Four Women Changing the World

To celebrate #InternationalWomensDay in March, we featured the stories of four amazing women I had the honor to interview for Fast Company’s Purposeful CEO series. They are boldly changing the world by leading with purpose. They give me hope for the future of work, the economy and society.

Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company

As a child, Denise Morrison’s father made her do a book report for him every week. This built an insatiable appetite for learning in her that continues to this day and is behind her success at the helm of Campbell Soup. They have surpassed Whole Foods in ingredient transparency and seen their stock nearly double. Read the full article here.

Purpose Driver: Knowledge

“Purpose is uniting the core businesses that we’ve had for 148 years, and the new businesses that we’ve bought in the last six years against a common goal for why we do what we do.”


Erin Ganju, CEO of Room to Read

Erin Ganju has built one of the most successful nonprofits in the world by any measure. Room to Read, who builds libraries and educates girls in Asia and Africa has scaled to a team of 1,300 employees across ten countries serving 1 million children per year. Her success is directly tied to what brings her purpose – empowering others. Read the full article here.

Purpose Driver: Community

“I just learn a lot about myself, and I learn a lot about the organization when I’m traveling.”


Dara Richardson-Heron, CEO of YWCA

Dara Richardson-Heron is a doctor but didn’t go to medical school with the intent to see patients. Her ambition has always been to make a broader impact on society and her role as the CEO of the YWCA has enabled her have a voice in some of the most important issues of the day. Read the full article here.

Purpose Driver: Society

“Take it one day at a time, don’t get discouraged, and keep moving forward until you achieve the intended outcome. Only incremental change leads to larger sustainable change.”


Tara Russell, President of Fathom

Tara Russell redefined the cruise industry based on what she learned about the transformational impact of travel. She launched Fathom as a new brand that is about service, not just being served. Tara’s ‘Human’ Purpose Driver defines the customer experience and the culture of the company. Read the full article here.

Purpose Driver: Human

“Work is more of living our own kind of gifts, talents, abilities, and purpose.”


Women Lead with Purpose

Women are 50% more likely to embrace purpose in their work according to Imperative’s 2014 study of purpose in the workforce with New York University. The same study and studies of employers from LinkedIn to West have found that purpose-driven people are more likely to be high performers and exceptional leaders.

The bottom line – women are exceptional and now we have data to prove it.

Embrace Your Purpose

Imperative worked with a team of psychologists and designers to develop the first assessment for purpose. It enables someone in ten minutes to uncover their purpose and begin to understand how to design their work to be deeply meaningful.


Aaron Hurst
About the author: 

Aaron Hurst is Chief Executive Officer of Imperative, and he’s an “Influencer” on LinkedIn.  Aaron is also the founder of the Taproot Foundation, the author of The Purpose Economy – and he is an Ashoka Fellow, an award-winning entrepreneur and a globally recognized leader in fields of purpose at work and social innovation.  Aaron has written for or been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg TV and Fast Company.  Follow him on Twitter.