40 over 40: Folks That Are Doing Great Stuff That You Should Be Paying Attention To


I put together this 40 over 40 list because it became a little bit of a joke on marketing Twitter.

So I bit and I put together a list that is in no way comprehensive and might not even hit the ages of some of the folks exactly right, but this is 40 people in the range of 40 that are doing work that you should be paying attention to.

If I missed a few people that were definitely people I’d include because I didn’t know if they were over 40 or close, I’m sorry. I’ll make another list to include you on.

In the case of the few more famous people that I put on the list, they are there for a specific reason as well. Or, if there are obvious people that you know are over 40 that didn’t make the list, that is also for the reason that they might already have a lot of attention and what fun is it to include the obvious responses in every situation.

So check out my list of people and reasoning behind why I added them to my special list.

I know that I won’t make everyone happy and that’s great because I want you to tell me the people that I missed and why.

Without further explanation, here is my list:

Alan Weiss

I wanted to kick off this list by highlight Dr. Weiss because he wrote a book about the topic of not allowing your age to define you, Threescore and More

Dr. Weiss is a key figure in empowering people to take control of their lives and careers to build exactly what they want through his work as a coach, consultant, and teacher.

If you’ve ever heard the term, “Million Dollar Consulting” you’ve heard of him.

Ryan Wallman: 

You might not know the name right off the top of your head, but you’ll know the Twitter handle, @Dr_Draper.

Ryan is a copywriter in Australia, but he is also a critic of the groupthink that seems to have strangled marketing and advertising over the last few decades.

He is constantly provoking and engaging with champions and critics to help drive a conversation about the quality of advertising and marketing thinking.

You’d do much worse than to check out his pinned tweet with his guide to what the keynotes at Cannes would look like…let’s just say he nailed it.

John Loken

I know for sure that John is over 40!

He’s actually been working on promoting the idea that you aren’t dead at 40 as well.

His newest venture is focusing on creating mass live events. He has a history in the live entertainment business and called me one of his go-to resources for small business marketing. So I mean the compliment alone should be enough to get him on the list, but you should check out what John is up to.

Nicole Yershon:

I made a list of marketers I admire and learn from a few months back, which is likely where this list started building steam.

Nicole is on that list and she is on this list too.


Because she is brilliant.

Check out her book: Rough DiamondIt encapsulates all of her thinking on innovation, change, and leadership.

Soledad O’Brien:

Most of us remember Soledad from her time on CNN and other broadcast news organizations.

But she has started a new venture, Starfish Media Group. 

This allows her to tell stories that might not be being told today. With her platform, she is able to shed light on people, places, and things and draw attention that might not be covered.

In the world we live in, we need more independent voices that are willing and able to tell stories that are vital to uncover and have a platform to share them with a larger audience.

That’s why Soledad is on the list…because that’s what she is doing. Using her reputation for the betterment of others.

Adrion Porter

I don’t remember exactly how I came across Adrion, but his work speaks to me because he is talking to Generation X.

I know that I find most of these generational tags worthless, but I also know that there are legitimate cultural touchpoints that we all share in common.

In his work, he talks a lot about reinvention, leadership, and growth. A recent podcast episode talked about keeping your dreams.

Check him out!

Dean Caravelis:

I’ve been fortunate to know or meet a lot of the people on this list, but Dean and I have the longest history because we went to high school together.

That caveat out of the way, you should check out Dean for a number of reasons:

  • He has a great company in Orlando, Blezoo that creates promotional items for marketers.
  • He has a blog, Outrageously Remarkable. And, his blog meets that promise because he has had some of the smartest people you’ve heard of and some you likely haven’t. And, when I think about it, his blog is a platform much like my own and my Twitter feed to try and highlight ideas and people that aren’t always the ones we go right towards.

Corey Gibbs:

Corey’s name isn’t familiar to you if you aren’t in tickets. If you are in tickets, you’ve likely heard of Corey and his ideas.

Corey is like me, an Alabama man.

He also shares a belief in doing the right thing by his customers, understanding customer service is the best form of marketing, and, lately, he has focused heavily on innovation.

He also just became a doctor and is studying pricing and purchasing in tickets.

Annie Duke:

Annie is famous for playing poker.

But she really should be famous for writing one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time, Thinking In Bets.

Her book really takes the idea of certainty and puts a new spin on it. The reality is that we are never absolutely certain of anything, but we are often pretty certain.

Or, to put it another way, even when we are certain of something, there is still the likelihood that another outcome might present itself.

And, in your life and decisions, you are just trying to make decisions with the best data so that you can put the odds in your favor.

Lawrence Peryer:

I formally met Lawrence at INTIX this year in Dallas, but before that, I was a fan of his Twitter feed.

We’ve become friendly since then and we had a chance to talk on my podcast about all kinds of interesting things he’s done over the years including digital goods, Amazon Music, and a lot more.

