Case Study: How One Professor Took Hold of Thought Leadership

A little bit of press can go a long way — especially for thought organizations like the University of Arkansas.

And no, we’re not talking about paparazzi swarming a professor’s car asking TMZ-like questions about his or her latest study. We’re talking about reputable news outlets calling an employee of the university (like that professor) for quotes, explanations, and insight on the topics he or she is an expert in. 

Getting quoted or being a guest commentator helps the expertise of individual professors and the institution at large get seen by a wider audience, which results in new, exciting opportunities.

The challenge for the University of Arkansas and other academic institutions is getting a reporter to call, email, and ask for quotes and commentary.

And journalists, just like the rest of us, turn to Google to find the people who can answer their questions. 

For the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College Business and its Supply Chain Management program, strategies have been put in place to get the organization, its employees, and the accompanying work to the top of the search list.

Colleges and universities have all the answers — just think of the sheer magnitude of knowledge circulating on a college campus. There are research grants, award-winning faculty teaching innovative coursework, and a constant flow of ideas passing from faculty to students and students to faculty. 

If this activity isn’t being actively shared, it can be hard for those outside of the organization, like reporters, to discover the organization’s thought leadership.

U of A Makes It's Mark

From endless expertise to esteemed internship opportunities, Northwest Arkansas holds the mecca of all-things supply chain: the University of Arkansas Supply Chain Management program.

And this expertise stretches far beyond Fayetteville’s city limits. The supply chain program has global significance, including partnerships and research involving an array of countries. 

Awareness of these ventures wasn’t always as widespread though. 

To better demonstrate the department’s international influence, Modthink suggested adding thought leadership marketing (TLM) and helped to implement it. 


In the SCM program’s case, this meant leaning on professors’ subject matter expertise and global insight.

It was David Dobrzykowski who played a pivotal role in disseminating the department’s expertise and insights.David Dobrzykowski

Dobrzykowski is an associate professor and the director of the Master of Science program in Supply Chain Management at Sam M. Walton College of Business, with over 20 years of experience. Within supply chain, Dobrzykowski specializes in healthcare operations. He has written a book, been quoted by the media, participated in conferences and panels, and consulted several organizations.

In short, he knows his stuff; and when COVID-19 started making headlines, his expertise on healthcare supply chains was in high demand.

Soon enough, Dobrzykowski joined the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S. - China Relations Coronavirus Task Force to look for ways to address the supply chain dilemma. 

David Does Thought Leadership Marketing


His work didn’t stop there, though — after all, he is a thought leader and in a time of crisis, leadership is essential to providing accurate, relevant information to the public. 

When the anxious public started to ask, “Well, why don’t they just make more PPE?,” supply chain thought leaders like Dobrzykowski were ready to provide answers and context. Memes and social fodder may have subdued our annoyance with toilet paper shortages, but information surrounding PPE shortages needed to be comprehensive, factual, and relevant.

Dobrzykowski wrote an article for LinkedIn and Walton Insights, participated in “Pandemic,” a forum offered through Walton College, and regularly posted on his personal LinkedIn and contributed to Walton’s LinkedIn page. We at Modthink worked with Dobrzykowski to strategize, execute, and amplify the impact of the content.

These posts reached a sizable audience, with Walton having 490 followers and Dobrzykowski himself having over 20,000 followers on LinkedIn. 

The timely commentary, professional background, and continued usage of thought leadership marketing all added up to Dobrzykowski being quoted by Modern Health in its article, “Healthcare, industry forge new supply chains in the fight against COVID-19.”

This just goes to show that participating in TLM can lead to substantial achievements. 

Looking Forward

People are always searching for answers, and the content that springs from TLM gets clicks and attention. Whether it be an interview with a news outlet or a post on LinkedIn, TLM comes in many different forms, but all efforts culminate into credibility, goodwill, and new opportunities. 

You have all the knowledge. Now, it’s time to showcase and share it.

Let’s talk about what TLM can do for your organization.

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