’ve got traditional brand marketing, product marketing, creative market, whatever it may be, right? All these different and the more and more you move down a path, whether it’s a smaller company, a bigger company, wherever the size, there’s just the need to not only flex but flex in a deliberate way. So where it became more of call it content marketing or strategic marketing again, and it’s like insert different descriptor here through the different organizations and roles that I’ve been in. A couple of those firms were like, We need to put more of a lens given this whole curation notion of getting that signal to noise stronger. And we can do that by dedicating resource to more of a content marketing or a thought, leadership and insight program. It doesn’t mean any of those other things brand marketing, product marketing, etc. go away. In fact, if this is done well, in my opinion.

Bill Sherman It augments it reinforces each other.

Heather Dondis Exactly. But it all has to be part of an integrated marketing approach as a whole.

Bill Sherman That’s a fascinating journey, and I think it reflects the journey of a lot of people right now in that their thought leadership is not the first stop on their career. You need to understand a bit of the business generally before you can get into thought leadership, because one of the things that I see is you have to be able to curate effectively. This means you need to understand the organization and what people do in various parts of it.

Heather Dondis Yes, it is so true. And when it starts to fire on all cylinders, right, that’s when you know something is starting to catch a little bit to fire on all cylinders. So. An example recently, like we, we’ve established an editorial board at my firm. It’s not the first time I’ve been involved with the editorial board that a wonderful individual in the team who’s leading that effort and we bring people from across our organization, different areas, even the areas you wouldn’t think to bring, we bring them in. And that’s something we talked about last time, that ideas come from anywhere in the philosophy of those ideas is actually changing. Charging ahead, I should say. So if you’ve got that board and then, you know, there’s always confusion, well, what’s the editorial board do? And how is that different from like the day to day run, the business plays and things like how does it all fit? Well, some of the fun is figuring that out, frankly. You know, day one, you don’t have it all together. But the president and CEO of our firm approached me the other day, said, I have some ideas, I have some more ideas about the themes. We started themes about two and a half years ago because we know we needed to move beyond product. We had this unique lens. We’ve got some more resources to dedicate to this. But I’m thinking I said we’re way ahead of. Like some of these things that you’ve articulated that’s actually phase two of the advert and some of our offers like we’re, we’re curating them right now, but keep them coming and whatnot, right? Everyone’s busy. So you start to get ahead of yourself in a good way that you can say, you know what, I we got the immediate down and it’s never done, so to speak. But now what is phase two of phase three and what does that continue journey look like?

Bill Sherman It’s a good exercise. When you’re focused on the month or the quarter, you tend to be running as fast as you can but focused on your feet. Right. And that tends to be the riskiest way for running. That leads to injury. You’ve got to look at where you’re going. And I think thought leadership helps you elevate your perspective up from your feet as an organization.

Heather Dondis I agree. And since we’re on these analogies, which are so helpful, because I do feel like it helps. I used to do I cannot tell that now, but some boxing training back one too many years ago and my friend and he was a trainer at the time used to say like you also never complete any one of the areas. So just when I got the footwork down, he’s like, wow, those punches are looking a little they’re a little short. You’re not long enough. Okay, well, now the speed, now this, now that. And it’s just like you think you’ve nailed one part of it, and all of a sudden there’s a new area to focus on. But when it comes together and incrementally, you start to see, you know, what you’re you know, if you go to spar, you might have a better chance. Now, I’m actually going do rounds versus what you know. And that’s I believe and I don’t want to encourage violence of any nature here, but that’s when you start to see the elements, all of the flexing and the practice, because it takes practice to and learning, listening and learning. We’re not going to be the same for six months to a year from now. We’ll have the same great attributes of our firm. But this program is going to change. I can you know, it doesn’t take a genius to tell you that it’s going to change because we’re going to learn and be even better at our game. We need to be continuous improvement.

Bill Sherman Absolutely. So let me build on that question. What are you reading now that’s influencing how you think about the leadership? Is there a book that’s sort of on your shelf that’s influencing you?

Heather Dondis There is. And ah, the CEO of our company shared it around the holiday time and I’ve come to love it. But, “Alchemy” by – his name is Rory Sutherland. It’s such a cool book because it’s all about really like having an idea, a point of view, and not just basically agreeing with the masses and having the courage to take an idea somewhere. And I think any thought leadership program has to be grounded in that, right? You’ve got to be out there. It’s going to name. And it also shows it can come from anywhere like it’s not just going to be my team or the marketing team in general. This mindset of looking to stand out in a positive. Of way. Take chances and take thoughtful chances, of course, but like to take those chances, not just settle, not just wait for another firm to do it in some cases or or just be relegated to, well, a firm of your size. Get comfy? Not at all. That to us is just not not even in the realm of possibility.

Bill Sherman That prevents growth, that creates complacency, and it allows you to be susceptible to that sort of gravity of monetization.

Heather Dondis Yeah, exactly. And a lot of firms talk about intellectual curiosity. It’s always been a passion of mine. And I feel like I have found a place that that embraces it, embraces it, but acts on it as well. And I think a lot of other places just, you know, it’s harder sometimes to do that, maybe because of their set up, their mindset, their culture, whatever it is. But I think intellectual curiosity is part of the way this book is. It’s what drives the author.

