Dear Fellow ASE Members,

I am happy to introduce myself to you as the inaugural Ombudsperson for the ASE. As is true for many of you, I am an economist. My focus in the discipline is sustainability inclusive of its three defining pillars: environmental justice, social justice, and economic equity. I integrate sustainability into my teaching, research, and non-academic activities. In 2016 I funded on non-profit, Sustainable Practices, in my home community on Cape Cod and serve as its executive director. The organization is successfully championing two bottle ban efforts and has an active education outreach program. When I am not working on an aspect of sustainability, or in my new role, I am focused on my two dogs, Oscar, and Oliver.

As your Ombudsperson, I will be the point of contact for anyone in the organization facing a functional challenge with another person(s) in the organization and will seek to facilitate through informal channels a mutually agreeable resolution. In serving the ASE, I will uphold the Code of Ethics of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA), of which I am a member. These include:

INDEPENDENCE: The Ombudsperson is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization. 

NEUTRALITY AND IMPARTIALITY: The Ombudsperson, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombudsperson does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest.

CONFIDENTIALITY: The Ombudsperson holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm. 

INFORMALITY: The Ombudsperson, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention. Contact information for me is also located on that page and is provided below. 

In accepting this position and its responsibilities, I look forward to furthering the alignment of the actions of the ASE, its leadership, members, and stakeholders with the organization’s Ethics Statement. More information on the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice that will guide my actions can be found on the ASE website under “Ombudsperson.” Contact information for me is also located on that page and is provided below.

I welcome your questions and appreciate this opportunity to serve the ASE.


Madhavi Venkatesan
Ombudsperson, Association for Social Economics
Term: 2021-2023

[The above letter is also available here as a pdf.]