Since 2013, we have supported over 250 students to put their values to work through our immersive, cohort-based programs in leadership and social entrepreneurship. Groundswell Alternative Business School is a not-for-profit society that delivers a unique approach to person-centred education and training on behalf of Groundswell Education Society, a registered charity. Our students come from diverse intersections of race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and class, who are systemically underrepresented in business and leadership. They are creating alternative futures of work that are rooted in who they are, while serving the communities they belong to.

Groundswell is situated on the stolen and occupied territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, in what is currently called Vancouver, Canada. We are also part of the Chinatown and Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods, and continually learn from local movements for decolonization and social justice.

Meet our Core Team and Facilitators

Our teachings are grounded in personal practice, lived experience, and decades of collective expertise in facilitating inclusive programs for leadership, social entrepreneurship, and local economic development.
We are committed to modeling alternative ways of working and relating – as an organization and as educators – to help our students and community feel seen, supported, and valued.

Image of Vidya Crawley, CEO and lead educator at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Vidya Crawley

CEO & LEAD EDUCATOR

Vidya (they/she) brings an inclusive and experiential approach to leadership, business, and design education for social change. Having supported over fifty organizations and hundreds of individuals on the path to values-based work since 2001, they enjoy subverting “business as usual” with ways of working that are rooted in relational principles, social emotional learning, equity, and strengths-based approaches. They have a particular flair for designing thoughtful experiences, practices, and cultures that make business and work more human. Vidya identifies as non-binary and is a second generation South Asian immigrant & settler currently living and working on occupied xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlil̓wətaʔɬ territories.

VALUES: self-determination, thoughtfulness, acceptance, beauty, generativity

STRENGTHS: maximizer, relator, connectedness, intellection, futuristic

Image of Paola Qualizza, director of ecosystem development at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Paola Qualizza

DIRECTOR OF ECOSYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

Informed by her experience and interests in sustainable community development and ecology, Paola (she/her) cultivates partnerships and collaborations with our alumni and community partners. Since 2014, she has been involved across all aspects of operations and programming at Groundswell. In her role as a facilitator and event host, she encourages us to nurture the connections between our minds, bodies, and environments – online and offline. Having co-led initiatives in community currency and place-making, Paola enjoys pushing the realm of possibilities where economy, place, and culture meet. She lives as a White settler on occupied Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, shíshálh, səlil̓wətaʔɬ, and xʷməθkwəy̓əm territories.

VALUES: belonging, connection to nature, justice, play

STRENGTHS: adaptability, connectedness, relator, empathy, faith

Image of Samita Manhas, director of programs at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Samita Manhas

DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS

Samita (she/her) blends her expertise in digital and community engagement to build meaningful relationships. She has an ongoing commitment to learning and leading with anti-oppressive practices in her work and life. As the Director of Programs, she seeks to create more inclusive and equitable spaces; she advocates for collective care and creating opportunities for folks to show up as they are. Previously, she crafted marketing and communication strategies with environmental and social justice organizations. Samita is a second generation queer South Asian woman. Her work is not only informed by these identities but also as a settler on stolen and occupied xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlil̓wətaʔɬ territories.

VALUES: collective care, love, justice

STRENGTHS: empathy, intellection, connectedness, relator, developer

Image of Daniela Guerrero-Rodriguez, director of education at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Daniela Guerrero-Rodriguez

DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

Daniela is a decolonization educator, facilitator, and creative who uses a healing centered approach in designing programs and leading dialogues where unlearning journeys can take place. For over two decades she has worked locally and abroad on community building efforts in education, mental health, and the arts. These experiences and her M.Ed. in Arts for Social Change support the creation of compassionate and intersectional learning environments that combine a systemic understanding of the society we live in with creative liberation practices for building our new future. She is a queer Latinx femme of mixed ancestry and a settler on stolen and occupied xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlil̓wətaʔɬ territories.

VALUES: love, creativity, joy, justice

STRENGTHS: learner, connectedness, individualization, futuristic, maximizer

You can **read more** about our core team and get in touch if you’d like to **work with us** to bring inclusive and immersive workshops and training to your team, program or organization.

Meet our Extended Team, Board, and Collaborators

Building alternative futures of work that transform the status quo is not work that we do alone. We are grateful for the support, guidance and accountability that our extended team, board members and collaborators bring to Groundswell.

Image of Lily Manhas (dog), pawsitivity coordinator at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Lily Manhas

PAWSITIVITY COORDINATOR

Therapy dog and nap advocate; occasional co-facilitator at Groundswell.

Image of Elena Yugai, advisor at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Elena Yugai

ADVISOR

Social venture and impact investing advisor; Director at National Social Value Fund.

Image of Mercedes Baines, Advisor at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Mercedes Baines

ADVISOR

Psychotherapist and group counsellor; Owner of Mind in Body Integrated Counselling.

Image of Sangeeta Subramanian, board member at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Sangeeta Subramanian

BOARD MEMBER

Governance and equity, diversity & inclusion consultant; Owner of Chetana Consulting.

Image of Elysia Glover, board member at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Elysia Glover

BOARD MEMBER

Community economic development practitioner; Executive Director at Community Micro Lending.

Image of J Wan, board member at Groundswell Alternative Business School

J Wan

BOARD MEMBER

Immigration and recruitment advisor; Alum of Groundswell.

Image of Hurriya Burney, board member at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Hurriya Burney

BOARD MEMBER

Leadership and diversity & inclusion advocate; VP Commercial Banking at RBC.

Image of Irina McKenzie, board member at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Irina McKenzie

BOARD MEMBER

Circular economy advocate and Founder of Fabcycle; Alum of Groundswell.

Image of Gillian Cofsky, bookkeeper & accountant at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Gillian Cofsky

BOOKKEEPER & ACCOUNTANT

Finance and operations for non-profits & charities; Founder of Make It Count.

Image of Mhairi Petrovic, web designer at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Mhairi Petrovic

WEB DESIGN

Digital Marketing and SEO; Owner of Out-Smarts Marketing.

Image of Trudi Goels & Nadine Nakagawa, communications and PR at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Trudi Goels & Nadine Nakagawa

Communications & PR

Communications and media strategists; Co-Owners of Ablaze Services.

Image of Sketch of Giulia Bonforte, designer at Groundswell Alternative Business School

Giulia Bonforte

ILLUSTRATOR

Designer, illustrator and freelance creative.

THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS AND FUNDERS WHO SUPPORT GROUNDSWELL

Vancouver foundation logo
Canada
Vancity logo
Community Futures Entrepreneurs logo
Central City Foundation logo
Robert L Conconi Foundation logo
Sketch of laptop with open screen showing Groundswell website with text “Put your values to work”

We’ll keep you posted on events, new program dates, resources, and ways of putting your values to work.