Meet Melanie Matining, Groundswell board member

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.

Meet Mark Dance, Groundswell Advisor & Director

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.

Meet David LePage, Groundswell mentor and educator

For two years, David provided guidance and an immense portfolio of experience in social enterprise to our cohorts as the lead educator of Groundswell's BUILD program.  But, he's a man in demand, and transitioned into a mentor role as his responsibilities in the sector grew with new local and national level projects. As he likes to say, being re-tired just means getting tired again.  David seems to have never ending energy whether he's influencing Canadian policy or running his regular 10K route in East Van. Thank you for investing so much of that energy in Groundswell, David!


David LePage is the founder of Accelerating Social Impact CCC, Ltd. (ASI CCC), one of Canada’s first incorporated social purpose corporations. Through ASI 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.  To promote the demand side of the social enterprise market place David is a co-founder and director of Buy Social Canada.

He has shared his knowledge and experience across private, public and community sectors, in rural and urban communities and across multiple cultures. His experience includes designing and advising on social impact business models, strategy and financing; public policy; and supporting effective operations and governance. His current engagements represent a spectrum of major corporations, social enterprises, small businesses, governments and non-profit organizations.

David is a Principal in the Social Enterprise Institute and a Program Adjunct and Professional Advisory Committee, Sandermoen School of Business MBA in Social Enterprise Leadership.

David’s community engagement activities include:

·      Chair of the Social Enterprise Council of Canada

·      Chair, Social Enterprise World Forum Board of Directors

·      Member, Board of Directors Vancouver Farmers’ Market

·      Member, Canadian CED Network Policy Council,

·      Member, Imagine Canada’s Advisory Committee

·      Member, British Columbia Partners for Social Impact



Meet Paola Qualizza, Groundswell's mama bear

Paola brings her experience and interests in new economic models, permaculture, and public space together to build the vibrant ecosystem that is Groundswell’s community.  As our Managing Director, Paola is involved across all aspects of Groundswell's programming and community, hosting our events, coordinating cohorts and supporting the big vision of Groundswell.  She oversees the complex weaving of Groundswell's work, making sure things are running smoothly and that people feel happy and at home at Groundswell.

 Paola has always sought to push the realm of possibilities and is driven by values of common good and equity. She co-founded a Vancouver community currency called Seedstock in 2012, and was co-director of the second annual Living the New Economy Convergence in 2013.  She is a regular panelist and speaker on topics of economic change and community building in the city.  

Paola has been Chair of the Vancouver Public Space Network since 2015 and sits on several City of Vancouver Civic Committees where she advocates for social justice, inclusivity, and a more fun urban experience.  

Group mentorship session 

Group mentorship session 

Paola is a strong believer in the power of relocalization and an entrepreneurial spirit (aka creativity and action) to create a regenerative, people-first economy.  She has a BA Hons from Simon Fraser University in Human Geography and is dedicated to continue her education on the ground and outside of the traditional ivory tower.

Paola loves her job because she loves working side by side with people who are mobilizing the possibilities of alternative economies and building the better world we all know is possible.