Will Gardner

    What’s he like then?

    Will brings huge enthusiasm to every project he undertakes – his clients know they can rely on him fully to infuse every meeting with positivity and potential.

    He enjoys bringing his breadth of experience to every brief, peppering workshops and meetings with tangible examples and stories from across business sectors and sizes, to inspire and bring concepts to life. He’s a big strategic thinker but very adept at making the complex simple, and helping teams get really clear about what where they’re going and why.

    Will has extensive experience of driving cross-functional change in big organisations, but also brings with him an entrepreneurial ‘let’s try it and learn’ ethos from his experiences in technology start-ups.

    What’s he done?
    An experienced strategist, marketer and change leader, Will supports leaders in making their organisations purpose- and values-driven, from the inside out.

    Will played a key role in Unilever’s purpose-driven transformation, when he led the co-creation and rollout of Unilever’s ‘Crafting Brands for Life’ Way of Marketing – inspiring and equipping Unilever’s global community of 6,000 marketers to put social Purpose at the heart of the company’s brands.

    He subsequently started up and led Collectively.org, a digital media and collaboration business focused on accelerating the shift to sustainable ways of living and consumption. Born from discussions at the World Economic Forum, partners included Unilever, Google, M&S, BT, Nike and Salesforce.

    Will has extensive consulting experience with clients ranging from big corporates such as Unilever, GSK and News International to SMEs, start-ups and NGOs. He’s also an experienced and valued conference speaker. Recent speaking topics have included ‘Transparency: Obligation or Opportunity?’ and ‘The Business Value of Purpose’.

    Earlier in his career Will worked for Mars Incorporated, and pioneering tech start-up Moonfruit. He has served for six years as Trustee for Sightsavers, the leading international NGO tackling avoidable blindness. He’s an RSA Fellow and an Ambassador for the Positive Innovation Club.

    Why does he bother?

    Will is passionate about the future of capitalism, and how we can together reset the relationship between business, society and the environment. He’s convinced that business can and must lead positive change, and that enlightened businesses can do very well by doing good.

    As a marketer by training, Will is excited by the opportunity to reframe ‘insight’ – moving from a single-minded focus on customer and consumer needs, to a much wider exploration of stakeholder motivations – which can give us the clues we need to discover a shared Purpose for an organisation, that has the power to unify and mobilise.

    He feels strongly that many organisations only tap into a small proportion of the positive human potential of their employees, customers and partners – the ‘better angels of our nature’ (Abraham Lincoln). The key job of the leader – and it’s an exciting one – is to use the power of purpose to unlock that potential, and shift relationships into a new space, characterised by energetic participation, self-direction, experimentation and continuous learning.

    Will loves mixing strategy work with participant learning and self-discovery, so that clients don’t just ‘leave’ a project with solutions to their challenges, but with new perspectives and practices that they’re excited to bring into their everyday work and lives.

    Is he qualified?

    Will has a BA in English (1st Class Hons) from Trinity College, Cambridge.

    He’s an alumnus of the Prince of Wales’ Business and Sustainability Programme at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Recently he has become interested in coaching and has so far completed his ILM-endorsed Foundations in Core Coaching & Mentoring Skills. He’s a B Leader, which means he’s trained up to help companies through the journey towards certification as a B Corporation.

    Some quotes to know him by…
    ‘We’re in an all-hands-on-deck type of situation. What’s at stake is…. the future of humankind. And it’s gonna happen within people’s lifetimes. It’s a whole different scenario now. So let’s get on it.’

    Yves Chouinard, Patagonia Founder

    ‘Leaders have to be purveyors of hope by giving people a journey that elevates them onto something that is worthy of their dedication…It’s a move from exerting power over people to generating waves through them’

    Dov Seidman

    ‘Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Combine the two and you can change the world.’

    Japanese proverb