Community//

Adam Kayce: “Thought leaders don’t sit back and say how can I be a thought leader”

Thought leaders don’t sit back and say how can I be a thought leader. Thought leaders are saying “what is my brand, where is my expertise and what can I do to reposition other people in a better light that didn’t exist before. Somebody has to be motivated to better not only themselves, but the […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Thought leaders don’t sit back and say how can I be a thought leader. Thought leaders are saying “what is my brand, where is my expertise and what can I do to reposition other people in a better light that didn’t exist before. Somebody has to be motivated to better not only themselves, but the people around them. Thought leaders want to provide the greatest value they possibly can and will figure out how to get there. My entire business is to help other businesses grow and connect them in ways that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. My philosophy is if an individual business puts out information, then it’s advertising, if it is positioned through us, then it is a resource and information. We are helping people strategize their own knowledge in order to put it directly in front of the people that are looking for it.


As part of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Kayce.

Adam Kayce is a nationally recognized exposition producer and innovator, specialist in personalizing brands and the ultimate content and experience creator. For over twelve years, Adam has driven over one hundred thousand attendees annually and established the Home Design and Remodeling Shows to be the largest economic driving force for the South Florida home design and home improvement industry. As the event and expo industry has come to a halt, Adam has worked directly with the home design and improvement professionals as well as homeowners to deliver value, education, and awareness for the local industry trendsetters, brands, products, and services. Adam began his career in sales and was promoted to Show Director, Vice President, and now President of Home Show Management Corp.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I’m from the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. I graduated from Bates College and out of school I went into medical venture capital. With a passion of business of development, as far as helping build other businesses, I transitioned into sales at the Home Design and Remodeling Show 13 years ago. Through the progression of being with the Home Show, I was promoted to show director, and served as show director for about six years before becoming a partner. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw this business, from 40 years of being a trusted brand and resource for south Florida, as a larger platform than just events. With my mindset of reimagining this business as a media company to focus on telling the story of the industry to not only position industry innovators as the authority in their trade, but also to help educate, inspire and connect homeowners with the best professionals, products and services that South Florida has to offer. With that, I saw the opportunity and reposition it into a more extended resource, so in 2020 I acquired the entire business.

Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership?

What I pride myself in is bringing authorities out within the industry. I see myself as the centralized resource that is constantly aiming to bring the most relevant and most knowledgeable people out from behind their brands in order to help educate the marketplace. Innovation and information are two of the most important aspects of business, and what a lot of brands neglect when advertising. I see myself as a thought leader within the space because I reimagined the Home Show industry and the value that Home Shows offer both industry and homeowners. We focus on helping the people that are looking to hire professionals, and by doing that I am bringing the authorities of every trade directly to them. I reimagined my space, just like a Home Show, people can meet face to face. My philosophy is that the information that one has is the most valuable part, not just because they have a beautiful ad or website. By being that source and destination that people can always use as a resource or reference, whether its video, our magazine, our blog, podcast however someone looks to consume information, we’re delivering it in every way. I am here to be an asset to brands and help tell their story.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Companies that are looking to step in this market, whether they are a brand-new business or an established brand from somewhere else, the most interesting aspect for me is being the foundation and pillar for so many businesses when they start. We have companies who have been a part of our Shows for over 30 years because we are that marketplace that not only allowed them to gain consumer confidence, but also continue to establish their brands for many years. Being that foundation of businesses, watching companies start and grow their businesses in South Florida is for me, the most interesting part of what I do.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started, I learned that “if “is the most powerful word that someone can use in sales because “if” is non-committal, but it puts people in the position of whatever you are looking to convey. In my case, “if I could bring thousands of people to your showroom, what would you make of it?” I learned that lesson quickly when I was trying to get people to see the value of investing in themselves. The most successful clients that I have are the ones that are leaders and have confidence in their brand, product, service and most of all, team. People need to be able to visualize possibility.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define what a ‘Thought Leader’ is. How is a thought leader different than a typical leader? How is a thought leader different than an influencer?

The way that I define a thought leader is somebody that is innovative in a space and is reimagining what their delivery of service or product is. A thought leader is someone that is reimagining what an industry is, rather than just sitting back and saying, “how is somebody else taking it a step further”. The innovators who started virtual consultations or using drones as opposed to just following standardized practices are establishing themselves as thought leaders. The way that I envision my thought leadership in the sense of who I am, is basically taking the most personalized approach to connect businesses and people. To educate is to personalize their brands, not through commercializing them, but rather by educating and positioning them as an authority in their field, which in turn positions our brand as an authority in South Florida. Somebody who is going further to reimagine their product or service is a thought leader. A thought leader takes risks and chances to make a larger impact.

A typical leader is somebody who is at the hub of a business, who may be really good at managing people and direction but might not be the thought leader in the sense of creating that direction. A great leader could be someone that gets the most out of each individual within a team. So, a thought leader is a leader in a field and a typical leader is a leader within an organization.

The way that I see influencers is somebody more so on the marketing and media side, that is able to be in the spotlight that is influencing people to make decisions and changes. An influencer is the person that is inspiring in some way or more of that relatable type of figure. The influencer is a part of the execution of a thought leader. A typical leader and influencer are parts of what a thought leader needs to execute new innovation.

Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming a thought leader? Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into this?

