Young People Changing The World is a weekly series featuring the world's changemakers. Every Monday, I publish an interview with a young entrepreneur with questions regarding their journey. They tell us their definition of success, their desired impact on the world and share their single most important lesson.
My goal with this series is to inspire young leaders to take action. Be bold. Go after your dreams. Make a positive change in the world.
Sandra Garcia dedicates her work to spreading stories of positive, social change into traditional and social media. I stumbled upon Sandra and her company, Conscious Public Relations a few months ago, and was immediately intrigued.
Firstly, she combines her love for words with a passion in social and environmental issues. She started her own business in 2008, and since then has helped many companies and people to build campaigns to reach a wider audience.
Secondly, she practices what she preaches. Her dedication to making the world a better place has led her to live an eco lifestyle, where she successfully challenged herself to buy locally for one year.
What is your name and organization?
Sandra Garcia, Conscious Public Relations Inc.
What are you up to these days?
For work, the 6th annual Fraser Valley Food Show and Shiny Fuzzy Muddy (10th year).
Where did the idea of your organization come from?
2011 was a big year for me personally. I was exposed to a few heart-centred networking groups and had re-read many self-help books. The idea of doing PR campaigns that benefit social or environmental good was an idea I actually had 4 years ago, but the Conscious PR brand popped into my head two years later. It was almost as if it came back to me full circle at a time when I was spiritually and intellectually ready to launch it.
How do you define success?
Success is being able to use my skills and talents to provide myself the quality of life I would like, as well as serve others.
How do you want to make an impact on the world?
That's a difficult question to answer!
I think that we all - by nature - impact the world in everything we choose - or choose not - to do. I've been very fortunate to know that my volunteer efforts in founding the Vancouver Short Film Festival in 2005 has contributed to the local film industry. I also write a monthly column on people doing Social Good with their businesses or projects for HelloVancity.com.
I have volunteered for the Projecting Change Film Festival as well as other film festivals in town. If I can help someone in a way that doesn't take up too much of my time or that was something I had planned to do anyway, I will do it. Conscious Public Relations is a way that I can work with businesses or event organizers to spread positive messages of social change into traditional and social media.
On a personal level, I am working on compiling a short book containing my paternal grandfather's story so that my generation and future generations can have that as an heirloom and know the amazing story of one of their ancestors. So it's endless!
How do you come up with ideas?
Honestly, my best ideas usually pop into my head when I am in the shower, going to bed, or even in mid-sleep. I like to think that the ideas come to me, not the other way around. So it's just a matter of whether or not I will act on those ideas.
How do you keep yourself aligned to your goals?
Vision boards! Our goals always change, so whether or not we complete them it's good to have a visual idea - or a written plan - of how we are going to achieve our goals, and more importantly, why. Having these things in front of you makes them more real instead of just circling in your mind. The "why" usually comes back to our most important values.
All of the goals I've achieved were done because I could not imagine living or working without having completed them. Also, this year I enrolled in an amazing self-development program which is a great roadmap for identifying what your values are, what goals you want to achieve, and how. Because sometimes people don't even know what's important to them until they are asked, and we always, always need help from others to achieve our goals.
List three people you admire, and why?
1. Katie Jeanes of HelenJean and A Little More Good is an amazing young entrepreneur who has started up multiple businesses just in the last few years. She always has a smile on her face, and her travel stories of flying to Indonesia without having booked accommodation seem so adventurous! Great gal to know.
2. Janie Hoffman, CEO of Mamma Chia - I saw Janie speak at the Social Venture Institute Women conference in May this year. I love how Janie was so brutally honest about her journey as an entrepreneur developing the Mamma Chia brand (available in the USA as of now). Meditation was a big part of her emotional healing, and emotional control is a muscle often required for entrepreneurs, especially women. I would love to shadow her for a workday.
3. My life partner Leo. It's so great to witness first hand someone's dream becoming a reality. Leo began as an aspiring craft beer drinker and two years later won the GOLD Award for Best Vancouver Beer Writer/Blogger by CAMRA in 2012. Then he got a work position in the industry. I can't wait to see what else he is going to make happen for himself.
Name one strength and one weakness.
Strength: Persistence. This is one thing that multiple people have said about me, that I put my goals into action and complete them. Even when I encounter roadblocks I like to problem solve and figure out how to get the tasks I need done. Sometimes it is just a matter of patience in waiting for others, or when the time is right. But I always try and keep tabs on all the things I juggle in my life so that eventually they will get done.
Weakness: Emotional expression. One thing I am always working on is communicating my feelings to others not just through words but in my body language. I do have a stoic nature so even if I am feeling ecstatic about something inside, it doesn't always come out in the form of jumping jacks or "woo-hoos" as some may expect. It would be an asset in business to be a bit more expressive so that others know exactly what I am thinking and feeling.
As a young leader, what is the single activity or habit you do, that you recommend everyone else does?
Read. I heard from a few folks recently that if you are not growing, you are dying. Reading something is one way your mind can always grow.
What is the last book you read?
Beyond Body Beyond Mind by Dr. Sukhi Muker. Actually, he said the statement from the previous question in this book!
Which tools, apps or resources do you live by?
All social media apps on my iPhone. Bloglovin is a great one I have recently been using. Google Docs.
What is the strangest thing about you?
I like to smell funky odours more than once.
What is the single most important lesson you can share with our readers?
Pursue your passion as if your life depended on it. When it comes to wanting to change the world in a positive way, most times, others' lives depend on it too. Also, look for communities already "being the change," and join them. Change is more possible in numbers.
How can people get in touch with you?
The Young People Changing The World series asks young entrepreneurs to share their definitions of success, desired impact on the world and share their single most important lesson. Every Monday, I'll feature a new guest and their story. Have someone you'd love to see featured or have suggestions on questions I should ask? Send me an email.