The start of the Ecosocial Design cohort is always a special time of year for us at Gaia University. The rush of last minute sign-ups, the energy of a fresh group of brilliant minds and open hearts, the synchronicity and connections made across the planet as strangers become family. This year’s Fall Cohort has been all of this and more. We’ve been enamored by the diversity of character and backgrounds our student associates have joined us from, while collaborating together to ignite some very interesting conversations and even the seeds of a few new projects!
We would like to share a little bit of this special magic with you, and so here we feature some of our newest members. We wish we could write about every single associate that has joined us as every one of them brings something extraordinary to the table; but you’ll have to join us and meet them for yourself!
Leanne Alaman – Embodied Contribution
Leanne is a Restorative Justice Facilitator, Diversity, Equity And Inclusion (DEI) Trainer, and Leadership Coach. Leanne was a key player in the launch of Youth Empowered Action Camp and Creative Strategies for Change, providing coaching to the founders during the emotionally and logistically challenging startup phase.
She began her coaching career through Landmark World-wide’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program coaching emerging leaders to transform their humanitarian visions into tangible projects that benefit their communities. Since then she has worked with hundreds of emerging leaders and leadership coaches to amplify their confidence, strengthen their ability to lead and expand their capacity to produce breakthrough results.
Leanne is currently coaching emerging leaders to get their projects out of their heads and into the world and to design a model of a regenerative workplace. To eliminate burnout, overcome individualism, create safe workplaces for all humans, and be enlivened by our work, we need more than just perspective shifts as individuals, we need new systems.
Eduardo Terzidis – Engineering Regeneration
My name is Eduardo Terzidis, I am 27 years old and I am an Italian-Brazilian born in Italy. I grew up on a farm just outside of Rome and moved into the city when I was 8 years old. At the moment I have no real home as I am moving around the globe on a journey that started about 5 years ago.
When I graduated as an engineer I wanted to help the world cope with the modern environmental crisis and I decided to become a researcher to pursue this edge. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was not actually having the impact I had desired, since all that mattered was how many papers I could publish and how much money I could bring in.
That’s when I decided to look for ways of living that resonated with who I am at a deeper level and what I believed in, and set off on a journey of exploration. The result of this journey has been understanding how important it is to work from the ground up, taking transformative action at the community level.
Joining Gaia U has been the first step for me to integrate who I was with what I am now and it is opening the doors for so many opportunities!
Suzanne Grieger- Transformative Integration
I am Suzanne, 41 years old, and I live in the Netherlands. Until 2009, I had a classic corporate career in marketing & sales, and thereafter worked as a coach and trainer in the field of personal development. During the last 10 years I have detached myself more and more from social (and inner?) expectations and become more concerned with the question of what I can do to make the world a little more beautiful – for our generation and those to come.
I am the mother of four children and am currently involved in developing a newly founded alternative school in an ecovillage. In four years I want to be able to take over a farm with my husband and transform it into a permaculture community. I am convinced that Gaia U will provide me with the essential knowledge and a supporting network for this mission.
Silvina Miguel – Regenerative Local Food Systems
I was born in Buenos Aires Argentina in 1970. I was a journalist for 25 years, working mostly as a creative writer and radio producer, until I decided that I wanted reinvent myself completely. I landed in Bali for the first time, in 2015 to start fresh. During my time volunteering I discovered Permaculture and accidentally found a new philosophy for life that I did not know I was looking for.
I became a Permaculture Designer in 2016 after studying at Casa El Manzano, an Ecovillage created by a wonderful group of people. Since then I’ve been collaborating with Emas Hitam Indonesia – an NGO created to provide regenerative solutions to poverty and development, and Slow Food Bali advocating for Good – Clean – Fair food. I’ve also been developing Ancut Garden, Emas Hitam Indonesia’s site.
It’s been quite a roller-coaster but I’m very proud of us for trying. We have been hosting a weekly program called “Permaculture Garden Day” since 2016 that has attracted hundreds of people. EHI has been blessed with grants for us to create a composting facility and provide training for farmers on regenerative practices.
Gaia U has had a profound impact on how I look at our Ancut Garden project now and how we can develop it using new tools and incorporating innovative practices. I have been learning invaluable tools for mapping our ideas, but also I have been blessed with a group of classmates and mentors that nurture me and my project with information and support.
Every webinar with this awesome cohort has been deeply nourishing for us as staff and facilitators. I take special pleasure in seeing the lively debate, support and brainstorming which happens between meetings. It’s invigorating to see such bright minds from different fields, lifestyles and backgrounds collaborating and conversing on the world’s biggest challenges in a deeply authentic way. We are all looking forward to seeing them and their projects grow and thrive into the future.
Would you like to join this resilient community supporting regenerative changemakers to pursue their deepest calling? Explore our programs & find out about our next cohort start date!