The goal and purpose of not only Atreo Cares but Atreo Media are to help support the community that I grew up in and that has given so much back to me as an individual. Primarily Atreo Cares focuses on utilizing students to give back to the communities in which they live. Everyone wants to internally give back so my organization makes it easy for them to do so. Each month Atreo Cares in some shape or form gives back, whether this is creating the first BLM Application available on iOS, collecting 167 bags of garbage across seven different cities with 25 helping hands, or helping extend a program 16 weeks for girls aged 13–18 that focuses on career preparedness, confidence building and so much more.
As part of our series about young people who are making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sunny Nakra.
Sunny Nakra is the co-owner and president of Atreo Media and owner of Atreo Cares. He is a passionate entrepreneur and a marketer professionally. With a degree in Marketing from the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph, he loves sales to build connections and relationships with his audience.
Before starting Atreo Media & Atreo Cares, Sunny was the top representative for The Source owned by BCE Inc, Bell Corporate Enterprise, and Volkswagen. This opportunity made him want to pursue door-to-door sales to further strengthen his skills which led to him being under top three in Canada & the US in 2019 grossing about $360,000 in revenue for Fluent Home in just five months.
Sunny then went on to create Atreo Cares in December of 2019. An organization that was founded based on utilizing students to give back to their surrounding communities. Initiatives cover a variety of scopes like environmental, mental health, social injustices, and supporting minority communities across the globe with a variety of campaigns. To find out more check out www.atreomedia.com/community
Standing out to be the socializer, Sunny enjoys traveling, boxing, and bonfires with his family and friends. A firm believer in community practice who likes to lead by example, he never fails to give back to charities or invest his time in social causes to build communities surrounding him. He stands by his mission of “I believe that to have a better tomorrow it starts with us today.”
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us about how you grew up?
My name is Sunny Nakra and I grew up in a small, quiet town outside of Waterloo, Ontario called Conestogo. I am a first-generation Canadian who was raised with two older brothers and a very loving family. Growing up in a small town with brothers who were 6 and 8 years older than me, my brothers were not only friends but acted as parental figures when necessary. I feel like because of my upbringing I’ve always been more mature with a goofy side that has still not left me! I’ve also grown up having a very close relationship with my parents because of their willingness to understand what I do and like to do but they would always guide me in the right direction. So it’s fair to say I’ve grown up with really great role models.
Is there a particular book or organization that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Growing up with my parents who immigrated to Canada they carved their path and found success in what they do. I remember when I was younger my dad had always suggested I read the book How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. As my father grew up in India with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelors of Law and shifted to Canada, his education was not transferable. He started from the bottom and worked his way up with only the values he learned from his parents as well as the values learned and reminded by Dale Carnegie in his book. It was not until I was about 22 that I took the liberty of reading it and it reflected not only who I was and what I believed in quite a bit but also opened my eyes to all the things I wanted to be and how I could effectively get there. One of the biggest things that resonate with me from the book is in general good people skills and how to run an organization effectively. They primarily come down to two simple core characteristics; be genuine and be authentic. Those are two things that I have always lived by and found when communicating with family, friends, clients or employees have made a significant impact in my life.
You are currently leading an organization that is helping to make a positive social impact. Can you tell us a little about what you and your organization are trying to create in our world today?
I’m the owner of two organizations, Atreo Media & Atreo Cares. Atreo Media is a digital marketing and public relations agency that focuses specifically on helping small businesses flourish in an ever-changing world. The second organization I run is called Atreo Cares. Atreo Cares is something I started in 2019 before my grandfather passed, his middle name translates to “Ruby” and Atreo translates to “King” in Greek which encompasses the royal aspect of “true kings & queens give back.” The goal and purpose of not only Atreo Cares but Atreo Media are to help support the community that I grew up in and that has given so much back to me as an individual. Primarily Atreo Cares focuses on utilizing students to give back to the communities in which they live. Everyone wants to internally give back so my organization makes it easy for them to do so. Each month Atreo Cares in some shape or form gives back, whether this is creating the first BLM Application available on iOS, collecting 167 bags of garbage across seven different cities with 25 helping hands, or helping extend a program 16 weeks for girls aged 13–18 that focuses on career preparedness, confidence building and so much more.
Can you tell us the backstory about what originally inspired you to feel passionate about this cause and to do something about it?
