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The next 20 A-listers

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449139035_955a60032b_oEveryone wants to be an A-lister, it seems, these days. OK, not everyone. But there is a certain amount of cache that goes along with the term. To be clear, when I say “A-lister” I’m talking about the Chris Brogan’s, Brian Solis’ and Jeremiah Owyang’s of the world. Authors. Headliners. And people who keynote at massive conferences worldwide.

The A-listers are revered, well-read and often worshiped online–and off. And, for good reason. These are smart people. Read Jason Falls stuff sometime. Try Todd Defren’s blog. These are creative professionals with analytic minds and deep experience in the industry. That’s a powerful combination. The bottom line is the A-listers are A-listers for a reason. And there are a myriad of lists that outline that.

But, here’s my question: Are we focusing too much time on today’s A-listers at the expense of cultivating tomorrow’s thought leaders? Tomorrow’s rock stars. The next round of visionaries. Our future.

I’d like to take a moment and recognize 20 people who I believe to be the PR and digital A-listers of tomorrow. Granted, there are a number of others I could have added to this list, but this was just intended to be a start.

For the folks mentioned below, please don’t take this the wrong way. There’s a chance you might with the whole “next A-lister” tag. To be perfectly honest, I think you’re all A-listers already. All I’m trying to do here is recognize tomorrow’s superstars (in my opinion) instead of always focusing on today’s.

Without further blathering, here’s a short list of folks I believe will be the PR and digital leaders of tomorrow. Who would you add?

Amy Mengel, communications consultant/founder-Tech Valley Social Media Breakfast

Chuck Hemann, manager of research and online reputation, Dix & Eaton

Dana Lewis, student/moderator-Health Care Social Media Twitter chat

David Mullen, account supervisor, Mullen

David Spinks, community maanger, Scribnia/co-founder #u30pro Twitter chat

Elizabeth Sosnow, managing director, Bliss PR

Greg Swan, social marketing strategist, Weber Shandwick

Heather Whaling, principal, Geben Communications

Justin Goldsborough, social media ocnsultant, Fleishman Hillard

Lauren Fernandez, account executive, Moroch Partners/co-founder #u30pro

Len Kendall, digital strategist, Golin Harris

Ken Burbary, digital strategist, Enrst & Young

PR Cog, “Cog in a small New York PR firm”

Rachel Kay, president, Rachel Kay Public Relations

Ryan Stephens, media analyst, Sports Media Challenge

Scott Hepburn, president, Media Emerging

Shonali Burke, principal, Shonali Burke Consulting

Sonny Gill, social media/online marketing consultant, co-founder Community Chat on Twitter

Tony Saucier, PR/digital consultant, Olson

Valerie Simon, senior vice president, BurrellesLuce Media Monitoring & Measurement

Note: Chris Brogan photo courtesy of FramesMedia | Dan via FlickR Creative Commons

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The next 20 A-listers

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