A place and a community shaped Regina Larko.
Regina Larko was born and raised in Vienna.
“Three generations raised me,” Regina says. “My great-grandmother played a huge role in raising me. Her generation had experienced the hardships of the second world war. One of my great grandfathers never came home from the war.”
When Regina was around nine years old, the former Yugoslavia broke apart, plunging the territory into ethnic wars. Refugees poured across the border into Austria. Many of Regina’s classmates moved to Austria to escape the fighting. She heard first-hand the stories of refugee children.
“I felt immense gratitude for growing up in a peaceful, safe city,” she says.
Regina also spent her summers in a small village of 300 inhabitants located 50 kilometers outside of Vienna. There, she learned the value of community. She saw how community members took care of one another. “There is so much purpose and meaning in every single small action,” Regina explains.
“Neighbors and extended family members would always look out for each other. This is the reason I am so passionate about purpose-driven work that draws its energy from the community.
“It has always bothered me that there is so much inequality in the world – that I had privileges just because of the place and time I was born. I always wanted to live in a fair, equal, and peaceful place. I wanted everyone to have the same rights and possibilities I have. It frustrates me that there are so many people out there suffering every day, just trying to survive.”
A Move to China
In 2009, Regina moved to China to work for a global think tank. It was her first job after university. At first, the career was fulfilling.
“I felt I made an impact with my work. We reached students with the programs to help them gain a deeper understanding of the world. But after working for the organization for five years, I felt that I was not using my talents and passions to their fullest.
“That’s when I started to explore another way to contribute. That’s when I began to slowly lean into the idea that I could start something impactful on my own.
In 2014, Regina relocated to Hong Kong.
She knew the stories of the unsung heroes in the NGO sector. They lacked the media attention they deserved. Media coverage often played up the suffering.
Impact organizations address serious topics – environmental pollution, human rights violations, and inequality. Regina thought there must be a way to share these stories with a focus on positivity and progress.
#impact Podcast is Born
Regina launched #impact Podcast in the spring of 2017. They feature inspirational, motivational, and impactful stories. The listeners of #impact Podcast are interested in social impact and sustainability initiatives.
#impact marries two passions in Regina’s life: audio and purpose-driven work. As an audio enthusiast, Regina has always loved how intimate the medium of audio felt. Listeners create pictures in her head.
#impact Podcast tells impactful stories in a light, refreshing and inspirational way. Regina talks about the issues, but she also talks about solutions. #impact Podcast portrays individuals making a positive impact in the world. They talk about why and how they got started, the challenges along the way, and what keeps them going. Listeners feel inspired by the individuals that Regina and her co-hosts interview. Listeners feel empowered to create change. The podcast guests often find new volunteers and donors.
“The first interviews for #impact were game-changing,” Regina says. “I was clumsily setting up my microphones. I asked very scripted questions. Yet, I saw the impact the conversations made on the guest I featured. These NGOs had never had the chance to tell their story. They humanized their work, giving their cause a voice that people could connect to. They reached new listeners. They found new volunteers.
“The first listeners started to reach out, thanking me for introducing them to NGOs. Many listeners started volunteering or donating, thanks to #impact Podcast. That’s when I knew that it was so worthwhile and that I have to continue producing and expanding the show.”
Getting the Word Out
“When I would meet someone new, #impact Podcast was all I would talk about. I would make everyone download and subscribe to the Podcast, even random strangers I had just met at an event.
“My first podcast guests also played a crucial part in helping me get the word out. They shared their episode on their social channels. I am so grateful for their support over the years.
“Once I introduced co-hosts to the channel, we could reach an even wider audience. We built long-lasting relationships with guests and listeners.”
It Wasn’t a Straight Path
Regina’s path wasn’t always a straight line. Not everything she tried to do was successful.
“I wanted to run an #impact Award event in 2019, but I had stretched myself too thin. I did not have the human resources to make it happen. It was so disappointing because I had already put in so much work and time – aligning with collaboration partners and sponsors.
“I had told the Podcast guests about this great opportunity. I told them I wanted to highlight their work in the live event. When I had to tell everyone that we would not go through with it, it was heartbreaking. I felt like I let everyone down, myself and the team included.”
Growing Her Impact
“We are still in the very early stages when it comes to paying clients for our Podcasting Course or Club Membership,” Regina says. “But what is working well are the referrals we get from existing clients. This is immensely powerful. I plan to include them even more in the business development efforts ahead.
“I’m expanding collaboration with other Podcasts in our niche, like Social Entrepreneur. When I first started #impact, I was so intimidated by other amazing podcasters in the social impact space. But, after running my show a few years, I have gained confidence in my voice and the community I built from scratch.
“I know there is so much potential to reach even wider, collaborating globally. When we don’t see each other as competitors but as collaborators – that’s when the magic starts to happen.
“That is why I am so passionate about Sustainable Development Goals. SDGs allow organizations from all sectors to work on solutions together. We have a framework, roadmap, and clear goals that we can work on together.
“I genuinely believe that it takes everyone to become part of this movement. Each of us has talents that we can use to make a positive impact in the world.”
Regina Larko’s Work Today
Today, Regina is a TEDx speaker. She has been named “10 Women who are shaping Hong Kong for the better”. Her work has been featured in radio, print, and online media. Regina is passionate about inspiring everyone to start making a positive impact. She also mentors aspiring podcasters, empowering them to find the confidence to get their voices heard.