At a glance:Simon Mainwaring is a global thought leader, speaker, and practitioner who has worked with today’s most purposeful and impactful brands and specializes in showing companies of all sizes how to reimagine and reengineer business to drive growth by solving today's most pressing social and environmental challenges.
Simon Mainwaring is founder/CEO of We First, an award-winning, strategic consultancy accelerating growth and impact for purpose-driven brands. He was a Real Leaders’ Top 50 Keynote Speaker in the World in 2020, and his company, We First, was a Real Leaders’ Top 100 Impact Companies in the US for 2021 and 2019 and a B Corp ‘Best For the World’ Honoree. Simon was a Featured Expert and Jury member for the Sustainable Development Goals at the Cannes Lions Festival in 2021. Simon’s first book, We First was a New York Times bestseller and named Best Marketing Book of the Year by strategy+business. He hosts the Lead With We podcast and writes the influential ‘Purpose At Work’ column in Forbes. His new book Lead With We is available November 2021.
LEADING THE FUTURE: HOW TO STAY AHEAD IN TODAY’S CHALLENGING MARKETPLACEThe S&P 500 list is turning over faster than ever even as multiple global crises challenge every company to its core. To address this, brands must attract and retain top talent while maximizing their productivity. They must foster cultures of purpose, ingenuity and innovation. They must empower their organization to match the mobility and new expectations of the marketplace. In short, to triumph over disruption brands can’t merely participate in the future, they must create it.
GROWTH LEADERSHIP: CONNECTING THE DOTS BETWEEN YOUR PERSONAL & BRAND PURPOSEToday’s marketplace is increasingly being shaped by charismatic leaders that demonstrate both personal and corporate leadership. What they have mastered is the critical connection between work they do on themselves and its effect on their company, culture and community. By doing so, they find personal fulfillment in their work and inspire organizations to become more connected, productive and effective. As such, this opportunity represents a critical need and opportunity for every leader.
WINNING OVER TODAY’S CONSUMER: HOW TO CAPTURE THEIR ATTENTION, LOYALTY & ADVOCACYReaching today’s consumer is harder than ever. Their expectations, behaviors and technologies are constantly changing, especially after years of crisis. This makes it difficult to capture their attention and earn their loyalty over the long term. But what if there was a way to make your customers feel like part of your organization and its purpose? To motivate them to want to build your business and reputation? To use their own social media channels to share your purpose, products and impact?
FROM CRISIS TO GROWTH: RESTORING RELEVANCE, GROWTH & IMPACTThe greatest obstacle to any brand is internal — old mindsets and behaviors that drove success in the past no longer serve its future, especially after years of disruption that forced every company to reengineer itself. So, what are the key questions companies must ask themselves to overcome self-limiting thinking or behaviors? What new actions must they take to build a constantly evolving and innovative culture? How can you emerge from crisis even stronger than before?
MOVEMENT MAKING: HOW TO TURN YOUR COMPANY INTO A BRAND EVERYONE WANTS TO BUILDWe live in an era of social movements built around issues as far ranging as the climate emergency, gun control and social justice. To succeed, brands must be very clear about what they stand for so that stakeholders can align with them, either as employees, investors or customers. So, how do you position your company to shape culture? How do you share your brand story effectively to all stakeholders? How do you become a movement where your impact drives business growth?
FROM ENGAGEMENT TO ACTION: MOBILIZING EMPLOYEES TO STRENGTHEN CULTURE & DRIVE GROWTHEvery employer wants their people to see work as more than a job. To bring their best selves, skills and attitude to what they do. To actively contribute to a culture that constantly challenges the status quo and drives innovation from the inside out. So, how do you attract such people to your company? How do you inspire them to play this role? How do you reward them to create a resilient culture that guarantees long-term relevance, growth and leadership?
RETURN ON CULTURE: UNLOCKING THE FULL PRODUCTIVITY & POWER OF YOUR EMPLOYEESThe greatest investment a company makes is in its people and yet companies rarely get a high return. So how to you rapidly, effectively and measurably inspire the best in your employees? How do you ensure the investment you made in translate to your bottom line? How do you inspire and equip every employee within your company to effectively build your brand and business? Employee productivity is today’s great untapped opportunity for those brands willing to take the critical steps to unlock the full value of their people and culture.
TURNING EMPLOYEES INTO ADVOCATES: TRANSFORMING EMPLOYEES INTO YOUR MOST POWERFUL STORYTELLERSInside every organization are countless stories that could unlock untold value for your brand. Yet most organizations don’t empower, equip or inspire employees to share those stories with each other, the company or their customers. This oversight not only robs employees of greater satisfaction and fulfillment, but it robs the company of the ability to use social technologies to share those stories to build the relevance, reach and resonance of its brand.
