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Alison Gers: “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody”

I think thought leadership comes with time. It isn’t necessarily something that should be your focus to become a thought leader. However, for those that do stay in the same industry for a long time, once you have that niche knowledge, then it might be worth the energy for your company and your own career […]

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I think thought leadership comes with time. It isn’t necessarily something that should be your focus to become a thought leader. However, for those that do stay in the same industry for a long time, once you have that niche knowledge, then it might be worth the energy for your company and your own career to educate others about your industry. This can benefit everyone all around.


Aspart of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alison Gers, VP of Marketing for Viteyes.com.

As the vice president of marketing, Alison Gers is responsible for Viteyes global marketing and operation efforts as well as systems integrations and product research. Before joining Vitamin Health in 2006, Gers worked in advertising with brands including Kellogg’s and Whirlpool/KitchenAid. Gers earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Alison! What is your backstory?

Since 2006, I’ve helped develop and implement marketing and operation plans for Viteyes.com, an eye health supplement brand.

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

I’ve been involved in the eye supplement industry for 15 years, researching and following the latest in eye health and supplement trends to help our physicians and consumers take advantage of the most up-to-date in vision care.

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

I love hearing when our Viteyes supplements really make a difference in someone’s life… whether it is improving their vision, helping with occasional dry eye, etc. However, one that sticks out recently is a consumer who was having terrible eye strain and bright light issues that was affecting her life daily. After a few months of taking our Viteyes Blue Light Defender gummies, she reached out telling us what a huge difference they made for her. Most recently, we were able to give back locally in Farmington Hills, MI to our police, firefighters as well our local nurses, donating much-needed vitamins for those on the front line who risk their lives for us every single day. All of this makes my job worthwhile.

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?

I would define a ‘Thought Leader’ as someone who has extensive knowledge in a niche topic and is credible to rely on for educating others on similar topics. This is different from a typical leader who is in charge of a group and empowers people toward a common goal, but may not have extensive knowledge in a topic. An influencer also may not be expert in a topic but has a following and may help to persuade the purchase decision of consumers.

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?

I think thought leadership comes with time. It isn’t necessarily something that should be your focus to become a thought leader. However, for those that do stay in the same industry for a long time, once you have that niche knowledge, then it might be worth the energy for your company and your own career to educate others about your industry. This can benefit everyone all around.

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?

I think a thought leader can also be looked at as an expert in an industry. If you are starting or wanting to grow your business a thought leader can provide “market research” and even R&D for your business. We have worked together with various thought leaders in the eye industry to develop our Viteyes Blue Light Defender supplements, such as Dr. Karen Hecht with AstaReal, eye care professionals, and more to make sure we are offering the best supplements we can for our consumers.

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.

Five strategies to become a thought leader include staying in the same or similar industry when growing your career, continuing to stay on top of the latest research in your industry, keeping in touch with consumer needs in your niche, educating your audience (blogs, magazines, through videos), and making connections with other experts in your field. Securing opportunities as a speaker on a panel offers an ideal opportunity to begin positioning yourself as a though leader within your industry. Those who would like to position themselves as a thought leader might want to also consider writing by-lined articles for consideration to be published in credible media outlets within their specific industry.

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.

Dave Gerhardt is a great example — his thought leadership would be in B2B marketing. He shares his marketing strategies and tips in conversational marketing. We can learn from him that you want to write like you are speaking to someone and how copywriting is really important to connect with your consumer.

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

I do think the term “thought leader” can be overused. It isn’t one size fits all term. Different people may have different opinions on if that person is actually a thought leader. However, the term “thought leader” can help define someone’s knowledge in an industry.

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

Keep networking and reaching out to others to learn about what they are doing — whether they are in your industry or a different one. This can help you keep your ideas fresh and ignite that spark again to keep you excited about your work.

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. 🙂

Right now, being kind and considerate to one another is what we need the most.

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

“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”

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. 🙂

Ellen DeGeneres — She’s a leader in the entertainment industry and has risen with kindness and perseverance. Plus, she can always make me laugh — and we all could use that right now!

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

www.facebook.com/viteyeswww.instagram.com/viteyes, and www.twitter.com/viteyes

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