Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia Okanagan
As a postdoc in 2016, with leaders from the University of Victoria and Interior Health, Sana spearheaded the creation of a novel role to help bridge the gap between research knowledge and implementation within the health system. Sana is now the Embedded Health Equity Scholar with Interior Health, and has been integral in moving health equity action forward across the organization. Her role helps IH consider how to implement equity from senior leadership to front line She also collaborated with the City of Kelowna on their award-winning healthy housing strategy and is also currently supporting them (with her colleague) to develop an equity framework for City planning, in addition to her various consulting roles within our community.
Sana joined the School of Nursing at UBCO as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in July 2019 as their first non-nurse faculty hire where she led her own research program, the PHAIRNESS Lab. Sana is also a Collaborating Scientist with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research and a co-owner of Pivot Rx pharmacy in Vernon that is redefining the role of pharmacy in delivering luxury care at a value price.
Sana leads (co-leads) various projects/initiatives to advance equitable health outcomes at a systems-level, including:
Through Sana’s board role on Lake Country Health Society, she was instrumental to securing a Community Health Centre for the community from the Ministry of Health. As a business owner, Sana and her team are leading the way on what socially minded entrepreneurship embedded in community care can look like.
She is the Vice-President of the Lake Country Health Board and an advisory board member to the National Collaborating Centre of Determinants of Health. Sana previously served on the board for West Coast Leaf to increase representation from the Interior region for this impressive organization! Her entire research program is based on the model of scholarly activism to help transform systems to work better for all of us.
Sana has an extensive education history including:
Sana has also received recognition for her work through various awards including:
Partner, Pushor Mitchell LLP
Colin has been a lawyer since 2011 and originally began his legal career in Vancouver before moving back to his hometown of Kelowna in 2016. He primarily focuses on workplace law and assisting businesses in navigating employment, human rights, labour, workers compensation, occupational health and safety, and privacy laws. Colin’s family has resided in Kelowna since the 1930’s and he is proud to contribute to his home community. As a workplace lawyer, he has been the first point of contact for many Central Okanagan businesses who – since March 2020 – have struggled with the constantly changing laws pertaining to the workplace. Colin takes great comfort in knowing that he has helped many businesses to stay afloat and has given them peace of mind during these particularly challenging times.
Colin recently joined the partnership at Pushor Mitchell LLP and, in that role, provides leadership throughout the firm. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Okanagan College Foundation since 2017 and has been a member of its Executive Committee since 2021. Colin is also a former board member of the Canadian Bar Association Employment Law Group, a former executive member of the Vancouver Bar Association and Director of the Vancouver Squash League. Outside of the office, he does his best to provide “leadership” with his 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.
As a member of the Okanagan College Foundation Board of Directors, Colin currently acts as Chair of the foundation’s Governance Committee. The Okanagan College Foundation raises and manages private resources for the development and expansion of educational programs, services, capital projects and student financial aid through scholarships, bursaries, and grants. Colin also frequently volunteers his time with the Chartered Professional in Human Resources to provide free webinars and presentations to its members.
Colin received his Juris Doctor from the University of Victoria and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Calgary. Colin was also the first Student Council President of Anne McClymont when it opened in the mid-90s
Realtor & Artist, Jurome Real Estate Group, Macdonald Realty Kelowna
As an avid skier, boater, ironman athlete, surfer, realtor & landscape artist, "Action Jaxon" Jurome loves living in the Okanagan and has a gift for helping people buy & sell a lifestyle that is unlike anywhere else in the world! Born & raised in Kelowna, BC, Jaxon is a 3rd generation real estate agent & associate broker working throughout the Central Okanagan co-founding the Jurome Real Estate Group with his father, David Jurome in 2017. Together, they help people with all aspects of residential real estate from luxury homes to acreages to single family and strata properties. Jaxon is also an award-winning landscape artist who draws inspiration from the power of nature. Through his connections in the real estate industry and natural talents as an artist, Jaxon has been able to use his creativity and people skills to bring the community together and give back through numerous charity events & campaigns that often revolve around art, mental health and physical wellbeing as a passionate ultra-athlete, businessperson & renown local artist!
As the president of the of the Central Okanagan Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists, Jaxon helped lead one of Canada's largest groups of artists (160 members!), joining the executive board in 2018 and putting his expertise to use applying for grants, city cultural projects and organizing shows/events with the incredible executive team that represents and advocates for the promotion of visual arts in the community. He also works with other charity groups, and his personal Masterpieces for Mental health campaign have been instrumental at raising funds and raising awareness for mental health initiatives in the community during difficult times, especially when there are still many stigmas getting broken down regarding mental health. Jaxon’s leadership as an award-winning realtor has also allowed him to help hundreds of clients navigate the challenging real estate market since he first became licensed in 2016. Providing the highest levels of integrity for his clients and the industry, he has recently completed his Associate Broker credentials to improve the services he can provide while pursuing leadership in this field.
Jaxon is heavily involved in the community, including with the following organizations and initiatives:
-Community Partner of CMHA Kelowna donating a portion of his artwork sales to Mental Health & raising awareness through Masterpieces for Mental
-Community Partner/Promoter for the Cycle for Strong Kids YMCA (which raised $65,000 in 2021 despite being virtual)
-Annual YMCA Golf Committee Chair raising over $70,000 in 2021 for kids & families to have access to childcare/programs regardless of financial background
-President of the Federation of Canadian Artists Central Okanagan Chapter (exec member 2018-2021): organizing shows, events & grant writing for artists throughout Okanagan including the Almost Spring Show raising $2500 for CMHA Kelowna 2021
-Supporter of Hope Outreach Gala 2021
-Supporter of Gospel Mission helping them reach over $150,000 during 2021 Christmas campaign via pledges
-Ultra athlete that looks to inspire community to get active and push mental & physical boundaries through numerous fitness pursuits (i.e. Calendar Club Challenge: 1 mile for each calendar day Dec 2020.)
-Run to Guatemala: running a 1/2 marathon per day for 1 month to raise funds for families in Guatemala via the Hearts & Hands Foundation
Jaxon received a Bachelor of Science degree UBC Okanagan Major in Earth Science Minor in Economics. He is a Licensed Realtor and Associate Broker with Macdonald Realty, completing educational requirements through UBC Sauder's Real Estate Division. Jaxon has also completed his Master Certified Negotiation Expert, MCNE designation. He is also a juried "Active Member" of the Federation of Canadian Artists as a self-taught landscape artist.
Jaxon has received numerous accolades including:
-Nominee: CANADIAN REALTORS CARE® AWARD 2021
-Ironman 70.3 World Championships Qualifier & Finisher 2019
-Macdonald Realty's President's Club 2017, 2018, 2020
-Macdonald Realty's Chairmans Roundtable 2019
-Numerous art show awards for landscape paintings at FCA
-Central Okanagan juried shows
-2010 Olympic Torch Bearer for athletic pursuits in freestyle skiing!
Partner/Lawyer, Benson Law LLP
Navjit was born and raised in the Okanagan and is closely connected with the community. Being a women of Punjabi heritage, growing up, she didn’t have many role models that she could easily relate to in the Okanagan. However, Navjit is honoured when individuals, particularly when Punjabi women reach out to tell her that she has inspired them to pursue their careers/goals. Navjit joined Benson Law LLP as an articling student in July 2018, and she was admitted as a Lawyer to the BC Bar Association in July 2019, promoted to Partner as of January 2022. Her practice areas are Property Law, Commercial/Corporate Law and Wills and Estates Law.
Leadership is an important part of her role as a Lawyer and a member of the larger community. Navjit’s most recent experience of leadership is in her current role as the head of HR in the office. She always tries to lead by example, with humility and by keeping an open line of communication. It is very important to her to help guide others to their fullest potential and this is something that she truly enjoys.
She is part of organizations such as The East Meets West Foundation, Khalsa Aid International, and the Uptown Rutland Business Association. Her focus is to always to bring a diverse perspective and to create a greater sense of inclusion for members of various communities and stakeholders of these organizations.