The backstory of Atreo Cares is when I was in my first year of business at the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph, my friend had approached me to start our first entrepreneurial endeavour. The company was called “Do Good” and the concept was to give 15% of every sale back to an organization that was near and dear to the purchaser. This is what activated and allowed me to put my business knowledge into progress, however, due to inexperience and legal trouble with the name we ultimately decided to step back. Later on, I went to pursue Atreo in honour of my late grandfather Ram Lal Dua. Bauji, which is what we had called him was someone that when you were embraced by him would make you feel like nothing else in the world mattered. He was the light of the room and when he entered everybody instantly smiled. For me, I wanted to be that role model and figure for my nieces and nephews and what I call “The Next Generation.” The type of individual my grandfather and family raised me to be ever since I was younger was to give back and do the right thing, ultimately it became my passion and also my responsibility to be the role model for those around me.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
I believe the most interesting or “cool” campaign Atreo Cares has done since we started was the Black Lives Matter application. What had made it so interesting and powerful was to truly feel the impact not only from the community but internally. For a couple of months, it took to put it all together I worked closely with a few particular individuals; Samuel Boylan (Software Engineer), Sarah Jade (Artist), and Guyson Kuruneri (Videographer). Working closely and hearing stories and being completely immersed in every way possible the impact of BLM was much more deep-rooted. This included late nights, multiple FaceTimes throughout the day, and cookies while we edited the campaign. Personally growing up in a small town, Conestogo, I attended high school in Elmira which was predominately “white” folks, and underwent significant racism growing up being one of the only minorities. Being able to have significant empathy towards the situation allowed it to be that much more powerful. I don’t have the opportunity to walk in the shoes of some of my fellow black friends but I can sympathize and understand and continue to learn.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
Some of the particular individuals that have been impacted by Atreo Cares on a personal level that we truly got personal feedback on were with the Girls Night In organization. The direct impact was primarily due to being local as well as working with individuals. The GNI organization goes through a variety of topics over 16 weeks, from learning new skills to growing new friendships and developing in all ways possible and specifically you can pinpoint the aspects in their lives that have changed. Here are some of the quotes from a few of these young ladies, kept anonymous for confidentiality purposes.
“I learned a lot about social life and how to set personal goals and also how to deal with different events in life. I enjoyed it when we would always talk about mental health. I appreciate how the facilitators are organizing the meets. It makes me feel like I’m actually at a physical place hanging out and enjoying my night! Everything has been great and most important for me was the advice that passes around from time to time. Noteworthy is the fact that the group makes you feel welcomed.”
– Girls Night In Participant, grade 10
“The highlight of this group was the people. Everyone was super nice and it was nice meeting everyone. What I learned and enjoyed the most is when the guest speaker came and talked about writing when feeling anxious. That session helped me cope with tough times I’ve had and I’ve been using writing as an outlet for my emotions.”
– Girls Night In Participant, grade 12
“This group has helped me grow personally on so many different levels especially it has made me realize the importance of self-love and expressing my feelings more openly. I learned many new things and topics such as how to express and manage our emotions, how to build healthy relationships, and tips & tricks for nail care and self-care.”
– Girls Night In Participant, grade 11
How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
I define making a difference in two words, impact & contribution. For real change to come back you must not only contribute in some shape or form but you must also impact the end-user or community. Impact leads to an emotional feeling and emotions spark change. For example with Girls Night In, an organization out of Toronto that works the girls aged 13–18 we were able to raise enough money to extend their program, this resulted in a contribution that had a direct impact on the end-user which was not only the program coordinators but more importantly the 20+ young girls who were involved in the organization. The money was not just monetary, it was an opportunity to be a part of a team environment, an opportunity to listen to mentors, an opportunity to become more prepared when dealing with mental health, or taking on post-secondary school or even an opportunity to become more prepared entering the workforce and coping with harsh realities of the world. That is what I define as “making a difference.”
Many young people would not know what steps to take to start to create the change they want to see. But you did. What are some of the steps you took to get your project started? Can you share the top 5 things you need to know to become a changemaker? Please tell us a story or example for each.
5 things to consider when picking a social cause;
#1 Establish your why. Decide why you’re doing this, what is your specific goal at hand? Is it to raise money, raise awareness or increase community involvement?
#2 Make sure the cause aligns with your brand’s identity. Values are an integral part of why someone chooses to get involved in the community, so ensure you’re looking for a cause that can align with your values and goals.
#3 Find a social cause that aligns with your brand’s market. Local support is a make-it-or-break-it when it comes to the success of a social campaign. Ensure you know who your message is targeted towards and that they are listening in the first place.
#4 Make sure that social cause benefits the end-user that it’s intended to help. If you’re working with a particular organization, do your research and figure out what areas could use the extra help. Typically I find it’s best to support local activities, by doing so you’re a local helping other locals. With smaller organizations, you can also ensure more money will go to the cause rather than business expenses.
#5 Know when to reach out and ask for help. It’s okay to ask for help from your staff, coworkers, and even your families. You’ll never understand how others are affected until you open the room for discussion. Listen to various problems and solutions. This will help clarify your goals.
Lastly, I know this is very cliche but there’s no I in a team, for the most success using the resources and people around you to help you come up with the best campaign and maximize performance. After all, two brains are always better than one.
What are the values that drive your work?
The values that drive what I do boil down to two main and closely related principles, be authentic and be genuine. These are so important because being authentic has to do with how you are with yourself internally versus genuine is how you treat others, externally. Nonetheless how you treat others is a reflection of how you feel inside and that directly relates to whether you react or respond when communicating or acting and how you choose to do so.
