Championing Sustainability and Business as a Force for Good
Loyola alumna leads with empathy, passion, and purpose as CEO of Seventh Generation
Alison Whritenour, ’04, has followed a winding road on her career journey, pursuing ideas and interests she’s passionate about, and finding companies that bring them to life. After working in several advertising and marketing roles, she decided to accept a position with a company whose mission spoke to her: Seventh Generation.
Seventh Generation, which sells eco-friendly cleaning, paper, and personal care products, is on a mission to transform the planet into a healthy, sustainable, and equitable place for the next seven generations. Owned by Unilever, the company uses recycled materials in its packaging as well as biodegradable, plant-based, phosphate-free, and chlorine-free ingredients in its products.
“As a company, we have a foundational belief that you can’t live a healthy life on a sick planet—and this is something that drives me personally as well,” says Whritenour, who has served as chief executive officer since 2021.
“My passion for using business as a force for good has kept me engaged and challenged.”
Leading with Passion
As CEO, Whritenour aims to lead with empathy, transparency, vision, and clarity—and to encourage younger generations to embrace opportunities.
“I have tried to answer every opportunity as ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’ or ‘this is why I can’t do this,’” she explains. “It has put me into the deep end of situations—but I’ve always been able to swim my way to the top again by believing that I am capable and that anything is possible.”
Whritenour, who graduated from Loyola with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in creative writing, started with the company 11 years ago. She began as a sales team lead and worked her way up through the ranks and various divisions, including as brand manager, director of brand marketing, and head of customer development.
Through each of her roles, she has embraced its philosophy fully and growing in her understanding of how Seventh Generation operates.
“I have been able to learn deeply about sustainable solutions, the role that business can play in influencing change agendas, and the compelling data that shows what limited time we have left to make a radical impact to improve our climate trajectory,” she says. “You really start to think about the world you are leaving for your children and your children’s children.”
Community is Key
Whritenour grew up in Glen Rock, New Jersey, before coming to Loyola.
“I benefited from the requirements to take classes outside my major—and within my major, I learned the crucial skills of strong written and verbal communication skills, the art of marketing and advertising, and the ability to bring creativity into everything that I do,” she says.
My job requires me to move between very diverse topics quickly and with some grace for my employees. My Loyola education helped prepare me to do this well.
In her personal and professional life, the mother of three also tries to advocate for working mothers. “Through my lived experience trying to juggle all of it, I’ve learned that I really need the advice and role modeling of other women in my shoes,” she says.
“Working mothers are only going to be successful in staying in the workforce and building our careers if we have a safety net to fall back on. Women need to play this role for one another in a massive way.”