Geoff McDonald

Geoff’s background in teaching, HR, marketing, communications and
sustainability is considerable. During his 25 years with Unilever (a global
corporation with a turnover of £50 billion, 170,000 employees in 90 countries
around the world), his experience has been truly global working across
Africa, the Middle-East and Turkey, Australasia and Asia, Europe and the
Americas.
His HR experience has spanned leadership and talent development,
organization change, capability development with particular reference to
marketing, and business transformation with purpose at its core. Early in his
career he was responsible for graduate recruitment and development, talent,
acquisitions and development across Unilever’s emerging markets. Under his
leadership he developed Unilever’s global talent and leadership centre of
expertise. More recently he devoted his time, energy and effort to leading
ground-breaking work where the HR function has played a central role in
transforming Unilever’s business model with purpose at its core.
Today Geoff is very much sought after as a speaker, inspiring and provoking
organizations to put purpose and wellbeing at the centre of everything they
do. His experience in Unilever, under the pupilage of Paul Polman, allows
him to provide very practical insights and to speak on how to go about truly
embedding PURPOSE and address the taboo associated with wellbeing
(particularly mental health) within a large global multi-national organization.
With this experience comes some real learning on what may or may not
work. He recently had the opportunity to engage with Pope Francis on how
we create a more sustainable and inclusive economy through his work with
the Global Foundation.
He has spoken at Cambridge, Oxford, Bologna, Warwick Universities as well
as at corporate events across Australia, Europe, Japan, North America,
Turkey and Eastern Europe.
Geoff is devoting a significant amount of time to consulting to organizations,
helping them define and embed Purpose as a driver of growth and
profitability. He was recently appointed as Strategic Advisor to the global PR
and communications firm Burson-Marsteller in the area of Corporate Purpose
and Organization Change. He too consults on how to address the stigma
linked to depression and anxiety in the workplace, with a particular emphasis
on raising awareness of these issues and providing some practical strategies
as to how one might go about addressing this growing modern illness.
He is a very active campaigner for breaking the stigma associated with
Mental Health in the Corporate world and has participated in a number of
BBC programmes and campaigns regarding this subject, as well as writing
and producing articles for the Huffington Post, the Financial Times and HR-
related journals. He previously convened a meeting at No 10 Downing Street
with David Cameron and CEOs from Footsie 100 Companies to address their
role and agree actions to break stigma in the corporate world. He too
provided some support to the Royal Foundation (Princes William, Harry and
Kate) in their mental health campaign.
Geoff is a Co-Founder of a network called ‘[email protected]’, which has grown
from 14 members to over a 1000 in two years. Its purpose being to inspire
and equip individuals to break the stigma of mental ill health in the
organizations they work in. He is a Trustee of ‘Family Links’, a Charity
promoting and educating parents and teachers to develop emotionally-
healthy children and young adults. He is also a Trustee of the global
campaign ‘It’s a Penalty’ combatting the exploitation of young children
around the world. He has recently been appointed as an Advisor to the
Global Mental Health Campaign and has been asked to join the Prince’s Trust
Youth Opportunity Taskforce with the purpose of creating change that will
unlock the potential in the UK’s youth.
Geoff is married with two girls and loves the outdoors. He is a passionate
cyclist and swimmer and has completed a number of ultra-cycling and
swimming events.

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Well-Being//

Talking About Depression Saved My Life

by Geoff McDonald
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