The 19th September 2017, the day we started the Thought Leadership Club. Before we started the club I decided to do some research and I googled “what makes a Thought Leadership club different from any other leadership club” and I found this blog; ‘Thought Leaders Are Made, Not Born. Here’s How to Become One“
Interestingly, when I dug more I came across words like digital marketing, email marketing, content marketing and even networking and branding which quickly piqued my interest and I decided to take up the onus of running this club. My interest in digital marketing developed when I needed to promote my mom’s business on Facebook and Twitter. In addition to this, I have a few memories from my initial days as a web developer, developing a product which was the vision of the CEO of the startup company I was then working at. During the final phase of the product development, he used one of the SEO tricks to find the most commonly searched keywords. Based on this he would name the product and he also used it to promote the product. That was my first practical lesson in thought leadership and now I closely witness the growing importance of marketing over web.
As I started sailing across ideas for the club and discussed them with the club members I realized the importance of networking with leaders of different fields and getting out of our comfort zone for that. Personally, at the start of semester 1, I was struggling to find the right career path for myself and found it difficult to connect with people. In order to not doubt myself more than I already did, I realized I needed to start connecting with like- minded people. Somewhere around that time, our then career representative, Eoin, shot this idea across the group to network using the apps meetup and Shapr, which he clarified was nothing like tinder :P. I forced myself to attend a few events and then found one on ‘ New trends in digital marketing and latest in SEO’. I booked myself onto it quickly and promised myself to not change my mind at the last minute. I was extremely glad I stuck my initial promise and attended the event. Karyn, the organizer, had made the effort to prepare a presentation on current trends in SEO and talked us through it for good 40 minutes.
During the event, I realized that this presentation could help the club members to understand a bit more about thought leadership. I met Karyn at the end of the session and invited her to come to Smurfit and give the same session again with a few more bits added to it. She said yes to the idea immediately. I asked her why she organized events like this in order to understand what was in for her so that I could offer her the same if possible. I learnt that she did this for her own networking opportunities and to promote digital marketing. Well, to me it seemed a win-win situation and finally we had a successful session on 23rd Jan. She later revealed that she is an alumna of Smurfit and did her Master’s in Management. Surprise!
The event was great and Karyn was even better. The session covered the topics “Search Neutrality” and “The Latest in SEO” specifically, the topics voted for by the audience. The best part about the session was the Q&A round in which everyone had so many questions and Karyn did an amazing job in answering them all. I remember thanking her later at Three tun’s ;)
My idea on thought leadership has definitely changed since starting this club, I don’t think the same way anymore. Like they say, the more you learn the more confused you get- just kidding! As per this article ” The Difference Between Content Marketing and Thought Leadership”
‘Thought leaders focus on crafting ideas, not audience reaction and reach.’
So, to all the future thought leaders, while you may know how to market yourself effectively, it is most important that your work speaks volumes and that is where your focus should be.
This club couldn’t have been possible without all the club members and especially without James, whose efforts have been very sincere since the start. I hope that we all can learn from great leaders, connect with them and be inspired by them, and who knows perhaps become one through our Thought Leadership Club and its events. ádh mór
Nadisha Garg, Full Time MBA 2017-2018