Understanding Social Impact: In Conversation With Animas Social Impact Volunteer Orestis Leontaritis

Author : Jack Fleming

22nd June 2021

How we come to define and understand social impact for ourselves, and in wider society, has seen a flurry of conversation in recent years. Social impact can be ever changing and deeply personal to the individual who is looking to enact positive change. 

I sat down with fellow Animas social impact team member Orestis Leontaritis to hear how social impact resonates with him and what role this has played in his life.

Jack Fleming: What does Social Impact mean for you?

Orestis Leontaritis: Social impact for me is anything that can affect society in a positive and beneficial way. By anything, I mean actions, movements, educational programs, charities, raising awareness, and more.

Social impact is helping, supporting and guiding people or groups of people in need. It is the effort and the process of learning and integrating inclusion, social and cultural intelligence, equity and self-awareness into our society.

Social impact is also the way to offer and share wisdom, the way to realise that there are dominant and non-dominant groups of people in every society - accept it, embrace it and then act to balance it. People are not responsible and have not chosen to be in any of the two sides, but this does not mean that it does not affect our thinking or does not create biases.

The times we are living in are indicating that we have reached a level on which we need to understand that we can all influence and have an impact on all social aspects of society, only if we choose to believe it. I believe it is time to shift our attention toward things that are not affecting us directly and be that helping hand that we would have been asking for if we were on the other side of the fence. Social impact for me is offering our affection to fellow citizens unconditionally, with no transaction in mind and no expectations of anything specific in return. There is always something that we get back, of course, but the real reward is only felt in our inner world, and that is love, gratitude and connection.

Jack Fleming: Could you draw on one example in which you have engaged in a form of social impact?

Orestis Leontaritis: There are many examples, but the one that comes to mind is when I was living in India, where I visited an orphanage and offered my help. The connection with the children was incredible, and the smiles I got as a "thank you" have always been living in my heart, ever since. Simple acts of kindness, in return for gratitude.

Jack Fleming: Looking ahead, do you have any ideas/plans for some social impact-based work?

Orestis Leontaritis: Matters like self-awareness, social and cultural intelligence are the very basics to begin from, in order to start discussing further on social impact. It all starts from within, so one who might be interested in social impact, would be way more conscious if they are aware of themselves first, meaning who they are and how others see them.

Knowing their basic needs, their strengths and shadows, can make one focus on where they can actually help and have a bigger impact on this effort. Then one can move further into terms like inclusion, equity, dominant groups, leadership, impact and volunteering/sharing/giving unconditionally.

My plan is to start running workshops on self-awareness and cultural intelligence, along with teaching about terms such as inclusion and diversity, which should become common knowledge for everyone. My long-term plans are hard to explain right now, but starting from my backyard seems the way to go in these intense times.

It is fascinating to hear of Orestis’s personal experiences and understanding of what social impact means to him. 

In the coming months we will be sitting down with others in the Animas social impact team to hear of their relationship with social impact.

Orestis Leontaritis

Orestis Leontaritis

Orestis was born in Athens, Greece and is currently residing in Berlin, Germany. He is a self-awareness and personal growth coach, helping people to connect with their inner world and wisdom.

As a gamification and creativity designer, he designs experiences which include playfulness and social interaction for facilitation, presentations, trainings, programs, apps and more.

Orestis is an author, having published poetry and board games, and has a background in writing and music. His love for philosophy turned him into a philosopher, while he is an inclusion, leadership and spirituality enthusiast!

Find out more about Orestis
Jack Fleming

Jack Fleming

Social Impact Volunteer and Author

First working in the community conflict resolution sector, Jack has since gone on to reside in London's social enterprise space using food and storytelling to support aspiring home cooks in the city's culinary scene. As an Animas-trained coach, Jack now works with small business owners, entrepreneurs and individuals, supporting them to connect with their true self. In his spare time Jack runs a small family-owned business in the world of vintage comic books.

Check out Jack's LinkedIn

Categories: Social Impact  

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