Like any good leader, seven-time Emmy award-winning journalist Ann Curry knows that awards and accolades are only a small fraction of what makes you feel accomplished. With a 40-plus year career under her belt, Curry has come to realize that the fancy honors and plaques have little meaning if your work doesn’t have a larger purpose.

Research supports her thesis: Studies show that more than two-thirds of employees say their sense of purpose is defined by their work, underscoring how important it is to carve out a career path that has impact. For Curry, whose reporting and storytelling has touched millions, her path to finding her purpose was guided by a key piece of career advice she received from her dad at age 12.

"Whatever you do, whether it's in your job or in something you decide to do in your life, do something that is of some service because then and only then will you know on your last day, as you breathe your last breath, that it mattered that you were born," Curry told attendees at the first-ever ChiefX conference.

That advice, Curry said, influenced a lot of her career decisions to report on humanitarian crises in war-torn countries like Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as on natural disasters like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that displaced thousands of people. "I was always interested in digging and finding the story that gives voice to the people that nobody pays attention to,” the former Today show host said. “The people who are rarely listened to often have the most powerful resonating stories.”

While finding purpose in your career is easier said than done for some leaders, Curry says her best advice for anyone hoping to have greater impact is to nail down the key factors that motivate them to keep going.

"What is the reason you are doing your work?” She asked attendees. “What is your motivation? Be clear and connected to that motivation because that will help you through and give you armor, give you strength, and give you courage to face what is constantly coming at you."