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Good Business

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Good Business

The Talk, Fight, Win Way to Change the World

Johns Hopkins UP,

15 min read
6 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Bill Novelli devoted his career to positive social change.

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Bill Novelli shares his experiences on the front lines fighting to restrict kids’ access to tobacco, provide pharmaceutical drug coverage under Medicare and protect Social Security. He offers detailed descriptions of the people and processes involved in his numerous fights for justice. The former CEO of AARP and now a Georgetown University professor, he heads the Georgetown Business for Impact center connecting students, causes and business leaders. Novelli urges all businesspeople to become leaders of social change, and he explains how.


Bill Novelli became a pioneer in using marketing to promote social change.

After climbing the corporate ladder at Unilever in the 1960s, Bill Novelli realized he wanted meaningful, socially relevant work. He found it with a new client, the Public Broadcasting Service, which wanted to promote its new show, Sesame Street, and increase its audience.

Sesame Street spurred Novelli to dedicate himself to social issues. In his 50-year career, he developed social impact marketing, fought against the tobacco industry, helped get older people Medicare coverage for prescription drugs and protected Social Security. He now heads the Georgetown Business for Impact (GBI) center, which connects students, causes and business leaders, and helps companies, nongovernmental agencies and governments profit while exerting a positive social impact.

Novelli recognized that individuals and companies can make money while addressing global issues through exercising corporate social responsibility or pursuing a triple bottom line. Organizations benefit when they generate both earnings and social value.

In 1970, he ...

About the Author

Former CEO of AARP, Bill Novelli is a Distinguished Professor of the Practice at Georgetown University and head of its Business for Impact center.

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