PURPOSE-LED INNOVATION: THE NEXT FRONTIER FOR BUSINESS GROWTH & INNOVATIONPurpose has become essential to brands hoping to attract the attention and purchases of highly informed and connected employees, investors and consumers living in a challenging world. But purpose is far more than risk mitigation, good intentions or image management. It is the key to unlocking innovation that will drive growth across all departments of your company. So how do you define your purpose? How do you apply it to your entire company? How do you leverage it so that employees and consumers want to build and buy your brand? And how do your ensure it drives the innovation that will continue to inspire all stakeholders.
IMPACT STORYTELLING: TRANSFORMING MEANINGFUL IMPACT INTO MEASURABLE GROWTHAs more brands share their purpose and seek to play a positive role in the world, it gets harder for companies to get the credit they deserve and to stand out from competitors. At the same time, it is critical to get the credit you deserve for this work and to translate those efforts into bottom line growth for your brand. So how do you share the story of your impact? How to you get the credit you deserve without seeming self-serving? How do you avoid greenwashing, cause washing or purpose washing?
Simon Mainwaring really delivered. He was able to craft a message for our members that resonated, delivered valuable content and real thought leadership. Leaving the audience with key principles, take away content and a focus on the future challenges of the sector. Working in the hybrid world of physical and virtual Simon’s delivery was exemplary. Thank you Simon.
— Samantha Blake Director, Industry Affairs, Australian Food and Grocery Council
We First deeply inspired all of our employees at our annual meeting. They connected the importance of the current business landscape with critical social and environmental issues and linked it directly to our unique market opportunity. They developed and presented a new purpose statement that engaged our employees personally and energized them around our future direction. It is clear that We First cares deeply about our company and they are truly a great partner. We can't recommend them highly enough
— Todd LoFrese, Participate Learning
We First's presentations to the Conscious Capitalism community are insightful and powerful. They provide not only inspirational guidance or how to get through this challenging period, but also a roadmap for how business leaders can take action to do so.
— Alexander McCobin CEO, Conscious Capitalism
Simon Mainwaring provided a stirring keynote for the 2nd Annual Nonprofit Board Summit sponsored by the Harvard Business School Association of Boston. His presentation on "Building a Sustainable Movement” provided both a reality-check and a call to action for nonprofit board members and senior staff. Simon started by highlighting the competitive environment for both mindshare and resources, and the increasingly blurry lines between nonprofits and for-profit social enterprises, and then provided a roadmap for building a sustainable movement with examples of how successful organizations have executed such strategies. From defining the organization’s purpose, to infusing it into the culture, to co-creating a broader community of believers and ultimately influencing societal values, he brought a fresh vision of how to create and communicate impact, the holy grail that most nonprofits seek
— David Harris VP for Social Enterprise, HBS Association of Boston
Simon led two dynamic sessions at Social Innovation Summit, providing a unique perspective that blended purpose-driven work with the power of branding. He was engaging, insightful, and an incredible thought leader in how we can drive impact through business.” “Simon’s presentation at Social Innovation Summit was an incredible part of the program. He provided valuable expertise that was unique to our audience and helped inspire actionable ideas that can drive change in the social impact space.” “Social Innovation Summit was thrilled to welcome Simon as a speaker at this year’s virtual Summit. His unique insights provided a fresh perspective on how leaders can continue to find purpose at work and drive actionable change
— Mel Ochoa, COO, Landmark Ventures at Social Innovation Summit 2020
The Accessories Council was honored to have Simon present at the 5th Anniversary of our Business Workshop. Our Business Workshop is intended to inspire, be thought provoking and encourage our members to position their businesses for success. Simon was absolutely an inspiration! He was engaging and provided our team with exceptional information. I was impressed with the amount of time he and his team spent preparing for the session. It was clear they wanted to understand our audience and tailor his presentation accordingly. Simon also volunteered to come back for another session to answer any questions our attendees had. We had 3 packed days of speakers and Simon’s presentation was memorable, very highly rated. We feel most fortunate that he was a part of our 2020 event!
— Karen Giberson, President, Accessories Council at Business Workshop 2020
The Harvard Business School Association of Boston and We First engaged in a year-long collaboration to put together a series of panels that took a deep dive into purpose and, importantly, its specific practice around the world. We were looking for content that was dynamic, actionable and differentiated, and We First delivered. The panelists were world class, Simon was an outstanding moderator and the response has been fantastic. I highly recommend We First as an exceptional content and training provider.
— Christina Thirkell, Director of Strategic Programs, Harvard Business School Association of Boston
Simon is an incredible public speaker and a master at his craft. He understands the intersection between purpose, people, and profit powered by years of experience working with some of the most purpose-driven brands. His urgency for driving positive change in this world is palpable.
— Staci Eyer Director of Sales and CS Enablement, Glassdoor