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Kimberly Marshall

By Kimberly Marshall

Nov 25, 2021


Executives and Leaders
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Executives and Leaders

9 Thought Leaders We’re Incredibly Thankful For

Kimberly Marshall

By Kimberly Marshall

Nov 25, 2021

9 Thought Leaders We’re Incredibly Thankful For

Each and every one of us is better at what we do today because of someone who has come before us. Whether we attribute our growth to books we’ve read, conferences we’ve attended, or people who’ve mentored us, we can all name someone who has inspired our advancement, whether in business or in life.

As Roy T. Bennett wrote in his book, The Light in the Heart: Inspirational Thoughts for Living Your Best Life, “Success is not how high you have climbed, but how you make a positive difference to the world.”

There are so many thought leaders out there making this difference; they inspire us every day to strive harder, dig deeper, and push further. But in our rush to accomplish, we don’t always take the time to say, “Thank you.”

It’s with the utmost gratitude and appreciation that our IMPACT family is taking a pause this holiday season to tip our hats to those who’ve helped us along the way.

In this article, we’re offering thanks to the thought leaders who motivate us to not only be better professionals, but also better humans. Each person on the list has been chosen by a member of our staff, and we’ve included a brief bio in addition to a few words from our team.

So, without further ado, here are the thought leaders we’re thankful for and how they’ve helped us grow.

1. Aleksandra Panyukhina


[Photo source: InEvent]

Aleksandra Panyukhina is passionate about combining events and marketing — and she’s crushed it for some of the biggest tech and SaaS companies out there (such as Semrush and parcelLab).

Panyukhina is also a former pro athlete who competed in cross country and sled dog racing, and in an interview with InEvent, she shared how sports influences her today: “I know how valuable and important is the team for your personal and project’s success. … [L]isten to what they have to say and how they feel and always appreciate everyone’s effort.”

Whether she’s coordinating virtual or in-person events, Panyukhina works to foster powerful human connections that, in turn, drive business growth.

From our team:

“When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it drastically shifted the events industry. I was very new to the whole space and was looking for direction and leadership in how to adapt to the rapidly changing environment.

I found Aleksandra on LinkedIn and was immediately pulled in by her insights and experiences on the shift to virtual events. She was doing speaking gigs while also running and managing events at the time, and she helped shape my approach to virtual events. I’m thankful for her direction, expertise, and passion for creating amazing event experiences and sharing that with her audience.”

— IMPACT’s Community and Events Manager Connor DeLaney

2. Ann Handley


Ann Handley, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Everybody Writes and Content Rules, has made it her mission to teach people how to create engaging content that drives revenue. She trains and educates hundreds of thousands of B2B marketers through her company, MarketingProfs, and her commentary and bylines have been featured in Entrepreneur magazine, Mashable, Huffington Post, and NPR, among other publications.

Ann was cited in Forbes as a top thought leader and is one of LinkedIn’s influencers with nearly 430,000 followers. Her work is, as noted by IBM, “shaping modern marketing,” and we use her teachings regularly here at IMPACT to improve the quality of our content.

From our team:

“I adore Ann Handley and practically everything she does in content. Professionally, no woman has inspired me more. When I first began working in content marketing, I was handed her book, Everybody Writes, and it quickly became the guide for everything I’d come to preach as a writer and editor.

Not only do I admire her fierce advocacy of human, approachable content, but also her powerful yet genuine presence on and off the stage. She exudes the authenticity, grace, and humor that she champions, and I’m forever in awe of her.”

— IMPACT’s Director of Content Ramona Sukhraj

Watch Handley’s IMPACT Live keynote, The Big, Bold, Brave New World of Marketing.

3. Brian Halligan


As the co-founder and executive chairperson of HubSpot, Brian Halligan has helped grow the CRM giant to generate over $1 billion in revenue with more than 120,000 customers worldwide. It’s a powerful tool we use here at IMPACT to scale our business, and we train our clients how to use HubSpot to grow their businesses as well.

Halligan founded HubSpot in 2004 with Dharmesh Shah and has also co-authored two books: Inbound Marketing, with Dharmesh Shah, and Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead, with David Meerman Scott.

He lectures at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and is a corporate member of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he focuses on climate change.

From our team:

“Brian Halligan is one of the biggest guiding voices of inbound marketing. Every time I hear him speak, I’m taken aback by his forward-thinking perspectives and visions for marketing.

