Every job has its own unique sets of challenges, which inspire a specialized approach. For example, a dog groomer might be able to work on any type of pet but could have a special knack for working with dogs with curly hair. And an insurance salesperson might be familiar with all types of coverage but specialize in corporate diligence.
The longer a professional has been involved in a specific line of work, the more unique and tailored their approach becomes. In many cases, workers with a particular passion for their career innovate brand new approaches to their field. In fact, organizations like Ted Talk and Masterclass work non-stop to bring these types of thought leaders into the public eye and connect them to beginners.
A thought leader, as professionals at the top of their field are called, can inspire learners. Whether they’re looking to develop a new skill or are simply curious, there’s something to learn from even the most niche professionals. Let’s take a closer look at five current thought leaders in these highly specialized fields.
Poker: Jennifer Shahade
Almost everyone has tried their hand at poker. But even getting started learning basic terms and definitions can be discouraging. Though highly publicized on TV, poker is incredibly nuanced—and no one knows the ins and outs of poker like pro Jennifer Shahade. She began her career as a chess pro, nabbing two US Women’s Champion titles before switching to poker.
In the field of poker, Shahade has taken her expertise to the podcasting world. She covers in-depth looks at each of poker’s 169 possible hands on her show The Grid, covering the theoretical applications of each while she interviews other leaders in poker. For Shahade, succeeding in poker is all about the details, and no other pro has delved as deep into the theory of card hands.
Meteorology: Crystal Egger
Meteorology might seem like a strange profession. Are meteorologists TV hosts and public figures? Or are they scientists with the tools to predict the weather? It seems that the best can do both. Crystal Egger is one such professional, who spends her time providing consultation services for global weather and climate analysis groups.
In addition to appearing on shows on CNBC and The Weather Channel, Egger also provides highly specialized action plans for businesses that will deal with inclement weather. Recently, her Monarch Weather group started to focus on climate change preparation with businesses around the world—like meteorology for the open market.
Animal Psychology: Mark E. Hauber
At some point, everyone has wondered what it would be like to get inside the mind of an animal. Whether watching a bonobo in the wild or simply trying to figure out why a dog is whining, there’s clearly an open line of communication—but how can we figure out what animals are saying?
Dr. Mark E. Hauber has dedicated much of his life to understanding the nuances of the animal kingdom. He works closely with bird species that lay their eggs in another species’ nest, known as parasitic bird populations (like the cuckoo). Hauber also collaborates with Nature magazine, where he publishes his findings twice a month. He is considered his generation’s authority on ornithology as it relates to evolution, social behavior, and parasitic broods.
Surgeon: David Langer
There are few professions as high-stakes as medical practitioners—and that becomes manifold for the steady-handed surgeons who literally take human life into their hands. Not only do top surgeons spend years studying, then spend hours on end in the surgeon’s room, but they also regularly comb through the latest research findings in their niche.
Clearly, it takes a brilliant mind to achieve such a career. But even within the field of surgery, there are incredibly specialized approaches—none more so than neurosurgery. The industry is led today by Dr. David Langer. He’s known for his expertise in relation to cerebral revascularization and aneurysms, and regularly offers his analysis for news publications like FOX, ABS, and CBS.