33 episodes

Dedicated to sharing the stories of business visionaries who are intentionally establishing a purpose beyond profit. From economy building to the refugee crisis. From climate change to equity. Listen in to hear how business visionaries are having a positive impact on the world by using their brand.

Purpose and Profit with Kathy Varol Kathy Varol

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 35 Ratings

Dedicated to sharing the stories of business visionaries who are intentionally establishing a purpose beyond profit. From economy building to the refugee crisis. From climate change to equity. Listen in to hear how business visionaries are having a positive impact on the world by using their brand.

    Kay Pancheri on the Ripple Effect of Optimism in the Workplace

    Kay Pancheri on the Ripple Effect of Optimism in the Workplace

    Life is Good® is an apparel brand dedicated to spreading the power of optimism. Launched in 1989 from the back of a van, the Boston-based business has grown through word of mouth and customer engagement to become a $150 million company. 10% of their annual net profits go to their partner organization Life is Good Kids Foundation, which provides underserved communities with the tools to help children persevere through adversity and trauma.
     
    Kay Pancheri is the Vice President of Brand Marketing. Before joining Life is Good, Kay spent 15 years leading advertising efforts at two internationally awarded agencies. She collaborated with global and national brands to establish their brand vision, communicate purpose, and deploy game-changing creative to drive business growth.
     
    In this episode we discuss:
    The tension between accelerated growth and employee satisfaction (and what to do about it) The superpower of letting life infiltrate work The power of thought patterns, and the importance of being intentional about the thought patterns you practice  
    Key Takeaways:
    As the saying goes: your employees are your first customer, and your most important product is your company culture. Employee surveys can be a treasure trove of insight on how to create a better company. Listen to what your employees are telling you, and act on their input with gratitude and humility. Remember, you hired capable and talented people, so trust them. After all, your employees have the greatest incentive for your company to succeed. Doing what you love, sharing what you love, and talking about what you love causes a ripple effect. As Kay shared, these simple acts are one way to spread optimism. Companies that truly care about their customers—their well-being, making their life easier, making them smile—also tend to be companies that truly care about their employees. This is the interesting thing about patterns of thinking: they don’t stay isolated in one area. On the flip side, businesses that view consumers as a group to extract as much value as possible from will tend to treat employees the same way—as a company resource to extract from. This thought pattern of extraction, from an employee standpoint, drives the toxic culture of burnout. From a consumer standpoint, it drives mistrust in companies since consumers can tell if you only care about how much money they give you. What does this mean? Be careful about the thought patterns you practice. Also, as an employee, pay attention to the language used internally around consumers, since that mentality is going to transfer over to how the company thinks about you too.  
    References:
    Life is Good Life is Good Kids Foundation and Playmakers Good Vibes Tribe  
    Connect & Share:
    If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in helping to convince hard-to-get guests. I also love reading them!
     
    If this episode resonated with you, I ask you to send it to a friend. Help bring even more visibility to these leaders that are using business as a force for good!
     
    Subscribe to the Purpose and Profit newsletter to make sure you don’t miss future episodes.
     
    This podcast is for you, the listener. I’d love to hear what resonated with you, or if you have a suggestion on who would be a great guest for this show. Please send me a note at info@KathyVarol.com.

    • 55 min
    Judy Adler on Creating Systemic Change in the Fashion Industry

    Judy Adler on Creating Systemic Change in the Fashion Industry

    Judy Adler is the VP of Global Sustainability & ESG at Gap Inc. Founded in San Francisco in 1969, Gap Inc. is a collection of purpose-led lifestyle brands: Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and Athleta. Each of their brands has made strong commitments to help achieve the Gap Inc purpose, which is to be inclusive by design.
     
    Judy is a thought leader with 25 years of experience developing and implementing collaborative climate change, water stewardship, and sustainability strategies; and leading equity, inclusion, environmental justice, and diversity initiatives.
     
    In this episode we discuss:
    The power of audacious dreams Two factors that are necessary to have a successful ESG approach Using systems thinking and strategic partnerships to create systemic change Lessons for retailers just starting their ESG journey  
     
