Print this page Share

Ready to Be a Thought Leader?: How to Increase Your Influence, Impact, and Success

ISBN: 978-1-118-64761-5
272 pages
January 2014, Jossey-Bass
Ready to Be a Thought Leader?: How to Increase Your Influence, Impact, and Success (1118647610) cover image


The how-to guide to becoming a go-to expert

Within their fields, thought leaders are sources of inspiration and innovation. They have the gift of harnessing their expertise and their networks to make their innovative thoughts real and replicable, sparking sustainable change and even creating movements around their ideas. In Ready to Be a Thought Leader?, renowned executive talent agent Denise Brosseau shows readers how to develop and use that gift as she maps the path from successful executive, professional, or civic leader to respected thought leader.

With the author's proven seven-step process—and starting from wherever they are in their careers—readers can set a course for maximum impact in their field. These guidelines, along with stories, tips, and success secrets from those who have successfully made the transition to high-profile thought leader, allow readers to create a long-term plan and start putting it into action today, even if they only have 15 minutes to spare.

  • Offers a step-by-step process for becoming a recognized thought leader in your field
  • Includes real-world examples from such high-profile thought leaders as Robin Chase, founder and former CEO of Zipcar; Chip Conley, author of PEAK and former CEO of JDV Hospitality; and more
  • Written by Denise Brosseau, founder of Thought Leadership Lab, an executive talent agency that helps executives become thought leaders, who has worked with start-up CEOs and leaders from such firms as Apple, Genentech, Symantec, Morgan Stanley, Medtronic, KPMG, DLA Piper, and more

Ready to Be a Thought Leader? offers essential reading for anyone ready to expand their influence, increase their professional success, have an impact far beyond a single organization and industry, and ultimately leave a legacy that matters.

See More

Table of Contents

Foreword, Guy Kawasaki xiii

Introduction: What Do You Want to Be Known For? xv

Getting Started: From Leader to Thought Leader 1

1 Find Your Driving Passion 19

2 Build Your Ripples of Influence 41

3 Activate Your Advocates 69

4 Put Your "I" on the Line 99

5 Codify Your Lessons Learned 121

6 Put Yourself on S.H.O.U.T. 147

7 Incite (R)Evolution 183

Conclusion 207

Notes 209

Acknowledgments 221

About the Author 223

Index 225

See More

Author Information

Denise Brosseauis the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Lab, where she works with executives and entrepreneurs who want to build their visibility, credibility, and thought leadership to enhance their professional success. Her clients include leaders from Apple, Genentech, and Morgan Stanley, as well as startup CEOs, partners in professional service firms, and nonprofit executives. Denise speaks to corporations, associations, and groups nationwide and she is a frequent guest blogger for Inc.com, Chic CEO, and Salesforce. Denise has an MBA from Stanford and in 2012, she was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change.

For more information, please visit thoughtleadershiplab.com

See More


“Denise Brosseau is a champion of entrepreneurs and corporate executives alike, and she lays out a step-by-step process for all who want to achieve status as a thought leader. I highly recommend her book for every motivated individual.”
—Kay Koplovitz, founder, USA Networks; chairman, Springboard Enterprises; and author, Bold Women, Big Ideas

“Denise Brosseau has done a great service by making thought leadership accessible to all of us. Her case studies and practical resources make this book approachable and a must-read. I'm going to recommend this book to my start-up CEO friends, as it will help them to get their ideas heard in an increasingly noisy market.”
—Aneel Bhusri, cofounder and co-CEO, Workday

“Are you tired of the status quo? Ready to Be a Thought Leader? will give you practical guidance and inspire you with real-life examples. I've known Denise for 11 years, and she's passionate about helping people make a difference. Put her expertise to work for you.”
—Susan Doherty, CMO, Hipmunk

“Thought leadership can be a significant competitive advantage for independent consultants. People want to hire the best, and thought leadership validates your reputation, credibility, and expert knowledge. If you want to know what it takes to become a respected thought leader in your arena, buy Ready to Be a Thought Leader? today.”
—Gene Zaino, CEO and president, MBO Partners

“Denise Brosseau will give you the GPS to find and achieve the designation of thought leader. Whether you're an entrepreneur, executive, or nonprofit leader, you won't want to go to work without it.”
—Peggy Klaus, executive coach, and author, BRAG! and The Hard Truth About Soft Skills

