Maryann McCabe is a practicing anthropologist who leads a consultancy, Cultural Connections LLC, which conducts consumer research to help organizations develop business strategies. She is also Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology, University of Rochester, where she has been teaching courses on consumer research, entrepreneurship and sustainability. Her consulting work draws on her training in anthropology (PhD, New York University) to understand practices of everyday life and assist corporate and nonprofit organizations in crafting marketing and advertising strategies to reach target audiences. Her doctoral dissertation research and employment at the New York State Department of Social Services focused on sexually abused children and development of policy, programs and professional training for intervention in child sexual abuse cases. Based on professional practice and research, she has published four books and numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her most recent book, Cultural Change from A Business Anthropology Perspective, was published this year. Her areas of interest include creativity, agency, materiality, advertising and gender. She is an active and long-standing member of the Society for Applied Anthropology and currently chairs the Topical Interest Group on Business Anthropology.
It is an honor to be nominated as a candidate for the SfAA Board of Directors. I would bring a practitioner’s perspective to the organization and its goal of using anthropology to solve issues facing the world. The number of anthropologists working in applied settings outside academia has been rising in recent years. I hope to (1) increase SfAA’s support for practitioners applying anthropological knowledge to ameliorate human problems and improve people’s lives; (2) make the public more aware of applied anthropology’s ability to develop and implement strategies and solutions for social, economic, political, medical, and environmental predicaments; and (3) strengthen connections between practicing anthropologists and the academic community and encourage contributions from practice to theory.
I have appreciated being part of SfAA, giving papers and workshops, and taking roles as Board Member (2013-2014), chairing the Public Policy Committee (2014-2017), and chairing the TIG on Business Anthropology (2013 to present). My background working for a government agency, a university, and corporate and nonprofit organizations has shown the benefit of collaborating across disciplines, professions and institutions. As anthropological practice takes a more prominent role in society, I think it is important to mentor students and recent graduates and expand opportunities for imagining how to engage with other social scientists and practitioners to address human rights and social justice.