    Key Takeaways:
    User experience on a website isn’t something I usually think about when considering ways to raise awareness or influence behavior, and yet, it can be a really important tool. There is considerable power in the default setting. The way items are presented and categorized become data points that influence how our brains process information, and what information we start expecting. If you begin seeing the sustainability impact of a shirt communicated, you’ll realize there is a sustainability impact in a shirt, and you might be curious to compare one shirt versus another based on that metric. You also might become curious about the sustainability of other items you purchase and request those companies to begin calculating and transparently sharing their impact too so you can make informed decisions. Until one day, sustainability impact becomes a default metric we consider across our purchases, the same way price, convenience, or materials are today. The interconnection between environmental and social, when considering ESG. These two areas have a lot of overlap and interdependence. The environment around you—such as air quality, clean water, or toxins—will impact your health. And the way that humans live has a huge impact on the planet. One interesting tidbit about this overlap is that the next huge wave of refugees is expected to be climate change refugees, as people’s homes are lost and communities are displaced because of climate events like rising sea levels. As a company that’s starting your ESG or sustainability journey, you don’t need to do it alone. There are a lot of resources out there—including best practices—so you don’t need to recreate the wheel. There are also consultants, like me, that can support you on your journey.  
    References:
    Connect with Judy on LinkedIn Gap Inc.’s Sustainability page  
    Turner Foundation   Clean Energy Buyers Alliance Apparel Impact Institute thredUP Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel Limited (HKRITA) Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s The Higg Index page Schneider Electric cKinetics Empower@Work Women + Water Alliance Org WaterAid CARE Institute for Sustainable Communities  
    Connect & Share:
    If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in helping to convince hard-to-get guests. I also love reading them!
     
    If this episode resonated with you, I ask you to send it to a friend. Help bring even more visibility to these leaders that are using business as a force for good!
     
    Subscribe to the Purpose and Profit newsletter to make sure you don’t miss future episodes.
     
    This podcast is for you, the listener. I’d love to hear what resonated with you, or if you have a suggestion on who would be a great guest for this show. Please send me a note at info@KathyVarol.com.
     

    • 50 min
    Alan Murray on Searching for the Soul of Business

    Alan Murray on Searching for the Soul of Business

    In this episode, I sit down to chat with Alan Murray about his latest book, Tomorrow’s Capitalist: My Search for the Soul of Business, which reveals, according to the book description, how corporate CEOs—the ultimate pragmatists—realized that they could lose their “operating license” unless they tackle the fundamental issues of our time: climate, diversity and inclusion, and inequality and workforce opportunity. Responding to their employees and customers who are demanding corporate change, they have taken the lead in establishing the bold new principles of stakeholder capitalism, ensuring that for the first time in more than a half a century it is not just shareholders who have a say in how corporations are run.
     
    Alan Murray is CEO of Fortune Media, and writer of the popular daily newsletter, the Fortune CEO Daily. A career journalist, prior to joining Fortune in 2015, Murray was President of Pew Research Center, and had a long career at the Wall Street Journal serving as Deputy Managing Editor, Executive Editor Online, Washington Bureau Chief, and author of the Political Capital and Business columns. Murry also served as Washington bureau chief for CNBC, and as cohost of the nightly show Capital Report.
     
     
    In this episode we discuss:
    The impact of the Great Resignation on leadership The power of shareholder activism The surprising acceleration caused by the global pandemic The shift to companies publicly standing up for their values  
    Key Takeaways:
    As Alan mentioned, companies have gone from physical assets making up 80% of the market value for S&P 500 companies in 1975 to intangible assets making up 80% of the market value today (HBR). This makes sense. Taking a step back, the industrial revolution brought with it the assembly line, the industrial worker, and employees as “resources”. Output was linear and easy to measure. Those linear, repeatable tasks are now often done by technology. The value of companies in the knowledge age comes from their intangible assets: Their employees, and their employees showing up as humans performing complicated—nonlinear—tasks like creativity, innovation, and empathy. This is a dramatic shift. From personal experience, I can honestly say that early in my career I was probably only 10% human at work and 90% robot, focused on efficiency since that was what was rewarded and expected of me. Thankfully we’re entering a new age, and company cultures are catching on to what environments foster the best in their people, and an understanding that having employees bring their whole self to work is what will make their company great. Change takes time. While the pandemic provided one silver lining, which is the great acceleration of the stakeholder capitalism movement and bringing humanity into the core of business, figuring out how to do this right, getting the right metrics and supporting structures in place, will take time. Progress is always a continually evolving journey of learning what works, what doesn’t, and how to do better. The amazing opportunity, and invitation, businesses have been given to identify their purpose, define their values, bring meaning into their business strategy, and then find ways to use their voice, their power, and their business model to create a world that brings their purpose and values to life.  
    References:
    Connect with Alan on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter Tomorrow's Capitalist: My Search for the Soul of Business by Alan Murray World Economic Forum 2008 speech by Bill Gates, Davos, Switzerland 2018 Shared Value Leadership Summit video of Alan in conversation with Hillary Clinton Proposed SEC amendment, “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors” and accompanying press release “Exxon loses board seats to activist hedge fund in landmark climate vote”, Jennifer Hiller and Svea Herbst-Bayliss, Reuters, May 26, 2021 BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s 2022 letter to CEOs, “

    • 58 min
    Erin Meezan on Why Doing No Harm Isn’t Doing Enough

    Erin Meezan on Why Doing No Harm Isn’t Doing Enough

    Interface is a modular flooring company with one of the most forward-thinking sustainability visions. In 1994, company founder and CEO Ray Anderson committed to becoming the world's first environmentally sustainable and restorative company after reading Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce. Since then, Interface has achieved impressive milestones including being the first flooring company to have all carbon-neutral products, achieving Mission Zero in 2019, and establishing the company mission to overcome the biggest challenge facing humanity and reverse global warming.
     
