Meet the team on a mission: when it comes to purpose and participation, we’re the experts.

Jeremy Heimans

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer

Jeremy Heimans is the co-founder and CEO of Purpose, a Public Benefit Corporation headquartered in New York with offices on six continents, that builds and supports movements for an open, just, and habitable world. He is co-founder of GetUp!, an Australian political organization with more members than all of Australia's political parties combined, and Avaaz, the world’s largest online citizens’ movement, now with more than 50 million members worldwide. Heimans has been building movements since the age of 8 when, as a child activist in his native Australia, he ran media campaigns and lobbied leaders on issues like children’s rights and nuclear non-proliferation. 

Heimans has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, The Guardian has named him as one of the ten most influential voices on sustainability in the US, and The Monthly has observed that Heimans “might be the most influential Australian in the world”. With Henry Timms, Jeremy is co-author of the bestselling book “New Power”, praised by the New York Times’ David Brooks as “the best window I’ve seen into this new world” and by The Guardian as “a manual on how to navigate the 21st century”. The book was short-listed for the 2018 FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year and named a best book of the year by Bloomberg, Fortune, Inc, CNBC and others. Heimans and Timms’ thinking on new power has been featured as the Big Idea in Harvard Business Review, as one of CNN’s “ideas to change the world” and Jeremy’s top-rated TED talk on the topic has been viewed 1.5 million times.

He is a recipient of the Ford Foundation's 75th anniversary Visionary Award, the Foreign Policy Association Medal and the Performance Theater’s Inspired Leadership Award. He served as chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Civic Participation. Heimans has been a keynote speaker at venues such as the World Economic Forum at Davos, TED, the Aspen Institute Ideas Festival, the RSA, Chatham House, the United Nations, Blair House, The Economist Big Rethink, The Guardian Activate and Social Media Week.

Jeremy was educated at Harvard University and the University of Sydney, and began his career with the strategy consultants McKinsey & Company. He lives in New York.

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Kate Swann

Chief Operating Officer

Pronouns: she / her

As Chief Operating Officer, Kate works across the business to develop growth strategies that allow Purpose to create maximum impact. Her focus on business planning ensures that we are prepared for the future and able to mobilize the talent and resources to meet the needs of our partners and communities.

Kate brings extensive experience in managing growth stage consulting organizations. She joined Purpose from Blue State, where she served as COO and was instrumental in the positioning of the business. Kate was previously COO at frog design, where she managed the global business and helped grow the agency’s team and revenue significantly during her tenure. She also has extensive leadership experience with start-ups like Avalanche (acquired by Razorfish) and Organic. 

Kate has a Master’s degree in Performance Studies from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts from Evergreen State College. She serves on several boards including: Graham Windham, a family services agency, and the Women’s Forum of New York, a professional organization of women leaders. 

Kate is a committed New Yorker, with the need for regular nature fixes. When she isn’t working, you can find her reading or learning about TikTok from her teenage daughters.

Dan Shannon

Partner & Managing Director

As Purpose’s Managing Director, Dan Shannon oversees our Agency work, collaborating with mission-driven organizations to design and implement strategies and campaigns aimed at mobilizing people to take action and create meaningful change. With a background in non-profit campaigns, communications, and organizing, Dan has lead projects with US-based civil rights organizations including the ACLU and Anti-Defamation League, as well as INGOs focused on global poverty and human rights including UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Before joining Purpose in 2011, Dan spent 10 years leading campaigns and organizing for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. While there, Dan lead the development of peta2, PETA’s youth arm with more than a million social media followers and 300 affiliated campus organizations. As a national spokesperson, he appeared regularly in national publications and news programs including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.

Dan graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with honors from Wesleyan University, receiving a B.A. in English Literature.

When he’s not at Purpose, Dan lives in Brooklyn with his daughter and wife, with whom he’s co-authored two vegan cookbooks. This solar system’s yellow sun gives him a wide range of super-powers.

Jessy Tolkan

Partner, Chief Campaigns Officer, & Executive Director of Purpose Labs

Pronouns: she / her

Jessy is a Partner, Chief Campaigns Officer and Executive Director of Purpose Labs. Jessy has spent more than 15 years building people-powered movements. From climate change to voting rights to women's leadership, she has specialized in unlocking new strategies and approaches to creating transformative and lasting change.

Jessy has consulted with some of the leading social change organizations in the U.S., having led an international effort to build electric vehicle infrastructure for several major auto companies and as a senior advisor to the Working Families Organization and the Center for Working Families. She served as Co-Executive Director of both Citizen Engagement Laboratory and Energy Action Coalition and as State Director of the New Voters Project, where she helped register more than 130,000 young voters, facilitating one of the highest youth turnout rates in the country and providing the foundation for the historic youth strategies employed in the 2008 presidential election. She also led the largest youth gathering on global warming in U.S. history – POWER SHIFT 2009, a conference of more than 12,000 youth representing all 50 states which culminated in the single largest lobby day on Capitol Hill focused on global warming. POWER SHIFT has since spread to more than 25 countries, and the first Global Power Shift has since convened in Europe.