Her highest level of education is a Juris Doctor of Law with Distinction. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Major in Philosophy.
Navjit is reportedly the first Lawyer in Canada, perhaps North America, to be sworn in as a Lawyer in a Sikh Gurdwara. Normally this would happen at a law office or a courthouse. Her promotion as a Partner is a great honor and she always had full intentions of working hard towards this goal but is ecstatic to have achieved this goal at the beginning of her career. For Navjit, to be considered a role model in her community is her greatest honor.
Owner/Operator, H&H Custom Homes
Born and raised in West Kelowna, Jeff went off to Vancouver to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC’s Sauder School of business. After graduating with honors, he moved back to Kelowna and started a new company while working toward earning his residential builder’s license. Jeff and his family had owned some land in the Smith Creek area for many years and it was his goal to help sub-divide said land, build out the homes and create an upscale new neighborhood that they could be proud of. Since 2008 Jeff has built and sold nearly 100 homes in not just the Smith Creek area, but throughout the entire Okanagan. During that time, he has been honored with prestigious building awards and have earned accreditation from the mayor on several occasions. In 2019 Jeff incorporated a second company, called “Okanagan Infill” which is going to specialize in building density-driven structures in a city that so needs it.
A company is only as good as the people who embody the mission of the organization. Once per month Jeff arranges a staff function where everyone gets paid to come and eat, do team-building exercises, and let him ask for any feedback on what he can be doing better as a leader. If his employees show initiative to further their education, they need only ask. Jeff’s team recently enrolled their executive assistant, Rae Dobbin in Okanagan College’s interior decorating program, which will expand her skillset and bring further value to their clients. We have sponsored seven employees through the ITA as apprentices, three of which have achieved their journeyman red seal (RSE) certificates. His team also helped one exemplary employee start and finance his own company. Jeff can proudly say Kyle with Precise Exteriors is one of his team’s best subtrades.
As the leader of a growing and successful local company, Jeff understands the importance of giving back. His team donated a weekend in September by collecting food donations for the BC Thanksgiving food drive. The drive raised over 8,800 lbs of food and supported hundreds of less fortunate families. They have already committed to help again next year. For the Christmas season Jeff and his team sponsor families in need and create Christmas Hampers with customized gifts and groceries. Their Project Superintendent Cam Humphrey volunteers his time after work coaching two different West Kelowna Minor Hockey teams, the West Kelowna “Wolves” initiation team the “Sharks” novice team. H&H Custom Homes proudly sponsors both teams to help with league and travel fees.
In 2008 Jeff became a Graduate of the Bachelor of Commerce program, with Honors at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. In 2011 Jeff also became a Graduate of the Real Estate Trading Services Program, at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. Since then, he has nearly earned “Master Builder” status through the Canadian Home Building Association (CHBA) continued education initiative.
Jeff’s company, H&H Custom Homes has been fortunate enough to have been nominated for Six ‘Okanagan Housing Awards of Excellence’ and have been awarded four of those, winning Gold status in the following categories, including Excellence in Renovation from $250,000-400,000 (2019), Excellence in Master Suite Design (2021), Excellence in Single Family Detached Home $1,000,000-1,500,000 (2021) and Excellence in Any Room (2021). These awards are highly coveted and only given to builders that are on the cutting edge of design, while also executing a top-quality product.
Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia Okanagan
Laura acquired her Masters and PhD at UBC Okanagan under the supervision of a world renowned cancer prevention researcher, which has led Laura to her current position as an Assistant Professor at UBC Okanagan’s School of Nursing. Her research program is focused on understanding and addressing the current landscape of tobacco use, which includes the rapid uptake of e-cigarettes among young Canadians. Initial research projects in this area, grounded in collaboration with Okanagan partners and youth, are the foundation for advancing and innovating tobacco control efforts on a national level. In other words, some of the most exciting developments in this field started with the voices of Okanagan youth.
She has been actively involved in engaging the Okanagan community as it relates to her research. In addition to presenting her work at schools and community events, she has also formed partnerships with organizations that are committed to launching more meaningful initiatives to support youth. Key partners in this work include the BC Lung Foundation, Interior Health, Westbank First Nation, and Legacy for Airway Health. These partnerships are key to success in achieving their national goal of less than 5% tobacco use by 2035, and their role in driving this work, and engaging youth, cannot be underestimated. The community and province have so much to contribute in relation to improving tobacco control efforts, and Laura is excited to get to be a part of it and facilitate getting the word out so that efforts not only improve in the community, but also in BC and Canada. This has already begun, and youth in the Okanagan are working towards developing e-cigarette prevention messages that resonate with them on social media.
Laura is currently leading several research projects with funding support by CIHR, the Ministry of Health through the BC Lung Foundation, and the University of British Columbia. The aim of these projects is to understand factors that influence vaping uptake and cessation among young Canadians, the health trajectories of young e-cigarette users, and how they can develop more meaningful initiatives to resonate with them. Through these projects, Laura is mentoring several graduate and undergraduate students, all of whom have outstanding records of achievement to date, and are authors on multiple research outputs, including reports for the government and publications in high impact journals. Laura is also teaching in the graduate program at the School of Nursing, through where she hopes to inspire graduate nursing students in relation to the history of nursing and the importance of advancing the discipline through scholarly activities.
Laura has an extensive educational background with the highest level of education a PhD, and this is the sequence with the associated location and year of completion:
Laura received a 2021 Canadian Cancer Society Emerging Scholar award, which is a nationally competitive award. She was the only applicant across all of Canada representing cancer prevention to have received this award. This is a five-year funding award that enables scholars to focus on building their programs of research, and in Laura’s case, this award enables her to rapidly respond to the evolving nature of tobacco use among young Canadians.
Founder, Vantage West Realty Inc.
AJ started his career in Real Estate at age 20, then opened his own boutique agency in 2008 at age 25. He has since grown the team from 3 people to 55 and has reached over 10 million in revenue. AJ was awarded the Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2015, as well as the Consumers Choice Award winner, reaching over 700 5-star reviews on Google.
He believes that he has created the real estate office of the future. In the past 5 years AJ has added an award-winning property management division, a new home construction division, and a private equity partnership. AJ has recently opened the Vantage West Academy, a coaching and consulting arm aimed at helping other agents across North America duplicate their success following the team’s proven systems. AJ believes it is his responsibility to pay it forward, and his team supports many local charities along with some major initiatives abroad as well.
AJ is the founder and team leader of Vantage West Realty, circa 2008. The team has a very bottom-up leadership style. He also leads a local chapter of the Real Estate Investment Network here in Kelowna and acts in a leadership capacity as a coach at the Kelowna Boxing Club.
Giving back to his community as a volunteer coach at the Kelowna Boxing Club is how AJ often spends his downtime. He also takes time to mentor young entrepreneurs. He championed a support local initiative that raised over 25k for local restaurants during the lockdown as well. He also attended UBC Sauder School of Business to obtain his managing broker license.
AJ has received numerous accolades including:
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year award 2015
- 2015 Top Player Award
- 2017 Consumers Choice Award
- Yahoo Finance Entrepreneurs to watch 2021
Co-Founder / Registered Psychiatric Nurse, NuPSYCH
For the past four years Kristen has worked as a nurse serving vulnerable populations accessing mental health and substance use services. She has worked in both the hospital (Kelowna General Hospital and Penticton Regional Hospital) and community settings. Kristen has provided care to youth, adults, and older adults. Over the years, she has come to recognize that the community is in need of improved access to mental health services, especially following the impact of the past two years. Therefore, she (alongside 3 of her colleagues) decided to start a new business dedicated to filling the current gap. At NuPSYCH, the goal is to provide the community with holistic mental health care services rooted in functional medicine. Their services include counseling, advocacy, psychoeducation, and nutritional coaching.
Throughout her work experience in various industries, Kristen has always made her way into leadership roles beginning at the age of 18. As a team leader, she has been responsible not only for the day-to-day functioning of the business but also for her colleagues. Most recently in Kristen’s career as a nurse, she was trained and worked as the covering patient care coordinator. These experiences have provided her with the skills and confidence needed to improve the work environment, creating a safe and successful space for employees to thrive.
