In 1971 a group of friends founded GSD&M from scratch right after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin. Along with his co-founders, Roy Spence designed an eclectic and electric environment where visionary ideas are destined to flourish. In 2008, a visionary idea took root, and a new division was born: The Purpose Institute.

The Purpose Institute is a place that celebrates and puts into practice the lessons learned from years spent flying with Herb Kelleher (founder of Southwest Airlines), riding with Sam Walton (founder of Wal-Mart), dining with Norm Brinker (founder of Brinker International), communicating with Ed Whitacre (Chairman of AT&T) and putting the power of purpose to work to build some of the most extraordinary brands in the world. Having witnessed firsthand the power of purpose at work in the agency’s most successful clients, he has become a passionate advocate for Purpose-based Branding and a mentor for leaders who seek to become leaders of great purpose.

Roy holds a B.A. in government from the University of Texas at Austin, which named him a Distinguished Alumnus in 2004. In his upcoming book, It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business is Driven By Purpose (Portfolio, March 2009), Roy shares his insights about the power of discovering and applying purpose to every aspect of a business. In September 2006, Roy authored The Amazing Faith of Texas: Common Ground on Higher Ground (Idea City Press), a journey into the abiding and diverse faiths held by Texans.


Haley Rushing is the Chief Purposologist and co-founder of The Purpose Institute in Austin, Texas. As Chief Purposologist, Haley leads a team of people who act as organizational therapists, anthropologists and investigators dogged in their pursuit of uncovering the purpose at the heart of an organization. Over the past few years, the requests for Haley to help organizations discover their purpose have grown, and the clients who have embraced doing business on purpose have prospered. As a result, she and Roy founded The Purpose Institute—an organization dedicated to helping clients discover and articulate their purpose and values in the world. She has personally led the charge to discover and bring to life the values and purpose for some of the most purpose-driven organizations in the world: The American Red Cross, Wal-Mart, Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods Market, Univision, American Council on Education, Texas A&M, Norwegian Cruise Line and the great state of Louisiana.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Haley holds a B.A. in cultural anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and studied alternative dispute resolution at The Wharton School of Business.

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