Interviews with purpose-driven leaders who are making a meaningful impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.
TELL US, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
We are Shannon de Laat and Daniella Macri, co-founders of The Virtue Project. We help organizations build their social impact and amplify their brand purpose. We work with organizations to build more purpose and social consciousness into their core, helping them become more relevant to their employees, customers, and community.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
After more than 15 years in consumer marketing, we began to consider the type of footprint we wanted to leave behind. We share values of being lifelong learners as well as becoming good ancestors and realized there was more we could do to fulfill this through our work.
We decided to use our expertise, network, and passion to provide integrated services assisting brands in their journey of creating social good at the heart of their business.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT TO YOU?
We believe that now is the time for businesses big and small to show up for their employees, their customers, and their community. This year the world was ever-changed by two pandemics – both COVID-19 and the collective awakening among the privileged (like us) of the persistent injustice of Black and Indigenous people, deepening our belief that active change needs to happen NOW. We believe brands have the power and influence to be a catalyst for the positive impact we so desperately need in the world, but they need help connecting this to their purpose so it’s meaningful and not just a box-ticking solution. We show up as the objective third-party defining authentic ways to connect brands with the value they bring to others, actualizing it throughout the organization’s total operations and meeting the demands and desires of their consumers.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
We are in the most transformative time in history, and it is no longer optional for business to exist without considering their impact on society. Brands need to start by looking within, at their reason for being, their organizational culture, their systems and policies, and the messages they are putting out into the world. Are they still relevant? Consumers today demand more, and our job is to help organizations rise to this occasion. One of the ways we do this is through our Business Equity Council. We’ve assembled a diverse group of individuals with intersectional identities whose lived experiences and professional expertise provide a much-needed eye when assessing risk of inequities harmful to marginalized and racialized communities. Knowing these perspectives are missing from most organizations, the BEC can also contribute valuable insights that help elevate their work, and better position them to connect with all their consumers and stakeholders.
We love working with other agencies and consultants in this capacity. We are highly collaborative and design our services to complement the great work by creative, experiential, and communication consultants all helping guide their clients in the right direction. Think of us as your social impact arm!
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
A world where brands like Ben & Jerry’s are the norm, not the exception. Where DEI councils aren’t needed because equity is so embedded in the systems and institutions of business that the floor has been levelled, and there is an endless sky of opportunity, free from oppression.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
Our strategy involves deep work, not easily smoothed over with sensitivity training and listening sessions. We are asking our clients to take a conscious and active look at some of their limitations and uproot their implicit biases which is not an easy task. There isn’t a tangible way to measure the value of this work, but once we identify and amplify the opportunities for growth, organizations can create meaningful impact for their total operations.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT THE WORK YOU’RE DOING?
Accountability and brand authenticity are no longer optional for brands. It’s more than posting black squares on Instagram or delivering well-crafted statements; it’s about active internal and external work to build equitable, inclusive, and diverse communities.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE OR WORDS OF INSPIRATION TO SHARE?
This was shared by our intern superstar, Simone, and we find it incredibly inspiring: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate action of its members,” Coretta Scott King. This helps articulate so beautifully the role we all play in bringing about positive change.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Orapin Marketing + Public Relations helps purpose-driven companies increase awareness and become sought-after for their work and expertise. We believe those who are working to make a difference in the world deserve to be known, supported, and celebrated. If you would like to be featured in INSPIRED IMPACT™, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.