Brilliant Earth intern, Alexis, had some great insights into corporate social responsibility and the mining industry as a result of research that she conducted in Sierra Leone.
“My first trip to Brilliant Earth was not for the usual reasons that most women visit. I would love to say I was arriving to purchase a diamond halo set engagement ring or in search of a yellow cushion sapphire as a gift to myself. I did not come for a job interview either. No, I ended up at Brilliant Earth on a completely different note.
Last spring, I had just gotten back from conducting a research study in Sierra Leone on corporate social responsibility in the mining industry. In case you were unaware, Sierra Leone is in the post-conflict rebuilding phase after a twelve-year civil war that ravaged the country. The RUF rebel forces occupied the diamond-mining region and used the extracted stones as a means of funding their movement. Unfortunately, the people of Sierra Leone were the victims of the young rebel force. They made their way all the way from the East of the country to the western capital city of Freetown twice during the course of the war, torturing, raping, killing, and enlisting those they met on their path. Upon having this experience in Sierra Leone, and witnessing the rubble of the diamond fueled civil war, I was keen to meet with executives from a corporation that was succeeding to provide socially responsible diamonds, and more particularly a company that was sourcing their diamonds from Africa and providing the local population with the benefits. Brilliant Earth was the obvious choice.
My first encounter with Brilliant Earth was interviewing Beth, who not only seemed well versed in the countries and regions in which diamond mining was taking place, but also genuinely cared about whether the mining was socially responsible. Brilliant Earth really valued my passion for making a difference in the diamond industry and, before I knew it, I was taken on as a summer intern. For those of you who have gone through the process, you may know being an intern can be limited to coffee runs and fax machines – but my experience was vastly different. They not only received me at the office, but actually mentored me. I spent the summer learning about digital marketing and being exposed to all aspects of corporate retail, which is exactly what I wanted. Not only that, but I have also been truly lucky to work at a place who shares the same values that I hold dear. I have had a great experience.
Now that I’m returning to school in the fall to start my Masters, I have to say that Brilliant Earth’s ethical practices are truly upheld because the team there is comprised of conscientious people. Yes, it is their job to uphold the mission of the company. Yes, it increases their profit if the mission is furthered. However, they personally seem to care that the product is trustworthy and that company is a trusting environment in which to work. With a for-profit company that has a socially conscious mission, that seems to me to be extremely important.
It’s been a great summer!”
From the company: We’re thrilled to have had the experience to work with Alexis and are excited that she will be joining us full time after she completes her Masters at Stanford.