More and more people are looking to enrich their lives with a greater sense of meaning and significance. Imperative CEO Aaron Hurst talks about a new economy that is centred around the need for individuals to find purpose in their work and their lives. The author of The Purpose Economy argues that the desire for purpose, whether on a personal or societal level, is actually a core part of the human makeup. Now, more than ever, people are seeking this rich source of meaning in their lives.

“It is ours to design and own, to create and expand markets in still unimaginable ways. As current and future leaders, we have the opportunity to improve the lives of billions of people.” – Aaron Hurst, The Purpose Economy.

This was a concept that really hit home with Janice Valentine, Founder of Great Life Distillery. Coach and advocate of purposeful innovation, Janice has dedicated her career to helping entrepreneurs realise their individual purpose, while working to make society a more inclusive and fair place for everyone.


“Great Life Distillery was set up from my own experience of feeling dissatisfied and disengaged from my work life. Not everyone requires the same amount of creativity, autonomy, and impact in their work but for those who do, not having it causes a lot of stress and disharmony – not just in our work life but in our whole lives. I wanted to help people who are like me about 7 years ago (stuck and panicked about their future!) to redefine what success looks like and create a better life – a great one – through using their creativity and their desire to make an impact in work.”

Janice runs pop-up coaching workshops and events such as STOW and Startup Salon, primarily aimed at graduates looking to create more purposeful work lives. She also offers one-to-one transformative coaching, designed to leverage the talent, energy, and creativity of aspiring entrepreneurs.

As part of Great Life Distillery’s focus on social impact, Janice also runs Hack Access Dublin, in collaboration with its charity partner, Rehab Group. The idea for Hack Access Dublin was inspired by a personal experience. Janice’s brother had muscular dystrophy, so she saw first hand the frustrations and challenges of accessibility in Dublin.

Hack Access Dublin aims to transform how this challenge is tackled by harnessing the power of startup energy and innovation. The hackathon provides a forum for people with various skills and interests to work collaboratively and find forward-thinking solutions to make Dublin a more inclusive and accessible city.


AbleAcces, awarded a prize for the Data Challenge in 2017’s Hack Access Dublin hakathon.

“Hack Access Dublin is a social innovation event that on one hand, gives people the opportunity to volunteer for a good cause and give back, connect with the startup community, and grow both personally and professionally. And on the other hand, uses a coaching methodology and innovation to catalyse a change in how accessibility challenges are solved.”

The partnership between Great Life Distillery and Rehab Group is an inspiring example of how charities and startups can come together to make a meaningful impact. Through her work, Janice has seen a growing interest in people looking to instil meaning into their lives by creating businesses that can make a difference in the world.

The 2016 Purpose Index Report revealed that 49% of employees would actually trade a portion of their salary to continue in their current role with an added sense of purpose.

Janice notes that this drive is particularly apparent in younger generations and that the best attended Startup Salon events were all focused on making an impact.

“As the global economy shifts towards a more altruistic approach to business we need aspiring entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to consider what their purpose is and how they create businesses whose purpose is not solely to make a profit but to make an impact. Profit ideally sustains the impact.”


Participants at Hack Access Dublin 2017 demonstrate their solutions to the judges

This is a positive and heartening trend and one that organisations and event organisers can respond to by creating events that are rooted in compassion, inspiration, and purpose. Our research has shown that 80% of people believe it’s essential to come together in person to support change, regardless of age, gender, income, or geography. They also believe in events as a powerful means to inspire positive cultural and political change.

Event creators need to answer this call by considering how a purpose can be generated through their events.

How can you help your attendees to find and harness a sense of purpose? And more importantly, how can this purpose be used to incite meaningful change?


The incredible work that Janice is doing to support and empower young entrepreneurs and marginalised communities is a testament to the fact that it’s never too late to make a positive impact in your life and the lives of others. Events can be a powerful forum to achieve this by connecting like-minded people to shine a spotlight on important social causes and inspire change.

“Understand your purpose first and have a strong vision for what you want your events to achieve. Rather, treat the events as opportunities to connect people to the answers to their questions or the experiences they’re looking for. “

To find out more about how you can leverage events to make a difference, download our guide to creating purpose-driven events of your own.

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