Role Models

There is nothing so easy to learn as experience and nothing so hard to apply. – Josh Billings

You may wonder why mentors are an integral part of the Co-Create program. The answer will become clear when you find that the mentors who are part of our program are innovators and problem-solvers who found unique solutions to perennial problems. Their mantra was simple – to try and move forward, not without the absence of fear but with courage and determination. 

Meet our Mentors

Ankush Rana, Owner of Zostel and Zostel 2.0, Bir, Himachal Pradesh

The first time you meet Ankush, you’ll be taken in by the aura of calm and serenity that surrounds him. A native of Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh, he was born in Delhi in 1984. Since he was young, Ankush was driven by a need to go back to his roots and spent his youth in the hope of making Himachal home again. 

After an unsatisfactory nine-year stint in the corporate world, Ankush made his way back home in 2015 to Bir. Bir, then an obscure village known only for paragliding, found a place on the traveller’s map. Ankush collaborated with Zostel and opened the first Zostel in Himachal Pradesh and the first one in a village. Zostel made way for travellers and backpackers who wanted to explore the village and the local culture. 

Ankush hugely contributed in building a community of digital nomads, entrepreneurs and fuelled local tourism. His vision is simple and unassuming. He made reverse immigration, sustainable tourism a possibility and has been instrumental in aligning the local community. Ankush is one of the first few people who saw the potential in Bir and his journey is as informative as it is inspiring. Our Co-Create program thrives because we bring together dreamers who are doers. And Ankush is the perfect example of someone who made things possible. 

Ankush says that he chose to be foolish and followed only one mantra “I don’t believe in taking right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right.” The originator of the mantra is Ratan Tata, an inspiration in himself.

Gaurav Manti Kushwaha, Owner at Musafir Cafe and Founder of Musicathon

Gaurav Manti Kushwaha, is the creative soul behind Bir’s first music festival, Musicathon and the owner of Musafir Cafe. He came to Bir to find respite from the corporate life and ended up calling the mountains home. His efforts have helped in bringing together a community of musicians while also nurturing the local music scene. A one-man army, Gaurav tapped local resources, collaborated with brands and is now on a journey to make the fourth edition of Musicathon a success.

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