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Carol Cone

Carol is internationally recognized for her work in Purpose, and CSR. Her recently launched firm, Carol Cone ON PURPOSE, is her return to her life’s passion: to educate, inspire and accelerate purpose programs and impacts for organizations, nonprofits and individuals around the globe.

For over 25 years, she’s embraced a steadfast commitment to building lasting partnerships between companies, brands and social issues for deep business and societal impact. She adamantly feels that today, companies and brands must stand for something beyond the bottom line. When she began her work, companies and brands questioned “if” they should engage with social issues. In today’s totally transparent, social world, it is now about the “how” brands and companies express their values and character through authentic engagement with society.

She is also a recognized thought leader in Purpose, having conducted dozens of research studies with business executives, citizens, employees and nonprofits to gain critical insights to inspire organizations to engage with society as wise business strategy. She is a sought after speaker and media expert, sharing her insights on purpose branding, corporate citizenship, sustainability and CSR.

For the past five years, she created and led the Business + Social Purpose practice for Edelman, building it into a $25 million global group. There she personally serviced a variety of clients: Microsoft, Unilever, the American Lung Association, Girl Scouts of the USA, Southwest Airlines, PNC Financial Services, HP, the Bezos Family Foundation and Quaker, among others.

From 1980 – 2010 she was the Founder, CEO and Chairman of Cone, Inc., recognized as the nation’s leading Cause Branding consultancy. There she led the development of signature cause branding programs for forward-thinking Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profit organizations, including: the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, ConAgra Foods' Feeding Children Better, PNC Grow Up Great, the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Movement, P & G’s Live, Learn and Thrive, ITT Watermark, Western Union's Our World, Our Family and Reebok's Human Rights programs. Overall, Cone’s signature cause programs have raised more than $2 billion for various social causes.

In 2007, PR Week called her "arguably the most powerful and visible figure in the world of Cause Branding." Programs she and her teams created have won hundreds of awards for excellence around the globe. Four of her campaigns are cases at the Harvard Business School.

In 2009, she was a judge for the first PR Lions Awards at the Cannes Festival of Creativity. Her first book, Breakthrough NonProfit Branding was published in 2010.

Other key career highlights: hosting over 200 interns during her leadership of Cone; building a Habitat for Humanity house, as an employee engagement program and developing “Making Change for Katrina,” a nationwide coin collection program to fundraise for the Katrina disaster. Her most special moment: meeting the Dalai Lama, prior to her speech in Calgary, titled: “The Power of Business for Good.” When she met him, he held her hand for 5 minutes. It was about a week before she got the nerve to wash that hand!

She can be reached at: and can be followed at @carolcone.

Entries by Carol Cone

REI's #OptOutside - 10 critical insights for authentic and powerful purpose creation

(2) Comments | Posted July 11, 2016 | 4:53 PM


As a purpose practitioner for 20+ years, I was delighted to see the bounty of Cannes awards won by REI's #OptOutside. While there is controversy about which agencies won in which categories, the true winner was the honesty of the initiative and its...

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Why Thinking You're Ugly is Bad For You And Everyone

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2014 | 3:33 PM

When does it stop being okay to love how we look? That's the question Meaghan Ramsey* asks in a recent TEDTalk which was posted online early last week. As of this blog post, there are almost 650 thousand views and more than 400 comments across and

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Sustainability, Purpose, Citizenship, CSR, Shared Value: Don't Get Stuck on the Name... Continue the Journey!

(6) Comments | Posted May 1, 2012 | 1:16 PM

In 2010 Accenture produced a report in collaboration with the United Nations Global Compact titled, "A New Era of Sustainability: CEO reflections on progress to date, challenges ahead and the impact of the journey towards a sustainable economy." The major finding: that 93 percent of the...

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The Changing Face of Purpose In 2012

(1) Comments | Posted January 12, 2012 | 7:00 AM

In 2012, as Purpose continues its pervasive growth throughout the most recognizable and admirable brands and corporations worldwide, we will discuss how these programs come to life. As we view these strategies through an ever-changing global context, let's take a look at a few of the trends and cultural cues...

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The Radically Engaged Business: Creating a Culture Energized Through Purpose and Citizenship

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2011 | 2:48 PM

What happens when an employee discovers a shared "destiny" with the organization he or she works for? A tremendous amount, according to business leaders who participated in this year's Edelman Change Summit, "The Radically Engaged Business: Creating a Culture Energized through Citizenship." The Summit, hosted by Edelman in...

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