You can have fun with this question and choose a family member, friend, mentor, author, or celebrity. Just be sure that you can back your answer! If you can relate your response to an influencer in your industry, that's the best way to approach this question. A great way to keep this conversation going would be to ask the interviewer the same matter in the end.
"To me, the smartest person I know is the author, Brene Brown. She has such unique concepts, and I have never seen anyone be able to dissect and analyze statistics quite like her. She's brilliant. Who do you feel is the smartest person you know?"
"The smartest person I know is my grandmother! She served in the armed forces and made a name for herself in a time when it wasn't popular for women to serve in the military. I admire her smarts and her courage."
"The smartest person I know, and someone I listen to all the time, is Tony Robbins. I listen to his podcast, I read his books, and I will attend his sessions and seminars whenever possible. I find his approach to marketing and sales to be fresh and straightforward. Who is your biggest influence?"
"I gain much of my influence, as a marketer, from Neil Patel. He was making a splash in the entrepreneurial and marketing space before he even hit 30 and President Obama even recognized his work. I admire his ability to take chances at a young age and apply that same type of drive in my career."
"My idol and someone who I look to for advice on style and business would be Sophia Amoruso. She was once homeless and now runs one of the most successful fashion brands in the world, Nasty Gal. Strong women in business inspire me."
"The smartest person I know was one of my professors when I was completing my MBA. Professor Smith. He had a passion for reading and research which made him a walking encyclopedia when it came to business and sales. I asked him to be my mentor, and he agreed. We still meet once per month, and his knowledge has had a huge impact on my career successes so far."
"As an educator, I have had the incredible opportunity to learn from some significant influencers. The most influential to me has been the work of E.D. Hirsch, Jr, who founded the Core Knowledge Foundation. He has done a lot to reform the common core curriculum. His concepts are incredible. Do you follow his work?"