University College | Faculty of Arts & Science
Honours Bachelor of Arts (HBA) 2011
David Berkal is an entrepreneur who got his start with a unique travel company.
Today, David is the CEO of Medicat, the number 1 patient health management system in the college health market, but his career began when he founded Operation Groundswell, a social enterprise that offers genuine, ethical and affordable volunteer programs overseas. He also co-founded the Canadian Roots Exchange, which brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth on road trips that engage with the teachings of Canada's Indigenous peoples.
While CEO, Berkal said this of Operation Groundswell: "We do backpacking with a purpose. We engage in the culture, and have a genuine experience mixed with important community-requested projects. We travel off the beaten track, not the typical guidebook thing."
Berkal travelled to Ghana in 2007 to design the volunteer program. Operation Groundswell is now in its 12th year and runs programs all over the world. The organization raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for critical on-the-ground projects.
"Mostly I got involved in university life to meet fellow students. I also cared about creating a better environment in the programs I was part of," said Berkal, who earned his MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
In 2011, Berkal was the Valedictorian of the Next 36 Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute, a tech-based incubator for 36 undergraduate students from across Canada that consists of academic and personal mentorship from some of Canada's top business leaders. He was also awarded the Dean's Student Leadership Award, U of T's most prestigious leadership award, given to only one student each year.
Published Nov. 28, 2013