Sometimes they’re even years ahead of what HubSpot is planning to do. He is always ahead of the game.”

— IMPACT’s Director of Content Ramona Sukhraj

Watch Halligan’s IMPACT Live keynote A New Way To Compete and Win to learn about the theory of experience disruption.

4. Dharmesh Shah


As mentioned prior, Dharmesh Shah is the other co-founder of HubSpot, as well as the company’s CTO. In addition to growing HubSpot and co-authoring Inbound Marketing with Halligan, Shah founded, where he blogs to over 700,000 members and entrepreneurs interested in learning about running and investing in SaaS startups.

After selling his first business, Pyramid, he remained an active entrepreneurial community member in the Boston area and invests in and shares his startup know-how with early-stage technology businesses.

Shah graduated from MIT with an M.S. degree as part of the MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership and holds a B.S. in computer science from the University of Alabama.

From our team:

“Dharmesh is the most brilliant and humble billionaire you’ll ever meet and learn from. I follow him because, despite being a high-level executive at a huge company, he still offers practical, battle-tested and down-to-earth insights on how to build and grow things for someone at any level. He’s done so much to teach us about what ‘culture’ means at an organization and how to keep it alive.”

— IMPACT’s VP of Product and Partner Tom DiScipio

Here he is giving his keynote “Marketing Tech: What’s Now, What’s Near and What’s Not Anytime Soon?​” at IMPACT Live.

5. Donald Miller


[Photo source: Daily Beast]

Donald Miller is a New York Times bestselling author, known for writing Business Made Simple, a leadership, marketing, and sales guide for career and business growth, and Marketing Made Simple, a book to develop, strengthen, and communicate your business’s story better to your marketplace.

He is also known for creating StoryBrand, which is a marketing framework that uses elements of the hero’s journey to market your business. IMPACT is StoryBrand certified, and we teach this method to our clients to help them improve their messaging and clarity.

Miller has helped his community by lobbying for school voucher programs and serving on the Presidential Advisory Council on Fatherhood and Healthy Families.

He’s also written a few personal-development titles, including Hero on a Mission, where he writes about what it takes to cultivate a meaningful life, and Father Fiction, about what it’s like growing up without a father.

From our team:

“I think Donald Miller is a great leader because he is able to make things that are very complex and hard for people to grasp and he breaks them down into the simplest form.

Clarity in communication is everything. So when a leader can communicate their idea clearly to someone, it makes it so much easier for that person to follow them and get behind.

That’s something I hope to adopt into my communication style.”

— IMPACT’s Digital Marketing Account Manager Hannah Woods

6. Liz Wiseman


[Photo source: The Wiseman Group]

Liz Wiseman teaches leadership to executives around the world. She has authored several titles in leadership and career growth, including New York Times bestseller Multipliers, The Multiplier Effect, and Wall Street Journal bestseller Rookie Smarts. These books are often part of our professional development reading lists here at IMPACT.

Liz is also the current CEO of Wiseman Group, a Silicon Valley-based leadership research and development firm that helps shape leaders with a range of keynotes, webinars, and workshops. Her business serves clients such as Apple, AT&T, Disney, Facebook, and Google. And because of her significant research and expertise in her field, she often writes for Harvard Business Review, Fortune, and other business and leadership journals.

From our team:

“Liz Wiseman taught us about understanding the types of employees that exist (rockstars and superstars), and how to help both thrive within a team. Her book Multipliers changed the way I (and I know several others here) think about leading, managing, and growing an organization.”

— IMPACT’s VP of Product and Partner Tom DiScipio

7. Neil Patel


[Photo source:]

Google any digital marketing topic, and Neil Patel’s website and content are sure to surface on the first page. His advice is concise yet thorough as he helps brands learn and implement strategies for growing their businesses online.

Patel’s blog generates over 4 million visitors per month, while his podcast with Eric Siu, Marketing School, generates over 1 million listens per month. His YouTube channel has over 31 million views and 765,000 subscribers, and he reaches over 1 million Facebook fans and 372,000 followers on Twitter.

A New York Times bestselling author and highly sought-after speaker, Patel has been recognized by former President Barack Obama and the United Nations as a top entrepreneur, among other accolades.

From our team:

“Reading Neil Patel’s blog and watching his YouTube videos, I learned a ton about SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, etc. I also looked at how he was creating content and analyzed why it worked so well on me.

