CEO Perspective: The Power of Purpose


Early in my career, I “knew” what my path to success would be.  I was young, ambitious, and smart!  My star’s rise was assured; I knew I would be recognized for my hard work and rapidly rise in the ranks.  I was driven by purpose, but not the purpose companies are buzzing about today as the newest business secret.  Mine was simple – it was not to have the struggles of my unwed mother, who constantly scrambled to make a living while battling addictions.  My purpose was to rise above my mother’s life, and I was successfully on my way! 

Then I got my first job in a nonprofit, then the second, and the third.  I don’t know how it happened, but I slowly became disconnected from my initial purpose.  Suddenly, I saw kids in the halls for preschool, counselors working to help those less fortunate, and people working to save open green spaces before corporations took down every tree.   Nonprofits are all about purpose; it is their mission, and it is core to who they are and what they do from the first moment of their founding. They personify the power of purpose and always have.  Seeing the passion of nonprofits reset my own purpose. 

I know each of us has different beliefs, but I firmly believe that God led me to work with that first nonprofit so I could see purpose from a different perspective than the one I had.  I became the recipient of a nonprofit’s mission, just from another direction.  It wasn’t through the services they delivered but a deeper understanding of purpose that changed me and the trajectory of my life — which led to the founding of JMT. 

Our purpose, mission, and ” why ” have not been dreamed up over the past year as part of a corporate initiative; it is core to who JMT is and everything we do.  I think it is great that “purpose” is the new buzz word for companies, I just hope companies understand it is more than the current marketing plan. A true purpose motivates people, changes lives, and creates opportunities and success for people.