Up to $15,000 in microfinancing for tuition and start-up costs is available to Groundswell participants and alumni through a special partnership with Vancity.
In the world of entrepreneurship, we hear about having to hustle, compete, and focus on achieving that ever important goal. But are these gendered expectations? Within the continuum of gender, Cori recognizes nuances between "feminine" and "masculine" energies. She finds her path and power by embracing her feminine energy, rather than homogenizing differences for the sake of "equality".
We hold entrepreneurs in high esteem because they do something extremely difficult: they manage dozens of roles singlehandedly in the midst of immense uncertainty. For those on the outside looking in, entrepreneurs may appear to be the ultimate multi-taskers. However, as I’ve found with this cohort, the most successful are those who maintain a relentless focus on the single most important task at hand
Experience and expertise aside, the simple (yet crucial) parts of launching a venture often remain the most elusive. More specifically, I’m referring to clarity of communication. It seems that crafting a clear message and communicating it effectively are still a challenge no matter your experience level.
Melanie Matining is a queer pinay activist, community organizer, and settler on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples. Her work focuses on the importance of social spaces in movement building and the necessary intersections of community-determined access, placemaking, and solidarity building. She convenes communities to create platforms for celebration, healing, and just dancing it all out. Melanie makes up one half of the duo that brings us Denim Vest, a queer sweaty dance party for the people. In the recent past, she also worked as the Community Development Manager at Heartwood, a social space that was centred on community and movement building. Amidst the towering cranes, she continues her work in advocating for accessible and inclusive spaces in the city. Melanie walks everyday in love and liberation alongside her communities working towards queer rights, Indigenous solidarity, and migrant justice.
Mark Dance has spent the past 30 years in the Canadian high-tech community. For 11 of those years, he was at Creo Inc., a publicly traded company, where he played central roles in growing the company from USD$10 million in revenue to over USD$700 million in revenue, and from 100 to more than 4000 people world-wide. His roles at Creo included Vice President Product Development, President, COO, CFO and Board Member. Since Creo’s sale to Eastman Kodak in 2005 for USD$1 billion, Mr. Dance has worked with over 60 companies assisting with strategy, financing, and team building amongst other areas. Mr. Dance is an active angel investor and Board Member, has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours) degree in Mechanical Engineering from UBC where he also taught entrepreneurship, and holds a number of patents for medical technologies.
Irina McKenzie is a social entrepreneur and an avid advocate of the Circular Economy and sustainability in the fashion industry.
Taking special interest in textile waste, Irina founded FABCYCLE, a B2B collection service of textile waste to enable designers to disrupt the cycle of garment production and transform waste into resources by finding innovative outlets to reuse, recycle and recover fabric waste.
Prior to FABCYCLE, Irina has founded Frameworq, an event-based initiative that brings together designers and consumers to explore the relationship we have with our clothes using a hands-on experiential approach.
Frameworq has partnered with various organizations to fuse collaboration and curiosity into sustainability in apparel, hosting events such as design challenges, recurring fix it events, clothing swaps, exhibitions and fashion shows.
Vancity has been a long time and important partner for Groundswell, taking their role above and beyond "funder" and acting as advisors, workshop educators, loan partners and more. Catherine Ludgate is a special person at Vancity that we are honoured to have sit on our advisory team. She holds strong ethics, compassion and business acumen simultaneously and never ceases to leave us without an "ah-ha!" moment after every meeting. Catherine manages Community Investments at Vancity, where she embodies the principles of co-operatives in all her work and relationships. Thank you for all your dedication and support, Catherine!
A dedicated co-operator, collaborator and community builder, I have a talent for translating complex tools available to government and for-profits (financial services, legal tools, communication vehicles) into accessible and relevant tools for the not-for-profit /social benefit sector, in service of social change missions and mandates.
I am committed to principles five (member education), six (co-operation among co-ops) and seven (concern for community) of co-operation. I am a strong and encouraging leader of teams, investor in staff personal and professional development, and a believer in the idea that we can do more, and make more positive changes, together. I am that person who can be counted on to say "we can do that, we can make that happen" and then commit completely to delivering on that promise.
I have strong writing and strategic planning skills, a great ability to identify system wide fixes or scale opportunities, and talent for understanding diverse points of view on any given challenge. I am a serial social entrepreneur, and a talented public speaker and story teller. I love developing workshops and training materials, with a focus on skills transfer and capacity building. I love helping others develop their own talents and step into their own leadership.