As the former Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani once said, “it is in times of crisis that good leaders emerge.” A somewhat flawed individual, he became widely admired as the embodiment of an indomitable spirit in the wake of 9-11. 

Winston Churchill did much the same in Britain’s darkest hour in 1940. At the beginning of the Second World War, although he was recognised as a gifted politician, he was seen as impulsive and impractical and prone to switching political parties.

Yet six years later, Churchill towered above all his contemporaries as a statesman of international renown. 

Just as great leaders emerge from a crisis, so do thought leaders.

So who has emerged from the COVID-19 emergency as stand-out thought leaders? Here are my TWO top picks and why. I will be providing more example in the weeks to come.

Dr Norman Swan – Health Reporter with ABC

Although well respected by his ABC followers as someone with vast experience and knowledge, particularly in the health and medical arena – he has emerged as the go-to health correspondent during the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming one of the most trusted voices in the country on Coronavirus.

In fact, Dr Swan has been saying for years that a pandemic would hit and when it did, he was ready. Back in March while governments were flip-flopping about what to do and say, he quickly stepped up, urging the government to close schools, conduct more testing and move faster on encouraging social distancing.

He also moved into overdrive bringing Australians the best international insights, simplifying complex information and answering questions that demanded immediate answers – like handshaking, self-isolating and working from home or public policy questions like herd immunity, cancelling large scale sports or closing schools.

Keenly aware of the importance of highly effective communication during times of crisis, he not only dispenses information and advice during his twice-weekly spot on ABC’s current affairs show, 7.30 Report, but keeps followers up to date on his Twitter page and the daily podcast he hosts, Coronacast, which is topping the Australian charts.

Dr Swan’s audience has without a doubt moved well beyond his traditional and loyal ABC followers.

Professor Sharon Lewin – Inaugural Director of the Peter Doherty Institute

Sharon Lewin AO, is an Australian infectious diseases physician and researcher, and is internationally renowned for her research into all aspects of HIV and pathogenesis. She is the inaugural director of The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. Peter Doherty and Burnet Institute are currently fast-tracking COVID-19 research.

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, Prof Lewin has rapidly moved well beyond her more traditional research, medical and university communications platforms, to becoming a household name, speaking and being interviewed on most mainstream media channels and programs – ABC TV, Four Corners, The Drum, The Australian, Sky News, news.com and 3AW to name but a few.

Her advice and commentary have covered everything from the history of the virus, the urgent need to stop the spread, who should be tested, concerns about the Diamond Princess and more recently on possible treatments for the disease, which to date has claimed more than 70 lives in Australia and over 160,000 worldwide.

In addition to keeping us informed of the latest COVID-19 research, Prof Lewin’s thought leadership has helped shine a spotlight on Melbourne’s top notch research facilities and medical treatments and at the same time, raised the importance and visibility of medical research.

Want to find out more

Do you have something worthwhile and powerful to say but don’t know how to position yourself as a thought leader and communicate your thinking and big ideas to the world?

Call Wendy on 0422 694 503 OR Email: wendy@parkerpublicrelations.com.au

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