• purposelypodcast

Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility, John O'Brien

John O'Brien MBE is founder of Anthropy a gathering of leaders planned for The Eden Project, UK in November 2022.


Inspired to act and counter the negativity that exists post COVID John will open ‘the UK Davos’ on Wednesday 2 November 2022.


“A unique moment in time, to change the national narrative, consider the qualities we live by and build a positive, equitable, sustainable, successful future.”


Anthropy will feature 300 speakers, 1200 participants attending 160+ sessions over 3 days across 12 stages - John and the team believe that it will provide a ‘launch pad for change’. To find out more


John O'Brien joins Purposely Podcast to share his career story from life as a soldier, working for the current King of Britain to life as an entrepreneur focused on doing good.


John has led the way 'beyond CSR' to a more impactful, meaningful alternative for businesses wanting to make a positive difference. He did this as a best-selling author, leader and advisor, helping businesses to put purpose at the centre of their action. Prior to John's intervention many businesses in the UK had corporate responsibility as a peripheral activity, offsetting their negative impact.


John is an expert in helping individuals and organisations to find their purpose. He wrote “The Power of Purpose”, which combines experience with insights around ethical purpose in business from interviews with over sixty renowned leaders.


As part of his journey John worked hard to define his own purpose;


“Often, when you talk to people about purpose you will get a bland statement along the lines of 'I want to make the world a better place', and there is not anything wrong with that, but it doesn't necessarily give guidance to what you want to do or provide meaning. Realising this fact helped me to find my own purpose and want to help people and companies to find their purpose - so helping others find meaning”.


Alongside his business advisory work, he has supported many social impact and charitable initiatives and created several philanthropic initiatives across the UK himself. He has a portfolio of interests including leading a consortium of Omnicom agencies in EMEA, part time, whilst using his remaining capacity on writing books on ethical purpose and communications and other philanthropic activities.


John is a former British Infantry Officer and graduate of The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, who retired as a Captain after ten years in various roles around the world.

Leaving the Army, he spent seven years creating his own ethical purpose agency and a decade before that as director of The Prince of Wales’s Business in the Community initiative. There, alongside various UK responsibilities, he created programmes covering twenty countries.

John is a philanthropist in his own right having founded the Jubilee Hour, recognised by the UK government as the largest mobilisation of volunteering since World War 2, with over 2 million participants. He also co-founded the Remember WW1 volunteering campaign, and is supporter of a variety of UK charities.


John has received numerous awards in his career and was made a member of the Most Excellent Order of The British Empire in Her Majesty The Queen’s 2017 Birthday Honours list for various charitable endeavours in the UK and overseas.


John is based between his London office and his home in Shropshire.