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Interview with Dr Dorothea Baur

by | Mar 10, 2021 | Interviews,

Dr Dorothea Baur

Dr Dorothea Baur

Principal and Owner at Baur Consulting AG
Key Topics:AI Ethics, Sustainable Finance, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR/ESG)
Location:Switzerland
Bio:

Dorothea is an independent consultant, speaker, and lecturer on ethics, responsibility and sustainability with a specific focus on tech and finance. She started out with a PhD on Corporate Social Responsibility almost two decades ago, and subsequently worked as a lecturer and researcher at leading European business schools, including ESADE Barcelona and University of St. Gallen. Five years ago she founded her own consulting company. Dorothea regularly appears as a leading voice in global AI ethics rankings.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

My background is originally academia where I pursued a PhD and an international career as a researcher and lecturer in business ethics. In 2015 I established myself as an ethics consultant, speaker and lecturer. I started out with a big project on the social responsibility of a multinational banana company. From bananas, I have moved on to advising financial service providers on responsible investment, and since about 3 years I have become deeply immersed in the field of AI ethics. I have quickly become an influential voice in the debate – on social media, but also as a lecturer at various universities, as a speaker and as a frequent guest in talk shows and interviews.

What topic areas are you most passionate about?

From bananas to banks and algorithms, the red thread through all my work is ethics. I am passionate about applying ethics to all kinds of business contexts, particularly but not exclusively, in tech and finance. In my work, ethics means to help my clients, my audiences, my students to recognize and navigate ethical issues. People often feel uncomfortable talking about ethics. My mission is to enter a company, a classroom, a stage, and take away that unease. I do this by showing that ethics is not just about right or wrong but often rather about why. I inspire my clients to reflect on their values and ethical choices, to shed light on new aspects, to find a common language and to align their business model with ethics. The goal is to make them brave, credible and effective actors on ethical matters.

Which influencers influence you within those key topics?

I closely follow a number of brilliant minds on social media who inspire me on a daily basis. It’s hard to point out specific names but they come from various industries, academia and civil society alike and are spread across the globe. To really understand AI ethics means I have to leave my comfort zone and also dive into the work of neuroscientists and computer scientists.

Outside of key topics, who else influences you?

I have a soft spot for novelists who build beautiful stories around ethical challenges. Ian McEwan is one of my favorite contemporary authors, even before he wrote his 2019 novel “Machines Like Me”, which directly speaks to AI ethics. I also very much like Jonathan Franzen’s 2010 novel “Freedom”, which has a lot to say about environmental ethics.

How would you describe your offline influence?

People often tell me that my keynotes inspire them to look at things from a different angle. The approximately 100 postgrad students who attend my lectures each year return to work with an increased ethical awareness. My consulting clients make ethical decisions with confidence.

What’s your best source of information for getting ahead of a story? What resource do you use to stay ahead of the trend?

At the moment, it’s mostly Twitter and LinkedIn. I feel very grateful for all the people who share their knowledge there. Whenever possible I also attend networking events to get a chance to talk to people from different industries and disciplinary backgrounds directly. Also, the students in my postgraduate teaching are an important source of information because they often share their corporate experience.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

I am experienced and very interested in speaking opportunities (online or offline), writing or co-authoring white papers, advisory positions, but also doing webinars, participating in podcasts and video interviews. 

What brands have you worked with?

Ethics is a sensitive issue for many companies, so I cannot really disclose the names of my clients. However, there are various banks, pension funds, insurances, pharmaceutical companies, but also food companies among them. I have also done work for public entities.

Which non-paid activities would you be keen to take part in if the opportunity raised your profile or delivered value to your audience?

I would be happy to provide a quote for content or news article, share or create a social post, speak at an event, podcast or a webinar.

What are your passions outside of work?

As stated above, I love reading good fiction and I am also a bit of news junkie. To get away from screens, I go hiking and cycling. I also very much enjoy having an active social life.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

Via email.

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