Driven by Purpose with Catherine Blades & Brad MacAfee

Author Recognition: Melanie Velasquez

In the virtual webinar, Catherine Hernandez Blades from Aflac with Brad MacAfee from Global Impact Relations Network provided exquisite insight into what it means to be “Driven by Purpose.” 

Brad MacAfee opens and points out 64% of primary adults say companies should aim to make the world a better place. More than 80% feel that companies should lead with a purpose. 

Catherine Blades talks about her compulsion to find the good in everything and how it drives her with purpose. Blades helped around 500 wounded warriors by putting them in mortgage-free homes. She explains later that purpose and profit are two things that companies need in order to be prosperous. 

Aflac’s way is about expectations, giving back and how to treat customers. Integrity, ethics and people are the driving force in the Aflac company. These are non negotiable expectations.

In order to help customers more, Aflac has a system that works with employees and how the turnaround of their work reflects and affects customers. In a sweet explanation of giving back, Aflac asked children’s parents who had cancer what best would help their children feel better, and Aflac, in return, created an Aflac duck that was given to the children. This gave some insight into how a company gives back to the community.

Aflac’s purpose is to help those around them and ensure that their profits reflect their devotion to balance their work ideals and goals. Blades later emphasizes the importance of research and taking the first step. 

Closer to the end of the webinar, Soha Imam acting as a student substitute, proposes the question of what path students should take in moving closer to graduation in their career, to which Blades replied to try everything. To me, this was a refreshing idea to try many jobs and internships to get a taste of what you like. 

Blades later responds about goals and what to keep in mind when working within a company:

  1. How you respond to inappropriate things shows more of your character and who you are
  2. Do not let it make you bitter
  3. Let the work speak for yourself

This really hit home for me as I had previously worked in a male dominated warehouse when I was a QA tech intern. Some bit of knowledge my female boss imparted on me was that work and results shows more than anything else and to never let the inappropriate things get to you.

Blades gives an almost chilling comment where she said, “I knew I had earned my seat at that table.” 

Overall, the webinar provided great detail into how Aflac helped those around them, the profit and purpose core needs in the company, and how to make the most of a workplace.

To learn more you can find a recap video of the webinar here:


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