Explore the key principles of purpose-driven leadership through the stories of female executives who are making a difference through their impactful approach.


• Purpose-driven leaders have a core set of key principles that include: clarity of purpose; stakeholder engagement; empowerment and collaboration; sustainability in practice; continuous learning; adaptability; inclusivity; and authenticity.
• Interested in building out your leadership team with key decision-makers who will have a real impact on your company? Reach out to Rhonda Taylor via email here to start the conversation.

The concept of “purpose-driven leadership” continues to gain exposure in modern businesses although the concept is not new. Leaders have been managing within the not-for-profit sector since time immemorial. Within the for-profit business sector, however, it is blossoming under its primary driving force: women leaders across the globe. 

While purpose-driven leadership is not exclusive to women, female executives have been at the forefront of this movement, driving change and creating meaningful impact in their organizations and communities.

Women executives leading with purpose

Although there are countless female professionals who we could point to, we have selected a few to highlight in this article. These trailblazing women are not only breaking through the glass ceiling, but they are also values-driven and making a difference in their respective fields.

Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands

Whiteman is a true trailblazer in the cannabis industry. Under her leadership, Wana Brands has become one of the leading edible cannabis brands in the market. But Whiteman’s impact goes beyond just creating successful products. She is also passionate about giving back to the community and launched the Wana Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting social equity, advancing scientific research, and providing education on the benefits and risks of cannabis.

About the Wana Foundation

One of the primary goals of the Wana Foundation is to support efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the cannabis industry. The foundation aims to provide resources, mentorship, and training opportunities to underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, and individuals with disabilities.

In addition to promoting social equity, the Wana Foundation is also dedicated to advancing scientific research on cannabis and its potential health benefits. The foundation supports research efforts that seek to understand the therapeutic properties of cannabis and how it can be used to treat a variety of medical conditions.

Ayeshah Abuelhiga, Founder and CEO of Mason Dixie Foods

Abuelhiga is not only an entrepreneur but is also a dedicated community leader. As a founding board member of Project Potluck, she is helping to create opportunities for underrepresented food industry professionals. At Mason Dixie Foods, Abuelhiga has been committed to using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients to create delicious, homestyle food that is accessible to all.

About Project Potluck

Project Potluck provides mentorship, training, and networking opportunities to underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, and individuals from low-income backgrounds. The organization also seeks to promote collaboration and community-building within the food industry, with the aim of creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.

In addition to its focus on diversity and inclusion, Project Potluck is also committed to promoting sustainability and reducing food waste. The organization supports efforts to create more sustainable food systems and works to educate consumers and businesses on the importance of reducing food waste and implementing sustainable practices.

Madeline Haydon, Founder and CEO of nutpods

Haydon has made it her mission to create plant-based, dairy-free creamers that are both delicious and healthy. She is also passionate about giving back to the community and serves as a board member of Food Lifeline, a nonprofit organization that works to end hunger in Western Washington. Haydon’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility has helped nutpods become a leader in the plant-based food industry.

About Food Lifeline

Founded in 1979, Food Lifeline has grown to become one of the largest food rescue organizations in the United States, serving more than 300 food banks and meal programs in western Washington. The organization rescues over 44 million pounds of food annually, helping to feed over 800,000 people each year.

In addition to its food rescue efforts, Food Lifeline also works to raise awareness about hunger and food waste, and advocates for policies and programs that support the local food system and address food insecurity.

Amanda Baldwin, CEO of Supergoop!

Baldwin is helping to change the conversation about SPF and skin cancer. Supergoop! is on a mission to create clean, innovative, and effective skincare products that protect against UV damage. Under Baldwin’s leadership, Supergoop! has become a trusted brand in the beauty industry, and she is committed to spreading awareness about the importance of protecting skin from harmful rays.

About Supergoop!

Beyond its commitment to creating effective sun protection products, Supergoop! is also focused on raising awareness about skin cancer and the importance of sun safety. The company works with a variety of partners, including dermatologists, beauty influencers, and other organizations, to promote sun protection and skin health.

In addition, Supergoop! is committed to sustainability and reducing its environmental impact. The company uses recycled materials in its packaging and has implemented a number of initiatives to reduce waste and promote sustainable practices in its operations.

These women executives are just a few examples of the many trailblazers leading with purpose in their respective fields. They serve as role models for future generations of women leaders and demonstrate the power of leadership that prioritizes social responsibility, diversity, and inclusion.

Lessons learned from women executives leading with purpose

Among all leaders who lead with intention is a core set of key principles of purpose-driven leadership. Here are the attributes that we see consistently.

1. Clarity of purpose

Purpose-driven leaders have a clear sense of the organization’s mission and vision. They communicate these effectively and ensure that everyone in the organization understands their role in achieving the organization’s goals (as it is not about a single person’s journey, but the organization at large). 

2. Stakeholder engagement

Purpose-driven leaders understand the importance of engaging stakeholders such as employees, customers, and the community. They seek input from these groups and incorporate their feedback into decision-making.

3. Empowerment and collaboration

Purpose-driven leaders empower their teams and create a collaborative work environment. They encourage creativity and innovation and give their teams the autonomy to make decisions.

4. Sustainability in practice

Purpose-driven leaders consider the long-term impact of their decisions on the organization and the environment. They prioritize sustainability and work to create a positive impact on the world.

5. Continuously learning

Purpose-driven leaders understand that learning is a lifelong process. They seek out opportunities to improve their skills and knowledge, and they encourage their teams to do the same.

6. Adaptability

Purpose-driven leaders are adaptable and embrace change. They recognize that change is necessary for growth and are willing to take risks to achieve their goals.

7. Inclusivity

Purpose-driven leaders prioritize inclusivity and create a diverse and inclusive work environment. They understand that diversity drives innovation and fosters creativity.

8. Authenticity

Purpose-driven leaders are authentic and transparent in their communication. They build trust with their teams and stakeholders by being genuine and honest in their interactions.

Tips for developing purpose-driven leadership skills

There are several skill sets that we can all learn from that have contributed to making these female professionals as successful as they are. These five tips all go hand-in-hand. As you look for ways to engage within your own organization or seek to find a company that shares your values, consider these five tips:

1. Clarify your personal values and purpose. 
2. Align your values and purpose with the mission and vision of your organization.
3. Communicate your purpose clearly and consistently to your team.
4. Empower and inspire your team to connect with their own purpose and values.
5. Continuously assess and adjust your actions to stay true to your purpose and values.

Bottom line

As companies continue to navigate complex societal issues and challenges, female leaders are and will be critical in driving sustainable, positive change. By leading with purpose and making a difference in their respective fields, these women are not only changing the world for the better, but they are also paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future.

Interested in building out your leadership team with key decision-makers who will have a real impact on your company? Reach out to Rhonda Taylor via email here to start the conversation.

ForceBrands offers end-to-end hiring solutions for all stages of growth. Whether you’re just starting to hire or are looking for the next step in your career, we’re here to help you be a positive Force that makes an impact.