Danielle Duell, CEO & Founder People With Purpose

There’s nothing I like more than talking about profit meeting purpose and using business for good so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Danielle Duell, CEO & Founder of People With Purpose.

Danielle’s economic philosophy is “for profit and for the greater good”​.

People With Purpose’s purpose is to equip business to improve the world.

People With Purpose is a purpose-led consulting company that specializes in equipping businesses and leaders all around the world to become more resilient and impactful.

They help make profit purposefully.

Paolina: What do you want people to know about your economic philosophy “for profit and for the greater good”, what does it mean to you?


In my opinion, there is no need for profit to be a dirty word.  In fact, there can be no purpose without profit.  It’s how we make profit and what we do with it that matters.  Today, business leaders are among the most influential members of society and because of that, my business – People With Purpose seeks to equip business to improve the world so that this influence is used purposefully.  We do this by helping leaders of organisations reimagine their business models to become clear about why they exist; i.e. what is their purpose beyond making a profit?  We then help them to develop strategies aligned with their purpose that enable them to create economic value in ways that simultaneously create value for society and the environment.  It is my vision that creating shared value rather than just shareholder value will become business as usual within my lifetime.

Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your businesses and finance/money and what did you learn?


Like many small-medium business owners, I’m constantly making personal sacrifices in the short term for the long-term sustainability, impact and success of the business and in anticipation of long-term personal security and rewards.  Many of the rewards of having your own business, especially a purpose-led one manifest in the intrinsic satisfaction that comes from making an impact in the lives, organizations and ecosystems of our clients; I find our work incredibly inspiring and energizing!

In the early days, I didn’t draw a regular salary; rather I would see how much money was left at the end of each financial year and work out what I could afford to pay myself from that surplus factoring in other investments/strategic hires I was hoping to make in the year ahead.  With this approach, there never seemed to be enough left over for me.  So, a few years ago, I decided to pay myself a monthly salary, just like I do with my team.  This discipline brought me a lot more peace of mind and joy as I became able to budget and plan holidays and other discretionary personal spending with more confidence.  I also got to experience a regular “dopamine hit” from seeing the rewards of my hard work show up in my bank account on a monthly basis.  It has also driven me to be more strategic with my time to ensure we are always generating enough revenue in the business to not only ensure I can take care of my team and our operating expenses but also to take care of myself and my family too.  In many ways, this is simply walking the talk of our business philosophy at People With Purpose – making profit purposefully – and it’s been a game-changer for me and the business.

Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about finance when you were first starting your business?


When I started People With Purpose, I was fortunate enough to inherit a fabulous private banker from my previous corporate role who has been a true partner in the evolution of our business.  With her assistance, navigating all the financial tools a business needs from start-up into growth – from cheque accounts, loan facilities, business credit cards, international payments, vehicle leases, financial advice etc., has been a whole lot easier and less time-consuming.  Having a personal relationship with someone I can trust, who is willing to talk me through the onerous features, benefits, terms and conditions of the various products available and who even pre-empts financial products that might help us achieve our goals has been invaluable.

I would recommend all entrepreneurs find someone they can trust to connect them with the financial products and advice to help them achieve their goals.  In my experience the rewards of loyalty to that relationship (in terms of money, time and peace of mind) have been well and truly worth it.

Paolina: What are your current FinanciElle Faves?

  • Favourite business/leadership book? I read at least one book a month, so this is a tough question. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is a perennial favourite.  My favourite (so far) for 2019 has been Coaching For Improved Performance by Sir John Whitmore as I see coaching as a necessary and often underutilized capability for purposeful leaders. It also requires tremendous emotional intelligence (which is another topic worth learning more about).
  • Favourite business/productivity tool? It’s hard to go past a clear 90 day plan-on-a-page that aligns with the company’s purpose-led strategy and highlights clear owner/s and KPI’s to ensure accountability. Scaling Up has some great templates in the public domain. Recently, my team implemented Copper which is an online CRM and scalable project/task management tool which integrates very well with GSuite and looks to provide some great productivity outcomes for us as we grow.
  • Favourite piece of media – TED talk, podcast…? Wow – great question. This RSA Animate video based on Dan Pink’s book DRIVE is about 10 years old but I still find it incredibly useful in helping our clients understand what motivates their people and the important role purpose plays in providing opportunities for people to find fulfillment at work and for organizations to tap into the discretionary effort of their teams.  I subscribe to a lot of newsletters and listen to a lot of audio books in my idle (does that really exist?!) time. However the only thing I read almost every day is Seth’s Blog which provides bite-sized ideas that challenge and inspire me to continue to evolve my awareness and thinking about society.


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