GWS Announces Key Topic: How to Put Purpose at the Heart of Business

Pat-Dwyer-gws[Image: Pat Dwyer; courtesy of GWS]The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the annual gathering of international leaders in the $4.2 trillion global wellness economy, today announced a crucial conference topic: how purpose needs to be at the very heart of corporate culture and how creating a purpose-focused company is the path to more profitable, successful businesses.

Workplace wellness strategies can get hung up on nap-pods or weight-loss challenges while the transformative power of injecting purpose and meaning into work gets radically overlooked—and there’s also a widespread misconception that “purpose” is only for do-good nonprofits. But some of the world’s top corporate strategy consultants, announced as Summit keynotes today, will explore how a new focus on purpose is the very future of wellness at work and how purpose-driven companies attract and retain the best employees and are far more profitable and productive.

Patricia Dwyer, founder and director of The Purpose Business, a Hong Kong-based network of experts that help businesses across Asia be a force for good (and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader), will keynote on how to create a purpose-driven organization. John Wood, founder of Room to Read, which brings education to 16.8 million children, and who is a sought-after advisor on “connecting purpose and profitability” for companies, including Credit Suisse, Facebook, Netflix and Nike, will speak on purpose-driven companies and fast-changing corporate cultures.

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With a 2019 theme of “Shaping the Business of Wellness: Asia,” the agenda will be packed with speakers on emerging business and wellness trends. The 13th annual Summit takes place at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong from October 15–17, 2019.

“I believe that a strong sense of purpose is the key to wellness in the workplace. The age-old model of simply grinding out profits, in order to make rich people richer, no longer excites your potential customers or employees,“ noted John Wood. “When we as leaders can prove that our companies embrace both purpose and profitability, that’s when we will build truly great companies—and we will also be using the power of capitalism to make the world a better place.”

The Proof for “Purpose”

A growing mountain of evidence indicates that purpose at work has an extraordinary impact on company success. Deloitte research finds that “mission-driven” companies have 30 percent higher levels of innovation and 40 percent higher levels of retention; purpose-driven companies have been shown to drive an annual return on equity of 13.1 percent (9 percent higher than the S&P); a BetterUp study estimates that meaningful work drives an extra $9K per worker per year. Modern employees—especially millennials—increasingly choose meaning over money. For instance, PwC research finds that 88 percent of millennials seek a company whose values reflect their own.

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Another growing body of research shows that having a purpose in life has a profound impact on people’s health: It’s strongly tied to longevity (15 percent lower risk of death) while boosting a host of health indicators, including mental wellness and preventative self-care. And “purpose,” more generally, is a rising global wellness trend, as seen in the recent global fascination with the Japanese philosophy of “ikigai,” or a lifelong pursuit of finding your passion, meaning and mission—no matter how big or small.

“There is growing recognition of the role of wellness in the resilience and growth of companies, as well as individual employees—and finding ways to activate purpose is at the heart of this,” said Pat Dwyer. “I’m delighted to speak at GWS to share how a purpose-driven organization can help build businesses that are healthier, future-proofed and more sustainable for everyone.”

About the keynotes

Patricia Dwyer: Dwyer is founder and director of The Purpose Business, a network of passionate business and sustainability experts that work with businesses in Asia to embed sustainability and purpose into their operations. She has over 20 years of leadership in sustainability and also served as the first head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for Ayala Land and Global Head of CSR & Sustainability for Shangri-La Hotels. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, serves on the WEF’s Economic Forum Council on Future of Environment & Natural Resource Security, is a fellow of the Asia Society and the Royal Society of Arts, and serves on the boards of Enrich and Ignite Impact. She has an MA in Globalisation & Governance and certificates of completion for Transformational Leadership at University of Oxford and Global Leadership & Public Policy for the 21st Century at Harvard Kennedy School.

John Wood: Wood left his career at Microsoft to found Room to Read, a global nonprofit that brings education and literacy to 16.8 million children in low-income communities and supports girls in completing secondary school. He’s also an advisor on “connecting purpose and profitability” to major companies, including Credit Suisse, Facebook, Netflix and Nike. Named by Goldman Sachs as one of the world’s 100 most intriguing entrepreneurs, he served four terms on the advisory board of Clinton Global Initiative and is a Henry Crown Fellow. He has authored several books, including Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children.

About the Global Wellness Summit: The Global Wellness Summit is an invitation-only international gathering that brings together industry leaders and visionaries to shape the business of wellness and the future of the $4.2 trillion global wellness economy. The gathering is held annually in different locations across the globe and has taken place in the US, Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico, Austria and Italy. The 13th annual Summit will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong from October 15–17, 2019.

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