Small example, I loved reading Neil Patel’s blogs. They were so easy to read even though they were incredibly long, but he only uses one to two sentences per paragraph, making it feel more digestible.

He’s helped me see a more complete picture of content marketing.”

— IMPACT’s Senior Content Trainer Kevin Phillips

8. Robbie Kellman Baxter


[Photo source:]

As a strategy consultant in the marketing and strategy field, Robbie Kellman Baxter helps businesses navigate market opportunities and risks. She is still at the company she founded 20 years ago, Peninsula Strategies, whose clients include corporate heavyweights, such as Netflix, Microsoft, and The Wall Street Journal.

She is the author of The Forever Transaction and The Membership Economy, in which she coined the phrase that is the title of the book over a decade ago (and it’s still used by businesses and journalists today).

A former New York City Urban Fellow, consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton, and Silicon Valley product marketer, Kellman Baxter holds an A.B. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has appeared on CNN, NBC, and NPR, and continues teaching her methods to thousands across businesses and organizations.

From our team:

“When we decided to enter the membership space, Robbie’s two books, The Membership Economy and The Forever Transaction, were indispensable in helping us build a successful subscription model.

IMPACT+ is what it is today (and getting better every day) largely because of advice, lessons, and principles we’ve borrowed from industry experts, and Robbie has been a huge part of that. She’s taught us what a successful community should look like.”

— IMPACT’s VP of Marketing Kaitlyn Petro

9. Marcus Sheridan


Last but certainly not least, we’re thankful here at IMPACT for our co-owner, business partner, and thought leader of our own: Marcus Sheridan.

Today, Marcus is a highly sought-after international keynote speaker who teaches people all over the world how to grow their businesses with his revolutionary inbound marketing framework, They Ask, You Answer.

He’s come a long way from selling pools from the back of a beat-up truck.

Dubbed a “Web Marketing Guru” by the New York Times, Marcus has also been named one of 20 “Speakers You Don’t Want to Miss” by Forbes. His book They Ask, You Answer was rated the No. 1 marketing book to read in 2017 by Mashable and the No. 1 marketing book of all time by BookAuthority.

His work and words have been featured in the New York Times, Inc., The Globe and Mail, Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, and more.

He continues inspiring thousands with his work, including so many of us here at IMPACT, who, without him, wouldn’t be so inspired to help our own clients grow their businesses.

From our team:

“Without Marcus, I wouldn’t be here right now.

My introduction to digital marketing was learning They Ask, You Answer the day I started working at Alaska Sleep Clinic. I still remember reading his book Content Marketing Made Simple (which formed the basis for They Ask, You Answer) over the weekend before I started and being blown away. Marketing through honest education? It sounded so refreshing.

A couple of months later, I was growing one of the most-read sleep medicine websites in the world.”

— IMPACT’s Senior Content Trainer Kevin Phillips

Learn They Ask, Ask You Answer from Marcus Sheridan in his keynote “Building a True Culture of Inbound With They Ask, You Answer.”

Thank you to the thought leaders listed here, and many more

To all the thought leaders out there boldly sharing your message with the world and making it a better place — we see you, and we’re thankful for you.

It’s because of your direction and innovation that we follow in your steps, inspired to create and grow in personal and professional ways of our own. Whether we apply your teachings to the businesses we lead or relationships we form, it’s your guiding principles that lead us toward better futures.

And for that, we couldn’t be more grateful.

Work with IMPACT to grow your business

Even though IMPACT has helped hundreds of businesses grow using the They Ask, You Answer framework — some of which are generating millions in revenue — we acknowledge that we couldn’t have done it alone.

The thought leaders we listed here have helped us grow as people and as a business — even as we help our clients grow, too.

To take the first step toward implementing They Ask, You Answer in your business and improving your organic traffic and sales volume once and for all, set up a call with one of our advisors who can walk you through how to reach these incredible results, too.

If you’d like to read more before you reach out, here are some additional resources:

  1. What Is They Ask, You Answer?
  2. They Ask, You Answer Fundamentals With Marcus Sheridan

With our coaching and hands-on training, you’ll finally get the support you need to grow your business online and generate more revenue while increasing your traffic, leads, and sales.

IMPACT Live Group

Register for IMPACT Live in Hartford CT, October 14-16!

Register for the one and only They Ask, You Answer conference before rates go up July 31! Save $200 now.
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