Bill Sherman One of the things that I’ve described thought leadership, AC or career and thought leadership is almost a perpetual state of being in grad school, but in the good way, where if you had the opportunity to learn to ask those questions, to explore. But then you can also look and say, okay, how do we apply this? Right? It’s not just reading and learning for the sake of learning, but it’s learning for application.

Heather Dondis That’s right. And a practical application. And again, not this pie in the sky concepts or ideas. And I’ve spoken before at our firm, we have a lot of people who are just I mean, due diligence research. It’s how they think and act. And that is great. And this is some of what we do with that then is, okay, we’ll get. We don’t have all day to get to it. And some people are not going to have all day to get to it like you had. And it’s great that you are able to take the time and do this in-depth. What is it with what is the punch line spoiler for me? You know.

Bill Sherman Now turn it into the USA Today infographic. Okay, give me a pie chart in one sentence.

Heather Dondis Yeah. And because you’re so good at what you do, that will have the 20 page details for anyone who wants them. But it’s not even an intelligence issue. It’s not guides. It’s simply time. It’s simply time. Like you’re being part of your day to day is to take the time and go deep and whatnot. But for the you’re doing that for the people who don’t have that time.

Bill Sherman Exactly.

Heather Dondis And they’re you know, and.

Bill Sherman Where the trust comes in is if they learn, they can trust. You’ve done your homework, that you’ve chased down every possibility and then distilled that down into something quick that they can process in 2 minutes. That’s a gift of time to them.

Heather Dondis It is. And it’s a huge win. And it also I’m really very careful to say this, not only in my team, but across the firm. That does not equal dumbing it down. So because what you’ve done is you’ve actually leveled up, meaning if you’ve taken something, because that’s what we do as curators and thought leadership folks as we we translate, curate and we translate. And if we’re able to do that such that we’ve given people time back without dumbing anything down, you know, because that’s not acceptable to done right now, not in the cards that gets kicked back, you know. So it’s not that it’s about translating and managing people’s time with the gift that we have, which is the ability of understanding how they went deep and what the, you know, what the what the headline, so to speak.

Bill Sherman What I’ve loved about some of the data journalism that has happened over the last 5 to 8 years, you see the pieces where they have the interactive data journalism with it, and it illustrates the story that you’re writing couldn’t and you understand the richness because of it.

Heather Dondis That’s right. In it, it is more a conversation.

Bill Sherman Absolutely.

Heather Dondis Than a one-way street, so to speak.

Bill Sherman One last question before we wrap up. So you’ve been in the world of thought, leadership and then marketing in various forms for a number of years. Many people are just jumping into the world of thought leadership now. What advice would you give them? Or another way to ask the question? What do you wish you knew when you saw? Leadership.

Heather Dondis Right. To continue to listen. Listen to people in our industry. Listen to people you work with, maybe who you don’t even work with, who could help you be better at sorting through and cutting through and getting to the richness and the point. It takes time to do that and to learn how to, I believe, do it well. But I think that’s it. Really listening and using your network and even being open to, I guess I would say, a nontraditional network like you go through, even as old as in my career, it was, you know, even starting out with like guidance counselors when you were in high school. Right now you have college counselors and all these things. I was with my nephew a couple of weeks ago for a college tour and it’s amazing. I was like, these folks that are giving college tours, wow. I would have been all over that it at my age like they are selling content here are thought leaders in the making right. There’s a lot of routes they can go but they had a thoughtful PowerPoint presentation. They were hitting on key points of the college to help you sell. Right that so well.

Bill Sherman And I remember back in the day you went to the school, you did the campus tour. You said, yeah, I kind of like this. I can go here. Right.

Heather Dondis Has the weather, as it were, you know, and it.

Bill Sherman Well and I made the mistake because I went to college in Minnesota. I clearly didn’t ask the how’s the weather questioned.

Heather Dondis I was in western mass so I hear you. Okay it my but this is just already the thought leaders of tomorrow so to speak, they’re starting early. So I think that’s part of it. They’re listening. We had a very interactive tour. It was amazing. And I feel like, you know, it was as much as it’s like, well, what would I do differently, so to speak? It’s the thinking of tomorrow’s thought leaders. I think that’s something I can start to do today and have started to do today. My nephew wants to be in marketing, you know, so it’s part of planning those seats. But the fact that you see people, you know, with more resources and tools, I mean, the fact that we’re getting this topic in the conversation, it’s already a win.

Bill Sherman So I’m sure those.

Heather Dondis Those young and great minds.

Bill Sherman So, Heather, thank you for a fantastic conversation today.

Heather Dondis Thank you, Bill.

Bill Sherman It’s been a lot of fun.

Bill Sherman If you’re interested in organizational thought leadership, then I invite you to subscribe to the RTL newsletter. Each month we talk about the people who create, curate, and deploy thought leadership on behalf of their organizations. Go to the website and choose join our newsletter. I’ll leave a link to the website as well as my LinkedIn profile in the show notes. Thanks for listening and I look forward to hearing what you thought of the show.

Bill Sherman works with thought leaders to launch big ideas within well-known brands. He is the COO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Bill on Twitter

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