Gill Robinson Hickman, Georgia Sorenson, and other attendees. CEO’s and Thought Leaders Explore the Power of Purpose

30 June 2017 // Silver Spring, Maryland 

What is the Power of Purpose for an organisation, its stakeholders and wider society?

Over 50 CEOs, HR Directors, and Leadership Scholars from organizations including DLA Piper, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Lidl UK, Marshall Group, Trustonic, Taylor Vinters, Friends of the Earth, Scandinavian Airlines, the Babraham Institute, The University of Cambridge, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Lancaster, and many others explored the question, "Does purpose drive stakeholder and shareholder value?" This took place at the Møller Centre, Cambridge University in partnership with the International Leadership Association (ILA).

"As the CEO of one of the world’s largest law firms you rarely get the time to stop and think about purpose in its broadest sense," remarked Simon Levine, Global Co-CEO at DLA Piper. "The Møller/ILA Leadership Symposium enabled me to do just that, as well as benefit from the invaluable insight shared by fellow CEOs from different industry sectors and preeminent leadership scholars."

Gillian Secrett, CEO of the Møller Centre Gillian Secrett, CEO of the Møller Centre explained, "This leadership event was a powerful session with some important takeaways and I would like to thank all those who invested their time to share compelling stories demonstrating that organizations with a significant company purpose can create demonstrable advantage for stakeholders including employees, customers, investors, and ultimately our planet."

Internationally renowned leadership scholars flew to Cambridge from the U.S., Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, Mexico, Australia, and Scotland to share their research findings on purpose-driven organizations. Møller Leadership Scholar Georgia Sorenson was joined by Gill Robinson Hickman from the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, to explain the construct of their book The Power of Invisible Leadership and how people align with organizations that have a compelling and deeply held common purpose that inspires them to deliver their best work. Steve Kempster, coming a short distance from the University of Lancaster, and Brad Jackson, traveling from New Zealand’s School of Government at the Victoria University of Wellington, explored leadership as purpose and its role in leadership practice and discussed the implications of singularly focusing upon corporate purpose to the exclusion of societal purpose against the backdrop of the complex, competitive, and unpredictable world we now live in.

Attendees at the Power of Purpose engaged in discussion The CEOs, HRDs and Leadership Scholars worked in facilitated discovery workshops to share valuable experiences and initiatives that they had found create momentum and engagement and to address what purpose meant to them individually and to their organizations. They also explored how purpose can generate value for key stakeholders.

Cynthia Cherrey, CEO and President of the International Leadership Association Cynthia Cherrey, President and CEO of the International Leadership Association, explained, "The synergy that occurred by bringing together leadership scholars and CEOs working at the nexus of theory and practice generated a rich and productive series of conversations and next steps pertaining to this important topic of purpose."

The output of the Symposium, to be published this summer, will form the basis for a discussion panel session on "The Business Case for Purpose," at the International Leadership Association’s 19th annual global conference. The conference, which will also feature keynote speakers Margaret Heffernan, David Petraeus, Herman Van Rompuy, and Jeroen van der Veer, will be held in Brussels, 12-15 October 2017. Copies of the white paper will be available in the summer and to those who register for the ILA conference at www.ila-net.org/Conferences.


Debra DeRuyver Photo

For more information, contact:
Debra DeRuyver
Communications Director
International Leadership Association
dderuyver@ila-net.org | 1.202.470.4818 x102