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Designer Megan Risdon brings inspiration from the people of Southeast Asia to North American homes
Many people have the desire to help others but seldom take the initiative. Add to this obstacle the misconception that you must be 100 per cent altruistic in your intentions and it seems an unattainable goal. Not so says Megan Risdon.

This designer who is the founder and CEO of EcoChic discovered a way to exercise her creativity and establish herself as an extremely successful entrepreneur while also implementing a much needed source of income for an area of the world in need of a boost. Risdon's story is one which exemplifies that you can have your cake, eat it too, and share it with many others. While pundits will tell you that pursuing artistic aspirations and adopting the mindset of the greater good is a steady course to failure, Risdon is literal proof that reaching for lofty goals is attainable.

A native of Canada, Megan has led an existence of awareness and responsibility. A vegan who has long been enamoured of Eastern mindfulness, her travels have caused her to cross paths with many different peoples. While travelling in Southeast Asia, Risdon had an impactful experience with a mirror…one which had nothing to do with her own reflection.

She recalls, "I was in Southeast Asia and saw the most beautiful mirror. To be fair, it wasn't any ordinary mirror. It had been made from the wood of a fishing boat that had served its family well and had been destroyed by a tsunami. The family had given it new life. When I saw that mirror, I knew this was my calling. I knew this was a way to make my deepest wish come true. I saw a way to do well by doing good. Creating high-end furniture from an unlikely source might be a challenge but I had been reared in the high-stakes world of commercial and residential real estate and I was going to make it happen."

Megan spent months as an inhabitant of the very communities where she was sourcing the wood and metal for her designs. Wood was reclaimed from destroyed fishing boats and iron salvaged from inoperable bridges. While her designs were born of her own artistic ideas, the source of inspiration was the people she had met. These people, living in one of the most disaster-prone parts of the world were creating beauty out of devastation, transforming loss and destruction into symbols of life and victory. Instead of hiding from these events and obstacles, they re-imagined them into powerful pieces of loving defiance in their own homes. They were taking the power to shape their own story in the positive light they desired rather than a negative interpretation imposed upon them. The revelation was so powerful to Risdon that she wanted to allow this to channel through her designs and into the homes of others. She set up an infrastructure of relationships with those who could supply her company (EcoChic) with the raw materials that seemed previously unusable and in doing so, set up a system of local production which creates jobs and supports families in Southeast Asia.

Recently, Megan found another way to affect others in a positive manner through her EcoChic business. EcoChic makes generous investments in the work of South Central LA based A Place Called Home. This group provides educational programs, counselling, and mentorship to the youth of South Central to teach them the value of responsibility and taking control of their own lives. It's a perfect place for Megan Risdon to place her efforts. The values and ideals communicated by A Place Called Home are the very ones which this designer and entrepreneur has spent her life validating.

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