Oral Histories

Alan Marks

Interview Segments on Topic: Ethical Decisionmaking/Behavior

Alan Marks Biography

Alan Marks is senior vice president of corporate communications for eBay Inc., and is responsible for leading communications strategy for all areas of the company, which includes business and consumer media relations, employee communications, executive positioning and issues and reputation management. Prior to joining eBay, Marks was at Nike Inc., Gap, Inc., and Avon Products. He began his career as a journalist.


INTERVIEWER: What education or previous professional experience would best prepare a person for the rigors of ethical decision making?

MARKS: That’s a good question. Part of it is…certainly there is training and education, but there’s also real life experience. I think it’s important whatever your academic background is, or whatever your formal training is, you’ve got to be able to marry that with what the real business world is. Where do you find the balance, and are you looking at real case studies? Are you looking at examples in your own company? Do you talk about it? I think the important thing is; ethics can’t just be words on a paper, right? Ethics are something you live every day. It’s something you’ve internalized, and that’s the challenge. How do I not just study it, or go through a training exercise, but how do I internalize it as a set of values and a decisions framework that I use in terms of how I go about my work and how I do my job?