The stuff that he is doing with Lyte is really interesting and cool. He’s working hard to return more of the value to the content producers especially at live festivals and he is a really thoughtful voice about music, events, and business.

Tammi Gaw:

When I met Tammi, she introduced herself to me with some variation of: “I’m known for my Twitter feed.”

And, she does get into on Twitter.

But that shouldn’t be the thing she is most known for.

In truth, she should be known for her fights for justice in all of its forms. Be that politically, in the legal system, or for student-athletes.

When I am looking at things that I’m confused about or concerned about, I will often look to Tammi’s point of view or ask for her insights.

Tom Peters:

Does Tom Peters need to be on my list?

I’d guess he’s fairly famous in his own right, but I think if you don’t know him already…where have you been living?

Tom has written many of the most famous business books of all time.

He is known for helping coin the idea of “Managing By Walking Around” and he is one of the most active users of Twitter around.

His Twitter feed calls out everyone and everything that he finds lacking in today’s business environment.

Tom has a really great ability to make things that are absolutes seem ridiculous. He also does a great job of making the complex simple.

I want to highlight him for one specific reason though, his devotion to helping find a way to encourage more entrepreneurs. I share that belief that helping people start their own things can transform people, their careers, and the economy for the better.

Jill Vedder:

Sure, Jill has a famous last name, but you should really be paying attention to Jill due to the work she is putting in for EB Research Partnership.

The skin disease that is known by EB is brutal. It is a genetic disease that causes kids skin to be as delicate as a butterfly’s wings and can shorten their lives, cause them great pain, and limit their ability to participate in normal kid activities.

It is an awful disease.

I found out about EB a few years back and I have been a dedicated supporter of the organization as long as I’ve known about it. I’ve had a chance to learn more about the organization and have become a real admirer of Jill and everyone involved in the organization.

Since it is a rare disease, I’m not sure how many people know about EB or how awful it is. Because she’s working to change that and cure the disease, Jill is on the list.

Richard Howle

Richard Howle is my buddy and we get together every time I am in England.

He is also one of the smartest people about theatre, production, pricing, and events that I know.

He writes and speaks around the world on the topic of pricing, promotion, and ticketing. We had a great chat on my podcast where we discussed all kinds of ills that fall into the world of live entertainment and Richard is at the forefront of creating a better future where people have the chance to enjoy live entertainment.

Cassandra Calleja

I’m not really sure how old Cassandra is. She might be too young to make this list.

That’s why I didn’t fact check.

But why I really wanted to have her on the list is because she is one of those people that can travel anywhere in the world and build relationships.

I think that is often in short supply in today’s world and I think having the mindset of building relationships is a huge plus.

She’s also a great sports marketing and partnership person. Like a lot of people I’ve included, she’s super dedicated to the customer as well.

Peter Shankman:

I’m not 100% sure how long I’ve known Peter for.

I do know that as long as I have known him, I’ve been a fan of his work.

Even though I’ve known him so long, I even still get a little fanboy about him.

But I just have that much respect for him and his work, especially his dedication to laying the ladder down for others to follow him up.

He writes, speaks, and works around the world…so it is likely you’ve heard of him.

But I want to take a moment to include him here because of the efforts he continues to make to ensure that his success doesn’t happen in a vacuum and that he helps others create opportunities to be successful as well.

Christian Davenport:

Christian writes about space and I find that fascinating.

As I’m writing this, he helped pull together the Washington Post’s coverage of the 50th anniversary of man walking on the moon.

At a time when science is taking on a larger place in our thinking and space seems like it will be the next frontier, you should be paying attention to Christian and his work.

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy:

Sukhinder has one of the toughest jobs in the world, she’s the President of StubHub.

I’d guess she’d also say it was one of the best jobs in the world.

I’m including her on this list because she has been really confronting a super sticky situation, trying to get the world outside of the United States to embrace the secondary market.

From my travels around the world, that’s a tough sell. But I do applaud the effort.

Another reason to watch her is due to her background in tech and applying that to a tech company that really is a marketing company for live experiences.

We are going to see a lot of change in this area over the next few years and she’s likely to be in the middle of a lot of it.

Faris Yakob:

Again, I don’t know if Faris is actually old enough to qualify for this list.

But it’s my list and he is on.

I don’t know if you follow him on Twitter, but you should.

He writes and thinks about the world of marketing and advertising. He also lives everywhere. As he and his wife, Rosie, have taken the ability to work from anywhere and put it to the test.

You should be paying attention to what he is writing and thinking about because it is likely a different take than the average run-of-the-mill thinking that you are going to get from far too many folks.

Harrison Monarth:

I had the chance to have dinner with Harrison a few months back at the invitation of another member of this list.

Harrison is great!