In 2019 as a member of the Kelowna Junior Chamber of Commerce, Kristen engaged in various volunteer activities. These included: collecting donations for the local food bank, participating in Motionball (collected donations and volunteered on event day), and being on the committee for the yearly fundraising golf tournament. This included planning and execution of the tournament.
She completed a Bachelor's in Psychiatric Nursing in June 2021 and is currently enrolled in a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine program.
Kristen’s greatest achievement has been balancing school with work and family life. She attended University full-time as a mother of two young children while also working full-time as a nurse. She is determined to improve the health of the community and therefore persevered despite these challenges.
Director of Sales & Marketing - The Cove Lakeside Resort (West Kelowna) and Outback Lakeside Vacation Homes (Vernon)
Bobby’s discovery of the Okanagan began in 2015 when he was hired at the prestigious destination wellness resort, Sparkling Hill. Bobby spent a full year growing into his own as a digital-savvy modern marketer. He then spent a couple of years immersed in international luxury hospitality in Vancouver but, the draw to merge two legacy Kelowna hotel brands and be a leader in a newly formed local hospitality group brought him back to Kelowna in 2019.
He served as the Marketing Manager at Argus Properties, Hospitality – overseeing the Marketing and Communications for three hospitality entities including Eldorado Resort (Hotel Eldorado, Manteo & Eldorado Marina), Four Points by Sheraton Kelowna Airport, and the first Hilton hotel in the Okanagan; the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Kelowna Airport. With a drive to grow hospitality businesses, Bobby became the Marketing & Sales Manager at The Shore Kelowna, which propelled him into his current role as the dual property Director of Sales & Marketing at The Cove Lakeside Resort (West Kelowna) and Outback Lakeside Vacation Homes (Vernon).
Bobby would describe himself as a Servant Leader. He is often looking for opportunities for his teams to grow and develop into the people they want to be, working on projects they are passionate about and in control of their futures. Bobby has been a hospitality leader in the realm of Sales, Marketing, Events, Communication, and Public Relations for over five years. Typically, his teams have been small but mighty; dialed into personal and professional growth while creating unparalleled guest experiences. In the volunteer world, Bobby directs his efforts to help not for profits in leadership roles to grow and develop a sense of community; advocating for the underrepresented and lending his expertise to ensure the longevity of these organizations. Currently, in his role as the Director of Sales & Marketing at The Cove Lakeside Resort and Outback Vacation Homes, he oversees the Sales & Marketing, Events & Catering, and the Reservations Team. Prior to this, Bobby oversaw all things Sales & Marketing related at The Shore Kelowna and at Argus Properties’ Hospitality Division.
In his quest for knowledge, a greater understanding of humanity, and elevating community Bobby has completed Diversity and Inclusion Training with the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), Life Expert, and Kelowna Community Resources (KCR). He was recently re-elected to the Kelowna Pride Society’s Board of Directors for a second term as the Vice President, External Relations after serving a two-year as the Director of Communications. Bobby has been outspoken on key issues affecting the community and has been advocating for the LGBT+ community in mainstream media working with Tourism Kelowna and local partners to attract this lucrative market to Kelowna as a destination of choice. Bobby currently serves as a Director and an Events and Marketing Committee Member with the Greater Westside Board of Trade, advocating for local business growth and collaboration. He is also a member of the City of Vernon’s Tourism Commission; part of a group working on the Tourism Vernon’s Five-Year Strategic Plan and is a Member of Influence with the Okanagan Young Professionals Collective.
Bobby currently holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria with a dual specialization in Service Management and Entrepreneurship.
Bobby has also received numerous accolades including:
- Kelowna Hotel Motel Association/Tourism Kelowna “Spirit of Kelowna” Award Finalist 2020
- Hotel Leader of the Quarter – Q1 2017
CEO & Founder - Discuss Dementia
Naomi is a public relations professional with over a decade of experience in the industry. Since moving to Kelowna in 2018, She has held positions at YMCA of Okanagan, NexGen Hearing, Okanagan Clinical Trials and UBC Okanagan. Naomi currently works at First Nations Finance Authority as a Communications Manager. When not working, she directs her public relations skills towards her passion: advocating for people living with dementia and their caregivers. For the past five years, Naomi has been sharing her journey as a caregiver for her mother who was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia publicly. She is advocating for systemic change to ease the burden for present and future caregivers. Naomi is continually working to enhance the lives of older adults in the Okanagan. For instance, at the onset of the pandemic, she began making weekly phone calls to vulnerable seniors with the Seniors Resource and Outreach Centre and have continued. This summer, she was able to give long-term care residents the opportunity to feel the wind rush through their hair with Cycling without Age Kelowna.
To become a leader in her community, Naomi joined the Board of Directors for BrainTrust Canada. She understands the importance of brain health, so volunteering for an organization that offers programs and services for those with brain injuries and their families, was a natural fit. Naomi continues to offer her marketing expertise to advance the cause. She is also a member of the Alzheimer Society of BC’s Leadership Group of Caregivers. Their contributions help the Society establish an informed response to community-based challenges faced by individuals living with dementia, their families, and caregivers. It is rewarding to channel her experience as a caregiver towards informing future policies. Personally, Naomi has taken the courageous step of showing vulnerability to build awareness and foster understanding of what it is like to care for someone living with dementia, especially at such a young age. She is currently working on a private member bill to advocate for at-home and respite care.
Naomi is an avid volunteer with Cycling without Age Kelowna, Seniors Outreach and Resource Centre, Vernon's IG Wealth Management's Walk to Remember, and BrainTrust Canada. She also acts as an advocate for people living with dementia and caregivers of people living with dementia. This work includes speaking on CBC's Daybreak South, AM 1150’s Engaging in Aging program, and on Fresh Outlook Foundation’s HEADS UP podcast. For the fourth year in a row, Naomi will be a guest speaker at Embrace Aging Okanagan, a month-long series of events to celebrate and raise awareness about positive aging in the Okanagan Valley. Naomi has a bachelor's degree in Political Science and English and a diploma in Public Relations.
She has received numerous accolades and taken part in a variety of media features including:
- AM 1150's Engaging in Aging Fresh Outlook Foundation HEADS UP! podcast
- CBC's Daybreak South interview
- UBC Workplace Wellness Ambassador Spokesperson
- Alzheimer Society of BC's Alzheimer's Awareness Spokesperson
- World Alzheimer's Day Spokesperson,
- Alzheimer Society of Canada National Anti-Stigma Campaign
- CBC’s Out in the Open podcast
- Indigenous Canada Certificate Science of Wellbeing Certificate
Executive Financial Consultant, Blucke Wealth Management- IG Wealth Management
Jason started his career at IG in 2008 while completing his Business degree from Okanagan College. In 2009 he became one of the youngest Certified Financial Planners (CFP) across the country. In 2016 Jason obtained his Chartered Investment Manager designation (CIM) and in 2017 joined the exclusive IIROC Securities division at IG. Since then, Jason has been fortunate to grow a great team and work with such amazing clients! His team specializes in working with High-Net-Worth Business Owners, Professionals, and Retirees across BC and Alberta. Jason is community and client focused and his ultimate goal and measure of success is the positive value and results that his clients and communities see in reaching their financial goals. Jason has loved growing up and living in the Okanagan and feels so fortunate that he has been able to grow and raise his family and business here. Jason is very grateful to be able to say that he loves where he lives, what he does and who he does it for.
Leading came naturally for Jason with his years of competitive hockey and many years in Captain or Assistant Captain leadership roles. In his business career Jason feels fortunate to work with an amazing, skilled, energetic young team. Jason has 3 team members that work for his wealth management practice directly that he mentors, trains, coaches, empowers, and oversees. He also has been involved in mentorship, coaching and training for many new Financial Advisors across the country at IG and has even been a keynote speaker at the 2019 Apex National Conference in Quebec City for IIROC Securities Licensed Advisors.
