Our Culture

Material Innovation Initiative is committed to a just, humane, and equitable world for all beings. We believe our differences make us more innovative. We may not always agree with each other but in that space of respectful disagreement, we find change. We know each voice holds value; to challenge us, drive us, and disrupt the use of animals in the fashion, automotive, and home goods industries. We celebrate the uniqueness in each of us.  At MII, all beings belong. 

MII Values

  • Transparency

  • Respect   

  • Learning

  • Innovation

  • Integrity

  • Inclusion

  • Accountability

  • A BETTER WORLD FOR ALL

Transparency is key for MII – inside and outside the organization. We share budgets, financial information, and decision-making with the MII team. We resource-share with our community. We believe information is power. We believe to be truly inclusive, information must be shared.

We hold ourselves and each other accountable. We will make mistakes. We meet these mistakes with humility and accountability. We are gracious with ourselves and with others. We learn from our mistakes and our challenges. Honesty and accountability with ourselves, to each other, and with our partners is paramount. We value integrity at all times.

We respect all the differences that make humans and animals wonderfully unique. Every voice has the right to be included at the MII table. We welcome dissent as much as do agreement. We believe this is what drives forward innovation.

This is our plan to make our world a better place for all.

MII’s Values in Action

Our Values, Ethics, Norms, and Code of Conduct document (“Values”) guides us in all we do. MII staff, contractors, interns, volunteers, and Board of Directors annually review our Values to ensure it still reflects us as an organization and individuals as part of the team.  Our policies also guide how we work, how we conduct ourselves, and how we interact internally and externally. Please visit our Accountability page to view our policies.

MII - Values and Group Shots
MII - Team Photo

TRANSPARENCY

Our Chief Executive Officer is not on the Board of Directors. MII’s directors are publicly listed. Team members present to the Board at least once a year and our directors often join our team meetings and retreats. We want our team to feel comfortable with the Board and vice versa. This builds a stronger connection between the two with the hope that if any team member has an issue that is not being resolved within the organization or involves one of the organization’s senior leaders, the team member feels comfortable enough with the Board to report the issue.

The Board conducts an annual review of our Chief Executive Officer including an assessment of the CEO’s salary and performance. The CEO is unaware when this evaluation takes place and is not involved in the process. The Board of Directors is responsible for engaging with the review and giving feedback to our CEO. The results of this review are sent to the staff and discussed in a team meeting. The CEO is expected to address issues that arise in the review and be accountable to the team as much as she is to the Board.

All staff and contractors have job descriptions that are stored in our shared drive and can be accessed by everyone on the team. MII believes in a fair and equitable pay structure. We want our staff to be able to buy housing, care for their children and pets, and save for retirement, even at a nonprofit salary. We believe it is important to have a fair and transparent compensation philosophy that is reviewed and discussed by the whole staff.

Finally, no internal policy or procedure is finalized until the whole team has had the chance to review and offer comments and suggestions.

Respect

The environment at MII is characterized by open and transparent dialogue. We respect others and are dedicated to learning and improvement. When we have disagreements, we lead with questions, assume best of intentions, and try to find common ground, although we recognize not all conflicts will be resolved. In such cases, we continue to treat each other and our respective opinions with respect.

Material Innovation recognizes that our staff comprises people first and foremost. We trust our team to know what they need to do to get their job done. All MII staff are remote and work hours that suit them and their lives best. All team members operate a shareable calendar so we can see when our colleagues are online and so that we can schedule meetings easier. We expect staff to set boundaries when they are “out of the office,” at night, on the weekends, and on leave. We also recognize that our staff has different work hours as we are located all over the world and we are accommodating of time zones. 

We reimburse job candidates for their time in the interview process. We realize candidates may have to leave work to interview and furthermore, we recognize their time is valuable.

MII - In person retreat and meeting
MII - Learning and values for the team

Learning

We respect the autonomy and expertise of our team members. We hire experts in each of our positions and then rely upon them for their expertise. Even though the whole team is encouraged to think about and offer opinions on all areas of our work, we give deference to those with expertise. 

Anyone on the team may request training and/or additional assistance with any part of our work, their job, or our systems, either with their name attached or anonymously.  We provide a stipend to our employees for professional development to aid in their career progression.

The entire team contributes to a weekly report in which we share learnings between departments and keep each other informed of our strategies, progress, and challenges. Each department starts its weekly report with a “Learnings” section. We also end each weekly report with a “Feedback” section.

We also believe in learning from the audiences we serve. After each presentation, event, webinar, and report, we solicit feedback about the value of our services and opportunities for improvement. When we consider offering a new program, service, report, event, or webinar, we also solicit feedback from our target audiences.

INclusion

We believe in a true work-life balance. We believe that we cannot serve others if we do not take care of ourselves. MII operates an unlimited PTO policy. As studies show that most employees tend to take less vacation when offered unlimited PTO, we require a minimum of three weeks (15 days) vacation yearly and at least five (5) of those days must be taken consecutively. Mental health days are encouraged. If any staff member is feeling overwhelmed, they are allowed to take time away from work, and we will work with them to reprioritize to make things more manageable. Supervisors will also raise the issue if they are worried about a team member’s stress level to ensure the team knows they must take care of themselves and their loved ones before work. MII offers 12 weeks of parental leave.

We offer a minimum of 15 paid company holidays per year for both employees and contractors.

MII believes that when everyone is welcome to the table and willing to share their experiences and opinions, we are able to accomplish more. We actively encourage everyone, including volunteers and interns, to voice any concerns or comments about anything and everything — and we truly mean that! (We’ve had volunteers raise points a few times that made a real difference, even though it was something outside their assignment.) 

During the onboarding process, each team member is asked how they best learn and how they prefer to communicate. We also ask them their preferred name and pronouns as well as to tell us about themselves as human beings (favorite film/book, favorite snack, their superpower, etc.). 

MII uses Slack to exchange work-related information as well as to share fun things like vacation photos, pictures of our pets, and great fashion finds. We get to know each other as individuals, rather than just colleagues.

MII - Culture and Values
MII - Team Group Images

Accountability & Integrity

The environment at MII is characterized by open and transparent dialogue. We respect others and are dedicated to learning and improving. Each team member meets with their supervisor weekly to discuss accomplishments, things to work on, and upcoming goals.

Team members can raise issues or concerns anonymously or openly with their supervisor, Human Resources, our CEO, or any of our Board members. We provide all employees, contractors, volunteers, and interns with the contact information for all of our Board members

We take direction from our team — whether they are former or current members (we’ve even incorporated future team members’ advice!). MII conducts twice annual team satisfaction surveys and everyone is invited to participate: volunteers, interns, contractors, and staff. We take negative feedback or suggestions for improvement just as seriously as we take compliments. We see this as one way of making MII better for our future selves and our future team members.

We also encourage team members to leave honest and authentic reviews, whether good or bad. You can find our Glassdoor reviews here and our profile on Great Nonprofits here. MII believes that nothing can change without it coming to light. We encourage team members to voice their opinions in whichever way(s) they are most comfortable. We strive to be as transparent as possible, including where we can improve. We will never attempt to find out who submits an anonymous review, nor will we respond to reviews to dismiss the reviewers comments.

Read About OUr IMprovements

We aren’t perfect. We are always seeking to improve. This is what we are currently working on and have improved.

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