Everyone 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