As Grace Lee Boggs has taught us, "In order to change the world, we must change ourselves." This course is about leadership from the inside out. Surrounded by like-minded (and like-hearted) peers and facilitators, you'll dig deep into your lived experience, unlearn harmful systemic narratives on work, and relearn to express yourself through your values, strengths, and what matters to you.
We invite you to step into the gap between where you are and where you want to be. You'll uncover alternative ways of leading, relating, managing, and creating value through practical tools and exercises. You'll also learn to compassionately work with your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours as you navigate this transition. Most importantly, we'll help you to see that everything you have lived has value.
This is a fully-facilitated, immersive online course where we come together for twice-weekly evening sessions on Tuesdays & Thursdays (6-9:30pm PT) for 4 weeks (September 14 - October 7). You'll be guided through an intentional sequence of interactive workshops, personal reflections, and small group discussions, each part building upon the previous ones. We also incorporate mindfulness and energizer breaks to keep the screen fatigue at bay and support you in feeling present.
Each cohort is limited to 16 participants to cultivate a supportive small group experience. You can enroll below to save your spot and you'll get access to the online course platform one week before the course starts. In addition to each session's content, reflection prompts and homework activities will be shared between sessions on this platform. You'll have access to the content for one year.
Our team of facilitators is here to help you put your values to work. Collectively we have decades of experience in facilitating inclusive programs for leadership, social entrepreneurship, and local economic development. We ground our teachings in personal practice and lived experience, with proven tools and approaches for creating personal and systemic change.
Vidya Crawley (centre) is our CEO and Lead Educator. They create thoughtful experiences, practices, and cultures to make business and work more human. Samita Manhas (right) is our Director of Programs. She advocates for collective care and space for folks to show up as they are. Paola Qualizza (left) is our Director of Ecosystem Development. She encourages us to cultivate the connections between our minds, bodies, and environments.
Beginning the Journey Towards Purpose
Realign With Why You Do What You Do
Living True To Your Values
The Course You Didn't Know You Needed
Supportive and Insightful
Radically Changed How I Work
An Asset to the World
More Possibilities Than I Had Imagined
Impressed with the Online Format
Who takes this course?
Leadership for Social Change brings together folks from many different backgrounds, lived experiences, and stages of life and career. This includes those working in the non-profit and social sector, community organizers and activists, social entrepreneurs, recent graduates, and those in mid or late career wanting to shift their work towards social change. Established leaders who want to create more inclusive and values-aligned cultures for their teams and organizations are also welcome. Many of our alumni are from racialized, gender-diverse, and LGBTQIA2S+ communities, ranging in age from 22 to 60!
What happens in a typical session?
In each session, you'll be supported by Groundswell's team of facilitators and your cohort of peers through an intentional sequence of interactive workshops, guided personal reflection, and small group discussions, each one building upon the previous ones. We’ll incorporate mindfulness and energizer breaks to keep the screen fatigue at bay and support you in feeling present. You can come as you are and we'll often remind you to do what you need to be comfortable, including the option to have video off for some parts of the sessions.
How many hours is the course?
The 4-week course includes a total of 26 instructional hours, offered in two formats. The first format is 4 weekly full-day sessions from 9:30-5:30pm PT (including a 90-minute lunch break). The second format is 8 twice-weekly evening sessions from 6-9:30pm PT (including a shorter break).
How much time should I expect to spend on the course outside of class?
You can expect to spend 2-3 hours a week outside of class time on course-related activities, including spending time with reflection prompts that we provide, some assignments, and your own self-directed learning and unlearning. There are no grades or marks here!
How many people will be in the course?
We limit each cohort to 16 participants to cultivate a supportive small group experience. You'll get to know each other while sharing, discussing, and reflecting on what comes up in the course. We'll also create a private chat group so you can support and encourage each other during and after the course.
What if I have to miss a session?
Sessions are not normally recorded, though if you let us know in advance that you'll miss a session, in most cases we can record it for you to watch later. You can also schedule a one-on-one call with a facilitator if you have any questions. Note that a significant part of the course experience is interacting with your peers in small group discussions, which aren't recorded.
What do you mean by 'unlearning'?
Doing the work of social change requires us to be open to change ourselves. This involves not only learning more concepts and skills, but also unlearning the systemic narratives that we have internalized. We'll meet you where you're at in doing this work, and invite you to our community agreements which include honouring your own and each other's lived experience. Then we can start to collectively relearn ways of working and relating that shift the status quo.
This course sounds really personal...how much am I expected to share?
We approach leadership from the inside-out. Our curriculum and sessions are rooted in social emotional learning (more on that in the course!) and acknowledging that we learn more about ourselves in the presence of others. We'll support you in digging deep though you'll have choice in how much of that you share. On the occasions where you don't feel like sharing as much, you'll benefit from witnessing your peers in a shared learning environment. Our community agreements include mutual confidentiality when sharing personal experiences.
What is the registration process? Do I have to apply?
There is no application process to enroll in our Leadership for Social Change course. If you feel like this is the right course for you, that you are open to unlearning and relearning, and that you want to do this with a group of peers (also known as a cohort), you are welcome to enroll here. If you are not able to enroll on this page it may mean that the cohort is full and we may be able to add you to a waitlist. Email us at email@example.com for support.
What forms of payment do you accept?
You can pay either full tuition or subsidized tuition (see Choose Your Tuition section above) via credit card or PayPal. There is also an option to spread out the subsidized tuition fees into 3 monthly payments, which are also via credit card or PayPal. If you need support with this or want to chat about other forms of payment, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I access professional development funds to cover my tuition?
Your employer (even if you aren't working there full-time) may have a professional development or training budget that can cover your tuition fees. Sometimes this is available through a personal benefits plan as well. If you'd like some help in approaching your employer about this, email us at email@example.com and we can send you a course outline and some language you can use in your request.
Are there bursaries available to cover tuition fees?
As a registered charity, Groundswell Education Society is able to receive funding to offer programming with subsidized tuition fees to make self-employment, entrepreneurship, and alternative futures of work more accessible. If the subsidized tuition is not an option for you, we do have a few full bursaries available in each cohort. Bursaries are prioritized for folks at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and class, who face systemic barriers and are historically underrepresented in business and leadership. At times we also work with partner organizations who provide bursaries. You can fill out the contact form at courses.groundswellschool.com to let us know you're interested.
What kind of organization is Groundswell?
Groundswell provides alternative education that centers its students' lived experience, challenges harmful systems, and builds collective power to change the status quo. We have a dual structure of registered charity (Groundswell Education Society) and non-profit organization (that delivers this course). This structure allows us to access funding that keeps our programming accessible to folks who are underrepresented in business and leadership, while enabling us be responsive to our students' needs with our program design and delivery. You can learn more about us and our approach at www.groundswellschool.com