“If you want to build community, advance ideas, and effect lasting change, read Denise Brosseau's Ready to Be a Thought Leader?. You'll find all the inspiration and know-how you need to enhance your impact and improve lives, starting today.”
—Jane Wales, president and CEO, The World Affairs Council, and vice president, Aspen Institute

“Denise Brosseau’s ground-breaking book teaches us how to make our careers matter, changing ourselves and others for the better. If you are ready to live your life to its full potential, I highly recommend Ready to Be a Thought Leader?.”
—Sheryle Bolton, CEO, Sally Ride Science, Inc.

“At 85 Broads, we help smart women develop the leadership skills they need to dramatically increase the lifetime return on the investment they make in their careers. To do that, they need to know how to build a network of dedicated followers around their game-changing ideas. Ready to Be a Thought Leader? Is just the kind of savvy, inspirational, and engaging guide to help anyone break out of the pack and stand out for all the right reasons.”
—Janet Hanson, founder, 85 Broads

“As a long-time technology executive who has experienced several career transitions, I have learned the importance of thought leadership to raise my own profile within the industry and open the door to new opportunities for myself and others. Ready to Be a Thought Leader? offers just the sort of practical advice that I could have used along the way. I highly recommend this book for every executive.”
—Beth Devin, chief information officer, Silicon Valley Bank

“To climb the corporate ladder, you not only have to know where you are going, but you have to bring people along with you. Denise Brosseau teaches you how to enhance your credibility and find encouragement from a broad constituency supporting you.”
—Lydia I. Beebe, corporate secretary and chief governance officer, Chevron Corporation

“Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an executive, or running a nonprofit, Ready to Be a Thought Leader? will help you establish your credibility within and outside your organization and create a tribe of dedicated followers.”
—Sheryl O’Loughlin, executive director, Center of Entrepreneurial Studies, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University; cofounder and former CEO, Plum, Inc.; and former CEO, Clif Bar and Company

“As the CEO of a large nonprofit, I know the importance of finding and engaging with a passionate set of people who believe in and will engage with our work, and one way for me to do that is by establishing myself as a thought leader. Ready to Be a Thought Leader? provides the strategies and resources entrepreneurs need to have their ideas not only heard, but acted on. I recommend it as a must-read.”
—Telle Whitney, president and CEO, Anita Borg Institute

Ready to Be a Thought Leader? provides tips, tools, and resources that will help you articulate your passion, demonstrate your leadership, and engage others in accelerating new and creative initiatives. Denise provides a step-by-step process to gain strategic visibility for your ideas and your work and in turn the vital contribution you make to improving the world. A must-read for anyone who wants to be more strategic and systematic in their work as a change agent.”
—Ellen Snee, EdD, vice president, leadership programs, VMware

“Is it time to stand out from the crowd and gainmore recognition for your achievements? Ready to Be a Thought Leader? will open your eyes to new possibilities for increasing your visibility and credibility within any organization—just what every savvy executive needs to get ahead.”
—Miranda Lin, senior vice president, Bank of America

“To rise above the noise, you need to stand out as a trusted and reliable resource for your customers. Denise Brosseau’s timely and engaging new book, Ready to Be a Thought Leader?, shows just what it takes for executives and CEOs to become that go-to guru. Her strategies will ensure that customers flock to your door.”
—Mike Gill, vice president, US Sales and Customer Care, Medtronic Diabetes

“As a Silicon Valley executive talent agent, Denise Brosseau has a front-row seat on what it really takes to stand out from the crowd. In Ready to Be a Thought Leader?, she shares that know-how in an easy-to-read, down-to-earth, and approachable style.”
—Kit Yarrow, consumer psychologist; coauthor, Gen BuY; and professor, Golden Gate University

“Whether you’re an up-and-coming entrepreneur or an established executive, Denise Brosseau will provide you specific guidance and invaluable insights to help you take control of your business and career. Denise’s stories, examples, templates, and tools have—to quote one of her case studies—the ‘strong smell of reality.’ She’s been there, done that, and helped hundreds of clients get to where you want to go.”
—David Newman, author, Do It! Marketing

