“5 Things You Should Do to Become a Thought Leader In Your Industry”, With Mckay Bird, CMO at TCN

Yitzi Weiner
Dec 6, 2019 · 6 min read

A thought leader is more than being an expert in the field, it’s someone who is inclusive, understanding, a lifetime learner and someone who is receptive to input and feedback. Compared to influencers, thought leaders give credit when credit is due and are genuine and intentional in their approach to topics they are considered an “expert” on. There is no ulterior motive behind what thought leaders talk about or promote. Often times thought leaders are more interested in a higher purpose, cause or mission and talk more about the topic and the industry and less about themselves.


had the pleasure to interview Mckay Bird, Chief Marketing Officer at TCN. TCN is one of the leading providers of cloud contact center technology for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs and collection agencies worldwide.


Thank you so much for joining us Mckay. Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership?

TCN, Inc. is a leading provider of cloud contact center technology for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs and collection agencies worldwide. Founded in 1999, I have been fortunate enough to play a role in TCN’s development and growth within the contact center industry. As a private, family run business, I began working for TCN as an intern at an early age. Now, as the company’s CMO, I have worked to implement creative and strategic marketing campaigns and programs that have been proven to drive increased sales adoption and retention rates for TCN’s award-winning technology. I’ve worked with various Fortune 500 companies and enterprises in multiple industries including newspaper, collection, education, healthcare, automotive, political, customer service and marketing. Having worked within the contact center industry my entire career, I have watched TCN rapidly evolve its technology from outbound calls to inbound and blended calls, including advanced features such as business intelligence, interactive voice response systems and automated voice messaging systems, to name a few.

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

Over my tenure, I have learned never to underestimate the value and impact certain technologies, products and services can have on businesses. For instance, there was a jewelry store that was closing millions of dollars a year in online sales but was unable to manage the influx of incoming calls. With all of their success, they still had issues with call flows, hold times and hang-ups. I never imagined TCN would break into the jewelry store market; however, our software enabled this store to receive and manage high levels of incoming calls, resulting in an increase in annual sales the following year. I guess one could say, TCN helped this company “one ring at a time.”

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?

A thought leader is more than being an expert in the field, it’s someone who is inclusive, understanding, a lifetime learner and someone who is receptive to input and feedback. Compared to influencers, thought leaders give credit when credit is due and are genuine and intentional in their approach to topics they are considered an “expert” on. There is no ulterior motive behind what thought leaders talk about or promote. Often times thought leaders are more interested in a higher purpose, cause or mission and talk more about the topic and the industry and less about themselves.

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?

Thought leadership can increase brand visibility and sales, influence marketing initiatives and establish your company as a trusted source within the industry.

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?

True thought leadership is about education first and business later. For example, TCN has been a strong advocate for more transparency and better communication from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Through TCN’s lobbying efforts, webinars, blogs and eBooks we’ve helped existing and potential customers better understand the regulatory landscape to make more informed business decisions. Becoming a true thought leader is playing the long game. Work to establish trust and credibility in your company first and customers will inevitably come.

Please 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.

  1. Clearly identify your interests and passions and then begin developing content and context around that topic and/or issue.
  2. Be genuine in your motives and give credit where credit is due.
  3. Work to educate the public by creating original content for your industry.
  4. Be humble, don’t overly promote yourself or your brand. When possible, try to promote others.
  5. Get involved in your community — local influence makes the biggest impact.

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.

Dale Carnegie stands out to me as an exceptional thought leader. He’s an American writer and lecturer well-known for his book How to Win Friends and Influence People. I studied his work in college and was captivated by the way he simplified complex ideas and situations through storytelling. I found myself always in an “ah-ha” moment by the way he approached everyday examples and turned them into lessons. Dale Carnegie has a real skillset for putting things into perspective.

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

I believe the term “thought leader” is overused. In comparison to the word “influencer,” thought leader has become another buzzword. In today’s social media-driven society, many people tag themselves as influencers, thought leaders or coaches. In my opinion, the people who promote themselves as thought leaders over social media for their own personal gain are doing it for the wrong reasons.

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

Everyone gets burned out at times. The key to avoiding burnout is taking a step back and remembering “the why.” It’s important to refrain from getting caught up in the minor day-to-day nuances of the job. Instead, focus your attention on the greater purpose — whether that be your individual, team or company’s goals, vision or mission.

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

“Life — you can’t go under it and you can’t go over it, you have to go through it.” — Anonymous

I use this as my own personal mission statement or mantra. Some people try to dodge life’s challenges or skirt around the edges, but I’ve learned from experience, you must face your challenges head on if you want to succeed in life.

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.

I would enjoy sitting down with Clayton Christensen, an American academic, business consultant and religious leader who currently serves as a professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School. He too was born and raised in Utah and I would thoroughly enjoy hearing his take on life, business and entrepreneurship.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Facebook: TCN(@tcnp3)

LinkedIn: TCN-Inc

Twitter: @tcn

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Yitzi Weiner

Written by

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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