Every year Jason and his team help raise funds, awareness, promotes and volunteers for the annual IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s event. They continue to help Alzheimer’s Society of BC raise funds and awareness throughout the year. Jason has also recently been involved with helping raise funds and awareness for charities like Paws It Forward Dog Rescue and Canadian Tire Jump Start, and in the past has helped Mamas for Mamas. The team continues to sponsor and be supporters of local hockey and the Kelowna Rockets. They also bought hundreds of nurses lunch and dinner throughout the pandemic by partnering with local restaurants and business owners.
He currently holds a Bachelor of Business Degree in Finance from Okanagan College (BBA) and is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), as well as a Chartered Investment Manager (CIM).
Jason has received many awards over the years, including:
-IG Pillar Achievement Awards 2009-2012 (First 4 Years of Business Annual Business Growth Achievements).
-2015 Nominated and Featured for BDO Top 40 Under 40.
-Highlighted as one of “Top Young Guns” as one of Canadas top young Financial Advisors by an Investment Executive Magazine.
-In 2019 Recognized as one of the top 3% of all IG Wealth Management practices across the country.
-Now part of both the IIROC Securities Division and the Private Wealth Division at IG. Only 2% of all practices at IG Wealth Management are a part of this exclusive group of tenured advisors.
Owner/Director, Sip & Anchor
Lindsay is a supervisor for a global oil & gas company. Previously, she owned a personal training company and was a certified personal trainer and holistic nutritionist. Lindsay moved to the Okanagan 4 years ago and she and her business partner, Danny Cooper, purchased Sip & Anchor. Their focus is to showcase the best of the region’s wineries and lake life. She also owns and manages short term rental properties within Kelowna.
As a supervisor with a large, global oil & gas firm Lindsay oversees operations services including scaffolding, labour, water treatment, waste treatment, road maintenance, etc. She also lead a team of 6 employees with Sip & Anchor. Lindsay has been a key member in numerous committees through work including health & wellness, the women’s network, and the peer support team. With a strategy to lead by example, be vulnerable and transparent, and always putting your best foot forward, she prides herself on having teams where people are happy to come to work every day.
Lindsay has been a volunteer with Critteraid, a local animal rescue located in Summerland, BC. She is also starting a mentorship program through Dress for Success Kelowna where she will be a leadership mentor to young women or women returning to the workforce. Lindsay also previously volunteered with the SPCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Through Sip & Anchor, her team consistently donate to STARS, KelownaNow auction and mental health charities in the community.
Lindsay holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management. Her company, Sip & Anchor won a travelers choice award for 2021.
Owner/Operator, Textile Apparel
Born and raised in Kelowna to entrepreneurial parents, Alicia learned hard work at an early age, assisting her parents with their businesses as an adolescent. After high school, she worked for several years in the trades, becoming a 4th year apprentice electrician. Alicia learned skills that would help her when the time came to start her own business. Another key to Alicia’s success was seven years managing a popular Kelowna consignment store. She developed strong management and leadership skills in addition to a network of empowered women. The stage was set for Alicia’s big leap. Alicia founded Textile Apparel in 2019 in the heart of downtown Kelowna. Its mission is to provide exceptional, sustainable, quality clothing without compromise. This means clothing that is made from organic, natural fibres by people who are treated fairly and ethically. Alicia’s inspiration is fueled by a desire to create substantial change and the vision of numerous female entrepreneurs who have come before her. Her impact is significant, and only just beginning as Textile Apparel grows.
Alicia has developed a strong, values-based leadership style based on an unlikely combination of experience. Through her work as an electrical apprentice, she learned strong project time management and most importantly, communication skills. Incredibly many of those leadership qualities - when combined with an attitude for customer service - developed Alicia into a dynamic retail manager. After seven years, it was time to take a leadership leap and develop her own store in her own leadership style. Taking earlier lessons with her, Alicia developed Textile Apparel as a values-based business, putting people (employees, customers and those who manufacture her products) and the planet (focusing on natural and organic fabrics) first. While it’s been hard work, Alicia consistently inspires positivity and passion in others while focusing on creating sustainable change in the retail market in Kelowna.
Alicia built Textile Apparel on the principle of advocating for social and environmental responsibility in the garment industry. Having been mentored by ambitious business women, Alicia knew that Kelowna was ready to share her vision. She is dedicated to educating the community about the benefits of natural, exploitation-free clothing and providing them accessible, beautiful alternatives to fast-fashion. Championing Canadian made clothing, Alicia believes shoppers are investing in the growth and health of their own community. Stocking exclusively clothing that reflects her values, Alicia and Textile Apparel are actively participating in a local and global shift in consumer culture.
Owner, Margaret Valley Landscaping
Samantha moved to Kelowna in early 2016 and worked 3 years with a landscaping company. Although she was well educated in the landscaping field, she almost had to start over to learn the environment in BC, which was different than Manitoba. She studied and worked hard to achieve her goal. In 2019, Samantha took the big leap and started her own company and has never looked back. From the first day she started her company, her motto has been "Your home is a reflection of you". She believes this could change the basic concept of landscape designs. She wants to encourage customers to contribute their own creative talents and preferences to the designs to create a more personalized oasis in their homes. Taking pride in something whether large or small that you have created is a positive step towards mental health and wellness. Supporting local business is also important to her agenda. We are stronger together and can learn so much from each other.
Samantha owns a company where she works directly with her employees. Their skills and experience levels vary. Landscaping encompasses so many avenues, one cannot completely know it all. She tries to teach new skills, sharpen existing ones and most of all promote positive personal growth. Not only does she teach but she is always learning from her staff as well. She often asks for their input as to how and what should be done at the time. This not only gives them confidence in themselves, but it shows she has confidence in them. Team building is very important to her. By doing this it creates long-term genuine connections. This sets the tone for a positive work culture which leads to increased productivity. Seeing how much pride an employee takes after contributing and working on a project is very satisfying, you know you have shown them the rewarding side of this line of work.
She has achieved an active following on her Instagram account. This platform allows people to connect with her directly. For the last three years she has been a go-to person for many people when it comes to anything from plant-related questions to landscape designs and more. She is also a strong advocate for mental health & wellness and uses her platforms to help as many people as she can. Samantha believes in supporting local businesses which she does on a regular basis by promoting them online as well as in-person recommendations. She has partnered with several small businesses and charities to create contests and give away prizes to give back to the community. Also, she is presently looking into starting a group called "Wine Down" which will be a group of female entrepreneurs. Her vision is to create a network of amazing women who can be supportive of each other in day-to-day business and home life situations.
Samantha holds a Diploma in Horticulture & Construction from Red River College, Winnipeg, MB where she graduated with Honours. She was the winner of KelownaNow - Best Landscaper for the last two years (2020 - 2021) as well as four other categories. She has been acknowledged and interviewed by Faces of Kelowna as well as Style at Home Magazine and Co-created and presented at the First Garden Show in Comox Valley (2021).
Founder/CEO, Meal Prep for You
Meal Prep for You (MP4U) was founded in 2014 as a complimentary service to clients who Morgan trained at Global Fitness. Without any culinary background, he was determined to impact the health and wellness community. Since then, Morgan and his team have scaled Penticton-Kelowna-Kamloops, into Alberta. His favourite accomplishments achieved at MP4U is the culture within the company. Having the ability to build an ecosystem of individuals who may not have started with the same dream and goal as himself but now support and share the vision equally is gratifying. Second, MP4U have many outstanding partnerships, the impact is most noticed with their partnership at Kelowna General Hospital and their annual donation to JoeAnna's House in collaboration with Keith Relief. They are relationship-driven and look forward to utilizing healthy food as their main contribution to leaving a lasting legacy in the Okanagan.
All Morgan’s leadership experience was achieved through sport. As an underdog, he got very good at empowering and building confidence in the individual who lacked the natural ability and had to lean on practice and built confidence. Those skills have paid dividends while doing a business start-up.
