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How WeWork’s Founders Are Leading With Purpose

May 24, 2017

Adam and Rebekah Neumann, cofounders of WeWork, talk a lot about passion, personal growth, and doing something positive in the world. They are purists when it comes to the issue of “leading with purpose.” That’s the new mantra in the business world.

When the Neumann husband-and-wife team founded WeWork seven years ago, their goal was to create a community of shared workspace for startup companies and freelancers working in the gig economy. They weren’t looking to get rich quick, although WeWork, based in New York, is now a global company valued at $16 billion and has locations in 44 cities across 15 countries.

Rebekah, WeWork’s chief brand officer, tells Fortune’s Susie Gharib, “From the beginning, we knew we wanted to start a company that was going to hopefully really positively impact the world. It’s not something that we kind of layered on later.”

They are now doing just that and demonstrating that “purpose” is more than a corporate mission statement.

When one of the company’s employees, Valerie Batista, was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, Adam, WeWork’s CEO, jumped into action. He called on the entire WeWork community of some 100,000 people to help find Valerie a match for a bone marrow transplant. He also teamed up with Be The Match, a non-profit that is the most diverse marrow registry in the world.

“The whole company has rallied behind finding Valerie a match, but by doing that we’re actually going to help hundreds of thousands of people around the world find matches,” says Adam. “That’s leading with purpose.”

And for people who doubt that a company can do good and still make money, Adam makes this bold prediction: “I believe companies like this which actually make a difference will get a higher multiple than even a technology company. So as we prove over time that our value is also higher financially, we’ll give the right cues to CEOs and boards all over the world to start doing it for themselves.”

With this attitude, WeWork may soon make it onto Fortune’s annual Change the World list which highlights companies that are doing well by doing good.

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