leading light

[lee-ding] /ˈli dɪŋ/
an important or influential person:
"a leading light of the community."
British Dictionary definitions for leading light
leading light (ˈliːdɪŋ)
1.  an important or outstanding person, esp in an organization or cause
2.  nautical a less common term for range light

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Idioms and Phrases with leading light

leading light

An important or influential individual, as in Jim was a leading light in his community. This expression, alluding to moral guidance, dates from about 1870, but terms such as a shining light have been used for an outstanding person since the first half of the 1500s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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