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Katrina German is the Founder and CEO of Ethical Digital, a social impact agency dedicated to harnessing the power of digital marketing to improve the internet for future generations. With accolades such as the YWCA Women of Distinction Award For Entrepreneurship and the Startup Canada Prairie Award for Innovation, she champions inclusivity, ethical practices, and technology research. Before Ethical Digital, Katrina co-founded OneStory, a pioneering video platform, and gained valuable insights into the tech startup world. She has since authored a book, Action Tracking: Master Digital Marketing in Under 30 Days. Her expertise in building relationships and advocating for underrepresented voices in tech makes her an important leader in the digital landscape.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [03:29] Katrina German discusses the increasing necessity of ethical digital practices in the age of social media
  • [06:12] Simple yet effective adjustments in marketing to prevent consumer anxiety and promote well-being
  • [08:02] The impact of social media on sleep and the best practices for content timing
  • [10:23] How to convey a sense of inclusivity and encouragement in your marketing language
  • [12:42] Katrina explains how digital literacy can contribute to a positive online culture within hybrid workplaces
  • [19:05] How partnership and community can significantly boost your business’s reach and impact
  • [28:36] Insights on nurturing a healthy company culture in a virtual environment
  • [34:15] The importance of transparency and shared values in the hiring and team-building process
  • [39:12] Katrina discusses the money mindset, and how recognizing past influences can transform your approach to finances

In this episode…

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the intensity of social media — how it might affect your well-being or even disturb your sleep? Are you curious how businesses, especially marketing agencies, can navigate these issues without compromising their effectiveness or client relationships? And finally, how do these digital interactions translate into workplace culture?

Digital marketing expert Katrina German recounts her entrepreneurial journey, from her early tech ventures to founding Ethical Digital. She shares valuable lessons learned from her former startup’s challenges and how she translated those into success by focusing on ethical practices. She discusses the importance of timing, community, and adaptability in tech entrepreneurship. Katrina dives into the transformative power of corporate culture and digital behavior, sharing practical steps for more ethical and effective marketing strategies that align with consumer welfare.

In this episode of Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz interviews Katrina German, Founder and CEO of Ethical Digital, about ethical digital marketing. Katrina discusses Ethical Digital and the increasing necessity of ethical digital practices in the age of pervasive social media, the impact of social media on sleep, how partnership and community can significantly boost your business’s reach and influence, and nurturing a healthy company culture.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments:

  • “We’re the very first generation who is creating this foundational space that will influence generations to come.”
  • “As marketers, we might be the next tobacco company by being digital marketing, where we harm people with the content we are creating.”
  • “We want to make sure we’re not making any major announcements or doing something important that people might be missing out during times when it might be affecting people’s sleep.”
  • “Once you have a really strong team, there’s just nothing more powerful.”
  • “If the internet’s the future, we should have a lot of different voices creating that future and ensuring that different people’s needs are being met.”

Action Steps:

  1. Avoid creating marketing campaigns that induce anxiety with FOMO tactics: Instead, use inclusive and encouraging language to cultivate a feeling of belonging among your audience.
  2. Prioritize digital literacy across your team to foster a positive culture in hybrid workplaces: Understanding nuances in online communication can strengthen internal relationships and mitigate misunderstandings.
  3. Embrace a values-based and transparent hiring process to build a dedicated and cohesive team: Transparency about company challenges and goals fosters a collective effort in overcoming obstacles and contributes to a sense of ownership among team members.
  4. Approach layoffs and staff transitions with compassion and open communication to maintain positive relationships and brand advocacy: By proactively assisting departing employees, companies can build lasting bonds that continue to benefit both parties beyond the tenure of employment.
  5. Reflect on your personal money mindset and address past experiences that could be influencing current financial behaviors: Recognizing and processing one’s attitudes around money can lead to healthier business decisions and personal growth.

Sponsor for this episode

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:01 

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr Jeremy Weisz.

Jeremy Weisz 0:22 

Dr Jeremy Weisz here, founder of, where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders. Today’s no different. I have Katrina German of, and Katrina, before I formally introduce you, I always like to point out other episodes people should check out of the podcast. There was a really interesting one. One of my favorite ones, with Adi Klevit. Actually, she has an agency that is an easy button for SOPs for companies out of all niches. So if someone wants to smooth out their client onboarding, staff onboarding, or just operational procedure in general, they call her and she’s a done for you service for that, and we geeked out on our favorite productivity tools and other things just that makes us more efficient, because that’s what she likes to talk about. And do that was a really interesting one.

