who we are.
Alice Karolina (She/Her), Founder.
From Switzerland, based on Pender Island, BC, Canada
At 18 I was confronted with inequality in the most literal sense. I lived in a rich, gated community in La Paz (Bolivia) – separated from the slum a few hundred meters down the road by a piece of wood and an armed guard. Almost every night, people would die from mudslides because the houses of the rich were crammed onto the hill above.
Returning from Bolivia, my life was never the same. After a decade and a half of research into all possible avenues of relief work, I conceded that ‘relief’ would not come from a fix: a new well, a new school or a new community centre in an impoverished nation.
The only thing to do to create lasting change, is to look for the source of the inequality and break the system that creates the need for relief.
Unsurprisingly, the source is us – and our insatiable hunger for more. Try as we might to fight the urge …we were born addicted. Raised to want. Because being satisfied with what is right in front of us doesn’t generate profit.
And greener pastures are so easy to conjure. A dash of envy and a bit of urgency is all it takes to create a willing subject ready to eat out of our hands. If we listen to the chatter online; the better we are at hacking the minds of your people, the better we are at doing business.
But we lose sight of what is infinitely more important than profit: integrity, trust, creativity, relationships, community, our health, and the health of others. We forget that there is fallout to our insatiability – and we desperately need to remember for us to build an equal society.
I created The Ethical Move because I truly believe we can break the cycle by changing the way we sell. Even if not in my lifetime.
Dimitra Meghawaty (She/Her)
Bangladeshi, based in Singapore
My journey in the online space started in 2018 when I grew tired of working minimum wage jobs in Singapore (where I live) and wanted to build something of my own.
Like many new marketers, I was consuming what ‘marketing gurus’ were teaching and trying to use those tactics to help clients. I remember feeling out of place and deeply unsatisfied with what I was creating.
The more I delved into how we sell and utilise marketing tools, the ickier it felt. I was on the verge of quitting social media entirely because, as a consumer, I was tired of being manipulated and lied to.
It is hard to spot harmful systems when everyone around you participates in it and it is considered to be the norm.
Taking a step back and learning from mentors in the ethical marketing space has really helped me realise the unthinkable damage we can cause when we don’t use media responsibly.
Now, as a human-friendly marketer, I am imperfectly committed to building a business that reflects my personal values of empathy, honesty and love for the planet and its people.
I take the inside-out approach to marketing believing that any marketing plan should be reflective of one’s core values and in alignment with their being.
Being part of a movement like The Ethical Move has been a long term goal because advocating for change in a system that is deemed to be working fine by the majority is a scary task when done alone.
However, doing it with peers and as a collective makes it easier and catalyses impact!
Sabine Harnau (She/Her)
From Germany, based in Purmerend, Netherlands
Teaching language and literature in Scotland and Germany, I found that I naturally gravitated towards topics such as media literacy, the social psychology of fashion and the inner workings of marketing & advertising.
With no voice of their own and no obvious ethical marketing codex, teenagers were so vulnerable to the images thrown at them — with consequences ranging from eating disorders to blackmail, from shoplifting to depression.
In 2012, I started and led the global copy team at LEGO Customer Service. I’ll forever be grateful for the opportunity to work as part of a team with a strong ethical stance and a conviction that we need to do the right thing. It was a great honour being able to pour that spirit and mindset into tone of voice guides, copywriting and advisor training. And success proved us right: some LEGO customer service emails went viral.
I then spent a few years at a London-based consultancy, writing for over 70 iconic brands — some of which promoted values that I don’t share.
It was really during that time that I could no longer ignore the fact that people and planet will soon go to **** if we don’t get our act together.
- If we want to make sustainability the norm, we need sustainable communication.
- If we want people to take more responsibility, we need responsible communication.
- If we want to break down the barriers that keep us from working together, we need communication that connects — not divides.
That’s why I started my own copywriting practice, and why I joined The Ethical Move.
Because to stop climate change, save species from dying and make society more humane, we need a radical rethink.
We need to stand together.
And we need to get heard.
Karen Webber (She/Her)
From South Africa based in Stockport, UK
I empathise with people who distrust marketers.
I’m not just a marketer; I’m also a consumer, and a pretty cynical one at that. I know all the tricks in the dark arts of marketing book, because I was taught them and I practised many of them.
I started Goodness Marketing in 2017. I knew I wanted to do marketing for goodness’ sake, which for me meant using my marketing skills to do and teach ethical marketing.
What we know nowadays as ethical marketing is the way I believe marketing was always intended to be.
It’s about making sure the people who want and need your services or products know how you can help them, how they can buy from you and how much it will cost.
It isn’t about manufacturing needs where they don’t exist, making people feel they have no choice but to buy from you right now, or using dark arts like charm pricing to get them to spend more.
A world where the business owners who operate with the highest levels of integrity, are the most prosperous. A world where meaningful business takes priority over the meaningless.
Ethical marketing puts people, sustainability and equality ahead of profits and at the heart of strategies.
