2023 Year in Review - Kathy Varol

2023 Year in Review


2023 has been an incredible year. Here are some of my highlights:

✅ I gave keynotes to amazing audiences including AT&T, Sansan, and Zscaler. My keynotes support my mission to make purpose the heartbeat of every business strategy.

✅ I interviewed 26 inspiring leaders on the Purpose and Profit podcast, sharing the innovative ways their organizations are making the world a better place.

✅ I launched season 1 of the Unfolding podcast (108 episodes!). Each episode shares one perspective—in 3 to 20 minutes—that will help you see yourself and the world better.

As you look back on the year, I’d love to hear what highlights resonate for you. Email me and let me know!


I’m a firm believer that before we can have healthy organizations with thriving cultures, we need to focus on creating healthy and thriving individuals.

And the first step is working on ourselves.

The poem “Start Close In” by David Whyte kicked off my 2023 New Year’s celebration, and the theme has continued throughout. It’s always easier to point out what others should be doing, but the most profound change awaiting each of us happens when we’re brave enough to step inside ourselves to see what’s waiting to be found.

With that in mind, here are the top 6 books I read in 2023. These books cover business as well as personal development, capturing the holistic self.

Awaken Your Genius by Ozan Varol. I talk a lot about the power within each of us to create change. This book is a guide to uncovering and tapping into your inner power, creativity, and voice. It’s a rallying cry to make your unique mark on the world. A masterclass in storytelling by my incredibly talented husband, this book is an invitation to live not just an ordinary life, but an extraordinary one.

Net Positive by Andrew S. Winston and Paul Polman is a tour de force that redefines corporate success. They pull back the curtain on how Polman, as CEO of Unilever, skyrocketed shareholder returns 300% while leading the charge in sustainability. This is a must-read for any business leader eager to create a future that’s better for the next generation.

Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara. There isn’t a single industry where hospitality isn’t waiting to become a competitive advantage.  It’s not just about service; it’s about transforming every interaction into a moment of magic. This book is a treasure trove of leadership wisdom. It’s a masterclass in making hospitality your secret weapon, no matter your profession or industry.

Unbound: A Woman’s Guide to Power by Kasia Urbaniak offers lessons in desire and communication that transcend gender. It’s a roadmap back to self in a world that too often asks us to be someone else. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a woman, this is a powerful read in identifying what you want and how to communicate it effectively.

How to Be an Adult in Relationships by David Richo. Most people didn’t grow up learning how to have healthy conflict, or how to foster healthy relationships. “Most people think of love as a feeling,” says David Richo, “but love is not so much a feeling as a way of being present.” This book explores 5 hallmarks of mindful loving. Richo’s wisdom is a masterclass in cultivating connections that are as healthy as they are heartfelt.

This Messy Magnificent Life by Geneen Roth, is a masterstroke in self-acceptance. This book cuts through the noise of self-criticism, guiding you to a place where peace and power coexist. This book pulls on insights from Geneens’ work leading retreats on weight, money, and other obsessions. It’s a laugh-out-loud and compassionate glimpse into the psychological quicksand that keeps us from living our best lives.

As we turn the page to a new year, these books are a literary toast to the journey ahead. Here’s to a 2024 brimming with purpose, growth, and joy!

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