MP4U has partnered with Keith Relief to ensure their impact is felt across the Okanagan. JoeAnna's House is the place their reach and resources have been best utilized. Healthy food for families in distress or recovery. Only fresh food is served, so with that comes the risk of expiry dates. They don't advertise, but they give away meals to community fridges and around town regularly. Morgan believes that just as every successful small/local business in smaller communities, the volunteerism is often just a formality to staying connected in the city. MP4U says yes to just about every donation in the form of money, food, GC when it's supporting another local business or event.
Morgan’s highest formal education is his high school diploma. His most challenging and applicable education is learning that thoughts are things, and if you genuinely want to accomplish your dreams, you need to know how to back faith with action. That education is ongoing and comes in the form of building his personal library.
Although he doesn’t have a formal education to show for it, Morgan did receive a golf scholarship to South Carolina in 2010. After dropping out of university, he played golf professionally in Arizona, where he learnt his passion was helping people with their health fitness journeys. Since then, his heart and passion has been deeply invested in health and fitness.
Manager, Workplace & Technology, Hyper Hippo Entertainment Ltd.
Lesley’s career began at Disney Interactive as a Facilities Administrator where she was able to grow her experience within management of the workplace. From Disney, she worked at Al Stober Construction as a Commercial Property Manager managing 100 commercial and 1,000 residential tenants within the Okanagan. She also coordinated the Tree of Hope philanthropic events. The goal was to help families within the Okanagan get a leg up on their circumstances. She has been at Hyper Hippo for 4 years serving as the Operations Manager. In her time there, she has led the company into becoming a distributed workforce, which means their staff can work from anywhere; whether that be from the comfort of their own home, within the office space, or where they feel most productive. Even if that is a local coffee shop. Lesley is passionate about listening to the team and removing impediments to them doing their best work, while helping the company be forward thinking so they can grow Hyper Hippo into the best company to work for in the Okanagan!
Lesley currently leads the workplace and technology team for Hyper Hippo Entertainment. Her team consists of the Facilities Coordinator, IT Manager and herself. Their primary goal and function is to make the day to day operations seamless, while focusing on the future of the workplace, and striving to be on the cutting edge of their industry. This means providing the best space and/or tools to ensure socialization, collaboration, learning as well as a quiet place to get work done. Even though they are a small team, their impact reaches across 120+ staff, who they strive to provide the best support, whether that be providing an ergonomic workstation, ensuring access to the latest hardware/software, helping outfit a home office with their team's health, wellness and productivity at the forefront of their minds, or providing a portable workstation that they can take anywhere they choose to work. She has passionately led the company during the pandemic into a new way of working that empowers her team to do their best work, wherever they are.
While at Al Stober Construction, Lesley coordinated the Tree of Hope Light Up Events. This is a philanthropic event that occurs each year around Christmas time that strives to help underprivileged families around the Okanagan. She is currently a part of the Diversity Equity & Inclusion taskforce for Hyper Hippo. The taskforce creates and rolls out initiatives to ensure Hippo is a great place to work for everyone. She has also began leading a Book Club for Women that focuses on empowering women and unlocking their power within the workforce.
Lesley completed 3 years post secondary education with a focus on business administration. She is currently working on her Real Property Administrator (RPA) through BOMI. One of her greatest honours is being nominated for the BDO Top 40 under 40!
Founder/CEO/ - Estatebox
Anjali is an experienced lawyer and MBA with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. Her current passions include life & legacy planning, securities law, and corporate finances. When Anjali is not nerding out on all things tech, she is typically enjoying the beautiful outdoors in the home we call the Okanagan, with her family. Throughout her career, Anjali has held positions at local Kelowna startups working in law, blockchain, fintech, AI, and more recently, with larger tech companies, such as Wealthsimple. In 2019, Anjali was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, and she saw a gap in the online planning offerings. She started searching for an online platform that would make life easier for her young family if she were to pass and help keep her busy life organized. When she couldn’t find what she was looking for, Anjali founded EstateBox; a female-led, Kelowna based company specializing in digitizing life and legacy planning.
We are all the product of the experiences we’ve had and Anjali used her experiences to translate into her current role as CEO of EstateBox and as Legal Counsel at Wealthsimple. She has focused on creating a workplace that prioritizes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging to ensure her employees know they can always bring their full, most authentic selves to work. Anjali and her team have also focused on ensuring their product reflects this; they have created a product that is inclusive and made for everyone. Her leadership style focuses on celebrating strengths, but also challenging her colleagues within their roles to help them grow professionally and personally. She has seen many successes during her career within leadership roles but her biggest successes are helping others succeed.
Understanding the reality of food scarcity for many folks in our community, Anjali was deeply moved by the work done in the Okanagan to reduce these challenges. From 2016 to 2021, she volunteered for the Central Okanagan Food Bank as a Director. As CEO of EstateBox, Anjali believes in fostering an environment where her employees are provided with opportunities to give back to their communities as well. In 2021 under her leadership, EB joined Pledge 1%- committing to donating any combination of product, equity, profit, or time to charities of their choice. In 2021, EstateBox staff donated their time to various local charities, and Anjali will continue to provide them necessary tools to give back in 2022. In 2022, EstateBox was designated as Rainbow Registered through the CGLCC. This is a national accreditation symbolizing that EstateBox meets a stringent set of standards to ensure LGBTQ+ customers and employees feel safe, welcomed and accepted. She put conscious effort within her company and community to ensure they are stewards of this accreditation.
Anjali has earned many distinctions including:
Proprietor - Syilx Strong Consulting
Aaron was 15 years old and a spark was lit inside of him- he decided he wanted to be apart of the story of resurgence in the hearts, minds, and communities of Indigenous peoples. Since then, Aaron acquired his B.A. with a history major and French minor, a B.Ed. in French, a certificate in Indigenous leadership, governance, and management from the Banff Center, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in leadership and governance from a Syilx perspective based on our captikwl (oral traditions). While in his teaching profession, Aaron developed Indigenous curriculum, started an Indigenous leadership academy, and educated staff and administrators on Indigenous issues. As Aaron transitioned from teaching to grad school, he started his own business set on advancing Syilx-Indigenous relations within the Syilx territory/Okanagan region. He has had the pleasure of working with the Okanagan Nation Alliance, School District #67, Westbank First Nation, the University of British Columbia, and the City of Kelowna. Through his work Aaron is grateful to be apart of the story of Indigenization and reconciliation in the Syilx territory/Okanagan region.
From a Syilx perspective, leadership is using all your capabilities to serve people, the land and all living things. There is the development of a leader and there are the actions of leadership. The development of a leader happens in the decisions we make, how we respond to adversity, how we act in positions of power, and how we treat greatest to least in any community. Throughout Aaron’s life he carried out the actions of a leader in a Syilx context. Whether it was being Santa, or being a broker between UBC-Okanagan and the Syilx nation, he was doing what he was doing for our people now, and our people yet to come. For example, through working with the City of Kelowna, he is ensuring our cultural knowledge is accurate and placed in context: The building being built will have the appropriate traditional stories. The land being developed is recognized for its historical use by Syilx people and the sensitive habitats are being preserved.
His volunteerism and advocacy was one and the same when he was a teenager. Aaron mentored youth in his community, ran childcare programs, and volunteered in countless other minor capacities, such as being Santa at the community Christmas dinner or being a door greeter at Westbank First Nation staff events. When he was in university, his volunteerism and advocacy became more pragmatic- Aaron worked for his community to pay bills. He worked as an administrative assistant in finance and in our long-term care home, he was a youth worker, and he worked as the recreation programmer. During those posts, Aaron created the WFN youth council (an advocacy group for our youth) he developed health and wellness programs for all ages, and coached the Junior All Native Basketball team. When he was teaching, on top of curriculum/program development, he volunteered as assistant coach for the sr boys basketball team. Currently, Aaron is focused on his Ph.D. research and consulting which continues to serve my vision of bringing resurgence to Indigenous communities.
