Thought Leader Life with Vanessa DiMauro (@vdimauro) #014

In this episode of Thought Leader Life, Michael and I exchange thought-provoking views and noteworthy ideas with guest thought leader Vanessa DiMauro. Named by Women in Technology International as one of Boston’s Most Influential Women in Technology, Vanessa is a researcher and social business expert who co-founded Leader Networks, a professional consulting firm that specializes in research and business development. The interview picks our minds with some remarkable concepts related to thought leadership, including the theory of the thought leader’s 4-persona and the basis by which people participate in an online community. Vanessa defines a thought leader as someone who is willing to commit to front-running and to stick their neck out to leverage concepts and share ideas and best practices, as well as document these best practices and do further research to support their thought.

Commenting on the thought leadership funnel, Vanessa notes that she had to pause and think more deeply about what the funnel means, but one thing that struck her most poignantly is not only does it represent the activities for advancing the thought leadership agenda, it also spoke of the type of personalities or personas of thought leaders interacting with the world. This time, it’s my turn to say I need to pause and think about Vanessa’s view that the funnel reflects the thought leader’s extrovert persona at the top of the funnel and the introvert persona at the bottom of the funnel.

Delving deeper into how Vanessa’s company helps B2B organizations gain more traction in the online community, Michael asks Vanessa about social business and how this relates to what they are doing. From the thought leadership perspective, the key is to identify and partner with social business change agents within the organization to help them to not only become thought leaders in the online business community, but also be thought leaders within their organization. Vanessa notes that being a thought leader within one’s organization is one of the most difficult challenges anyone can face. Turning the table, Vanessa asks me and Michael how we define thought leadership in contrast to what she says is content proliferation, which most companies misunderstand as thought leadership. According to Michael, thought leadership is to bring out content or a new perspective that will bring the conversation forward. I add that a thought leader is a person you want to go to in that space for a particular question.

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Here are some “‘aha’ moments” from the episode. See more in the upcoming book, soon to be a part of the THiNKaha app-only book series and watch the interview below!

When communities work well, they make everyday heroes. @vdimauro

Social business is not just about using social tools, but being able to act more human, be more honest. @happyabout

In content proliferation, you can grab any content. In thought leadership, your content must advance the conversation. #TLL @MichaelProcopio

To be successful, start with the business need, the point of pain; find the solution and it will create a ripple effect. #TLL @vdimauro

Follow Vanessa on Twitter at @vdimauro. Tune into Thought Leader Life every Saturday for more thought-leader goodness!