    In this episode, I sit down with Erin Meezan, the Chief Sustainability Officer at Interface. Erin is a sustainability spokesperson, a thought leader, and an accomplished keynote speaker on sustainable business and climate worldwide.
     
    In this episode we discuss:
    Moving from a “do-no-harm” approach to sustainability to a vision of reinvigorating the planet What biomimicry means and how it can inspire sustainable innovation The psychological shortcomings of focusing on a compliance approach to sustainability  
    Key Takeaways:
    Getting transparency into a company that’s been a champion of sustainability for over two decades is a gift for every company that is just starting on this path. What I really appreciate about Erin is how she’s able to convey simple frameworks to use when approaching the complex topic of sustainability, and then share how Interface has used these frameworks in practice. I love the thought experiment of considering what type of business mother nature would create. What would business look like, what would our world look like, if all companies aimed to mirror mother nature in their operations: Using only renewable energy, sending zero waste to landfills, all materials serving as raw ingredients for something else at the end of its lifecycle. There’s a lot we can learn by studying the way the natural world operates. While we all need a paycheck to support our families, we also want our careers to be so much more than that. We want to contribute to something that matters. We want to leave a legacy that we’re proud of. I was really inspired to hear the impact that Interface’s purpose has on employees across the company. When you know your job is having a positive impact on the world, you show up in a different way. You have a different relationship with your work, and with yourself.  
    References:
    Interface
    Carbon Negative Innovation Press Release From Carbon Neutral to Carbon Negative Why Carbon Matters Lessons for the Future (The Mission Zero report) 2020 UN Global Climate Action Awards pPress rRelease and Interface aAward pLanding Page  
    The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken
    Biomimicry 3.8
    Beyond Zero documentary website
    Erin’s TED short “What nature can teach us about sustainable business”
     
    Interface in the media
    “Interface Moving from Net Zero to Climate Positive by Rethinking Factories as Forests”, Sustainable Brands, June 13th, 2018 “This carpet company has always been an unlikely environmental leader. Now it’s going further.” Fast Company, October 20th, 2020 Beyond Sustainability: The Regenerative Business” Forbes, October 24th, 2020 “Manufacturing Goes Carbon Negative”, Strategy + Business, May 7th, 2018  
     
    Connect & Share:
    If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in helping to convince hard-to-get guests. I also love reading them!
     
    If this episode resonated with you, I ask you to send it to a friend. Help bring even more visibility to these leaders that are using business as a force for good!
     
    Subscribe to the Purpose and Profit newsletter to make sure you don’t miss future episodes.
     
    This podcast is for you, the listener. I’d love to hear what resonated with you, or if you have a suggestion on who would be a gre

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Nick O’Flaherty on Uniting Brands and Suppliers Through Shared Purpose

    Nick O’Flaherty on Uniting Brands and Suppliers Through Shared Purpose

    Nick O’Flaherty is the director of UNSTUCK, a nonprofit that partners with businesses, harnessing the power of the market and leveraging global supply chains to create sustainable change.
     
    UNSTUCK is the Tent Partnership for Refugees’ first consumer-facing initiative. UNSTUCK generates job opportunities for refugees by working with brands to develop products made with ingredients that are sourced from suppliers hiring refugees. The more products a brand sells, the more ingredients they source, the more jobs for refugees that are created. These are legal jobs that rebuild families and communities while providing dignity and financial security through work. Rather than the traditional "donating a share of profits" approach, UNSTUCK brands can create more inclusive societies by rethinking where they source from. The impact they make is sustainable - because it's a part of their everyday business.
     
    If you would like to learn more about how your company can leverage its supply chain to help refugees and other vulnerable communities, Nick would love to hear from you. Email him here.
     
    In this episode we discuss:
    A shift from philanthropy to scalable, business integrated change The estimated economic benefit Venezuelan refugees will bring to Colombia How a partnership with UNSTUCK can support your diversity and inclusion efforts Target host countries to integrate refugees into your global supply chain  
    Key Takeaways:
    Having a unifying goal across a supply chain, rooted in a higher-order emotional benefit, can transform the relationship between brands and suppliers. When you’re not only working to create a great product, but you’re also partnering to transform lives and build communities through economic empowerment, the conversation changes. Both engagement and collaboration increase. Often conversations around refugees are rooted in a scarcity mindset—a fear that refugees will take jobs and resources, and hurt the livelihood of locals. As a result, oftentimes refugees are isolated in refugee camps and not given the right to work. With the duration of displacement of refugees increasing to an average of 20 years, isolation is a huge loss for the refugees as well as the host countries. Colombia is pioneering a new model for integrating migrants and refugees, granting them protection status for 10 years, the right to access formal employment, and access to essential services. Colombia’s approach to the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis is a human approach that’s also a good economic decision. This approach not only reduces their dependency on international humanitarian assistance, but is also expected to contribute to the country’s post-COVID recovery and future economic growth. Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats.  Scarcity is rooted in fear and closes us off from innovating new and better ways of doing things, but openness creates limitless opportunities through collaboration.  
    Note: this episode as recorded in February 2022, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
     
