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Erin Weber

Erin_WeberI am a marketing manager with a background in visual design and psychology. I guess you could say that I’m a Madison Avenue [m]ad [wo]man, yet times have changed and with it, so have the complexities of my profession.

Marketing is a tricky subject when it comes to ethics. Sometimes, I find myself wondering if I would be able to sleep at night knowing that I had designed advertisements for a cigarette company or promoted sexy products to little girls. Other times my questions are even more pervasive, such as, “by marketing unnecessary products for consumption, am I perpetuating an unsustainable lifestyle of over-consumption and superficial happiness? What kind of experience and consequences will that lifestyle leave for my children?”

I have started to answer some of these questions, not on Madison Avenue, but during my free time as the Editor in Chief for a publication called CATALYST Strategic Design Review. CATALYST attempts to bridge the creative processes of design with the solution of complex social and environmental challenges.

As the world has gotten smaller, the consequences of our actions have expanded and our awareness of those consequences as increased. Exporting manufacturing to China requires diligence regarding issues such as labor practices. Otherwise the viral, digital community can deliver a blow to brand equity, as Nike discovered the hard way in the late 90s.

These trends present challenges. Yet with challenges come opportunities for an ethical approach to business and leadership in the private and public sectors.

I have begun to approach my previous questions from a perspective of ethics, personal and universal. I have promised myself that I will work only for companies that align with my principles and add value to society. Instead of allowing the guilt of consumption to dishearten me, I will focus my energy on solutions, which are inclusive, supporting economic, social and environmental sustainability.

These goals are lofty and sometimes overwhelming, yet tackling them with a community like The Middle Project, makes success more hopeful and tangible.

The social justice issues that move me are: cyclical poverty and universal education

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