Karen Anne Wallach 07MBA 21PhD was recently highlighted by the AMA for her research on the intersection of branding and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Wallach’s research initiatives aim to better understand and quantify consumer perceptions of corporate sustainability initiatives, the role of product centrality in creating sustainable brands and the importance of corporate social responsibility on society.
“I just love the idea of being able to do research and to teach,” Wallach said. “I came into [the PhD program] with a dream of being able to do more interesting research and really impact students’ lives. I feel lucky that I found a career where I can do both.”
Prior to joining the PhD program, Wallach’s experience included roles at Diageo, Kimberly-Clark, Carnival Cruise Line, and Mars Inc.
When Wallach entered the doctoral program, she initially focused her work on corporate branding. Her research led her to the area of corporate social responsibility, where she saw more work needed to be done.
“I really believe in the value of corporate social responsibility,” Wallach said. “It’s the idea that we can create products that consumers enjoy that are less impactful on the Earth, more helpful to diverse parts of society, and we can have corporations, managers and CEOs see the value in this approach.”
Wallach’s passion for the topic extends to her day-to-day life. This includes ridding her home of most single-use plastic items while continuing to move away from harmful detergents and chemicals. Trying out sustainable and environmentally friendly products in an effort to be more socially responsible in her own life helps her encourage others to take similar steps.
Under the guidance of Jag Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Chair in Marketing and Wallach’s doctoral advisor, Wallach is currently completing her dissertation, writing on various areas of corporate social responsibility such as understanding the dynamics of consumer and firm views of CSR, the role of social media, and the importance of authenticity.
Wallach has presented her findings at the Association of Consumer Research, the Society of Consumer Psychologists and the Atlantic Marketing Association, and she was recently selected to present at the Academy of Marketing Science Conference. In addition, she has been recognized as a Marketing Strategy Consortium Scholar, an AMA-Sheth Doctoral Consortium Fellow and a Goizueta Doctoral Fellow. Wallach has also received various grants including the Sheth Fellowship and the Laney Research Grant, which enable her to extend her research and achieve the impact she envisioned when she began her academic career.
“The big picture is just the idea that corporate social responsibility deserves a wider place in academic research and a bigger place in the business world,” Wallach said. “I’m hoping to make a difference, encouraging both consumers and firm decision-makers to consider sustainability and to think of CSR as part of the brand and part of the management of the company.”