Marketers can reframe how we do business by saying “no more” to practices that manipulate, cheat and undermine. We can educate ourselves and others, because if we know better we can do better.
And we’re stronger together.
As a collective we can move towards a world in which consumers feel empowered to make the right decisions for them, and where businesses can focus their efforts on truly serving their communities.
That is why I joined The Ethical Move. I am still learning and by no means perfect, but if lots of us take imperfect steps forward, we can make real progress together.
Maria Arango Kure (She/They)
From Latin America, based in Jönköping, Sweden
Having studied and worked in marketing for the better part of the last decade I started becoming weary of a subject that was once fascinating and exciting. I saw companies and nonprofits alike prioritize metrics over people and be more concerned with hitting their target volume than with the quality of those interactions and the value they can provide, which gave me a grim outlook on the industry.
For this reason, I decided to start all over, go back to school and get a fresh new perspective. I believe firmly that marketing has the potential to be a force for good and for change in the world, but in order for that to happen we need to behave responsibly.
My goal is to help people and businesses alike realize that to be heard and successful we do not need to create noise; we need to create value.
That our practices are taking a tremendous toll in our mental, physical, and financial well-being and that ultimately our success hinges on the success of our community.
I believe firmly that marketing is a powerful tool, and as such we can use it to improve the lives of those around us or to create harmful and toxic environments. It is possible to harness this tool in order to abide by the old adage of doing well by doing good.
Jeanne Carlier (She/Her)
Born, raised and living in Paris, France
Marketing and design have a direct impact: on individuals, on communities, and on the planet. Everything we create pulls energy from Earth. Making mindful choices reduces our impact and leaves a positive legacy.
Working in the product industry, I saw first-hand the effects of packaging, printing requirements, and overseas outsourcing. So I moved into the digital world. But something still felt off. User experience was often designed to generate clicks and unhealthy screen habits.
Ultimately, I realized I wasn’t cut out for a system that chooses cheaper prices over worker’s rights, sales over sustainability, and bottom-lines over well-being. I created Spark & Bloom because I believe in building up the businesses that focus on treating Earth and its inhabitants with kindness and dignity.
I believe in the power of the individual coming together to change the collective narrative around marketing, sales and business practices. That’s why I joined The Ethical Move. So we can spread the movement with each piece of content.
Katie Lewis (She/Her)
Located in Hawaii, raised in West Virginia
Access creates real equity.
After disability ended my classical music career, my world was turned upside down. Eventually I adjusted and decided to start a second career. As someone who has always been artistic, I found my way to working in a variety of creative spaces including graphic design, community engagement, nonprofit advocacy, and marketing. And while I loved still being able to utilize my creativity, it became blatantly clear that the world (especially the professional one) simply was not built for people like me.
Those with disabilities.
Anyone in the margins.
And as the digital marketplace grew, the more inequity I saw. Even those resisting harmful systems and practices failed to address the overwhelming and intersectional access barriers facing the majority of consumers online – myself included. So I decided to do something about it.
I started Access Reimagined in 2019 because I believe the digital market should be accessible to ALL.
My mission is to empower compassionate business owners and people to build and grow using design and strategy that is accessible, intentional, and equitable, so they can serve their communities more fully and finally have the impact they desire.
When we create spaces, products, and experiences that honor all identities, lift barriers and harm, and hold the full humanity of the people we serve, it is a powerful catalyst for change.
The kind of change the world so desperately needs.
That’s why I joined The Ethical Move. Because together, we can build a future where consumers and creators alike are empowered and supported – and where everyone can thrive.
Jeffrey Shiau (They/He)
It’s hard to pinpoint when I took my first step. Putting aside a lifetime of being sold to as a consumer, I was exposed to scholarship about the worst of capitalism and consumerism in high school and college.
Abstract knowledge became lived experience during the first few years of my career as an in-house marketer for a small business. However, it was only when I started working for myself in 2017 that I was exposed to all the worst parts of marketing.
Starting an online business meant being bombarded by advertising from bro marketers and mainstream business “thought leaders.” Once the algorithm learned I wasn’t interested, the feed became populated with #girlboss brands. This experience, coupled with ongoing research into the history of business, showed me how toxic, manipulative, and exploitative marketing could be.
I’ve come to realize that unethical practices are but a symptom of all the systemic problems in our society, and the structures we have in place incentivize unethical behavior.
But no one will change the world alone.
Whatever future we create… it will be a result of our collective efforts.
I want us to smash binaries and embrace nuance. Both in the world and within us. We all hold multitudes. To free each and one of us, we need to break out of the boxes that we were forced into.
I believe the way out of our current predicament is to learn how to be with each other. To form new relationships and strengthen the ones we have already.
The only way we can break out of our current cycle of harm and destruction is by learning how to connect and re-connect with each other.
To support each other in our respective journeys.
I joined The Ethical Move as a community host because I believe the only way forward is… together.
make your move.
We need help bringing this into the world – learn more about how you can get involved.