Jessy received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She's been featured in Time Magazine, Glamour Magazine, The New York Times, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and Vanity Fair Magazine. In 2008, Rolling Stone Magazine named her one of the 100 agents of change in America.

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Simon Goff

Partner & Managing Director, Purpose Australia & Asia Pacific

Pronouns: he / him

Simon has deep experience working on some of the world’s most complex problems - crafting new ways to channel the power of culture toward positive social change. Through his career he has built unique partnerships to harness the potential of powerful storytelling to mobilize people to action. At Purpose, Simon has contributed to the growth and expansion of our international offices in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. He has developed and led projects with clients including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the LEGO Foundation, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, Google, Luminate Group, Unilever, the World Health Organization, the Red Cross, AGL, and The Fred Hollows Foundation on issues including early childhood development, digital rights, climate change, avoidable blindness, and women's empowerment. 

Prior to Purpose, Simon spent over a decade working at the intersection of media and social change. After joining Viacom International in London to work on MTV’s social responsibility initiatives, Simon co-founded the MTV EXIT Foundation, an independent non-profit organization based in London and Bangkok committed to ending human trafficking and exploitation, becoming its Chief Executive in 2009. In 2013, Simon became Executive Director of FilmAid International, an organization that uses the power of film and media to bring life-saving information, psychological relief and empowerment to refugees.

Simon completed a degree in Engineering and Business Finance from University College, London, which somehow led to making a television program about his journey across the Caucasus and Central Asia in search of Xanadu. He hopes the resulting program remains buried in the archives.

He is a native of Brighton, England, and has lived in London, Bangkok, and Sydney.

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Celeste Thompson

Senior Director of Human Resources & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Pronouns: she / her

As the Senior Global Director of Human Resources and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Celeste is a champion of our culture: working to ensure our staff are supported to create impact. Celeste is a member of our Executive team, and leads our Human Resource team - overseeing employee relations, talent acquisition, performance management, benefits administration, and general HR compliance. Celeste is also responsible for the evolution of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work - partnering with senior leaders in the company to ensure our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is reflected in our processes, work output and culture.

Before joining Purpose, Celeste was the Founder/Chief People Officer of Tribe a Human Resources consulting and coaching organization. As a 20-year Human Resources professional she partnered with CEOs, executives and entrepreneurs to find best practices and effective ways to implement strategic human capital solutions, operational excellence and people and culture initiatives in their growing organizations.She was part of the team that built Google's New York office in 2003, and has spent the bulk of her career at EILEEN FISHER, where she was an integral part of the People + Culture team, building and supporting an organization that grew by 3X over 10 years. Founding member of the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Task Force, she was instrumental in aligning the organization's culture, values and policies to diversity, equity and inclusion. It was at EILEEN FISHER she became inspired by the culture of respect and kindness.

Celeste has a BS of Business Management from St Thomas University, SCP Certification from Society for Human Resources Management and a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Certification from Cornell ILR.

Celeste sits on several Boards including SHARE and an organization that supports women with breast, ovarian and metastatic cancer.  She also spends time mentoring and coaching young minority women in leader development and bringing their best selves to their work. Celeste is a South Orange, NJ resident and the mom of recent college graduate. An admitted workaholic, when she is not helping others live their best life, she enjoys interior design, meditation practice, travel (everywhere), live music and practicing mindfulness.

Jon Damon

Chief Financial Officer

Jon Damon is the Chief Financial Officer at Purpose. He brings over 15 years of Corporate Finance and Strategy experience in the advertising, consulting, media, and technology industries. Jon oversees Purpose's Finance, Accounting, HR and Operations functions and works with the Leadership Team to drive growth, expand internationally and promote business performance. 

Prior to joining Purpose, Jon was the Head of Finance and Accounting at AccountAbility, a consulting company specializing in sustainability and corporate responsibility. 

Earlier in his career, Jon was the Director of Finance at SourceMedia, a business-to-business media company focused on the financial services industry. Jon holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Rochester and an M.B.A in Finance from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College.

Outside of the office, Jon enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and reading.  

Claire Harman

Chief of Staff

Pronouns: she / her

As Chief of Staff, Claire oversees People and Culture, Human Resources, Partnerships and Staffing, and sits on Purpose's Executive Team. Claire works closely with the head of each office and uses her problem solving, people skills and project management to ensure our teams are set up for success.

Prior to joining Purpose, Claire managed communications for the Australian Greens, helping Ellen Sandell become the first Greens MP elected to the Victorian Parliament. Before dipping her toe in politics, Claire was Deputy CEO at Oaktree, Australia’s largest youth run development and advocacy organization.

