Thought Leadership & Why It Matters

Student in TWU Student Union studies in front of

What is Thought Leadership?

We define “thought leaders” as those people in communities and organizations that others turn to for their expertise. They inspire and influence others with their grounded knowledge and innovative thinking. The Women’s Thought Leadership Program (WTLP) will help close the leadership gap for TWU’s minority-majority, predominantly female population by leveraging English and Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies faculty strengths in communication and social justice in order to train our students as thought leaders. 

Why Thought Leadership matters 

The statistics speak volumes: 

Women make up 50.8% of the population; earn 59% of master’s degrees, 48.5% of law degrees, 47.5% of medical degrees, 38% of MBAs and account for 47% of the U.S. labor force. Yet very few women hold the highest positions of leadership in the academic, legal, corporate or political spheres.  

A clear disconnect exists between women’s ability to lead and others’ willingness to see them as leaders, particularly for women of color. A large part of this problem comes from the lack of women’s voices in the public arenas where the ideas that shape our nation’s opinions circulate.

According to The OpEd Project, an organization that trains under-represented experts to take thought leadership positions in their fields, women write only 26% of opinion pieces published. This is important, as founder Katie Orenstein says in the program’s Write to Change the World Workshop, “Because the lack of women and other underrepresented voices in the most powerful idea forums conveys the wrong idea that we aren’t leaders.”

At its core, leadership is about developing ideas, getting those ideas into the world, and implementing them. Increased exposure and credibility as an expert lead to increased influence, so learning to intervene in public discourses opens up both personal and professional opportunities.

Training women to participate in contemporary debates by drawing from their expertise and lived experience will increase the diversity in public thought leadership and in the range of ideas that can improve society. We anticipate increased visibility of women’s leadership at TWU within the DFW community, through public participation in events and partnerships with external stakeholders, as well as increased national visibility through the publication of op-ed and other thought pieces.

WTLP will engage students with humanities-based skills that employers seek and that are foundational to successful thought leadership: strong communication, critical thinking, analytical reasoning and ethical decision-making.

Page last updated 3:03 PM, October 11, 2022