Aaron is currently finishing his Ph.D. in Syilx leadership and governance based in our captikwl (oral traditions) at UBC-Okanagan. His research looks at Syilx principles and concepts of leadership and governance housed in our oral traditions, and by which our societies thrived, and how those principles and concepts inter-relate with the current data and research on leadership and governance.
Aaron received the Social Sciences and Humanity Research Council Scholarship, Chief Black Bear Scholarship, Institute for Community Engaged Research Scholarship. You can find him in the University of British Columbia TV Commercial .
Department Head, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kelowna General Hospital
Amber finished her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2014 and worked for six months in Calgary, AB before taking a position at KGH as an Obstetrician Gynecologist in January 2015. As an Ob/Gyne, she provides specialist care for patients with disorders of the female reproductive organs and care for high risk, complicated pregnancies. Kelowna General Hospital is a tertiary referral centre, taking extremely high risk and preterm patients from all over the interior and much of BC. Amber’s career has centred around the safe delivery of high-risk babies, often under catastrophic circumstances where minutes can mean the difference between life and death for both a mother and her unborn child. Amber became Department Head for Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kelowna General Hospital in January 2020, which has provided her with a platform to act as a passionate advocate for women’s health and the resources needed to make it a priority in our community.
Amber became Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kelowna General Hospital in January 2020. Taking on her first serious medical leadership role at the start of the pandemic was daunting, but she was fortunate to work with an extraordinary group of women. Amber is proud to lead her incredible team of passionate, supportive, badass female physicians. She attended courses and conferences to better herself as a medical leader, including courses dedicated to tackling gender bias in medicine. Although her formal leadership role ends with the day to day management of a department at their busy tertiary hospital, there is no formally funded leadership role for women’s health in interior BC, and as such, she is determined to advocate for women’s health in the Okanagan. So far, Amber has successfully piloted a subspecialty program for high risk pregnancies, increased resources for Caesarean sections, improved care for patients suffering pregnancy loss, established inter-disciplinary medical education opportunities, and is working towards establishing cancer care for women with gynaecological cancers in the Okanagan. And she’s only getting started!
She is a tireless advocate for women’s health in the Okanagan. In addition to her clinical work, managing complicated pregnancies, caring for women’s reproductive health, and delivering high risk pregnancies, Amber spends countless hours advocating to make women’s health a priority in our community. She has secured funding for a dedicated recovery room nurse for moms undergoing caesarean section, so that moms and babies are not separated in their first hours of life, and is campaigning for increased access to caesarean sections at KGH. Amber spearheaded the Maternal Fetal Medicine Outreach Program, to bring subspecialty care for our highest risk pregnancies to KGH, and is working with the BC Cancer Agency to bring gynecology oncology (specialists in female reproductive tract cancers) to Kelowna, so these women no longer need to travel to Vancouver for care. In addition, Amber is working to expand the Early Pregnancy Loss Clinic, to increase timely access to compassionate care for women experiencing the tragedy of pregnancy loss. In her spare time, Amber volunteers at a local Animal Shelter.
Amber’s received her Doctor of Medicine (MD) Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCSC) and Bachelors of Science in Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology (BSc)
Amber was featured in the KGH Foundation “Humans of KGH” campaign, which recognised ‘unseen, unsung heroes of KGH’, but for her, the most meaningful recognition is less formal. The highest honour she receives is when nurses and fellow physicians select her as their doctor. What a tremendous compliment! The greatest recognition is being thanked by her patients or colleagues. There is so much negativity in medicine - especially for leaders and particularly for women - but when she hears that she’s changed someone’s life, or even just made their day, it makes it all worth it.
Principal, Benewealth Strategies Inc.
Daniel has been entrepreneurial since he can remember from lemonade stands to growing into IT services when he was in his early teens and building a passion for business. He started his career with a large national firm when he was 19 and got the entrepreneurial bug to build something on his own. Benewealth was born! In his time building Benewealth to be one of the preeminent independent wealth advisory firms for business owners and professionals in the Okanagan Daniel has been involved with 6 other companies on an ownership level. As a partner in Honest Boutique with his fiancée Deana, a well-known women’s boutique selling across Canada and the US, alongside other business interests in blockchain & commercial real estate. Daniel eats, sleeps, and breathes finance, business, and an entrepreneurial lifestyle. He grew up in Alberta and spent his summers in Kelowna visiting with family while his Dad volunteered at green bay with the waterskiing program. His family moved to Christina Lake and after he completed school Daniel came to Kelowna to get building.
Daniel currently runs Benewealth as the Principal advisor and started it from the ground from conceiving the brand to expanding our client base. He currently oversee 10+ staff between the businesses we manage locally. Daniel takes extreme pride in being a good corporate citizen and community member and have worked to invest in team members education, volunteerism and building a flexible and inclusive work environment. Further Daniel was recruited to build a branch of DFSIN from the ground up as the Branch Manager & Managing partner of the Desjardin office locally he realized his passion was for a boutique style practice and working directly with clients. Daniel has been a partner, director and or president of companies in the fitness industry, real estate, blockchain, vending, IT, Ecommerce, and retail industry. His experience is diverse, but the commonality is his passion for business and the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
Benewealth is the 2021/22 title sponsor the Okanagan FC. We love Okanagan FC for its program for all ages and genders providing a development path for young kids to young adults into competitive development teams, the robust nature of the women's program was of particular importance along with low barrier to entry of soccer. Incoming Membership Chair for the EO Okanagan Chapter (Entrepreneurs organization). Giving back to an organization that has significantly impacted his business and personal life. Run adult softball team and soccer teams for over decade. Daniel has passion for playing but has enjoyed organizing like minded people to enjoy the amazing sports facilities. Currently Secretary/Treasurer of BNI business builders a top performing chapter in BC creating $2.88M among local economic activity in 2021/22. Former Vice-Chair and Title Sponsor - Wheels for a cure society Junior Achievement BC – Past Volunteer Past Presenter - Advocis Strategies for Success National Advisory Council member - Financial Horizons Group Motionball – Former Director corporate sponsorship & Gold Sponsor. Benewealth Volunteers with Kelowna Gospel Mission monthly.
Daniel’s education experience includes Post secondary courses & Industry courses and certifications. CSC, CPH, IFIC, Brand Managers Course, LLQP, CCS (candidate).
Benewealth is consistently selected as one of the Top financial Advisory firms in Kelowna by threebestrated. Ranked as one of the top 30 Advisory firms in the country with Financial Horizon's group consistently out of over 10K + advisors. As a consistent President circle producer. Manulife Elite Advisor. Over the past 8 years we've consistently been recognized as: Top 10 Wealth builder team - IPC High Net Worth Partner Award - IPC Top Investment Advisor - GP Financial Best of Kelowna - Top 3 as well notable mention thru the years.
Director, Global Engagement
Philipp Reichert is the Director, Global Engagement at UBCO and a proud alumnus of UBC’s Okanagan campus. Originally from Germany, Philipp is an experienced international educator and higher education administrator with extensive experience living, studying, and working internationally in the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, and the USA. He is involved in a number of volunteer roles at the local, provincial, national, and international level with the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE), Association of International Educators (NAFSA), the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA), AMSSA (BCSIS), and as a member of the Central Okanagan Local Immigration Partnership Committee (COLIP) along with involvement in community activities focused on topics of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and welcoming newcomers to the Okanagan Valley. Philipp currently serves as the Co-Chair of the CBIE National Immigration Advisory Committee (IAC) and holds a doctoral degree in educational leadership. Before joining UBC, he worked at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) with their International and Executive MBA programs, and prior to that, at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) in the Netherlands.
Philipp’s leadership spans involvement locally, nationally, and internationally. At UBCO, Philipp is responsible for bringing an intercultural lens towards high-impact decisions that support students from around the world. As a strong advocate for international students, Philipp meaningfully amplifies the needs of students by serving as a mentor through the CBIE International Network of Tomorrow’s Leaders (INTL) , influencing policy changes with the Canadian government through his role as Co-Chair for CBIE’s IAC (since 2020) and leading the design and implementation of the CBIE International Students and Immigration Education Program (ISIEP) for advisors employed at public and private language schools and post-secondary institutions across Canada (in 2015). Philipp is often called on as a subject matter expert, frequent facilitator, and presenter to work through national and international challenges. Most recently, Philipp co-designed a series of agent-focused programs for the Government of Saskatchewan (2021/2022). Philipp is also a member of the AIEA Senior Advisors Program (SAP) and Membership & Awards Committee, working with partners around the world to support the work of AIEA.
