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Launching a Thought Leadership Function | Erica James

Launching a Thought Leadership Function | Erica James | 362

Successfully standing up a new thought leadership role at your organization.

An interview with Erica James about realizing the need for thought leadership at an organization, making the proposal, and creating a new role for the company.

Once you realize that your company needs a full-fledged thought leadership role, how do you make that vision a reality? What information should be included in your proposal? Who do you need to buy-in, and what would the role entail?

These are some of the questions we explore in this episode. Our guest is Erica James, Director of Customer Marketing and Thought Leadership at Medallia. Medallia’s award-winning SaaS platform, the Medallia Experience Cloud, leads the market in the understanding and management of experience for customers, employees, and citizens by utilizing a proprietary AI technology to turn personalized and predictive insights into tremendous business results.

The Journey

We explore the journey Erica has taken; from her instinctive talent for thought leadership, to pitching and developing her formal position as thought leader at Medallia. Erica describes how she knew the position would benefit the company, the way her personal love of thought leadership played a part in getting executive buy-in, and the way her new role increases employee satisfaction throughout the entire organization.

Erica shares with us the way feedback from current clients is a source of inspiration, as she takes their requests for information and turns that into a drive that shapes content. She discusses the many people who have come out of the woodwork to work with her now that her position is formalized, and how she shines the spotlight on them (both internally and externally) to develop their brand.

Finally, we discuss the methods of coaching Erica employs to move others along the thought leader road. By using an apprenticeship model she is able to make meaningful relationships and then by breaking down thought leadership into bite-sized chunks, she makes the task manageable and more comfortable for new practitioners to accomplish.

This episode gives amazing insights and pathways toward standing up a new thought leadership role inside an organization, and will be useful to those looking to become thought leaders as well as to executives wanting to create a thought leadership function inside their organization. Be sure to listen in!

Three Key Takeaways:
  • Thought Leadership is like a marching band. Everyone on the team has a unique role that adds to the harmony of the music.
  • When adding a thought leadership function to an organization, start with the question, “What outcome are we trying to reach?”
  • People are seeking thought leadership content that is authentic and approachable. The personal touch can carry you far!

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!


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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