Many people struggle to find what their purpose is and how to stay true to what they believe in. What are some tools or daily practices that have helped you to stay grounded and centred in who you are, your purpose, and focused on achieving your vision?
Staying true and staying consistent is fundamental to any successful entrepreneur or activist. What helps me stay grounded is a multifold approach and it all begins with understanding why you do the things you do. We call this your “why” statement. From there it comes down to the day-to-day activities you carry out. Daily, I try to maintain a healthy diet, workout and practice mindfulness whether that is in the form of a 45-minute walk or a 20 minute guided meditation. This is so important because if you feel healthy internally you will be able to not only better execute your mission but also with a clear mind. I find being surrounded and having a good environment will also help you succeed. Make sure the people you surround yourself with including family, co-workers, partners, friends and significant others push your boundaries and help you strive for more. If you know what you’d like to accomplish, why and are taken care of internally and externally you have placed yourself in a position for success.
In my work, I aim to challenge us all right now to take back our human story and co-create a vision for a world that works for all. I believe youth should have agency over their future. Can you please share your vision for a world you want to see? I’d love to have you describe what it looks like and feels like. As you know, the more we can imagine it, the better we can manifest it!
In an ideal world, I look forward to seeing not only how people interact with one another but how people interact with the world itself. I believe that to have a better tomorrow it starts with us today and would find true enjoyment if everyone followed with the same regard. This comes down to how we behave with ourselves mentally which thus transitions into the energy we put onto others and the things that we manifest and accomplish. In an ideal world, we all become friends and find commonality, share empathy and gratitude. In an ideal world, I’d love to see a circular economy versus a linear one that focuses on creating sustainable solutions for the future and taking care of the earth we live on. In an ideal world, we can influence a generation to use social not only for connection but to make a difference, not individually but together.
This feels like true passion, true regard for one another and a moment of stillness. I believe to truly feel fulfilled we need to be guided in a way that stimulates the mind and encourages creativity and the opportunity to not fail but instead learn. If we’re able to teach the power of positive thinking from a young age it opens the doors and way of thinking for the “non-believers”. We focus so intently on physical health when true wealth is the power of positivity. When I was working in door-to-door sales in Alberta, Canada my sales trainer Shalev Nemenoff discussed the concept of walking through a forest. If we were to take the same route every single day to get to the destination, slowly the ground would form a natural pathway, similarly as we work out our muscles. This makes the path easier to walk on and becomes the route of action and thinking. If we teach the power of opportunity and positive thinking from a young age and all that seems to exist we may be able to manifest a better tomorrow in the minds of our youth.
We are powerful co-creators and our minds and intentions create our reality. If you had limitless resources at your disposal, what specific steps would take to bring your vision to fruition?
The specific steps I would take are to become a motivational speaker that not only practices what he preaches but allows others to find faith and love within themselves. This begins with sharing ideas and stories that influence others and show them that through hardship and adversity you will find success. It takes consistency and everyone has it within them. It’s not an out of reach goal however to be able to influence a generation takes a power of position that can only be earned. Until then I seek to continue to be good and influence my community in every shape and all forms.
I see a world driven by the power of love, not fear. Where human beings treat each other with humanity. Where compassion, kindness and generosity of spirit are characteristics we teach in schools and strive to embody in all we do. What changes would you like to see in the educational system? Can you explain or give an example?
The changes I would like to see within the education system were touched on above. I believe if from a young age we foster the opportunity to not fail, but learn we allow and foster people to try new things and test the unchallenged. This means growth and opportunity. I also believe that from a young age we should teach the power of positivity including mindset and confidence. If we foster the skills of confidence, ambition and authenticity in contrast with the power of positivity it builds a generation that looks to challenge the next generation and build something greater than we can even imagine.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
Tomorrow truly begins with you. Don’t be afraid to start or make mistakes because everyone is learning every single day. If you become 1% better each day, over a year you become 36.5% better and small investments in yourself overtime will make waves in the long run. Lastly, those that are doing more than you will never criticize you, only those doing less will.
Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
If I had the opportunity to sit down with anyone, alive, I would say Elon Musk. Elon Musk is not scared to fail and tries new and crazy things to not only develop the world positively but also test the untested. For example; Tesla, not only creates sustainable transportation solutions at a reasonable cost but also providing the blueprints and frameworks for other transportation companies to also follow. Next, we have Tesla Energy which consists of battery farms with the newest goal of making a battery strong enough to power approximately 16, 400 homes in Texas which is the beginning of something unheard of. Lastly The Boring Company, that was founded to make an underground tunnel to make transportation between cities significantly faster. Each thing that Musk has done is to take on the newest technology and do what others are not daring enough to do.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I thank everyone who has read and made it this far. I’d love to connect with others, share more thoughts and collaborate with other thought leaders and change-makers. You can connect with me via LinkedIn by typing in Sunny Nakra or on other social platforms like; Instagram and Clubhouse via the handle @Nakra8544. You can follow the adventures of Atreo Media & Atreo Cares at www.atreomedia.com and if you love email you can find me at [email protected].
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!