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

Building Strong & Purpose Driven Teams

How to unleash the power of purpose in your organisation

How is 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.

How purpose grows your bottom line

Transforming the way you achieve enduring success

The pandemic has reminded us how closely the fortunes of business and society are linked and how important purpose is to individuals and organisations. Once thought of as a light and fluffy statement with decorative value only, studies show that purpose drives high performance and competitive gains.

Every business and organisation is different, so you’ll need to know what purpose means in your context, get everyone on the same page and take the journey together, answering questions like:

What is purpose all about and why is it a must-have?
What does purpose look like in (best) practice?
How does it drive performance and profitability?
As an expert in this field, Phil immerses audiences in the purpose-led journey, including:

  • How it creates an edge for businesses
  • Case studies of successful companies and strategies
  • A 7-step checklist for growing your bottom line

This is ideal for engaging your people in something bigger than they are used to, providing a strong foundation for transforming culture and performance. Phil works with you to ensue 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 and working sessions

Why philanthropy is for dinosaurs

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.

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

  • Is it possible for philanthropy to make a difference?
  • What else has been tried so far?
  • Should we just give-up or is there another way?

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 replicating 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.

This can be delivered in-person, online or in hybrid form and works really well as a 16-20 minute TED-style talk that is followed by an interview, Q&A or further discussion 

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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