Also, Kevin Hourigan of Spinutech has an agency since 1995 and he talked about just the landscape. We’re going to talk about internet today and obviously ethical things, or maybe things you should watch out for doing. But he’s seen a lot of things since that time, from the internet through business, through agency life, and that was an interesting one as well. And Orit Oz has also run an agency for 25 years in the B2B space, and helps companies more with global expansion and consistent branding. So check those out and more on And this episode is brought to you by Rise25.

At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream relationships and partnerships. And how do we do that? We actually do that to helping you run your podcast, or an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast. And the most important thing is the strategy, and we do the accountability and the full execution. So we, Katrina, are kind of like the magic elves that run in the background and make it look easy for the host so they can create amazing content and run their business and develop amazing relationships.

So for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. I found no better way, over the past decade, to profile the people in companies I most admire and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you definitely should, if you have questions, go to or email us at [email protected].

And I’m introducing today, Katrina German. She specializes in communications technology and digital strategy. She’s the CEO and founder of Ethical Digital. You can find them at and she and her team are changing the internet through the digital strategy, the research and even certification, which we’ll talk about. And Katrina has been included in Future For Good Social Good Founders to watch. She’s won the YWCA Women of Distinction Award For Entrepreneurship, Startup Canada Prairie Award for Innovation, and several more. And I’m excited to talk about Ethical Digital and their ethical certification for marketers. And Katrina, thanks for joining me.

Katrina German 3:29 

Thank you. Excited to be here.

Jeremy Weisz 3:30 

Just start off and tell people about Ethical Digital and what you do.

Katrina German 3:35 

Well, as you mentioned at Ethical Digital, we have the goal of changing the trajectory of the internet. So just a nice little, small goal. We’re the believers that we’re the pioneers. We’re the very first generation who is really creating this foundational space that will be influencing generations to come. And so what can we be doing to really approach this and be thinking about it consciously, about how we can be making this a good space for ourselves and for our future, humans. And so we do, the core of our business, the bread and butter is our digital marketing services.

So we make sure that what we’re creating is inclusive in nature, and really about connecting people and starting conversations as well as conversions, for sure. But we also have taken it a little bit further, where we work with universities to research this space, and the effects of social media on well-being, and not just that, but the overall technology space. So we’ve also researched how to get more women into venture capital, which funds the internet and women led businesses have only received about 2% of the billions of dollars that have gone into the internet. So perhaps, if we can influence the groups that are changing the internet or funding the internet, that perhaps we can see some differences in the types of projects being created there.

We also do a lot of work in getting more indigenous women involved in technology. They’re very underrepresented in the space, and we’re strong believers that, again, if the internet’s the future, we should have a lot of different voices creating that future and ensuring that different people’s needs are being met. And so from there, we take that research, we turn it into corporate training. And so we’ve got several different corporate trainings that we offer that have been getting really great responses, and we’ve just launched our certification for other marketing companies.

So as I was mentioning to you earlier, basically, I kind of thought, because we were a marketing firm, we might have some difficulties with people coming to us and saying, hey, do we want to get involved in this mission? But it was the opposite. People did not see the competition. A lot of marketers are right on the front line. They’re seeing some of these issues, and they were coming to us saying, hey, I want to do this better. And so we’ve started to put this together, where basically we’re putting together resources for other marketers, and it’s a free membership at this point, where basically you can come in, you can find some technology tools that can help you create ethical content. You can find some regulatory information. You can just basically join a community who’s really thinking about these things consciously and wanting to do their work a little bit better.

Jeremy Weisz 6:12 

What made you decide to start this certification?

Katrina German 6:18 

Well, it’s an important thing. We really want to have people thinking about this and putting it out there in a way that they’re actually saying and indicating to people, I’m thinking about your health when I’m creating content, and really kind of elevating the entire experience of being a digital marketer. I was quite concerned, back in the day, I was just doing all sorts of marketing type pieces. I have also had a technology company for a period, and basically I was looking around, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, Trump was at his peak. There were a lot of mask versus anti-mask conversations going on. The algorithms on social media were really, really favoring intense conversations.

