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Advancing a ‘Purpose Mindset’ at Microsoft and Beyond

Akhtar Badshah is an expert on social impact, CSR, philanthropy, and international development—in addition to being an author and artist. Akhtar spent a decade at Microsoft, acting as a senior director of citizenship and public affairs to lead the company’s global community investment and employee programs. 

After leaving Microsoft, Akhtar founded Catalytic Innovators Group, a consulting practice focused on accelerating social impact through catalytic innovation. Additionally, he teaches at the University of Washington School of Business, and Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. His most recent book, Purpose Mindset, helps people recognize their deeper purpose in life—both in terms of who they want to become, and who they want to serve.

Listen for Akhtar’s insights on:

  • How Microsoft developed, evolved, and scaled its global citizenship efforts, including groundbreaking programs like YouthSpark; and how it engaged and empowered employees around the world through skilled volunteerism, gift matching, and more
  • How to advocate for investments and advancements in citizenship, philanthropy, and purpose within your organization
  • How adopting a “purpose mindset” can help both senior leaders and ground-floor employees bring personal purpose to work, and thus better invest in an organization’s purpose and the stakeholders it serves

Links & Notes

  • 00:00 – Welcome to Purpose 360
  • 00:44 – Akhtar Badshah
  • 04:15 – Akhtar’s Background
  • 05:53 – Purpose Mindset
  • 07:02 – The Numbers
  • 09:46 – Establishing Microsoft’s Giving Culture
  • 14:49 – Why Such Incredible Generosity?
  • 16:31 – Journey to the Great Giving Machine
  • 20:26 – Most Effective Ways to Get Employees Motivated
  • 22:18 – Individuals Who Created Their Own Movements
  • 28:54 – Opening Up to Sharing
  • 30:07 – Room to Read
  • 33:16 – Growth Vs. Purpose Mindset
  • 34:44 – In the Know
  • 37:37 – 5 Principles Contributing to a Purpose Mindset
  • 43:04 – From Know-It-Alls to Learn-It-Alls
  • 45:49 – Why It’s So Important Today
  • 47:12 – Three Key Points to Creating a Giving Engine
  • 50:26 – Book Recommendation
  • 51:23 – Dumbledore Quote
  • 52:37 – Wrapping Up

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Business is an unlikely hero: a force for good working to solve society's most pressing challenges, while boosting bottom line. This is social purpose at work. And it's a dynamic journey.

Purpose 360 is a masterclass in unlocking the potential of social purpose to ignite business and social impact. We illuminate the growing impacts of purpose, from engaging employees and fostering deeper consumer loyalty to inspiring product innovation and increasing market share.