Recently I read an article by Leigh Buchanan of Inc. magazine who interviewed Ned Ward, vice-president of Stern & Associates, a Cranford, New Jersey public-relations firm. This PR firm's clients include uber-visionary Clayton Christensen - who advises business leaders who want to become known as thought leaders. Ward defines thought leadership in this way: "I would define a thought leader as someone who stands above subject-matter expertise and is an authority in their field. And they have to be able to prove that expertise with a track record."
Mary Baker Eddy
Over one hundred years ago, a New England woman named Mary Baker Eddy was the epitome of thought leadership. Eddy, a 19th century religious leader and author, was a remarkable woman clearly ahead of her time. She challenged conventional beliefs about the nature of man's existence and proved the power of prayer to heal. She lectured, taught, wrote several books, healed extensively, established a worldwide church, founded a publishing company, an internationally acclaimed newspaper, and owned sizable property in Boston and Massachusetts, U.S.A. - a feat which was unparalleled by American women of her day because they had little to no rights to vote, be property owners, or run businesses let alone have rank among the clergy!