Is Purpose Something You Simply “Find”?— Meet Karen Seymour, Chief Purpose Officer of human-at.work
Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their lives and career.
Feeling lost in these turbulent times? Read on to see how you can bring meaning to your work through the sharing of Karen Seymour, Chief Purpose Officer of human-at.work at Time Auction. Stay tuned to see how she defines and activates purpose.
🙋🏼♀️ Meet Karen Seymour!
Karen Seymour is Hong Kong’s first Chief Purpose Officer. At human at work, she helps leaders and their teams activate purpose to create high-performance organizations, humans who thrive and a better world. She formerly led the Li & Fung Foundation as their Senior Vice President & Executive Director, spearheading the launch of purpose, leading global campaigns and mobilizing change-makers in 40 markets worldwide.
A movement-maker and collaborator, Karen connects people to big ideas that lead to a big impact. With a 25 year long career as an agile leader with diverse industry experiences, her own purpose journey has been forged through decades of seeing and experiencing social needs, sparking awareness and action, and witnessing the transformative power of purpose when hearts and minds are tapped for good.
📈Get Stuff Done!
“Ask yourself: What’s helping you to achieve your purpose? Who is helping you?”
Karen shared how we need to be intentional in living and working with purpose. Once we’ve defined our “North Star”, a guiding beacon that represents what we stand for and what impact we want to make in the world, we need to maintain a strong focus and set priorities to achieve our goals, always guided by our purpose. She recommended reading Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood, a book that describes John’s journey in leaving the corporate world to create Room to Read, displaying his grit and focus.
From the book, Karen believes that we can learn about having a bias for action. At human at work, Karen and her peers firmly believe that execution is critical. Making things happen and moving things forward, even in the face of uncertainty, helps create impact towards our goals.
Furthermore, we can learn to go with the “yes” people. When John came across naysayers or critics that doubted his decisions, he chose to go with the people who said yes and came along with him to further the cause. When Karen helps organizations in operationalizing their purpose, she emphasizes building a network of people and partners who support the journey and leveraging strengths to maximize impact.
“If you believe in people, people will fly.”
💪🏻The power of the collective
Through the event, Karen hopes that we can remember to build awareness of other people. By observing and tuning in to others, we can see what they truly need and explore how to contribute and add meaning to our work, helping our organizations make a difference.
Karen also reminds us to build compassion and suppress judgment. She strongly believes in the power of connection. If she were to have a superpower, she wants to master many different languages, especially Cantonese. She believes that through communication and compassion, we can build a personal understanding and a strong connection with people.
“ You’re more powerful than you think. ”
She explains how we can and should always take action and make a change, one person at a time. “Everyone should be a purpose ambassador.” As we build a network of people who are willing to make an impact, there is nothing stopping the power of a collective.
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” — Margaret Mead
Ending with a quote from famed social anthropologist and academic, Karen’s sharing enabled us to take a look at ourselves and others, finding opportunities to take action for our purpose.