Meet the 2018-19 Build cohort!

These heart driven individuals are working together to realize the change they want to make in the world through the social enterprises they are creating.
Stay up to date with their journey in the student blog.

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Bretton Hills

For the last few years I have moved around the world and built community wherever I went, but left before I could make a meaningful contribution. I have been in Vancouver for the last 20-months, and want to build a more meaningful relationship to my community. I work for an engineering firm focused on industrial development; my role is to help with the design and construction planning of these projects to include social and environmental design criteria. But I want to work to have net positive at the end of the day. I am passionate about the ocean, and environment, about protecting marine and terrestrial mega fauna, and finding inclusive solutions - where the woke make room for the waking.

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Colienne Regout

I grew up in Belgium. Since I was a little girl, I have been diverting objects from everyday use to create, play and express myself. Thanks to these kind of shifts, the world around me became the realm of all possibilities. Nature was playing a lead role. Still today, I need to connect to her; whether it's gardening on urban farms or singing in the rain with my little boy.

My background in sustainable development and sharing economy drive me to sharp people’s awareness about sustainable concepts and practices. They are present all around us and they mainly involve a change of perspective. My challenge today is to make it enthralling and vivid!

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Courtney Pankratz

I care about the type of communities that we live in. Because of this, I have worked alongside marginalized and vulnerably housed persons to challenge institutional structures that limit opportunity and access to basic needs, such as stable, affordable housing. I believe in using research as a tool to mobilize change and, as a community-based researcher, am dedicated to addressing the needs of our communities through collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and evidence based practice. My passion is to find a way to bring people together to work on community projects and support organizations to evaluate the impact of their initiatives as part of their commitment to growth and the people they serve.


Daniela Guerrero-Rodriguez

My passion is for community wellness through the arts. Since childhood I have always understood the value of community collaboration and how this contributes to wellbeing, and have used arts and crafts for my own self care. For over 20 years I have been working with people that struggle with mental health, homelessness and poverty, both locally and internationally. In my travels I found the power of art in creating dialogue, understanding and action. I returned to Vancouver after being away for almost 11 years, and I discovered that I was missing some of the arts and culture that many of my other neighbourhoods had. I knew Vancouver was going to be my home for the next while, so I was determined to create the community I missed. I moved downtown, joined the WE Arts Society and began a Masters in Arts for Social Change. I would like to have a business or non-profit that supports local artists in contributing to their communities to effect social change and perhaps policy change.

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Darice Page

I am passionate about bringing people and lively minds together. I am called to service and believe it is an art. I am guided by the rhythm of the changing seasons. My home is full of love and expression. My partner is the finest human I could imagine, my brilliant children charm and challenge. I live life with heightened senses, attuned to smells, tastes, moods, needs. I am deeply contemplative, observant, intentional, emotional, empathic. I am an upstanding non-conformist and committed free-spirit, a voracious reader and dreamer. I'm motivated each day to nourish our communities and planet. Hospitality is a way of life for me, our collective health a natural driver.

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Elisa Lee

I have been promoting people’s personal development in collaboration with nature for the past 15 years and find deep meaning in helping others discover their innate potential. I'm a lifelong student of ceremony, conscious communication and Mystery which are all implemented in my roles as an ecological educator, gender empowerment guide, vision quest guide, and self-care facilitator. My current focus is on women’s rites of passage and through Groundswell, I hope to develop my newest offering: Fire & Flower, a coming-of-age mentorship & ceremonial program for girls.Besides practicing the art of getting lost in nature, I sing in the Woodwards Community Choir and offer community grief rituals.


Gabby Villasenor

There are primarily two principles that drive me: connection and uncertainty. I can spend hours connecting with people, chatting about what lights their heart on fire and their purpose - people really do fill my cup up. I've taken a lot of leaps the past few months and it scares the hell out of me - and for some reason, I can't stop. I've left jobs, started new ones, created my own company, and I'm loving every minute of it. My purpose is to leave my heart and mind in as many places as possible - well travelled, well loved, and well versed in people's stories.

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grey aigéan

I’m a settler of Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian descent who was born and raised on the unceded and occupied territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, in Vancouver. I grew up in Southeast Vancouver in a working class family and did some more growing up in Montréal and Toronto as an adult before finding my way back home. As a queer non-binary person I’ve focused on building community primarily in East Van. I’ve spent time volunteering in the queer community, which included co-organizing a bi-monthly dance party. I’ve spent time working in the Craft Beer industry and have a deep passion for all things fermented and cultured, and maintain a vegan practice. In recent years I’ve worked as a Graphic Designer and Digital Prepress Operator and have a Communication Design Essentials Certificate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and BCIT. The last few years of working in Print Production really focused my awareness on the impacts that that industry has on worker health and the environment. That realization motivated me to take new steps towards discovering a more meaningful source of employment through entrepreneurship and building partnerships between my community and communities in need. I’m curious about exploring the intersections between Food Justice, Social Justice, and exciting tasty plant-based food.

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Jack Goihman

Hi, my name is Jack, I am originally an Agriculture Engineer from Venezuela, an now working as a Project Manager in Vancouver, and I am grateful for the opportunity to help others achieve their goals.

I am interested in food systems, as a way to convey business-for-good to the greater community of BC. I am reaching for a more responsible and healthy food industry.


Jacquelynn Papineau

The best part of my day is my ride to (and from) work. I have spent the better part of my life on a bike; touring, commuting,hauling cargo or just seeing where the path leads. I became interested in health and nutrition in my late 20' and shortly after aware of the environmental implications of the decisions I was making. Now I hope to combine all of those in a platform to allow everyone a good meal on the trail, whatever their dietary needs or preferences. I am always talking about food or some adventure I went on in the hopes of inspiring them to eat well and explore!


Jill Binder

People’s voices is a passion of mine. I am leading the Diversity Outreach Speaker Training team in WordPress, which encourages women and other underrepresented groups around the world to speak at WordPress events. This is volunteer work and I am looking forward to seeing how I can make this a sustainable career and make a bigger difference with it in the world.

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Marcel Sangsari

Marcel Sangsari is a writer, personal historian & Lifewriting teacher who completed a Journalism Fellowship at the University of Toronto. His works are published in the Globe and Mail, CBC News, Corporate Knights Magazine and Maisonneuve Magazine. Inspired by the hidden potential he sees in each person, Marcel strives to help individuals and organizations discover their unique voice and tell their stories. Marcel earned a BA (UBC) and a MA (Carleton University), studying politics, ethics and inter-generational justice.

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Mark Ellis

I care about creating inclusive communities and opportunities for disenfranchised individuals to develop and flourish. I recently worked on a research project aiming to support individuals transition out of homelessness, and previously helped provide free badminton coaching to impoverished youth in London for several years. I enjoy many types of games, with my main passions being board games and badminton. I am currently building a community board game design and playtesting meetup group in Vancouver, and hope this will enable myself and other members to co-create and publish board games, with a long-term view to extending opportunity for game playing and game design in the community.

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Miri Malkin

I believe that well-being is the foundation from where we can grow, take care of ourselves and others - which then leads to building strong communities.
I’m a hypnotherapist who wants to promote a mind-body approach that is positive, non-pharmacological and empowering the person to make better decisions.
I work with and support children and their families as well with adults mainly on issues around anxiety and chronic states, where I help them to rewire their mind.
My vision is that the medical professional will promote holistic approaches rather then prescribe medication as a default.

Meet other Groundswellians!

Click the image above to meet our alumni who have build their social ventures with Groundswell.