As the Founder of The Business Purpose Project, Phil uncovers the powerful stories behind the leaders and organisations navigating the shift to the purpose economy.

Phil worked in the investment industry for 19 years where he oversaw $50 billion of investments. He left that 'comfortable' life in 2007 to work on methods for tackling social and environmental challenges through core and profitable business, and was invited by Harvard Business School’s Professor Michael Porter and Mark Kramer to Boston in 2013 to help develop this field.

Phil has since become a leading author of case studies and the book, Connecting Profit With Purpose, and has frequently been called upon to facilitate collective approaches to complex social challenges.

His clients include small-medium enterprises through to multi-national corporations and everything in between, and has extensive experience working with not-for-profit organisations, peak bodies and governments.

As a speaker and facilitator, he distills years of experience into actionable learning, making use of storytelling, audience interaction and a splash of dry humour.

Outside of work he is enthusiastic about coffee, chocolate and trail running.

Speaking topics

How Purpose is Redefining Business

Don’t get overrun - get ahead of the trend to purpose

The trend to purpose is significant with employees looking for greater fulfilment in their work, customers seeking out purpose-led brands and investors linking purpose to future profitability.

However, there's a gap between an organisation seeking purpose and actually doing it, so how do you and your people navigate the trend and come out ahead?

It's likely that your people want to know:

  • Is purpose a fad or a long-term, powerful trend?
  • How do we harness purpose to drive performance?
  • What's at risk if we don't act now?

Session overview

  • As an expert in this field, Phil makes purpose real for audiences, where they learn:
  • How it drives business resilience and growth
  • 3 ways businesses can deliver purpose
  • Inspiring stories of world-changing companies
  • A 5-step checklist for putting purpose into practice.

This presentation gives your people the confidence they need to respond to a rapidly escalating trend, and Phil works with you to ensure the content and messaging aligns with your agenda.

Building Strong & Purpose Driven Teams

How to unleash the power of purpose in your organisation

How is it that some organisations seem to attract the best talent and relentlessly outperform year after year? Studies show that purpose is central to these success stories as it galvanises people and unleashes their full potential.

Your people may not be on the same page when it comes to the purpose of your business – with some mistaking it for charitable giving, greater work / life balance, responsible business practices or trading off profits for social good.

It is none of the above – so what is it and how do you unleash the power it brings? In this inspiring and timely keynote, Phil outlines:

  • What purpose is and why you must take it seriously
  • Case studies of companies gaining a performance edge
  • 5 different ways it boosts performance; and
  • The 5 steps for unleashing its power.

This is ideal for engaging and aligning your people around the real value that your organisation adds to society, and Phil works with you to ensure the content and messaging aligns to your industry and agenda.

This can be delivered in-person, online or hybrid, and is the perfect precursor for panels, working sessions or leadership program content.

 Can We Make Charity Obsolete?

A provocative solution to our greatest challenges

The pandemic has reminded us how closely the fortunes of business and society are linked, and how we can collaborate and work across boundaries when it matters. However, we’re still struggling to make headway on the defining issues of our time such as climate change, inequality, homelessness and many more.

The Challenge

Many of the solutions that come forward are so idealistic they won’t happen in our lifetime, so we must assess:

  • Is philanthropy enough on its own?
  • What else has been tried so far?
  • Should we just give-up or is there another way?

Session Overview

In this session, Phil weaves together a powerful narrative using a range of personal and business stories. He challenges your people with new perspectives, reinforcing the themes of:

  • Our challenges are also our greatest opportunities
  • Seek out smart ways of leveraging resources
  • Solutions may be closer than we think
  • Recognising what is done well and replicate it

This is ideal for shaking up established norms and ways of working and is guaranteed to provide a major "aha" moment for many in the audience.

Getting More Out of Work & Life

How to gain meaning and maximise your impact

The pandemic has disrupted the way we work and caused many people to reflect on that BIG question - what am I doing with my life?

It’s amplified their need for greater meaning - although juggling the demands of work, family and life, in general, tends to get in the way.

The challenge

Common questions arising for your people when they are seeking greater purpose include:

  • Is leaving my day job the only option I have?
  • How do I find the time to do anything of significance?
  • Do I do this at work, at home or both?
  • How can I make a difference on the big issues I care about and overcome feelings of disempowerment?

Session overview

In this session, Phil helps your people clarify what is important to them and the options they have for moving forward, including:

  • Insights into their personal purpose drivers
  • How to achieve greater work / life congruence
  • 3 essential ingredients for maximising their impact
  • Identifying their next step.

This is a great way for you to engage with and increase the retention of your best talent who may feel like they are ‘trapped’ when it comes to making a difference.


This can be delivered in-person, online or in hybrid form and works really well as a keynote or workshop


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

There was great feedback from Phil’s session and plenty of notes taken – thank you for providing a great start to the day
EMT Forum Chair
Challenger Group

Great presentation. Really got me thinking on what might be possible on this front.
CEO attendee
Better Boards Conference

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Phil Preston speaker

Speaker Video

Phil Preston - Speaker Reel Short Version

Phil Preston - Speaker Reel Short Version

Making Philanthropy Obsolete

Making Philanthropy Obsolete

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