Phil Preston

Purpose-Driven Leadership & Legacy Creation

Phil's a purpose strategist who helps leaders, teams and organisations create a legacy they're proud of and that others seek to follow.

His own purpose is to help forward-thinking leaders turn the ripples they make into waves of positive change.

While leading high-performance research teams in the investment management industry, Phil found that most companies had a mindset of "making money and then giving a bit back", rather than focusing on the positive (or negative) impacts they create in their every day business.

Through his research and case studies, he busts the myth of performance OR purpose by illustrating how clarity of purpose DRIVES high-performance and sustained outcomes.

The leaders Phil works with recognise this opportunity conceptually, however they may need assurance they're on the right track and assistance in bringing their people along on the journey.

After setting up his own business, Phil was invited to Boston to spend time with Harvard Business School leaders in the business purpose field, and has since pioneered work in this area, authoring Connecting Profit with Purpose, several case studies and being quoted in the AFR report on purpose in business.

As the founder of WhyThisNow, he's worked with hundreds of clients, including companies such as BlueScope, Challenger, IAG, JLL, NRMA and QBE, and a range of nonprofits and government entities.

From a project perspective, he's helped design and facilitate components of critical stakeholder engagement projects for state government entities, such as Just Reinvest (Bourke), the Wagga Wagga Local Employment Initiative and facilitated the stakeholder interface for the peak packaging reform body in Australia.

His main topic areas include navigating purpose in business, building resilience and growth, purpose-driven leadership and purpose ignition programs. A series of "find your purpose" workshops are designed to help leaders and teams get hands-on with their exploration processes.

Phil ensures his contributions align with client objectives and that participants are equipped to put their learning into practice. He's valued for his warm, engaging and interactive style and experience across virtual, hybrid and in-person platforms.

Chocolate is his kryptonite, and you'll find him running it off on the tracks and trails of Bulli, one hour south of Sydney, Australia.

Speaking topics

Navigating Purpose in Business

Leaders are under pressure to respond to powerful trends and change with forty percent of global CEOs say their current model won't be viable in ten years time.

As a result, many are turning to purpose-driven approaches to ensure their people are highly engaged and adaptable in these challenging times.

What is meant by 'purpose-driven', how does it work and how does it help you withstand change and future-proof your business?

Phil Preston is an expert in purpose-driven solutions to business challenges, and in this session, participants learn:

  • How purpose drives improved financial performance.
  • The mindset shifts needed to embrace and implement it.
  • A framework for building purpose-driven work cultures.
  • Tips for aligning people with their organisation's purpose and goals; and
  • Examples of purpose-driven break-through innovations.

This is suited to professionals and leaders who want to explore cutting-edge methods for unlocking their potential, leveraging their impact and creating an enduring legacy.

It's ideal for provoking new and ideas and setting the scene for the discussions that follow.

Phil is the founder of WhyThisNow, the author of Connecting Profit With Purpose and was recently quoted in the AFR report on purpose in business. For more than 15-years he's worked as a speaker, facilitator and guide with blue chip companies, nonprofits and government entities.

Find Your Purpose as a Leader

With unrelenting change, a leader's effectiveness becomes amplified, which is why it helps them to have an acute understanding of their professional strengths and motivations.

Phil helps them discover the leadership legacy they'd like to create and inspire in others.

Audience takeaways include:

  • Why purpose matters in leadership.
  • What is meant by 'your purpose as a leader'.
  • How to uncover your purpose as a leader.
  • Tips for articulation and refinement.
  • How to put it into action.

This brings the essence and uniqueness of who you leaders are and why they're valuable to the fore.

Purpose-Driven Leadership & Legacy Creation

How do you move from an organisation and leadership group that 'likes' the concept of purpose to one that creates an emotional connection between employees and your purpose?

It starts with leadership, and bringing focus to the three key challenges many leaders face, such as an inconsistent understanding of purpose and how it drives high-performance outcomes.

Audiences learn:

  • What is organisational purpose?
  • Why does connection to purpose matter?
  • How to connect your people to your organisation's purpose
  • Taking the next steps
  • The most important question when getting started!

Your leaders will learn new strategies and skills for creating a truly engaged and vibrant work culture that creates a legacy to be proud of.

This topic is delivered jointly with Carolyn Butler-Madden.

Building Resilience & Growth with Purpose

Are your people stressed or suffering from change-fatigue?

Global challenges are reshaping the recipe for success in business and it's driving change at such a rate that many people are feeling burnt out and anxious about their future.

It means that engagement, performance and productivity levels are suffering now and will likely persist into the future.

How can you, your people and your organisational leaders stay positive and focused in these uncertain times?

Phil provides strategies for hardcoding resilience without trading off the energy and excitement of growth outcomes, with audiences discovering:

  • What's fuelling these trends (and why they won't stop).
  • How to cut through complexity in uncertain times.
  • The links between purpose and high-performance.
  • Three key ingredients for hardcoding resilience and growth.
  • How to increase professional impact and effectiveness.

This is suited to people right across your organisation who would benefit from some support and better techniques for dealing with relentless change.

It's an investment in personal and professional wellbeing that pays off many times over.


Your session really set the scene for the critical nature of purpose for our People Lead Team offsite.
General Manager, People, BlueScope

You've done an exceptional job, valuable personally and in terms of what we can do collectively.
Executive General Manager, Australian Unity

Phil's engaging style, thought leadership and practical case studies added huge value to each delegate.
Director, Australian Food & Grocery Council

The session was excellent, especially the quality of the case studies, slides, and Phil's facilitation.
National Manager, Learning & Teaching, Governance Institute of Australia

Phil's session was excellent - it hit the mark perfectly and got everyone in the room in the right frame of mind for the day ahead.
Divisional Chief Executive, Challenger Group

Perfectly framed for our audience and theme, as well as being thoughtful, insightful, inspiring and entertaining!
Director Executive Assistant Network

Insightful and thought provoking.
Employment Relations Manager, Wollongong City Council

Really excellent speaker, fun and informative.
AHRI member

You provided us with a great framework, examples and practical questions to ask.
National Sustainability Manager, Glad Group

Thank you so much for the session today. Great feedback from everyone.
Head of People & Advancement, Claim Central Holdings

Great session today Phil! Fantastic to have you facilitating the discussion.
Marketing & Communications Lead, JLL Australia

His ability to engage with people, to challenge and to stimulate new ways of thinking, while providing us with a clear strategic approach was highly skilled.
Deputy Director, NSW Dept of Premier & Cabinet

Thank you so much for yesterday. Your session led to some really strong conversations and a fabulous team training day.
Owner, Fernwood Fitness Woonona

Phil Preston speaker

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