“If you’re ready to break out as the ‘go-to’ person in your niche, Ready to Be a Thought Leader? will cut ten years off your learning curve. With actionable advice, a step-by-step execution plan, and inspirational stories of leaders, this book will help you put your career on overdrive!”
—Dan Schawbel, author, Me 2.0 and Promote Yourself

See More

Press Release

January 14, 2014
READY TO BE A THOUGHT LEADER?: How to Increase Your Influence, Impact, and Success


How to Increase Your Influence, Impact, and Success 

by Denise Brosseau 

"Ready to Be a Thought Leader? is a likable, practical book for seasoned executives who have achieved financial success but now want greater influence.”  -Harvard Business Review


“Denise Brosseau has done a great service by making thought leadership accessible to all of us. I'm going to recommend this book to my start-up CEO friends, as it will help them to get their ideas heard in an increasingly noisy market.”
—Aneel Bhusri, cofounder and co-CEO, Workday


How did Robin Chase, CEO of Zipcar, make the transition from running a successful car sharing service to become an advocate for a green economy? How did Nina Nashif, CEO of Healthbox, go from being a healthcare consultant to founder of a nationwide accelerator for healthcare startup entrepreneurs and a champion for healthcare innovation?  And what impelled Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, to make the leap from successful hotel CEO to an evangelist for a more meaningful way of doing business? 

In Ready to Be a Thought Leader? (foreword by Guy Kawasaki; Jossey-Bass; January 20, 2014), Denise Brosseau, renowned advisor to Silicon Valley executives and cofounder of Springboard Enterprises, a startup accelerator that has helped women entrepreneurs raise over $6 billion for their companies, shows how these already successful people achieved outsize impact by going beyond conventional career advice (“keep your head down, work hard”) and made the transition from leader to thought leader. 

Based on her research and numerous interviews, Brosseau makes the case that real thought leaders—unlike mere self-promoters—“galvanize others to think new thoughts, modify the way they have always done things, and embark on new behaviors, new paths, and new actions to transform the world.” At a personal level, she shows readers how thought leadership “unlocks a whole new level of professional achievement as well as personal satisfaction.”

Using her own remarkable journey as a guide—from launching her first company at the age of 26 to cofounding several women’s leadership companies and organizations, and becoming an advisor to executives and CEOs—Denise Brosseau distills the lessons she has learned along the way. She describes a 7-step leadership path that is key to reinventing yourself as a thought leader, including how to identify your unique niche, telling a bigger story about yourself that really engages others, and codifying the lessons you've learned so others can amplify your impact and carry forward your ideas

Brosseau shares inspiring stories of leaders, who have used these ideas to transform companies and even whole industries from within, successfully lobbying for their ideas, and creating momentum for revolutionary change. Among the stories profiled in the book are:

  • How Van Ton-Quinlivan, then chief of staff at PG&E, channeled her passion for education and equal opportunity to build a more diverse workforce development program that transformed the company’s hiring culture, building programs to recruit and prepare members of underserved communities, including veterans, for the company’s well-paying positions. The program was successful not just in her own company but across her industry because Van was able to garner support from workforce organizations, community colleges, and veterans groups. It also allowed her to make a bigger transition to managing workforce development for California’s community college system. She is now a national authority on career technical education.


  • When Avinash Kaushik, a digital marketing expert at Intuit, decided to write a blog, he just wanted to share his expertise in a how-to guide for fellow marketers who were looking to navigate the new world of web analytics and search engine optimization. The blog soon became the platform that allowed him to build a huge global following, land a new position as the Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, write books and become a philanthropist—all while building a highly successful career.


  • Zoe Dunning, a reservist in the US Navy, was finishing up her MBA at Stanford when she chose to be among the first to speak out about her experience as a gay woman in the military. This led to a long court battle for her dismissal, but when she prevailed, Dunning became the first and only openly gay person allowed to remain on active duty in the military prior to the end of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. For 17 years, she used her unique status to advocate for the rights of gays and lesbians in the military by speaking at rallies, talking to the press, lobbying members of Congress and cofounding a legal defense network. She was instrumental in repealing the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and stood with President Obama when he signed the repeal bill. 

Filled with these and other remarkable stories, resources and insights, Ready to Be a Thought Leader? will empower readers to think big and spark movements around their ideas rather than settling for incremental change.  


For more visit: http://www.thoughtleadershiplab.com/

See More
Back to Top