The organizational culture of Ripple Effect Images is firmly team-oriented and based on the values of collaboration, trust, empowering women, and making a positive impact on the communities we serve. Since Ripple Effect Images is a non-profit organization, one aspect that I have noticed is how conscious they always are of their ethical role in the work they do. While all companies have to focus on logistical and financial aspects at times, I have noticed that even these conversations contain elements about ethics and community impact at Ripple.
These norms are made known to new members mostly through relationships, as it is a small organization and all members are very connected to the core goals of the organization. In every conversation with my boss, for example, I can see the values of collaboration and community driving her words and actions. In some cases, however, these norms are taught more explicitly by corrections and challenges to each other to remember our main missions. For example, I made a comment in a meeting about growing our social media following, and a member of our team reminded me to think of our social media in the context of the communities we impact, not just as our own marketing tool. Additionally, when I began working with Ripple, my boss assigned me the task of watching all of the organization’s films, taking a look at their galleries and familiarizing myself with their entire body of work to make sure that I saw the heart of the organization before I started trying to find grants to support it. This task helped me to not only learn information to help me perform my task better, but also to feel more comfortable as a member of the team.
Outside of these more abstract values of the organization, the expectations of work are rather autonomous and trust-based, and team members are expected to take initiative and take chances in the areas that they are specialized or interested. These ambitions and ideas are received well and met with healthy critical feedback and continued collaboration in small Zoom meetings and phone calls to ensure that we create the best possible solutions for our organization.
Another organizational aspect that is important to note is the role of women in the organization. Since Ripple Effect Images focuses on empowering women and telling the stories of women and children around the world, the team’s leadership reflects this mission in the quantity of women in executive roles, an element that I will further dive into in one of my Theories in Action posts.