Meet Suraj Pabari (co-founder of The Purpose Project)


Tell us a bit about the origins of the Purpose Project? When and how did you kick-off?

Growing up, Ari and I had often felt lost and confused, with a lack of clear direction in career and life, which contributed to a lack of purpose and excitement and ultimately impacted our mental health. Upon doing further research, we discovered that we weren’t the only ones: 1 in 3 young people in Australia are unemployed or underemployed, and 2 in 3 are disengaged with their current work. Despite this, for high school students in Australia, career education in Australia only makes up 40 hours out of 11,000 hours in the classroom.

As a result, in 2020 we started The Purpose Project, with the vision for every young Australian to have work that is meaningful to them and consequential to the world through interactive, evidence driven workshops. We decided to start by focusing on high school students from lower income areas, because that was where we believed we could have the greatest impact. During our interactive, evidence-based workshops, we discuss the concept of purpose, particularly in the realm of career design. We then guide the students through exercises to help them better understand themselves and use this to develop prototypes for future lives. Since 2020, we have run workshops at 10 schools to over 500 students.


What is The Purpose Project’s vision & mission?Our vision is for all young Australians to have an opportunity to live with purpose and pursue paths that are important to them and the world. We do this through interactive, evidence-based workshops to young people about the future of work and connect them to missions that are meaningful to them and consequential to the world.


What has been a key driver of the success of The Purpose Project since starting?

Our passion to solve the problem has given us a clear ‘why’, and driven us to develop engaging and relevant content, and share it with hundreds of students. We have also been heavily influenced by our experiences working across multiple sectors through the last decade, which, combined with the hundreds of books that we have read on the topic, have given us a good understanding about how to build a meaningful career.


Tell us how you prepare for workshops? What lessons do you hope the youth you work with take away from your time spent with them?

We hope that the students will leave the workshop with the following:

1) A deeper understanding of their values, strengths and motivation

2) An evidence-based framework to connect the dots to find a career path that’s aligned to what’s important to them and, also, what the world needs.

3) Clear next steps based on prototyping to move them closer to a life that they love.


How has having a purpose-driven career provided more purpose in your life?

Finding purpose has been essential in guiding my career decisions, helping me find a career that is aligned to my values and where I am able to contribute to others. This has largely increased the feeling of excitement and enthusiasm I have in my day-to-day, as well as providing me with a sense of contentment.


How has being a part of WOTSO helped the Purpose Project achieve its business dreams?

WOTSO has been essential in helping us build the social enterprise, through providing a comfortable, affordable environment where we can hold our regular catch ups and build our workshop content. The staff have been accommodating in helping to promote The Purpose Project across the like-minded individuals that also work here.