Wizards, Muggle Crust and the Human Purpose of Business

Thu, 22 April 2021, 19:00 – 20:30 BST. Register for a Zoom invite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wizards-muggle-crust-and-the-human-purpose-of-business-tickets-146820156039

In our lifetimes the purpose of business is being reformed. The idea that this was, exclusively, to make shareholders wealthier is dying (slowly). In relation to the climate emergency, boardrooms have the language (eg net zero) but need more action. But on the human and social side purpose of business our language is lacking (argues Douglas Board). After Grenfell and similar events we react with outrage: but what can guide us beforehand, capturing the positives of commerce as well as its problems?


A thinker and writer on leadership and a coach, Douglas will draw on his book ‘Elites: can you rise to the top without losing your soul?’ to propose that the human purpose of business is to create places (organisations, systems, communities) of extraordinary achievement in which ordinary lives matter. (On Twitter @BoardWryter)

Douglas is the author of two applied research books on leadership and two novels. He is a member of the Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel and a senior visiting fellow at the business school (formerly Cass) of City, University of London. He is a past treasurer of the Princess Diana Memorial Fund, chair of the Refugee Council and treasurer of St Martin-in-the-Fields, closely involved in the church’s financial and commercial strategy during the 1990s.

Question master

Revd Jonathan Evens, Associate Vicar for HeartEdge at St Martin-in-the-Fields


Jo Hill is a career regulator. After a long stint at the Financial Services Authority and Financial Conduct Authority she is currently Executive Director of Strategy and Risk at The Pensions Regulator and a Commissioner of the Gambling Commission. She is a passionate advocate for mental health, serving as a Trustee of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and previously a non-executive of the City Mental Health Alliance.

Monisha Shah’s current appointments include the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Ofcom’s Content Board, the Art Fund and chairing the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. She was director of emerging markets for the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and has an MBA from London Business School.

Professor David Grayson CBE is an international thought leader and campaigner on responsible business. He teaches at Cranfield, where he is Emeritus Professor of Corporate Responsibility. He is chair of the Institute of Business Ethics and chair-designate of the international pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire, and has held many board appointments. His books include ‘All in: The Future of Business Leadership’ (2018). He tweets at @DavidGrayson_

Richard Goold is the CEO of Wondrous, a coaching and consulting organisation with the purpose of ‘changing the world of work forever by creating organisations where people flourish so that businesses can thrive’. Their values include magic, courage and warmth – three attributes that resonate strongly when thinking about human purpose. Richard has extensive experience delivering people and talent change in international FTSE 100 organisations and major government departments.

Revd Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, has served as a parish priest for 20 years – 10 of those in urban priority areas. He also spent 7 years as Dean of Duke University Chapel, North Carolina. He is Visiting Professor of Christian Ethics at King’s College, a regular contributor to Thought for the Day and has published 35 books.