And so I was just looking at the round on the conversations that were happening in my streams, and I thought, like, this cannot be healthy for people like, this is actually making me feel sick being on some of these conversations and seeing some of these things that are happening here. So I kind of got concerned that we might be the next tobacco company by being digital marketing, where we actually harm people with the content we are creating. So I joined up with a university, and we gathered all of the academic research we could find from around the world, around how social media was affecting wellbeing, and spoiler alert, is absolutely a correlation with high social media use and anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, sleep issues, a lot of different things.

So I started thinking, well, how can we do this better? And actually, there’s some fairly simple solutions that we can be doing as marketers and digital marketers and people consuming that content that can really make our experience in the space a lot better going forward.

Jeremy Weisz 8:02 

So what are some of those things?

Katrina German 8:04 

Yeah, so one of the interesting things we found out is really around the idea of FOMO, so the fear of missing out and so this is a whole, it’s actually a really new area. It’s really come out in the last couple of years. This term was coined, but it’s been a really effective marketing technique, too. So basically, when you see it, you’ll get an ad or a post that says, like, get in now, like, you’re going to be left out if you’re not part of this group, like, that kind of a real urgency, and it’s not an artificial urgency. So it’s an effective tool. It really does work for getting people to take that action. However, we learned through our research that it actually has some really negative implications for people who are suffering from anxiety.

And we know that the number of people suffering from anxiety is much higher than even pre pandemic times. And so we want to be thinking about, how can we create equally good content without sort of putting this artificial pressure on people who don’t need extra pressure. And so really, the idea social media is, to your point in the intro, we all just want to connect. We all want to elevate each other. We really want to feel connected to a community. So when that’s happening, people can have a really healthy experience with social media, but when it’s not, it can really sort of take them down and make things worse.

And so as marketers, when we’re creating content for our own company or for other companies, we want to be thinking about, okay, can we create an equally effective message without putting in those artificial time pressures? So join us. There are still five spots left, things like that. It’s sort of like we’re doing this together. Come be a part of us, kind of messaging, rather than get in or you’re out, kind of messaging. So really subtle, just changes to the language can have a huge impact on people’s experience with the content that you’re creating.

Jeremy Weisz 9:56 

Yeah. So I get what you’re saying there. You can spin it in, like a FOMO way, or spin in a positive way, like one way would be, there’s only five spots you’re going to miss out or join us. There’s still five spots left. It’s still creating a scarcity, but it’s just a little different tone to it.

Katrina German 10:17 

Exactly. It’s sort of like, hey, come be a part of us, rather than you’re in or you’re out.

Jeremy Weisz 10:23

Love it. What are some other mistakes you see people making with their content and marketing?

Katrina German 10:31 

Yeah, so one of the things that’s been really interesting is how the internet and social media usage has really affected people’s sleep. And there’s a lot of research in this space, and it’s really conclusive. So it’s not just the blue light information that you hear about how you know the light from our devices is changing our circadian rhythms, which causes us to kind of mess up our overall, general natural sleep patterns. It’s also even further there’s especially for our young people, particularly, a lot of conversations start to spark up later in the evening, at night and things like that. So again, as marketers, we want to be connecting with people that are interested in when their peak time when they’re paying attention to the internet.

But the important thing is, is we want to make sure we’re not making any major announcements. We’re not doing something important that people might be missing out during times when it might be affecting people’s sleep. So being conscious of where your audiences are. I know a lot of people have global audiences. It can be tricky to pick those timelines, but being really conscious about, okay, a majority of our audience is in North America. Let’s try to pick a time in the day that they’re going to be online, but it’s not going to be at a time that’s going to be affecting their sleep, because, as we know sleep affects everything, and we’ve all been in the social media rabbit hole where you’re like, oh, I’m just gonna check something really quick, and then two hours later, you’re like, wow, it’s two in the morning, and I have to get up in the morning.

Jeremy Weisz 11:56 

You mean last night.

Katrina German 11:59 

And so we know this affects us as humans, and we know that it’s very tempting. It’s entirely set up to make us want to consume more and more content. But how can we do that in a way that we’re putting out good content where people are like, thank you. They feel connected, but we’re not actually contributing to some of these overall health issues that people are experiencing because of the internet.

Jeremy Weisz 12:22 

I want to hear a little bit about your evolution as an agency, and when you first started, what were the services you were offering versus now, because I know we were talking about, you help a lot of associations. You do corporate training. What were the services when you first started with that?

Katrina German 12:42 

Honestly, I never intended to start an agency at any technology company where we were working with, we were actually doing video platforms, and this is before Facebook Live even, when all the authentic video has really permeated the internet now. But this was just before that movement.

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