In addition to his role at UBCO, Philipp is involved in community activities that are focused on welcoming new newcomers to the Okanagan Valley – from leading transition & support-focused initiatives, to involvement with the AMSSA BCSIS working group to support newcomers. Philipp contributes to the national international education community through his volunteer positions, including membership and leadership of CBIE’s National Immigration Advisory Committee during unprecedented times like the impact of COVID-19. As co-chair of the IAC, Philipp has worked closely with stakeholders from across Canada, engaging in conversations with IRCC that has resulted in significant policy shifts for international students and working to disseminate the constantly changing policy directives and decisions to CBIE’s membership. Philipp values the importance of mentorship and frequently finds ways to support new professionals in the field via CBIE, NAFSA and AIEA. Outside of professional involvement and volunteering, Philipp enjoys a busy family life with his wife Elysia, and his five-year-old son and toddler twin boys and is involved locally supporting sports and other activities.
Philipp completed his doctoral studies at the University of Calgary with his dissertation research focused on the internationalization of higher education, specifically the nexus of government policies, institutional programming, and international student career transitions. Based on his research, he co-published a chapter in the book Multidisciplinary Perspectives on International Student Experience in Canadian Higher Education. Philipp received his Master’s degree with honours in International Relations from Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands where he was a Nuffic Huygens scholar. He holds an RCIC designation in Canadian immigration law and BA from UBC’s Okanagan campus in Political Science and History.
Philipp has been recognized for his contributions to the field international education locally, nationally, and internationally. His commitment to supporting his peers was highlighted by the CBIE Board of Director’s decision to award Philipp in 2016 with the CBIE North Star Award for Emerging Leadership in International Education. In September 2020, he received the UBC Staff Award of Excellence for Global Citizenship as a result of his involvement within UBC, the local community, national organizations and governmental agencies. In 2021, Philipp was awarded the Harold Josephson Award from AIEA for his doctoral research and other related work.
Radiation Oncologist at BC Cancer - Kelowna and Clinical Assistant Professor, UBCO
Dr. Benjamin Mou is a radiation oncologist at BC Cancer – Kelowna and clinical assistant professor at UBC. He is originally from Ontario and received his medical degree from McMaster University. After completing residency in radiation oncology, he pursued a clinical research fellowship in stereotactic ablative radiotherapy and radiosurgery at the Mayo Clinic in the United States. He joined BC Cancer Kelowna in 2015 where he quickly developed a reputation as a provincial expert in SABR (Stereotactic ABlative Radiotherapy) and SRS (stereotactic radiosurgery). He spearheaded the implementation and growth of SABR in Kelowna and holds numerous local and provincial leadership positions involving the ongoing use of SABR in Kelowna and across BC. SABR is a high precision, high dose radiation treatment used for lung, brain, spine, and liver cancer patients. This innovative treatment is delivered in only one to eight treatments instead of several weeks of daily treatment. It accurately destroys cancer cells, while minimizing radiation dose to surrounding healthy organs.
Dr. Benjamin Mou is a provincial expert in SABR and one of only a few radiation oncologists in B.C. proficient in using SABR for all body sites. He is the lead radiation oncologist of the SABR program in Kelowna since its inception in 2016, and chair of the committee since 2019. Dr. Mou started the first Spine SABR program outside of Vancouver in 2017, followed by the first Liver SABR program outside of the Lower Mainland in 2020. Earlier this year, Dr. Mou’s team implemented Brain SRS in Kelowna so patients can now receive even more precise treatment in a single session. Dr. Mou is also a site principal investigator for multiple provincial and international clinical research trials focusing on SABR. When Dr. Mou arrived in BC in 2014, SABR was a relatively new treatment modality in the province and most radiation oncologists had little experience. Following his specialized fellowship training in SABR/SRS at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Mou swiftly became a provincial expert and has since trained several of his colleagues to use SABR/SRS as a treatment technique for spine, bone, brain, liver, and lymph node cancers.
Dr. Benjamin Mou started the first SABR fellowship training program in Kelowna where he serves as the fellowship program director. He is the primary supervisor for the first clinical research fellow, who started in January 2022. He has contributed hundreds of hours of clinical teaching to medical students and residents from UBC since joining BC Cancer – Kelowna in 2015. He provides classroom instruction, supervises summer students, and teaches radiation oncology residents. Dr. Benjamin Mou is co-chair for the upcoming SABR Canada Conference. This inaugural conference will be the first national medical conference focusing on SABR and will be hosted in Kelowna. The conference will attract world leaders in precision radiation oncology from around the world to Kelowna this June.
Dr. Benjamin Mou received his medical degree from McMaster University in 2008. He completed his residency in radiation oncology at the University of Manitoba in 2013. He completed fellowship in SABR and radiosurgery at the Mayo Clinic in the United States in 2014.
Dr. Benjamin Mou has received two Roentgen Resident Research Awards from the Radiological Society of North America in 2011 and 2013, and research prizes from CancerCare Manitoba and the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology.
UBC Okanagan - Assistant Professor
Julien describes himself as an immigrant, who moved from France in 2011 with his wife and four-month-old son. In Montreal he spent four years working at the best neurological centre in Canada, the Montreal Neurological Institute. He moved with his family to the Okanagan in January 2016 to work at UBCO as a lab manager in a laboratory of Neuroscience. In 2019 he was promoted assistant professor without review and started his research lab studying the neurobiology of memory. He has been teaching courses in Neurobiology, clinical neuroscience and psychology to more than 850 students in the last four years. His lab is very active with undergraduate and graduate students (Master and Ph. D students). He received funding from The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to study the impact of a genetic mutation on memory. He is also the president of the Parent Advisory Council of the francophone school L’Anse-au-sable.
Julien has been in a leadership position at UBCO since January 2016. First, as a lab manager, he was in charge of training all the students in the lab and making essential decisions about every lab project (more than ten projects simultaneously). He maintains an exceptional work environment in which students thrive and feel respected. Many students from his class want to volunteer in the lab and pursue further work because they know about his leadership style. He is open to discussion, cares about their success, and provides clear goals and expectations. From strength-based leadership, his top one is Harmony, which he believes defines his leadership very well. He creates an exceptional environment for people to succeed. He is now leading his research lab with the same idea and still managing the previous lab. He mentors one undergraduate and six graduate students as well as a technician. He is recognized as a leader in neuroscience research at UBCO.
He volunteers in two main domains: At his kids' school, L'anse-au-sable (310 students) and UBCO (12,000 persons working or studying here). He was elected President of the Parent Advisory Council in 2019. He is a liaison between the parents and the school director. His role is also to promote the school, supervise and organize fundraising, and discuss and propose a plan for the school's future. They collected via grants and fundraising more than $60,000 over the last four years and redistributed everything to the students via the purchase of books, time at the CNC Kelowna for skating, graduation ceremony and many other activities. L'Anse-au-sable is critical to the francophone community in Kelowna, and he is proud to serve the community as much as possible. At UBCO, he volunteers to organize events promoting knowledge translation: he organizes conferences for students to present their research. He firmly believes that we need to better connect research to the public, and those events are crucial to achieving this goal.
Julien received a Ph.D. in neurobiology and neuroscience from the University of Grenoble (France)
He also received 5-year research funding from The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (>$150,000) in 2021. He received a certificate from Management@UBCO in 2019. Two students working in his lab received a prestigious Undergraduate Research Award and an NSERC Undergraduate Research Award to perform research under his supervision, one in 2021 and one in 2022.
