The Need to Bring Together Profit and Purpose

In previous posts I have asked if women can attain a work-family balance in a society where they are encouraged and expected to build a career and have a family. I have also sought advice and looked inward to see where my career is going and how I envision my future. These thoughts have stayed in my mind, and I have met with and spoken with many inspirational people in recent weeks and months who make me hopeful that I will find my way and follow a career path that is a good fit for me and the life I want to lead. I recently met with one individual who helped me give focus to my many musings about where my life is going, what I want to do next and where my skills and experience can make a difference. She reminded me to think about two words that I believe will help guide me going forward: profit and purpose.

Are these buzz words? Maybe. But their meaning is clear, especially when put together. We often look at organizations as being either for-profit (corporations, stores, restaurants) or non-profit (charities, civic groups, social welfare). They are looked at differently and treated as separate entities.

But I don’t think that should be the case, and many others across Canada (many much smarter than me) feel the same way. They ask the question; can we not profit with purpose? Or can a non-profit organization align itself with a for-profit, and the relationship be mutually beneficial?

Would for-profit businesses reap the rewards and gain customer loyalty if they partner with non-profits, stand behind important causes and care about the many unfortunate people in the community? Definitely.

Are many Canadian for-profit organizations, from small boutique stores to huge conglomerates, bringing together profit and purpose? Definitely, but still much of Corporate Canada, in my opinion, is either not on board yet or doesn’t know how to do it right.

I was fortunate in my previous job that I was empowered to bring together profit and purpose, but in a very limited way. While my employer had a legacy in communities across Canada of supporting children and youth in various ways, that support had eroded over the years. When I was given the opportunity to reinvent the corporation’s connection with the community and bring together profit and purpose in a meaningful way I knew I found something at which I was both skilled and that I loved.

My eyes were opened to a whole other side of strategic communications and brand development through my work (and I can honestly say my devotion) supporting the many communities where my company did business. I saw the vital role Canadian for-profit businesses play in shaping and supporting communities. I clearly saw that relationship was mutually beneficial, as these same families and communities were loyal to the brand that helped them.

So, it brings me back to the questions I have been asking myself about where I am now and where I want my future to be. Profit and purpose. Big or small business or big or small community organization, I want to support them both and bring them together to support each other. Each thought and decision is a stepping stone, and I believe that today I am starting to head down the right path.

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