He is a bestselling author and focuses his efforts on leadership and executive presence.

I’m a fan of his idea of inclusive leadership and the work that he does to help people become stronger leaders.

The work he is doing now with regards to communication is something that is likely to be even more important as we move forward and the generation gaps become more pronounced.

Andrew Thomas:

Andrew is from the UK. He is an entrepreneur in the mold of all the best entrepreneurs meaning he’s focusing on creating value, filling unmet needs, and constantly reinventing himself.

This year he’s been out provoking the world with his idea of “how to be more like airlines” at a point when people don’t have a fondness for airlines.

He is also on the board of INTIX and has created a really special ticketing conference in England called the Ticketing Professionals Conference. 

Like me, he also complains about the traffic in his neighborhood often.

You’ll want to keep an eye on him as he continues to push for more innovation in the world of events and tickets and uses his platform as a member of the board of INTIX to offer up his thoughts and ideas.

Dorie Clark:

Dorie has written a trio of books about you, your career, and the ideas that can allow you to thrive in the modern economy:

If you haven’t heard of Dorie yet, you have been missing out. Her work is practical and focuses on actions you can take immediately.

Also, she doesn’t ever imply that the work ahead is easy.

That’s what is cool about her work. She tells you it is possible, but that you’ll have to work hard.

At the same time, she isn’t one of those people that are telling you to never let up as she talks about her transformation into someone that not only recognizes the need for balance but works at creating balance in her life.

She’s someone else that I’m totally not sure is old enough to be on this list.

Heidi Browning:

Heidi is the CMO of the NHL.

I’ve been watching what she’s working on closely because I’ve always felt that the NHL had the most room to grow as a popular sport in the States.

There are so many great marketing and advertising initiatives going on with the NHL right now from the Stanley Cup’s twitter feed to videos with Snoop Dogg promoting hockey that it is tough to point to just one effort that is likely driving increased attention to the NHL.

I’m excited by hockey and I’m excited to see someone from outside of sports business have the chance to market the sport because I think the meeting of sports business and a consumer-facing background creates a lot of really cool opportunities.

Shaji Prabhakaran:

Shaji is the President of Football Delhi!

He is working to sell the sport to India and get people out to play.

I mean those are two things I can really get behind, helping people play together and learning a new sport.

I found out about Shaji when I first started my podcast and was looking for cool people around the world to highlight and while we haven’t had the chance to record a podcast just yet, Shaji is doing great work.

Bruce McTague:

I’m not sure how I came across Bruce, but one day we got into a discussion about what is going on with messaging and the Democratic Party.

At which point Bruce sent me a detailed strategy and messaging plan that he shared with the Clinton campaign that probably mirrored many of the ideas I was offering up to the people I know in politics.

In general, you should follow Bruce because he is in the same vein that I am of taking an idea that has the stench of conventional wisdom and trying to flip it on its head, shake it so he can see what falls out of its pockets.

Susan Oh: 

Susan is a former journalist and now she is taking the journalist’s eye to business.

Check out Muckr.ai and see how Susan is applying AI to fight the idea of “fake news” and in her words, bullshit.

As we have to deal with technologies that can manipulate us more and more, this kind of focus on helping truth see the light of day is essential.

Ian Nuttall: 

Ian has created a whole bunch of really cool things that should be drawing attention and do.

He has the Ticketing Biz website, Xperiology, and Stadium Business…basically, if you want to know about the business of fun, if you aren’t paying attention to me, you likely should be paying attention to him.

Bonnie Bernstein: 

I dig what Bonnie is up to because like a lot of people on this list, she’s reinvented herself over the years to reflect her interests.

I remember her from being on CBS specifically.

Like Soledad, she is working on telling stories and she is a promoter of health and fitness.

Colin Lewis:

I have to say that if I wrote a column for Marketing WeekI might write one just like Colin’s.

He is a really incredible marketing thinker and clear writer.

I’ve gone back and forth with him over the last few months about starting a marketing podcast called “Above Average Intelligence.”

I think it would be a good idea if only because it would allow more people to find Colin and his work.

Soomean Chang:

Soomean was a client of mine back in the days that I was selling tickets and that’s how I became familiar with her work.

She calls herself a creative director and if you see her social media posts you’ll notice that there is a vibrancy to the way that she approaches things and it is refreshing. She also curates her content in a way that decidedly shows her point of view…and that is also great.

Derek Palmer:

Derek paid me one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received when he told a group of sports business executives something along the lines that I was the only “marketer he knew that wasn’t full of it.”

I mean that alone would get him on my list. (Hint: for future lists, flattery isn’t a disqualifier.)

Derek is also one of the real innovators in the ticket business. He has sold technology that helps teams market and sell their inventory more effectively all over the world, but now he is working on a new idea that will make dynamic pricing and marketing even more successful for organizations that are struggling to compete in the experience economy.

