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Geoff McDonald

Renowned Mental Health Campaigner & Former Global VP at Unilever

Speaker Themes

  • Resilience and Wellbeing

  • Purpose

  • Sustainability

About Geoff

Using his own experience of addressing the stigma of mental ill health within Unilever where he was Global VP of Human Resources, Geoff draws audiences in with his very personal and emotional story, and then gives everybody a metaphorical wake-up punch.

He delivers strong ideas for how workplaces can embed purpose as a driver of business performance, and enact their ethical responsibility to support the health and well-being of their people.

Speaker Biography

Geoff’s background in HR, marketing, communications and sustainability is impeccable. During his 25 years with Unilever (with a turnover of £50 billion, 170,000 employees in 90 countries around the world), his experience has been truly global, working across Africa, Middle-East, Turkey, Asia, Europe and the Americas. His HR experience has spanned leadership and talent development, organisation change, capability development with particular reference to marketing and business transformation with purpose at its core.


In 2008, Geoff was diagnosed with anxiety fuelled depression, recovery from which led him to discover a new personal purpose. In 2014, he left his role with Unilever to devote his time, energy and expertise to ending the stigma of depression and anxiety in the workplace.


Geoff speaks about the opportunity to create a new form of capitalism, one that is based on care and compassion. In this perspective, mental health sits alongside the sustainability agenda as core pillars of the new form or capitalism. Neither should require a ‘business case’, they are simply the right thing to do, and both our environment and our peoples’ energy are finite resources and need careful stewardship.

One of the most commanding, engaging speakers you’ll ever encounter, today Geoff is inspiring and provoking organisations to put purpose at the centre of everything they do and to challenge the stigma of mental health in the workplace.

“You are indeed the biggest champion and understand what we are doing more than many others in the company. You live it and breath it. To now make the knowledge available to many others, and hopefully create the momentum for biggest change is a very noble cause. Thanks for doing that. Purpose is indeed closely linked to wellness and not many people see this yet. Again you are a pioneer here. You will enjoy the challenges and opportunities and you are well prepared for it. We will see each other still but already thanks for all you have done for this great institution. We will benefit from it for years to come.”

Paul Polman, CEO Unilever

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