As the vice president of communications at GoodWeave International—the leading international nonprofit dedicated to stopping child labor in global supply chains—Micaela Vivero (SIS/MA ‘94) puts to good use her master’s degree in international development from SIS and her extensive experience in global marketing and communications. We recently spoke with Vivero to learn more about her passion for international affairs, her career path and time at SIS, and her role at GoodWeave.
Pursuing A Passion for International Affairs
Vivero explains that she has always been interested in international affairs and helping people in need. After completing her undergraduate degree in journalism and political science, she wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the complex issues that shape our world and develop a strong foundation for a career in the international arena. A California native, she wanted to be on the East Coast and earn a degree from a top international affairs school, which led her to the International Development program at SIS.
During Vivero’s time at SIS, she worked in a contract role with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, DC, and Guatemala. She garnered the opportunity through SIS’s career office and emphasizes the importance of that experience.
“I would not have had the initial opportunity to work with USAID without attending SIS,” says Vivero. “Being in DC and having gained a strong foundation in international development really opened doors for me.”
After graduating from SIS, Vivero worked for two organizations doing international development work: the International Municipal Programs office at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Pan American Development Foundation. At ICMA, part of her work involved marketing their international development consulting services.
“With my educational background in journalism and a love of writing, I gravitated towards communications and marketing work,” says Vivero. “I felt it was important to develop specialized skills, and I have been lucky enough to combine both marketing and communications with international development work over the years.”
Fighting Child Labor at GoodWeave
In February, Vivero joined the executive team at GoodWeave, an organization that works to stop child labor in global supply chains. GoodWeave primarily works in carpet, home textile, and apparel supply chains, but also builds capacity of other organizations to carry out their model in additional sectors like bricks and tea. Their market-based and holistic approach brings visibility to global supply chains; protects informal and marginalized workers; provides assurance that products are free of child, forced, and bonded labor; and restores childhood to vulnerable children. The organization is especially known for the GoodWeave® certification label found on carpet and home textile products.
“I was immediately drawn to [GoodWeave’s] mission to stop child labor in global supply chains,” explains Vivero. “Besides the work the organization does freeing children from child labor in South Asian supply chains and rehabilitating them, GoodWeave also works in producer communities to prevent child labor from happening in the first place.”
Vivero brings an extensive background in corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and international development to GoodWeave. As vice president of communications, she oversees all communications activities of the organization and with its brand partners, including strategy, media relations, campaigns, events, speaking opportunities, marketing materials, advertising, and digital and social media.
“Much of my career has focused on corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and working with companies to improve business practices, so GoodWeave’s model of working with companies and their supply chains to stamp out child, forced, and bonded labor in a holistic, market-based approach was right up my alley,” says Vivero. “It is incredibly interesting work that involves partnering with corporations, educating consumers, and engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders.”
For students interested in pursuing a career that merges marketing and communications with international development, Vivero says that being in a global city like Washington, DC can help them connect with people and organizations doing international work. She also recommends spending time working or living in developing countries, where students can see the challenges faced by people and governments first-hand.
According to Vivero, developing a strong skill set in marketing and communications through school, trainings, certifications, and—most importantly—on-the-job experience is key: “My experience working in global development and my understanding of the issues made my work in marketing and communications stronger—I was able to put complex issues into context and communicate them better to audiences.”