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Values and Mission Alignment Throughout Our Business

May 12, 2016

by Heather Jassy

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

After four and a half wonderful years of building programs and operational teams that support Etsy’s community, and lengthy conversations with Chad about Etsy’s mission and strategy, I’m excited to shift my focus into a new (and newly created!) role at Etsy: Senior Vice President, Values-Aligned Business. My mandate is to make certain that our mission and values are deeply ingrained into every aspect of Etsy’s culture, products, services, business and leadership. I will also be reaching beyond the boundaries of Etsy to promote our vision of a sustainable and vibrant Etsy Economy.

I’m excited to announce that as I move into this new position, which you can read more about below, Jeff Shah is stepping into the role of VP, Members and Community. Jeff has been a valued and trusted member of my team for the last four years, and has already contributed so much to our community, including building our phone support and Seller Account Management programs, and growing our support team into a sophisticated, global organization. In addition to being an incredibly effective leader, Jeff is also deeply passionate about the Etsy community and he embodies Etsy’s values. Jeff and I will continue to work together closely to introduce and advance initiatives that promote the health of the community. Congrats, Jeff!

Etsy’s mission is an audacious one, and it’s bigger than Etsy: we want to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more lasting and fulfilling world. Our collective future depends upon our ability to shift to a new way of being, and a new way of doing business, one that empowers rather than destroys. Our rapidly changing climate requires bold and timely action. We’ve witnessed the aftereffects of economies that value the few rather than the many, and we know that the race to the bottom on price and convenience is a dead end for people and for the planet. Business as usual will not solve these problems, because business as usual helped create them.

Etsy is a mission-based company; values-alignment is not a nice-to-have. The leadership team fundamentally believes  that mission and values alignment is as crucial to our business and our growth as finance, legal, engineering or product management. In my new role at Etsy, I will be managing the teams that lead values-aligned initiatives, including our work on sustainability, community connections, and advocacy, and I will work with Etsy’s leaders to review and continue to improve values and mission alignment in all aspects of the business. This new team, Values-Aligned Business, will institute a values review process to ensure that every single one of our businesses and programs lives up to our principles and our mission, and will roll out new internal and external programs to support this.

We believe that running a values-driven company is the right thing to do, but we also believe that it is good for business. A growing number of consumers make their choices based on how a thing was made and who made it, and consider the environmental and social impact of their shopping habits. We believe — and hope — that more consumers will demand that the businesses they support meet a higher standard and share their values.  We believe that the businesses best positioned to thrive in future are the ones who will get past scorched earth, zero sum thinking, and instead will build win-win solutions that are good for people, planet and profit. For example, transitioning to powering our Brooklyn headquarters with renewable electricity will save money over the long term and it will also reduce our carbon footprint. Offering twenty-six weeks of flexible, gender neutral parental leave is the right thing to do for our employees, but we also believe that it will help us retain great people.

Over the last four and a half years at Etsy, I’ve had the pleasure of working directly with our member community, building new programs to support our buyers and sellers, and leading the growth of new programs to support values-aligned growth for our sellers. The Etsy community — full of passion, ingenuity, creativity, and commitment to craftsmanship — serves as a constant source of inspiration to me. I’m excited to bring everything I’ve learned by working with our community into this new role, and to report regularly to our sellers on our efforts.

Header image by Siret