Amber Bonney, Managing Director of The Edison Agency firmly believes that providing social good outcomes should be embedded in the very fabric of every business. As well as currently undergoing the B Corp certification process, Amber has interwoven a Design for Good program into The Edison Agency‘s business model to inextricably link the process of doing business with doing good.
In addition to founding an award winning business, Amber is President of the Creative Women’s Circle, a national association designed to support, champion and connect women working in creative industries and running their own businesses. She is also a guest lecturer, speaker, and a member of the Victorian Council of the Australian Graphic Design Association.
How does The Edison Agency achieve a balance between profit, people and place through its Design for Good program?
We launched the Design for Good program in 2021 as part of a broader business transformation phase, with the ambition of formalising our philanthropic work and giving it elevated business priority. We are currently in the early stages of our B Corp certification process, which we hope to achieve successful accreditation by mid 2022.
Since 2011, we have prided ourselves on creating strong connections with our community, our people, partners and industry and this has shaped who we are today.
We are 100% female owned agency and with our approach anchored in the principles of human centred design, we see creativity as a super power and intend on using it for good.
We work with large corporates, start-ups and NGOs and wanted to give a platform that enables us to make decisions around how and who we help in a more formal evaluation process.
An important part of our agency purpose is connected to achieving a balance between profit, people and planet. Last financial year we gave back to our community with a portion of our annual revenue going towards pro bono work in industries that support the underprivileged, minority groups, the disadvantaged and sustainability initiatives. Now as a stretch our vision is to increase our commitment by investing at least 3% of our annual revenue year on year through the contribution of strategic tools, communication, brain power and creative solutions along with much needed cash donations to those in need.
If you have a project or initiative that needs support, or if you would like to know more about how you can get involved with Design for Good, please reach out.
What are the pillars of your Design for Good (DFG) program and how do you decide which projects to support?
Our DFG pillars are based around both corporate and Not For Profit/ Non Government Organisation (NGO) initiatives under these three core pillars:
- Environment and sustainability – products and services that are making a positive impact on our planet.
- Social Change – products and services that encourage social consciousness and tackle complex social problems to create positive change in our community.
- Diversity & Inclusion – products and services that strive for change in social and cultural inequity.
The DFG Criteria we use to decide which projects to support include:
- Priority for small or independent NGO’s focused on or run by (more than 50% female owned businesses, ethnic minority groups, those with a disability, mental health, social issues like family violence, gambling etc)
- Start up for profit enterprises (more than 50% female owned businesses, ethnic minority groups, those with a disability, mental health, social issues like family violence, gambling etc)
- Corporate led initiatives
After 24 years in business, how does Design for Good now drive you as a leader and what has been the impact on your team?
I believe leadership is anchored in ones ability to demonstrate empathy and show humility. Over the course of my career I have been fortunate enough to have been surrounded by incredible people who have fostered my career and with people who have helped me grow.
In the creative services industry, so much of what we do can be seen as trivial in the face of genuine hardship and life or death matters, but the reality is that creativity and ones’ ability to utilise our innate right brain thinking skills is a genuine gift. We are intent on using this to positively influence outcomes of importance around sustainability, social change and diversity and inclusion advocacy.
What are some examples of the work you have done under the Design for Good program?
In the last two years Edison have focussed balancing cash donations that contribute to social causes, specifically organisations like the Victorian Women’s Trust and Fitted for Work as organisations we feel strongly advocate for women. Our pro-bono projects have much broader stretch with outcomes like Dairy Farmers True Blue Farmer’s Drought Support Initiative, The Social Studio, a not-for-profit social enterprise supporting young Australians from refugee and migrant backgrounds and Women in Science Parkville Precinct (WiSPP), which is an organisation designed to create cultural change within the medical research field.
In all of these examples The Edison Agency have used our human centred design approach to create strategic solutions that help create positive change.
Advice to future female leaders
- Stand tall
- Teach yourself strong financial literacy and help those younger than you – this is one of the core keys to independence and freedom
- Don’t be afraid to be loud
- Ask for help and advice from a mentor (or lots of mentors) so you can avoid pitfalls and connect with people who can help you (Like Femeconomy!)
- Be kind to other women, don’t buy into the cycle of judgement and cynicism
- Advocate for females in business (even competitors) as it teaches others good business ethics
- Don’t be apologetic for your expertise, questions, experience.
You are the female economy. Whether you are a female consumer, business owner or a woman in the workforce, you can create gender equality by choosing female led brands.
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