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People at Work, Ep. 2: Don Bell on fun, purpose & profit

2 min read

People at Work, Ep. 2: Don Bell on fun, purpose & profit

Don Bell, co-founder of WestJet, talks about the importance of fun at work and how that leads to engaged employees and happy customers.

In this episode Bev chats with Don Bell about the importance of fun and how that leads to engaged employees and happy customers. Don’s no-nonsense approach to business and belief in the importance of enjoying time spent at work run deep through the conversation. “Having fun is critically important because we spend so much time in the workplace,” said Don.

As one of the founders of WestJet, Don has first hand experience of this philosophy in action. He ascribes some of WestJet’s success to a “fun first” culture, where everyone acknowledged the need to make a profit, but they chose to get there in a very different way from the rest of their industry.

“Every business is measured by profit. It’s how you arrive at the profit that sets you apart from others.”

Don Bell

Don Bell

Co-Founder of WestJet

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Don also discusses the importance of data and the power it gives you to personalize your business. When you have deep knowledge of what’s driving your business, you can make adjustments to help keep your people get engaged and your customers falling in love with your brand. According to Don, “If your people are happy and proud to be part of your business, that’s going to rub off on your customers. And that’s got to be good for business.”

This data-centric approach coupled with a fierce commitment to talking to people across all levels at WestJet, helped the company, and their crew, fly high. Don believes in aligning employee and employer interests and being proactive about finding ways to inspire employees. Key to this is making employees feel like they’re connected to something that’s more than just a place to work.

“We’re human beings and we’re social beings, and that connection with others is critical.”

Listen on for more about Don’s experience as a people-first advocate, and the tips he has for other leaders to engage and inspire people at work. After all, when you reflect on your day, how do you want to feel? If you’re Don, you want to put your head on your pillow knowing that you’ve had fun and purpose in your work. That’s something to strive for.

About Don Bell

Investor/Director/WestJet co-founder/ICD.D at Institute of Corporate Directors


Don co-founded WestJet; his vision, ideas, and leadership were instrumental in creating a powerful company culture based on employee engagement and empowerment. He enjoys skiing, spending time with his family, and flying planes.

Corey Moseley

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