Social Impact Leaders — Interview w/ Rick Ornelas of I Spark Change

Demee Koch
7 min readDec 20, 2021


Social Impact Leaders — Interview w/ Rick Ornelas of I Spark Change

Rick Ornelas is a bestselling author, business strategist, professional coach, and founder of I Spark Change. Rick wasn’t always interested in helping others globally, despite being pushed repeatedly in that direction by a near-death experience, family tragedies, and deaths. It wasn’t until the ever-worsening times of 2020 when he was anxious, isolated, and desperate that he finally got the wake-up call. He went from fearful and hopeless to writing a best-selling book, 12 Hours of Heaven; Lessons for a Better World, in under three months while envisioning and creating an incredible future.

Rick is highly passionate about coaching individuals and teams. For the past 25 years, he’s grown organizations, including start-ups and Fortune 100’s on various levels. He’s helped both small businesses and multi-million-dollar enterprises flourish and achieve massive success in record-setting time. He’s trained over ten thousand hours in organizational strategy, communication, human behavior, and leadership. His proven techniques help others level up in all areas while expanding social impact to spread positive change around the world.

Rick has been featured as an expert in multiple media outlets, including national/international television and radio. He’s a regular writer for Lifehack, a guest contributor for various websites, and has inspired listeners across the globe as an expert on over 50 podcasts!

Social Impact — What meaning do you personally associate with this term?

Social Impact is about making a difference in the world. It is about taking action to affect others and yourself positively. These actions lead to an impact that can be big or small. For example, anyone can relate to smiling at a stranger as you pass in the grocery store, paying it forward at Starbucks, or contributing to a local community group with your time or money. The size of the actions doesn’t matter because, in all instances, it is a beacon of light for everyone it reaches.

Social Responsibility — What is your best practice to integrate it into your daily life?

It starts with realizing that you make a difference each and every day. Many people feel that social responsibility is not up to them because they feel too small in this great wide world. The reality is that we all make a difference. Once you have this basic understanding, you only need to practice HOPE — Help One Person Everyday. This can be done by sharing what most people value in life, time, energy, and money. Any of the examples above are simple ways to help others. By doing this, your actions have a ripple effect that spreads far beyond anything you realize.

Purchasing Power — What is it all about, and why is it real power?

This definition has been evolving over the past few years and was pushed to an entirely new meaning in 2020 with all the pandemic impacts. It is no longer simply about the cost of a product or service. By today’s standards, it’s about what your business represents on a deeper level. Meaning: how socially conscious is your business? Where do you stand on social justice issues? What are you doing to support others and the world as a whole? Today’s consumers need to know the answers to these questions before they make a purchase. In fact, the latest research shows some staggering statistics on purchasing power.
78% of Americans believe it’s important for businesses to stand up for important social justice issues. 70% of Americans believe businesses have an obligation to take actions to improve issues that may not be relevant to their everyday operations.
87% of Americans would purchase a business’s product because that company advocated for an issue that they care about.
With this in mind, it is easy to understand the “power” behind purchasing power.

Conscious Living — Why is it important to live our life consciously? And how do our actions influence and affect each other, and therefore connect us?

First, the world has grown too big, making conscious living super important. The fact that we are all connected is a crucial factor. History has proven this over and over again, and the pandemic amplified this even further. I mean, nothing proves our connection more than a virus, right? Jokes aside, the ballooning of our population to nearly 8 billion people should be enough of a sign to live consciously for most people. Our beautiful planet cannot support this number of lives in our current state. The least conservative estimates from experts show that the earth can realistically support up to 2 billion people, and that’s with very conscious efforts from all. Second, advancements in social technology have shrunk the way we connect with others. This makes each action potentially amplified and magnified with one mouse swipe or click on a smartphone. You can no longer hide as everything is on display for all to see, good and bad.

Conscious Consumerism — Why, now more than ever, it is important to reflect on our buying habits, and research the brands we are consuming?

Conscious Consumerism is critical because of the state of the world and the global impact that our actions have described above. We have a ton of power to change things for the better through our spending habits and purchasing decisions. The global economy is larger than ever with the substantial growth that has come post-pandemic from things such as stimulus checks and decreased interest rates. Couple that with younger generations spending more than they ever have, and this collective buying power can speak volumes. The more our buying habits support brands and businesses that are socially conscious, the more we brighten our future. So take the time to understand the business behind the brand by researching the products that are a part of your everyday life. Anyone can practice this by simply reading a label or understanding a companies purpose and mission.

Commercial — From your point of view, what are the commercial practices that are unhealthy to humanity?

Unfortunately, this list is very long, and we have taken advantage of our planet without regard to its effects on future generations. Some examples of problem areas are overpopulation leading to depletion of resources, pollution from unregulated or underregulated manufacturing, indiscriminate burning of fossil fuels, and deforestation across the globe. The bottom line is that as a whole, we have acted as if everything will last forever, which is foolish. It is both unhealthy and unreasonable.

The Future — What is your personal outlook on the future?

It’s easy to automatically think that things will continue to get worse until we have some major collapse that makes the pandemic look like a blip on the radar. Thankfully, I’m an extremely positive person and an eternal optimist. I feel that the pandemic was a massive wake-up call to many people that it’s time for considerable change. This was the case with me and the hundreds that I connected with over the past eighteen months. Many of us lived within our comfortability bubble, not wanting to put in the effort needed to improve. It’s akin to living utterly content with your health only to visit the doctor and have him tell you that your labs are terrible, and you need to lose twenty pounds immediately. This slap in the face is what was required to come to our senses. I believe that history will look back on this time as a “Great Awakening” of sorts where millions woke from the fog they were in to begin a period of creation, advancement, and positive change.

Change — What do you personally think needs to change — from a consumer perspective and within the corporate world?

The simple answer, a lot. Our beautiful world has been struggling in dark times recently. Things have worsened over the last few years, and it’s time for change. Far too much negativity, anxiety, suffering, greed, violence, racism, and hatred collectively bring us down. It’s time for us to swing the pendulum in the direction of positive change. Consumers can make statements with their spending, product choices, and business support. From a corporate perspective, businesses can lead the way toward social change by thinking globally about the impact of their products and services beyond the dollars and cents. Overall, it’s having a conscious awareness of others and the world around us.

Is there anything you would like to share that we have not asked you here?

YES! Everyone has the power to change the world for the better. You are not too small to make a difference, and you are not alone. If you’re reading this article, then you have an interest in social impact. Don’t keep what you have learned to yourself. Spread the word about the importance of social impact on your social media platforms and in your communities. By sharing your ideas and thoughts with others, we can raise global awareness of the social change needed to better humanity. We are all in this together and need to do our part. 😊


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Demee Koch about the MEDIUM interview series on Social Impact:

Hello! I am a serial entrepreneur practising conscious entrepreneurship. This is an interview series about social responsibility and the best practices in incorporating it into our daily lives.

Every day, we make an impact consciously and subconsciously. It is implemented through our actions.

A great example of this is the practice of our Purchasing Power where we can actually direct our impact by consciously deciding which brands and companies we nourish.

I interview change advocates about best practices for incorporating social consciousness into our daily lives, and practices in the business world that need to change for the benefit of social responsibility.

With this interview, we invite the reader to reflect their every day actions. We all have an impact, and if we are consciously aware of that, we can be empowered to start the change for a better future.

Thank you for being the change. I’m looking forward to learn from each one of you. Reach out to me via LinkedIn.
Demee ❤︎



Demee Koch

Entrepreneur & Board Advisor in the health & beauty industry. Introducing purpose-driven founders and beautiful minds here on Medium.