Claire holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne. Outside of the office she spends her time exploring London and cooking too much food for friends and family.

Alaina Crystal

Senior Strategy Director

Pronouns: she / her

Alaina Crystal is a committed feminist who has spent much of her career working on behalf of women and girls. Alaina is a Senior Strategy Director at Purpose, leading our strategy practice in the UK and across a number of international clients.

Alaina joined Purpose from AMV BBDO, the UK’s largest advertising agency, where she served as Deputy Head of Strategy and led global strategic development across Guinness; Snickers; and Bodyform, where she helped to transform the way the world views periods and women’s health. Within her role, Alaina served on AMV’s Diversity & Inclusivity committee, the Omniwomen committee (a cross-Omnicom consortium designed to lift women up in business) and led a pro-bono campaign for Plan International UK in honour of International Day of the Girl. She was awarded a WACL Future Leader award in 2019.

Alaina previously worked at BBDO NY as the US strategist across Mars chocolate and on the Barbie business, which resulted in the successful repositioning for the brand as a tool for young girls’ imagination, turned around the declining brand, and won the Account Planning Group Grand Prix for excellence in strategy in 2017. In addition, Alaina led strategy on the globally recognised and creatively awarded “Evan” film for Sandy Hook Promise, which helped Americans learn the signs of a potential shooter in order to prevent potential future gun violence.

Hailing from Connecticut originally, Alaina has spent much of her adult life bouncing between New York and London and is proud to call both home. She has a Master’s in Music Business Management (just ask her about her love of David Bowie) and a Bachelor of Science in Arts Administration from Skidmore College. When she’s not drawing strategy shapes, Alaina enjoys all things Neil Gaiman, long countryside walks around the UK, and strategizing her next nail art.

Betty Chan

Head of Project Management

Pronouns: she / her

As the Head of Project Management, Betty oversees our global team of project managers. She has a knack for co-developing methods that address both human and material needs, and is often the go-to person for making sure goals are clear, promises are kept, and that everyone happily reaches the finish line.
 
Prior to joining Purpose, Betty journeyed her way through focus groups, digital design, front-end coding, and ultimately, project management. She thrives at large-scale digital builds and intricate campaigns that connect organizations with their communities, including Bike New York, Alvin Ailey, Everytown, March of Dimes, and UN Environment. She's also an active contributor in the project management community as a speaker and moderator.
 
Betty graduated from Babson College with a B.S. in Business Management and Marketing. 

After 6pm, you’ll often find Betty surrounded by boxing bags practicing her slip-hook-cross. However, her credibility as a fitness nut is often questioned due to her frequent consumption of fried chicken.  

Emma McDonald

Senior Creative Director & Head of Creative

Pronouns: she / her

After growing up in upstate New York in the Carousel Capital of the world, Emma took the only  logical next step and moved to Brooklyn to study Art Direction at Pratt Institute. Upon graduating, she gained experience at leading establishments such as Eyebeam, PAPER Magazine, BBDO, LBi, and MRY. In 2012, she left the advertising world to focus on work around social change at Matter Unlimited. A year or so later she was joining the team here at Purpose. She's incredibly excited to be a part of a mission-driven team with people who care so deeply about the work they're creating.

Emma has done everything from hand-crafted typography, to packaging, to digital design. As Senior Creative Director and Head of Creative, her strength lies in blending detail-oriented craftsmanship with optimal user experience. In the past, she has created work for clients like the Clinton Global Initiative, Mark Rockefeller, GE, Speedo, Neutrogena, and Johnson & Johnson.

When Emma's not actively designing, she's playing volleyball, scavenging for Rice Krispie Treats, or obsessing over her dog, Frankie.

Gautam Raju

Managing Director, Purpose Europe

Pronouns: he / him

Gautam Raju is passionate about how technology can be used to create social change. Gautam is the Managing Director of Purpose Europe and leads a number of projects across Kenya, India, and the US. Gautam joined Purpose from Oxfam International, where as Head of Digital Campaigns he headed the digital worldwide influencing strategy – an ambitious agenda to build the digital campaigning capacity of Oxfam and partners.  There, he took on campaigns from Europe, Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and Asia, working with in-country teams, partners, and coalitions to mobilize around issues on land, climate change, inequality, and humanitarian crises. Under Gautam's leadership, the digital worldwide influencing strategy has mobilized of 2.5 million supporters around the world and built tools and resources that were accessible to over 2,000 partners.  Before joining Oxfam, Gautam co-founded OurSay.org – an independent organization started by a team of young people passionate about harnessing the power of social media to revitalize critical participation in democracy.  He has also worked on public policy and external relations for Teach For Australia and in the Australian public service.

 

Gautam has a Master's in International Development and a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) and Arts (Advanced Chinese Mandarin). In his spare time, Gautam loves to cook, travel and play the bass guitar. He is a native of Melbourne, Australia and has lived in Shanghai, New Delhi and London.