    References:
    UNSTUCK LinkedIn Instagram Twitter Facebook  
    Tent Partnership for Refugees UNHCR article on hiring refugee hiring programs by brands such as Sodexo and IKEA Ben & Jerry’s Ice Academy  
     
    Connect & Share:
    If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in helping to convince hard-to-get guests. I also love reading them!
     
    If this episode resonated with you, I ask you to send it to a friend. Help bring even more visibility to these leaders that are using business as a force for good!
     
    Subscribe to the Purpose and Profit newsletter to make sure you don’t miss future episodes.
     
    This podcast is for you, the listener. I’d love to hear what resonated with you, or if you have a suggestion on who would be a great guest for this show. Please send me a note at info@KathyVaro

    • 50 min
    Christopher Gavigan on the Commitment to Being an Earth-First Brand

    Christopher Gavigan on the Commitment to Being an Earth-First Brand

    Christopher Gavigan is Founder + Co-CEO of Prima. Christopher is a seasoned champion for environmental and human health, an acclaimed author, speaker, and social entrepreneur. His ‘commitment to better’ has spanned his entire career, including his earlier roles as CEO and Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World and Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of The Honest Company.
     
    Christopher also sits on the Board of Directors of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Children's Environmental Health Center, and is The New York Times Bestselling Author of Healthy Child Healthy World.
     
    If you’re interested in learning more about Prima, or speaking with Christopher about his past endeavors, he invites you to email (christopher@prima.co) or call (tel:3108495093)
     
    Want to try Prima? Use discount offer “CTG" for 20% first order at prima.co.
     
    In this episode, we discuss:
    The importance of transparency in building trust How having a purpose and strong company values simplifies decision making How efficiency can get in the way of connection  
    Key Takeaways:
    One theme that came up was leaning into what lights you up. It was great to hear that this is the advice Christopher gives to his four kids, and also to see how he has acted on this advice throughout his own career. Let me be clear, following what lights you up is not selfish, it’s what you’re here to do. The more we lean into what lights us up, the bigger impact we’ll have. The Honest Company wanted to make sure they weren’t hiding behind, or hiding under, stories. Important lessons for organizations are often also important lessons for individuals. After all, an organization is only a collection of individuals. His comment reminded me of a personal theme I’ve had come up repeatedly this past year. I’ve been intentionally looking for the personal narratives I’m hiding behind or hiding from. Stories from my past that my ego believes are what gives me value—or takes my value away. This is in line with Christopher’s comment about having tough conversations with yourself. The more aligned we are as individuals, the better leaders we’re able to be. I didn’t know that both cannabinoids and opioids block the release of pain-propagating neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord. Opioids are very addictive. So addictive they’ve caused a crisis in America, which the mini-series Dope Sick does a great job of portraying. Cannabinoids are not addictive. CDB is one cannabinoid from the cannabis plant. If you want to try CBD products as part of your wellness approach, check out Prima.  
    References:
    Prima
    The Honest Company
    Healthy Child Healthy World
    Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home by Christopher Gavigan
    American Cancer Society information on Wilms tumors
    Learn more about B Corp certification here
    “An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system” by Hui-chen Lu and Ken Mackie
    The Sierra Club
    Children and Nature Network
    The Loveland Foundation
     
    Connect & Share:
    If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in helping to convince hard-to-get guests. I also love reading them!
     
    If this episode resonated with you, I ask you to send it to a friend. Help bring even more visibility to these leaders that are using business as a force for good!
     
    Subscribe to the Purpose and Profit newsletter to make sure you don’t miss future episodes.
     
    This podcast is for you, the listener. I’d love to hear what resonated with you, or if you have a suggestion on who would be a great guest for this show. Please send me a note at info@KathyVarol.com.

    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
35 Ratings

35 Ratings

Bridgesfounder ,

High Quality, High Impact Thinking

Love the way Kathy asks such thoughtful questions of high-impact guests and boils their answers down to actionable ideas. Keep it up!

SofiaAde ,

So inspiring

Love these 💕

mynameistiffany ,

Such an important podcast for business leaders!

Kathy is an incredible interviewer of these must-listen conversations for all business leaders.

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