And The Winner is…..

As the envelope was being ripped into, I was staring at the table linen and preparing to applaud one of the others who had been short-listed for the Thinkers50 Award for “Future Thinker”.


But then they called out, “Nilofer Merchant”. A friend across the table said that my eyes shot straight up in praise and thanks, and that the image will be indelibly marked for him – he said he saw what joy looks like, live.

I don’t remember that moment myself but I do remember being surrounded by love, and being quite overwhelmed by it. 11 people, who very much represent the future in every way, came from all over the globe to also attend the Gala – Christine Campbell, Cindy Gallop, Ken Warner, Andrew Blau, Suzanne Lee, Kathleen Warner, Katie Keating, Susan McPherson, Philip Auerswald, Miriam Rivera, and Taghi Amirani. When they stood up to celebrate my name being called, I got a little emotional.

Collectively, we made quite the impression from being the most fashionable to being the most exuberant. (Our table started the hooting and hollering so much that the FT piece on the evening discussed it…)

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And it’s interesting to note that the first three awards (of 8 given that night) went to women: Herminia Ibarra in the Leadership category, Rita McGrath in the Strategy category and, of course, myself for “Future Thinker” which Thinkers 50 defines to be “The person who is best going to influence the future both in theory and practice.” (Press Release, here). All the 2013 award winners can be found, here.

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Thinkers50 is an alternative to the Academy of Management –  the “Oscars of Management” – helping to celebrate new ideas and especially to identify fresh voices on the radar. I’m looking forward to collaborating with them … their work is much needed.

I write this little post to give you a little behind-the-scenes view (Pictures of goofy fun are posted, here)…

But also to repeat myself. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. This space, Yes & Know (which you named) is a place to build on each other’s ideas and to share ways to navigate the social era, powerfully. I can’t read every comment made on Twitter, G+, LI etc, (where, collectively, over 800,000 people are now following along; the noise level is getting too high to keep up with). But, I can and do read everything written here. You and your ideas have shaped mine and I’m grateful to you. I hope you’ll take a moment to celebrate that, in the Social Era, “not everybody will, but anyone can”.

So, thank you for your part in this entire experience. (And, please forgive me for any excess WhooHooing I might be doing for the next few days.)

12 Responses:

  1. Lynn. November 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm  

    I love that your win and thinking is described with joy and love attached. Too often I think we equate great strategy and critical thinking with a sharp edged, male only feel and my experience is that the collaborative, outputs amazing cirque de soleil like solutions more often than not. Congrats on doing the great work you set out to do.

    • Nilofer Merchant. November 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm  

      Thanks, Lynn.

  2. Jean Russell. November 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm  

    Wooooo hoooooo, hooting and hollering from over here. I am so excited you were honored! (and I get to mark in my own record √ right again – this was a person to watch and champion!

    • Nilofer Merchant. November 18, 2013 at 3:05 pm  

      I love that this helps you feel like you were right. 😉

  3. Jasleena Kannadan. November 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm  

    You are a true inspiration to all women….Wish I could meetyou some day to share the long list of my ideas and thoughts with you. …

    • Nilofer Merchant. November 19, 2013 at 8:42 am  

      I hope my world isn’t just about women. As my friend and former COO of Startup America Kathleen Warner says, the adjective “woman” is the least interesting thing one can say about most women.

  4. Ian Mapp. November 19, 2013 at 7:33 am  

    I love the photo of you and the portrait of the Queen – priceless!

    Many congratulations on the award, richly deserved from what I have read of your work. I will forever now associate you with the phrase “goofy fun”; in a good way of course…..

  5. Holly Link. November 19, 2013 at 7:55 am  

    Awesome, awesome, awesome and so well deserved. Congratulations, Nilofer!

  6. Tim Krause. November 19, 2013 at 8:38 am  

    Congrats, Nilofer, on the amazing work you are doing, the impact it is having, and the recognition of it by this great community of thinkers!

    • Nilofer Merchant. November 19, 2013 at 8:41 am  

      thanks, Tim …

  7. Mark Weiner. November 19, 2013 at 10:52 am  

    Congrats Nilofer!!



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    […] the family.” We were touched by her generosity of spirit. Herminia Ibarra and I met at the Thinkers 50 where she was recognized as the *most* influential thinker in the leadership category. Turns out we […]

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