Industries and trades as a whole are always evolving and changing. Without thought leaders there would never be evolution. I feel that being a thought leader is one of the riskiest aspects, because you are reimagining and reinventing a space, but it is the most rewarding and gratifying because you are going beyond and setting the new standard. If everybody just stayed status quo, every industry would always stay what it is currently known to be. The most exciting part of business and life is advancement and thought leaders are the ones who create those opportunities and new ways to not only strategize but imagine what an industry is and could be.

Let’s talk about business opportunities specifically. Can you share a few examples of how thought leadership can help a business grow or create lucrative opportunities?

My business is meant to support the home design industry-by positioning and connecting those in the home design industry with not only other industry professionals but also South Florida homeowners. Thought leadership in my role has allowed me to connect these businesses year-round, versus just one single event. This has opened up other lucrative opportunities for my brand as we are now in video production, digital magazine, podcast production and online resources. We are the niche media and advertising platform for the South Florida home design and improvement businesses to connect with their qualified consumers every day of the year. We want to constantly create engagement and position ourselves as the information source that cultivates a community of users using our platform 365 days a year. We aim to make homeowners and buyers more informed to know what is available and make smarter decisions for their specific home needs.

Ok. Now that we have that behind us, we’d love to hear your thoughts about how to eventually become a thought leader. Can you share 5 strategies that a person should implement to become known as a thought leader in their industry. Please tell us a story or example (ideally from your own experience) for each.

Thought leaders don’t sit back and say how can I be a thought leader. Thought leaders are saying “what is my brand, where is my expertise and what can I do to reposition other people in a better light that didn’t exist before. Somebody has to be motivated to better not only themselves, but the people around them. Thought leaders want to provide the greatest value they possibly can and will figure out how to get there. My entire business is to help other businesses grow and connect them in ways that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. My philosophy is if an individual business puts out information, then it’s advertising, if it is positioned through us, then it is a resource and information. We are helping people strategize their own knowledge in order to put it directly in front of the people that are looking for it.

The first step is to look at your industry as a whole.

The second step is to identify what their industry is missing, as far as simplifying a process. You always have to fill in gaps and answer the pain point of the industry.

Look at what is the current climate of how people consume things.

Consider, how do you take your existing brand and reposition it? It’s all about coming up with answers to common pain points. For me, where do people go to know what information or products are available. Well, you can Google search, but the reality is that you are only going to come across those who are paying the most to be able to target those people. We position ourselves as that resource so that every business has the opportunity to tell their story and be part of a platform that is celebrating not only the typical, like kitchen, bathrooms, flooring or furniture, but also taking the innovative businesses that might be just starting out or presenting a new product, and bringing it markets specifically for the home industry. When you look at a blanket media source, like television or a magazine, it covers so many different things. But for us, we only touch on home design and improvement that is related to South Florida and focus on the most innovative and the most knowledgeable.

In your opinion, who is an example of someone who has that has done a fantastic job as a thought leader? Which specific things have impressed you about that person? What lessons can we learn from this person’s approach.

To me, one of the greatest ever is Elon Musk because he takes challenge and is an absolute innovator within his space (literally). I admire how he reimagines what life could be, that doesn’t exist today. He looks at everything as more of a challenge to accomplish, like ways in which to make life easier or better or ways that can benefit the planet. He is a thought leader in ways of innovating transportation and energy efficiency. He always challenges public perception. One of the best qualities that a thought leader should have is leading with purpose as the drive. Everything comes down to purpose and innovation.

I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this?

I think thought leaders should be celebrated because these are the people are that innovating industries, setting new standards and raising the bar. These people have the creative authority in innovation. They are collaborating within their respected industry to continuously bring business and life to a greater level. Thought leaders are not motivated monetarily, but by achievement and the purpose of the cause.

What advice would you give to other leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

Stay excited and passionate about your purpose. If you start dwelling on the struggle and hardship, then you lose sight of what the purpose is.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would want to work towards removing the political motivation and agenda from life. Rather than people making decisions for a political purpose, I would like to see it done more rationally and effectively. We are living in such a political environment and as funny as it sounds, if politics were not so political and were not done for an agenda, but rather for results, then we could all find common ground and work together towards the same goal. In my opinion, the competitive aspect of politics is what has ruined it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Sports has always been a big part of my life, and one that my dad has always said to me throughout my entire life has been “a TEAM resembles that Together Everyone Achieves Miracles, because one person cannot achieve as much as the right players in each position”. I’ve always lived my life surrounding myself with great people in every position, and it is something that has always stuck with me. To me, it means the power of team is greater than any one individual. To achieve a miracle, you need great people around you to help execute it.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

One person that I would say, in the sense of media, would be Gary V. I feel like he is the most authentic and real media storyteller in the sense of not caring about perception, but caring about the root of every matter. He is great at extracting information and digging into individuals to find their purpose for motivating whatever their thought is. I started listening to him a lot during the pandemic, and I’ve really admired how he asks the right questions to try and extract the information that someone already knows but isn’t paying attention to acknowledge it.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow the Home Design and Remodeling Show on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest and LinkedIn, as well as on our site, https://homeshows.net.

Thank you so much for your insights. This was very insightful and meaningful.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Tips From The Top: One One With Bill Wackermann, CEO of Wilhelmina Models

by Adam Mendler
Community//

Tips From The Top: One On One With Jean Chatzky

by Adam Mendler
Community//

Lessons In Leadership: One On One With Lieutenant General Jeff Buchanan

by Adam Mendler
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.