Chief Influencer

Jeffery J. Mondak is a renowned professor of political science at The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is known for his research on misinformation and his creative approach as a poet and songwriter for children.

In today’s episode, Jeffery and host Anthony Shop explore the impact of misinformation and the value of diversity and creativity in leadership. Jeffery shares compelling findings from his recent research on misinformation, revealing how nearly half of Americans struggle to differentiate between fact and opinion, highlighting the implications for leaders in navigating today's complex information landscape.

Jeffery highlights the impact of education, political bias, and misinformation on public opinion and societal divisions. Additionally, he reflects on his unique journey into children's poetry and songwriting, emphasizing the power of engagement and creativity in education. He underscores the value of inclusivity, critical and creative thinking, and the necessity of fostering a culture that appreciates diverse perspectives for richer, more effective outcomes.

  • A true leader remains a lifelong student, openly admitting there's always more to learn from others, especially those they lead. Leaders need to understand the value of being open to new perspectives and ideas and effective leadership involves mutual influence and learning.
  • Encourage teams to think both critically and creatively. Empowering individuals to analyze and innovate ensures that they're not just consuming information but are actively engaging with it and contributing valuable insights.
  • Successfully navigating today's complex information environment requires distinguishing fact from opinion and recognizing one's own biases. Leaders need to train their teams in these skills, promoting a culture of critical discernment and open-mindedness towards different viewpoints.
  • A vibrant, innovative team is built on diversity. This goes beyond demographic factors to include diversity in thought, perspective, and experience. Incorporating new viewpoints fosters growth and breakthroughs, preventing stagnation.
  • Involving team members in problem-solving and decision-making processes boost creativity and ownership. A participatory approach to leadership cultivates a more dynamic and committed team.
  • Challenges and obstacles are opportunities for growth and creative problem-solving. Drawing inspiration from unexpected sources or situations leads to breakthrough findings and solutions.
  • Establishing a shared understanding of facts is crucial before delving into interpretations or strategic decisions. As leaders, ensuring that your team agrees on the factual basis of discussions can facilitate more productive and less polarized outcomes.

Quote of the Show:
  • “Leaders should keep in mind it's perfectly reasonable for people to have different points of view on things. There's this tendency in all realms when people interact, to think; if you disagree with me, I'm right and you're wrong.” - Jeffery J. Mondak


Shout Outs:

Creators & Guests

Anthony Shop
Anthony Shop believes in the power of people-centered branding and marketing to create a bright future. He chairs the National Digital Roundtable, the premier convener of digital innovators, leaders and policy shapers. Anthony also is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Social Driver, a digital services firm that helps companies and non-profits establish winning strategies with social media, websites, creative, and advertising. An enthusiastic presenter and teacher, he has led executive-level training for Amazon, PepsiCo, NASA, The British Embassy and the Bipartisan Policy Center. He has been recognized as an “OUTstanding LGBT Role Model” by The Financial Times, “40 Under 40” by The Washington Business Journal, and Business Leader of the Year by the DC Chamber of Commerce. A former newspaper reporter, Anthony was the first new media professional elected to the National Press Club’s Board of Governors. He currently serves on the boards of Leadership Greater Washington and LearnServe International. He earned his MBA from The George Washington University School of Business, where he teaches as an adjunct lecturer.
Robert Krueger
Robert is an Executive Director for The Communications Board, an organization with the mission of providing high-quality professional development for every communicator in every location. He is also the Global Lead for Partnership Communications at Gensler, the world’s largest architecture and design firm. Prior to his current role, he performed executive and CEO communications for Gensler, and was the senior director of public relations and social media at the Urban Land Institute. He obtained an MA in Communications and an MA in History from George Mason University. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In addition, Robert has taught communications at universities including George Mason University, West Virginia University, and the University of Florida. Robert currently serves as Immediate-Past President for the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter (PRSA-NCC) -- the nonprofit’s largest chapter.

What is Chief Influencer?

Chief Influencer is a podcast that explores how today’s successful leaders inspire and influence others to make an impact in the world. They aren’t just Chief Executives, they’re “Chief Influencers.” We interview a range of leaders and uncover how they build authentic connections - both inside their organizations and beyond. Your next breakthrough idea may come from a Chief Influencer facing similar challenges in a completely different sector.