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Mel Ochoa: Changing the World through the Power of Friendships

Mel Ochoa: Changing the World through the Power of Friendships

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here with the scoop on the changemaking leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Mel Ochoa, the chief operating officer of Landmark Ventures. Let’s learn what’s happening at Landmark and how Mel is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Mel! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through Landmark Ventures?

Mel: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Our company and team believe in the power of friendships to change the world! Some of the biggest challenges across the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals can’t be solved by one person or organization, much like sometimes you need to work in groups on projects assigned by your teacher. Landmark Ventures touches on all of the SDGs, but our main focus is on building relationships between leaders, funders, innovators, and experts to form partnerships that solve challenges together.

Spiffy: That sounds awesome! What motivates you to do it?

Mel: I jumped into Landmark’s work in social impact because I benefited from a quality education my entire life. I grew up without a lot of money, but I was lucky enough to be in a good school district and then had the opportunity to go to college. With SDG #4, I want to work with others on ensuring quality education and lifelong learning for all, regardless of any situation or money. I love meeting people and finding ways to support their passions around the SDGs and what motives them to keep going.

Spiffy: What would you say is the impact of your work?

Mel: Most of the impact comes in our awesome team bringing amazing leaders together and helping them build relationships. And then, for example, a company might decide to work with another company they met through Landmark Ventures on a program that helps a community; or a foundation that provides grants might meet an entrepreneur through us who is working on a big idea and gives them money. Our greatest joy comes in encouraging changemakers to have a conversation and then start working together!

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Mel—it’s been an honor!

Mel Ochoa is the COO at Landmark Ventures, which offers tech advisory, strategic events, and global investment banking services (they also organize the Social Innovation Summit). Previously, he served as part of the leadership team at Achievement First and led marketing and public relations at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. (Nominated by Zeev Klein of Landmark Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on August 9, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.