What did you do to Make Change today?

Recently we interviewed the 2018 honorees from the Make Change Awards ceremony. We loved their answers! Below are the highlights from our multiple conversations with them focused on innovation and how they view making change in Los Angeles.

What’s your favorite thing about living and working in Los Angeles?

Anything is possible in LA. — Andrew

I love the variety and quality of food, and atmospheres that you can find to enjoy quality time with people. Just in the Arts District, some of my favorites are Zinc Café, Pizzanista, Bread Lounge, Villain’s Tavern, and Resident. — Flo

I’m Canadian and one of the things I love about LA is that there is a community for everyone here. There is a group that you can relate to and there are people who share your interests and concerns regardless of what your interests and concerns are. If you are alone and without a community in Los Angeles, it is because you keep it that way. — Leah

Living in LA allows me to raise my two young boys in a place rich with diversity and culture — the people, neighborhoods, built environment, natural resources, food, arts, business and perspectives. Through their interaction with all of these elements of LA, I know they’ll find their own way of engaging, understanding, reinventing and caring for their LA, our LA. — Iosefa

What inspires you?

Our team at GrowGood inspires me. Their dedication and positive attitude is always on my mind. Eight years ago we set out to create a new model for urban agriculture to empower people with few opportunities. Our team, led by Mary MacVean, has steadily and quietly built something truly inspirational that will change how chronic homelessness is addressed. — Andrew

If there were one social issue you could solve today, what would it be?

I would focus on the expanding economic opportunity and wealth. 80% of Americans own just 10% of the nation’s wealth and we need to democratize access to the chance to build a better life. — Andrei

What does innovation mean to you? How do you see it being used now?

Innovation, in my opinion, is being able to look at who we are, and how we operate, with an eye to what could be done to make systems work better. We live in a changing time and we need to adjust to a pace that is not about to slow down. Through that lens, we need to re-examine school. We are still educating the next generation using the same old programs that we have used for 50+ years. Innovation means rethinking all of our standards and being willing to make changes as they are required to build a creative and critically motivated group of students who see themselves as problem solvers. According to the US Gov’t statistics more than 65% of the students in elementary school now will work at jobs that don’t yet exist. Couple that with the number of high stakes issues we are leaving to that generation to handle, we need motivated problem solvers! — Leah

“Changemaker” is an intentionally broad term. What does it mean to you?

Changemakers advance our society through action, not just ideas. Throughout my career, I’ve slowly moved away from the value of “good ideas” because the truth is that without a good execution plan and disciplined follow through, ideas don’t amount to anything. Making change requires listening to your audience, trying a bunch of things, and having the patience to keep refining the solution(s) until its viable. -Flo

Fun Fact: Personality traits we found from our past winners:

Optimistic, Determined, Fair, Organized, Focused, Quick-Witted & Passionate


Thank you to our past #MakeChange winners interviewed:

  • Iosefa Alofaituli, Regional Director, Opportunity Fund
  • Leah Hanes, Executive Director & Chief Juggler, Two Bit Circus Foundation
  • Andrei Cherny, CEO & Co-Founder, Aspiration
  • Florencia (Flo) Di Sarli, Assistant Managing Director, A Very Nice Design Studio
  • Andrew Hunt, Co-Founder, GrowGood

Founded in 2015, the Make Change Awards is one of the leading events in Los Angeles that honors those companies, organizations and leaders creating the positive social, economic, and environmental sustainability impact for a better world. Each year honorees are evaluated based on the following criteria: 1) sustainable growth & financial performance, 2) innovation & creativity, 3) impacts and improvements, 4) customer/client & community engagement, 5) leadership management, 6) ethical business management, and 7) worker well-being. #MakeChange