Meet our staff, mentors, educators, advisors, and board.
The people of Groundswell are our most valuable asset. This amazing team of entrepreneurs and creative doers all believe there's a better way of doing things, and we are grateful for their dedication to our vision and our student's dreams. Get the support of 300+ years of collective experience with a team that's founded over 50 ventures and organizations as a participant in our programs.
We like to say that it takes a village to build a social venture. Please meet the architects, planners, builders, caretakers and cheerleaders who will take you there:
(Click on image for full profile)
Executive Director, Co-founder, Mentor
With over 25 years experience establishing, developing and running various progressive businesses and organizations, Gilad has founded numerous alternative schools, social enterprises and NGOs.
Former Executive Director, Institute for Democratic Education
Managing Director, Co-founder
Mastering the art and science of weaving ideas and people into social ecosystems that are greater than the sum of their parts, Paola brings her interests in new economic models, permaculture, and community planning to building the Groundswell community.
Co-founder, Seedstock Community Currency
Lead Educator, Build Program; Mentor
Combining human-centred design, lean startup and empathy-based marketing, Vidya is a sought-after advisor for social purpose businesses bringing new products, services and innovations to market. With 15 years of global experience as both intrapreneur and entrepreneur, she coaches changemakers across all industries to transform the status quo.
Founder, Artisan Valley UK
This business operations nerd brings her love of systems and organization to the job. As a Groundswell alum, Cass is excited to work with and learn from the Groundswell team.
Cass is also a performer, singer, writer, and maker.
Founder, Mojo Emporium
Co-founder, Mentor, Director
A serial entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience and an international portfolio and that includes employment training and recruitment, travel management, bars, restaurants and computer software/financial services.
Technology entrepreneur passionate about starting new businesses and helping them grow. 15 years of experience in tech, early stage product and market validation, product management and quantitative finance.
Founder and CEO, Kidaro (acquired by Microsoft, 2008); Founder, Kashya (acquired by EMC, 2006)
Educator, Explore program
Pushing people out of their comfort zones comfortably, and revolutionizing education.
Co-founder, Hydra Labs
Director, Advisor, Mentor
Strategic and investment planning, product development.
Former President, COO, CFO and Board Member of Creo Inc. BEng.
A dedicated co-operator transforming complex tools into accessible and relevant ones for the social benefit sector in service of social change.
Manager, Vancity Community Investments
David provides direct support, consulting, coaching and strategic advice to the emerging blended value business and social finance sectors and works to influence the related public policy environment.
Supporting impact-driven businesses with development and strategy with over 20 years of experience building and growing successful organizations that blend purpose and profit.
CEO, Realize Strategies
CPA, CMA, MBA
Patrick joined Modo Co-operative as its CEO in mid-2016, with the intent to keep the purpose-driven, member-owned co-operative relevant in a rapidly changing market for personal mobility.
When not working, he’s an active mentor through Futurpreneur, an avid skier and cyclist and, with his wife Carmelita, a newly minted urban beekeeper.
CEO, Modo Co-operative
Lenard is an award winning sales and strategy consultant with a focus on making big changes in both small and large companies.
As an entrepreneur, he founded a non-profit that funds education for young girls in Nepal through the manufacturer and sale of Nepali made light weight down jackets and vests. Every jacket sold funds a girl’s education for 1 month in Nepal.
Elena Yugai is an Investment Manager and Director of Advisory Services at Helder Ventures, a Vancouver-based impact investment firm. She leads investment activities in immigrant, refugee and women-led social enterprises. Elena is passionate about growing Vancouver’s social enterprise ecosystem. She is a Social Ventures Mentor at e@UBC incubator, advisor to SFU Radius Refugee Livelihood Lab, member of the Pacific Impact Investor Network,and has been named one of BC’s Most Influential Women in Tech - STEM Stars 2018 by BC Magazine for her work advocating for and supporting women in technology.
Investment Manager and Director of Advisory Services, Helder Ventures.
A big heartfelt thank you to all the people who have helped create Groundswell over the years, including:
Matt Hern - cofounder
Sarah Kristi Lone