Image courtesy of Ajay Relan
“Just smiling at someone can change the course of their day,” says Ajay Relan. Ajay is a man who has put more than one smile across more than one face as part of the team behind #HashtagLunchbag, a global movement that distributes healthy bag meals to local homeless communities. Ajay’s passion to “channel out awesomeness” is completely infectious, and his social activism highlights a growing awareness that kindness not only matters but can help combat many cultural ills. Ajay is in the process of transforming the momentum created by #HashtagLunchbag into a foundation called Living Through Giving that will work to support like-minded projects and promote a global, lifestyle shift that puts social good at the fore of every day experiences. Inspiring people in this way, Ajay explains is part of what he sees as his larger purpose: “My place here is to be an empowerment tool because of how good that makes me feel. It’s like blindsiding people to be nice.”
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?
Fun. Compassion. Inspirational.
Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.
Hands down, my mother. Single immigrant mother. Self-made entrepreneur. Ultimate role model for anyone and true inspiration.
What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?
I want to use all the wealth of knowledge that I have accumulated thus far in my life, both through my business and personal trials and tribulations, and funnel them together to create a platform that can be used to inspire people, regardless of their background, to focus out of themselves and create a better environment for others. This is the only way we will ever know true peace and unity in this world.
What are you most proud of?
To date, I would have to say the #HashtagLunchbag movement my friends and I have created. This is just the first step of the answer to the previous question.
What do you find most sexy about a girl?
Sense of humor and sarcasm.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
To be perfectly honest, I haven't thought that far ahead yet.
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
Climb Mt. Everest. (I just made this up but it sounded good so I'm rolling with it).
Who has been the biggest male influence in your life and why?
My father. His absence growing showed me that I can overcome anything and still be "enough" to reach each and every goal I could ever imagine. I became the man of the house at a young age learned how to be compassionate and strong for my mother and my grandmother. This connection (or lack thereof) has propelled me in the relationships I have built and continue to build with the people in my life.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?
This would have to be jumping out of the driver's seat with my business endeavors to focus on a life of giving and inspiring others to do the same. The biggest lesson I have learned is that I can do both. It doesn't have to be one or the other. Trusting and empowering others is a wonderful thing as long as you can be transparent and act responsibly.
What is one stereotype about men that isn’t really true?
That we're all the same. Definitely not the case. But I can show you better than I can tell you.
*Interview conducted and compiled by Sheila Moeschen, IATG Senior Editor