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Kathy Varol      

Purpose Strategy Expert & Former Head of Global Purpose Strategy at Adidas

Kathy Varol is a Purpose Strategy Expert. She created the Global Purpose strategy for adidas, a 22-billion-dollar global company, encompassing everything the brand does to positively impact people and planet, including:

  • A holistic sustainability strategy that further established adidas as a leader in retail sustainability and inspired an army of loyal brand advocates to join a movement to end plastic waste.
  • An impactful social equality strategy that provided access to sport for girls around the globe, developed new products, and initiated bold corporate actions to stand against inequality.
  • And a progressive Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategy that fostered a culture of inclusion, collaboration, and continuous improvement.

This Global Purpose strategy created impact. A thorough assessment by S&P in 2021 awarded adidas an ESG score of 85, placing the company among the top 10% ever rated by S&P Global Ratings.

Varol started her career as a bright-eyed idealist, joining the Peace Corps straight out of college. Along her journey, the idealist combined with her inner strategist, creating a catalyst for good. Now Varol has 20 years of experience in brand marketing, strategy, and impact, working at established brands like adidas, MillerCoors, and Microsoft.

Varol is a sought-after speaker, Purpose Strategy Expert, and CSR & ESG consultant who has spoken and led workshops around the globe. She shares her knowledge with audiences on how to embed a purpose into their company in order to transform their culture, their business, and impact the world.

Speech Topics


Drive Profit With Purpose. Become Remarkable. Accelerate Growth

How do you stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace? How do you attract top talent? How do you increase profitability?

You do something remarkable. Purpose makes brands remarkable.

​As consumers, we're putting our dollars toward companies with aligned values. 85% of millennials in the United States would switch brands for a good cause, and 50% of growth in consumer goods went to sustainability-marketed products between 2013 and 2018.

As employees, we’re looking for meaning in our careers, and the best talent is choosing to work for organizations that feed their hearts as well as their bank accounts. 92% of millennials believe that working for an environmentally and socially responsible company is important.

In the modern world, companies without a purpose beyond profit will be left behind. You can either be a pioneering force for good in your industry, or the disrupted.

Kathy built the global purpose strategy for adidas, a 22 billion dollar company, encompassing everything adidas does to positively impact people and planet. Through trial and error, Kathy has learned what works, and what doesn't.

Through her work, a model emerged.

A way to successfully use purpose to drive profit.

In the Drive Profit with Purpose keynote, Kathy will reveal her 4-step Brand Purpose Model to engage your organization, inspire innovation, and win the hearts of your consumers.

You Will Learn:

  • 7 common mistakes in creating a purpose-led organization
  • Why a corporate social responsibility department won't get you the impact - or the credit - you want
  • How to get the best talent knocking on your door and have the most engaged employees
  • Why doing good is the magic bullet to get the most powerful form of advertising (for free!)

This Keynote Is Perfect For Leaders And Companies:

  • Competing in a crowded market
  • Creating differentiation through marketing, ingredients, and/or process
  • Struggling with a talent shortage, high turnover, and/or high employee disengagement
  • Looking to accelerate growth and increase ROI (in a sustainable way)​
  • Ready to unlock the innovative brain power of their employees

Lead The Future Of Your Industry By Mastering ESG

At its core, ESG (environmental, social, governance) is about fixing what’s broken in business, fueling efficiency, equality, and integrity. And guess what? It’s a goldmine for resilience and profitability.

An effective ESG strategy future-proofs the business strategy.

From 2011 to 2018, the proportion of S&P 500 companies reporting on their sustainability efforts, corporate social responsibility activities, and ESG performance increased from just under 20% to 86%.

ESG has become an expected way of operating, and you don't want to get left behind.

Kathy helps businesses create an effective ESG strategy that moves beyond a feel-good exercise and drives real change across the metrics that matter to their business. In this keynote, through captivating stories and real-world business examples, Kathy will reveal a step-by-step process that will help your company set the ESG gold standard for your industry.

You Will learn:

  • Kathy’s 4-step process that will take your company from zero to an ESG strategy that leads the future of your industry
  • Why an effective ESG strategy can help your company become a trusted leader in your industry
  • How to determine which ESG topics (and metrics) are the right ones for your business
  • How to establish a symbiotic relationship between your ESG strategy and a business-integrated purpose
  • The secret to achieving seemingly impossible ESG moonshots

This Keynote Is Perfect For Leaders And Companies:

  • Just starting their ESG journey
  • Who feel overwhelmed by the vast catch-all ESG can stand for
  • Need help identifying and focusing on the ESG topics that matter to their company
  • Who want to be a leader and set the gold-standard in their industry

Unlock Exponential Results by Nurturing Purpose, People and Culture

Data clearly shows that businesses that nurture their purpose, people, and culture unlock exponential results: engaged employees, loyal consumers, increased innovation, and accelerated growth.

In this keynote, through captivating business stories, Kathy will share why shifting the focus from your output (revenue) to your inputs (purpose, people, and culture) will drive better results. Kathy will also share concrete strategies you use right away to nurture each of these business inputs.

You Will learn:

  • The toxic beliefs that have infected workplace cultures (and how to shift them)
  • How the world’s most loved companies use purpose to cultivate enviable consumer loyalty (and how you can too)
  • The secret sauce to creating a world-class culture
  • How to enable your employees to truly shine (and innovate!)
  • The one force more powerful to your profitability than any business model

This Keynote Is Perfect For Leaders And Companies:

  • Competing in an increasingly crowded market and struggling to stand out
  • Experiencing high turnover, and/or high employee disengagement
  • Struggling to foster collaboration across company silos and departments
  • Running into groupthink and “yes men” cultural conformity

The Sustainability Revolution: A Business Imperative Accelerating Innovation

Sustainability isn’t merely a trend—it's a revolution reshaping industries.

No longer a “nice to have,” sustainability has become a key indicator for companies' long-term success. This keynote will elevate your understanding of sustainability, explain its significance for your business's success, highlight the forces accelerating sustainability across industries, and share how sustainability isn't just about saving the planet; it's about saving and making money.

During this keynote, Kathy will share three accelerating areas of sustainable innovation that can create value, enhance your reputation, reduce risk, and boost your financial performance. Kathy will bring these three areas of innovation to life with real-world examples of companies across industries that are setting the gold standard for sustainability.

If you're ready to lead rather than follow in the evolving business landscape, this keynote provides the roadmap to a future where profitability and sustainability go hand in hand.

You will learn:

  • Why sustainability is an emerging force determining market dominance
  • How forward-thinking companies are turning eco-conscious initiatives into lucrative opportunities
  • How sustainability is being used as a catalyst for innovation
  • Insight into circular economies (what it means and why it’s important)
  • The benefit of integrating sustainability into business strategy

This keynote is perfect for leaders and companies who:

  • Seek to harness the transformative power of sustainability for both innovation and growth
  • Understand sustainability isn't just a choice; it's a necessity
  • Want to stay relevant and competitive for the next 20 years
  • Are excited to create a future that’s better for the next generation

News


What it would feel like to wake up every work day excited to go to work
What would it feel like to wake up every work day excited to go to work? When the sound of your alarm clock goes off, springing out of bed with the giddy excitement of a 10 year old at summer camp. The thrill of possibility rushing through your veins. The pure anticipation—you will get to learn something new, contribute and collaborate with others.

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