Power of Purpose
Opening General Session
Join us at the Opening General Session for the keynote presentation from Texas Monthly’s “Adman of the Century” Roy Spence. Spence co-founded the GSD&M advertising agency and helped create numerous iconic campaigns including Don’t Mess with Texas. Spence will share and explain his life’s mantra “Don’t Do Mild” in work or life; follow your dreams, follow your passion and follow your purpose.
It was 1971, and four recent University of Texas graduates decided to start an advertising agency in Austin, Texas — then a funky little college town known primarily for hippies and armadillos. Roy Spence was one of them. He went down to the bank to borrow $5,000 and the loan officer asked, “What is your business plan?”
Roy was frozen and then finally said, “Well let’s see. We want to stay together, stay in Austin, make a difference and some money, too.” He got the loan.
45 years later, Roy and his partners are still together, still in Austin, still trying to make a difference and make a little money, too. Roy signs every letter with the words, “Ride at Dawn.” That’s not just a sign-off; it’s a three word manifesto — a call to action to live life to its fullest.
Roy and his partners built GSD&M into a marketing, advertising and idea machine. Flying with Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines. Riding with Sam Walton, founder of Walmart. Driving with BMW and The PGA TOUR. Plowing with John Deere. Defending freedom with the United States Air Force. Donating time and talent to create compelling Public Service Awareness ads to mobilize goodwill to help people in the moments that matter the most like Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti and most recently the terrible floods in Baton Rouge.
Roy’s passion is entrepreneurship, which he refers to as “the miracle of America.” He deeply believes that when America is at her best it does not matter what your last name or zip code is. If you can Dream it, you can Build it.
Roy is also Co-Founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute which is also home based in Austin, Texas and is singularly passionate and focused on discovering the Core Values that define and shape an organization’s culture and the Core Purpose that captures the difference an organization makes in the world. Our purpose is to help organizations and leaders discover and fulfill their purpose. Along with Haley Rushing, Roy co-authored the Wall Street Journal bestselling book, “It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business is Driven by Purpose.” And, more recently he authored “The 10 Essential Hugs of Life,” a collection of heartwarming stories about the need for gratitude and love.
Roy is also a Gallup Senior Adviser as Gallup’s expert on Purpose and champion of Clifton’s Strengths Movement. Over 14 million people here and around the world have taken Clifton’s StrengthsFinder assessment, all in the effort to help people everywhere discover and then play to their strengths in work and life.
The American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame 2016 Inductee, named “Adman of the Century” by Texas Monthly magazine, Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame, Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation board member.