Roy Spence

It was 1971, and four University of Texas soon‐to‐be graduates decided to start an advertising agency in Austin, Texas—then, a funky little college town known primarily for hippies, Texas Longhorns and Willie Nelson. Their simple business plan was to stay together, stay in Austin and use the power of marketing to make a difference. Forty‐seven years later, Roy and his partners are still together, still in Austin and still trying to make a difference. Roy signs every letter with the words, “Ride at Dawn.” That’s not just a sign‐off, it’s a manifesto—a call‐to‐action to live life to its fullest every day.

Roy and his partners built GSD&M from scratch into a marketing, advertising and idea machine. Building iconic brands like Southwest Airlines, The PGA Tour, Walmart, John Deere, The United States Airforce, Goodyear, American Institute of Architects and DreamWorks. Roy and his partners are always the first to donate time and talent creating powerful PSAs when disasters hit America, like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. And recently getting all the former U.S. President to create a 30-second PSA when Hurricane Harvey and Irma hit last Labor Day week.

Roy’s passion is entrepreneurship, which he refers to as “the miracle of America.”

Roy is also cofounder and CEO of The Purpose Institute, and along with Haley Rushing, Roy co‐authored the Wall Street Journal best‐selling 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.

In 2018, Roy launched The Promiseland Project whose purpose is to unleash the power of purpose-inspired marketing and messaging to help bridge the massive cultural divide in America.