He doesn’t always tweet about business, but he’s been doing it a little more often lately.

Amy Pritchard: 

There are a few people on this list that were nice to me when I really couldn’t expect people to be nice to me, Amy is one of them.

When I first moved to DC, I didn’t know anyone.

Amy helped change that.

Amy is the kind of political consultant that is in the business for the right reasons and she is one of the handful of political consultants that I respect the most. (I think she works with almost all of the rest of them.)

She is a great advocate for progressive causes, fighting for women, and doing good around the globe.

I can also say without knowing Amy I would have never had the opportunity to work on some really high level, national political campaigns which have been a real highlight.

Simon Mabb:

If you’ve read my blog or followed along with my work for any length of time, you know Simon name.

But he deserves to be on this list despite the fact that we are friends because the work that he has done changing insurtech into a customer-focused venture through his work at Booking Protect makes him a global leader in customer service and innovation.

It is Simon’s dedication to the vision that just because you are working with an insurance company or a refund product doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with bad service and a poor customer interface has driven tremendous growth in the ways that customers protect their ticket purchases, their holiday bookings, and their nights out.

I should note that when people ask me how I became a Spurs fan, I point at Simon.

Stu Heinecke:

Stu coined the term “contact marketing” and it has changed the way that I approach marketing.

From following Stu’s lead, I realize that one right action can change the course of your career. That one correct touch point can begin a new relationship. And, that marketing can and should have a bit of fun, whimsy, and, always, creativity to it.

Ruby Newell-Legner:

I love Ruby’s idea of 7-star service so much.

The concept encapsulates so much of what I talk about as well:

  • Customer focused
  • Earning repeat business
  • Wowing your guests

Ruby has taken her idea all over the world and if you ever meet her, ask her to show you the photos of some of the hotels she has visited because until you see what Ruby calls “world-class” service, you have no clue what world-class service really is.

Alastair Thomson: 

I’ve included Alastair on this list because he is a CFO that isn’t fighting marketing.

In fact, he gets into marketing conversations pretty regularly.

Chatting and learning from Alastair should be viewed as an opportunity for anyone in a revenue-generating role because hearing his opinions on what a CFO is looking at when we discuss marketing, sales, and branding is pretty valuable.

Lisa Bowman: 

Lisa is the CMO of the United Way.

The United Way is powerful because they fight for people in every community in the country. I’ve seen their work help create real, positive change in the DC area. So imagine the impact of a positive partner in every community in the country.

When you are marketing that kind of power and impact, you better pay attention to the person telling those stories.

So check out Lisa’s work.

JP Hanson:

Okay, like Colin Lewis, JP is sort of a marketing spirit animal for me.

He takes a common sense approach to marketing that can’t be taken for granted.

As with a lot of marketers I admire, he says things and puts them into words that I might have been thinking and couldn’t quite get them out.

And, sometimes he doesn’t pull punches on topics that I might have.

Lynne King Smith:

Lynne is an entrepreneur and she empowers women through her work at INTIX, TicketForce, and, Thrive Co-Working For Women.

Also, anyone that says they are fueled by craft beer is alright by me.

Mitch Slater:

A decade ago, Mitch spent time with me when he didn’t have to.

I lost touch with him and a while back he popped up in people I should follow on Twitter.

Again, when I look at my list, I see reinvention and Mitch has reinvented himself to focus on finance and he has a podcast that is really great called, Financially Speaking. His guest list is phenomenal. Check out his conversation with Larry King. At heart, his podcast is about business, finance, marketing, and life.

You’ll also dig his Twitter feed because he is undeniably a Springsteen superfan, a Mets’ fan, and a relentless critic of Donald Trump and things that politically don’t make a whole lot of sense.

As for me, I can’t put myself on my own list:

But if you are just getting to my work, check me out on Twitter, LinkedIn, or by signing up for my newsletter where I discuss value, strategy, marketing, and revenue.

Who did I miss? And, know if there are people that already have huge audiences, they likely just didn’t make it because what fun is it to highlight the more obvious people?






Comments 6

  1. If it’s over 40 and making a positive difference are criteria, I’d throw my own hat in that ring! I was past 40 when I wrote How To Work a Room (a Legit best-seller, still on bookshelves for 30 years around the county and the world). It has helped several generations in the workplace and personally to overcome shyness and be comfortable and confident and successful at meetings, events and gatherings.

  2. Based on the three decades of impact of How To Work a Room, I’d throw my hat in the 40 over 40 gang of people who make a difference! My book, presentations and coaching have helped those who are shy and / or introverts feel confident, comfortable and effective at personal and professional events. Followed by The Secrets of SAVVY Networking and What Do I Say Next?, they are my trifecta on connecting, communicating and building relationships,

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