Community Profiles: Profit for Purpose Leader, Geraldine Scott

“In our own small way, we can contribute to the unseen unheard voice of the financial services sector, bringing some light and confidence back to the public perception.” – Gerri Scott 

Another emerging purpose-driven business – Demeter Wealth Management – has the potential to become a beacon of light and leadership in the financial services sector.

The company’s philanthropic purpose ‘Demeter Legacy’ is fast attracting both employees, clients and suppliers who align with the founder’s vision for a business that operates from an expanded sense of purpose and sustainability.

Geraldine (Gerri) Scott, the founder and managing director of the Demeter Group, is one of the many humble people quietly contributing to building and securing certainty for their clients in what she calls a “an uncertain, changing and complex financial world”. 

Alongside this, Gerri has put considerable focus and attention on establishing a business model, strategic vision and activities that enables her to operate successfully and ethically, while serving a greater purpose.

“Having spent many years in the finance sector, I felt that operating for the benefit of the bottom line in terms of financial return was only one measure of a successful business, and life,” she says.

With a commitment to social enterprise, Demeter puts the bulk of its profits into the Demeter Legacy Fund (a separate entity managed by Australian Community Foundation), from which Demeter can provide grants to social purpose organisations. Demeter’s focus is vulnerable animals and habitats, and disadvantaged elderly and children.

The Legacy Fund also provides three channels that enable Demeter employees, clients and the wider community to connect. These include Inspired Magazine that puts a spotlight on not-for-profit founders; Inspired Conversations which helps client and not-for-profit founders to connect; and Inspired Journeys which enables clients to have behind the scenes guided tours of work conducted by the organisations being supported through the Fund.

“Demeter Legacy is the reason Demeter Wealth exists and is the foundation of our business. Into the future, we not only want to grow the number of organisations we can serve, but also grow our client base of community-spirited individuals and families who may wish to contribute to the fund as well.

“In this way, our clients can be secure in the knowledge that the Demeter Legacy provides financial support beyond the lifetime of its founders, while also serving as a source of inspiration not only for our clients but hopefully for other organisations in the financial services industry.”

Reflecting on the changes around us, Geraldine observes the many intergenerational linkages and legacies.

“My perspective is that historically there was a separation between the integration of profit and philanthropy. It was more that businesses were the mechanical component for ‘creating success’ and then once the success was achieved, it was redirected towards enabling the success of others in the community.

“I see that the values of the past have now been integrated into the next generation, with a number of early leaders in the profit-for-purpose space such as Audette Exel.

“And then the next generation are now taking it to the next level and developing social impact models that are socially conscious and profitable, considering employees, community and the environment when making business decisions, rather than being solely bound by profits.

As for others on their quest for a more meaningful life, Geraldine says it’s often useful to simply ask “Who am I?” 

“Who are you? What brings true warmth to your heart in the service of others? What will your personal footprint be when you’re no longer here? Take time to reflect on the legacy or the positive difference that you would like to impart on the world. Then, as Rumi so simply said: ‘follow your heart, it knows the way’.”


Julia Keady
18 July 2018

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