MNP LLP -Partner, Assurance Services
Kyla moved to Kelowna from Fort St. John, BC immediately after high school to attend university. She made it her mission to build a network, life, career and family in the Okanagan Valley. It was a lofty goal; nevertheless, 12 years later she has done just that. She has an incredible network of friends and acquaintances, participates in a variety of recreational sports, and has built her family life here. Nationally, she is one of the youngest female partners with MNP and is proud to have a career that she loves. Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, she knew early on that she was interested in understanding how different businesses worked and feeling the energy and passion that many small business owners radiate. Her work with MNP allows her to gain insight into a variety of industries, business owner mindsets and boardrooms that energize and challenge her daily. She works with numerous non-profit organizations as their auditor and advisor, supporting them in fulfilling their compliance obligations and thinking strategically about the direction of their organization.
While studying, she was able to build foundational leadership skills through working with the Management Student Association at UBC’s Okanagan campus, coordinating academic clubs and competitions for other students. Subsequent to that experience, she was invited to present on Project Management at the Canadian Association of Business Students’ Western Canadian Leadership Retreat in 2016. Since joining MNP, she has championed numerous initiatives, including software implementation, team engagement, learning and development, and operational efficiency process improvements. On top of these roles, she has taken a key role in MNP’s performance coaching and mentoring, including supporting more than 25 local CPA candidates in their achievement of the Common Final Exam (with two honour role candidates), and mentoring more than 10 young professionals as they grow their career in the Okanagan. As a partner with the firm, she is entrusted on a regular basis to help make challenging decisions, facilitate difficult discussions, inspire others towards accomplishing a common goal for our firm and advise her clients in navigating their strategic and operational goals.
As a young professional, she has immense privilege and outstanding opportunities afforded to her by her career in accounting. She is passionate about creating the same experience for those professionals who will follow. She has been involved at the UBC’s Okanagan campus in mentoring and coaching students in their case competition skills and competing in JDC West. She also was a vocal advocate for changes in the Bachelor of Management program to ensure that students were able to complete their required courses at UBC’s Okanagan campus, allowing them to become future CPAs and leaders in the community, without needing to study in other communities. She has continued this involvement in the profession by teaching courses nationally to help students prepare for and succeed on the Common Final Exam, working with and leading the CPABC’s Okanagan Chapter for almost 6 years and, more recently, sitting on the CPABC’s Membership Committee, supporting the Board of Directors in regulating their membership.
In 2013, she earned her Bachelor of Management, with honours, from UBC’s Okanagan Campus. Her academic achievements during this time include an invitation to the Golden Key International Honour Society and a degree with honours. She continued on to complete her Masters in Professional Accounting at the University of Saskatchewan. Concurrently she completed her practical experience with MNP and successfully wrote the Common Final Exam in 2015, resulting in receiving her Chartered Professional Designation in 2016.
During her studies, she competed in a business case competition (JDC West) where her team and Kyla won second place. In 2015, she was selected to speak on behalf of the graduating class for the Masters of Professional Accounting, representing some of the top graduate-level accounting students across Western Canada. While not awarded, she has been nominated for CPABC’s Early Achievement Award, which is a very prestigious award in the CPA profession. This past year was a milestone year, as she celebrated her 30th birthday and within the same month was invited to join the partnership at MNP.
Mitacs, Director of Business Development and Indigenous Community Engagement
Candice spent three years working in the financial industry supporting local businesses as an Account Manager Small Business Banking at TD Canada Trust. This is where her passion for supporting entrepreneurship began. She is now the Director of Business Development and Indigenous Community Engagement for Mitacs in partnership with UBC Okanagan. In her role she has supported advancing the innovation ecosystem in the Okanagan. She also sits on the Entrepreneurship at UBC Okanagan advisory board. In her role at Mitacs she has supported hundreds of local organizations through collaborative innovation projects.
Candice is on the Indigenous Advisory Council for the Oceans Supercluster, and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council Advisory Committee, and the Women in Leadership Foundation Indigenous Leadership Advisory Circle. She was adopted into the Eagle clan and given the name K’wiloo’km N’kwala which means that she is a resourceful hard-working educator and N’kwala is after her sixth grandfather Grand Chief N’kwala.
She has moderated the Okanagan Water Forum for the past two years in an effort to create more awareness about water stewardship and ethics. She organized TD Trees Days for three consecutive years planting over 1500 trees and berry bushes in partnership with Westbank First Nations. She also spent years volunteering for the Inn From the Cold shelter cooking dinner for their clients. She volunteers at UBC Okanagan convocation welcoming new alumni into the UBC alumni family. She is currently volunteering for the Women in Leadership Foundation as a mentor of women early in their careers looking to learn how to advance.
She has a Bachelor of Management with a minor in Psychology from UBC Okanagan. And, she is now pursuing an Executive MBA Indigenous Business Leadership at SFU Beedie School of Business.
In 2021 Canadian SME Business Magazine named her as one of Canadas most inspirational women entrepreneurs and business leaders. She was also named as UBC Okanagan woman of the year when she was a student in 2014. She was recognized as one of TD Canada Trusts’ National top performers and was part of the TD Champions. She is a Ch’nook Scholar in recognition of being one of western Canada’s top Indigenous business students.
Farris LLP, Associate Lawyer
After finishing law school at UBC Vancouver in 2015, David returned to Kelowna to build his career. He very quickly realized that he wanted to be a real estate and business lawyer, helping people build what was important to them - buying, selling, and running businesses, and buying, selling, and managing real estate. As a person who is third generation in Kelowna, it was very important to him to get involved as well and he also made a point of getting involved all over Kelowna - in JCI Kelowna (Kelowna Jaycees) the rugby community, Festivals Kelowna, and the Downtown Kelowna Association. David was fortunate enough to be able to start and run the JCI Kelowna farm project, which operates a quarter acre of land and grows food for local charities, and he is currently helping to create a new development model for entry-level housing through the Yeye Housing Society.
Since returning to Kelowna in 2016, he has served in the following roles: - Director of External Events, JCI Kelowna (formerly Kelowna Jaycees) - Director of Social, JCI Kelowna - Vice President, JCI Kelowna - Director, Festivals Kelowna - Director, Downtown Kelowna Association - Director, Rotary Club of Kelowna Foundation - Director, Yeye Housing Society - Director, Okanagan Society of Independent Filmmakers - Co-Chair - Okanagan Young Lawyers Chapter, Canadian Bar Association - Chair, JCI Kelowna Farm Project (at Helen's Acres) - Member - Rotary Club of Kelowna
The majority of those roles are self-explanatory; David says that his service with JCI Kelowna has been extremely rewarding, as he helped lead a group of young active citizens deepen their involvement in the Kelowna community. Through education, training, fundraising, competitions, and social events, they aim to create a generation of leaders in the community. The Yeye Housing Society also has been extremely rewarding - led by Norm Letnick and featuring top figures in the construction and development community, the Society aims to create entry level housing far below market value due a development structure they are currently developing, with the goal of inspiring more developers to follow their lead in order to create more accessible housing options.
David holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations from UBC Okanagan Campus, and Law degree (J.D. - Juris Doctor) from University of British Columbia in Vancouver
He was Canada Member of the Year, Junior Chamber International Project of the Year, Junior Chamber International.
Do Some Good, COO / Business Development Manager
Growing up in small town Saskatchewan instilled a set of values that stayed with Jeff in his career as a teacher, as an organizer of TEDxYouth events, as an author / publisher of children’s books focused on character education / social impact and into his current role at Do Some Good. After six years of teaching overseas at IB International schools, he wanted to be closer to his family, so he moved back to Canada in 2013, settling in Kelowna where his parents had retired. He then co-wrote / published 13 children’s books, including one that was authored by a local Central Okanagan youth author. He also worked with a local company to co-create an interactive reading app. He has now spent eight years with Do Some Good, from napkin drawings to conception. They are proud that, just in the Central Okanagan, thousands of volunteer matches have been made, tens of thousands of volunteer hours have been tracked, which have supported hundreds of charitable organizations. They are part of the huge impact being made all across Canada.
Jeff says that he is honoured to work with a fantastic team at Do Some Good. Everyone’s a leader on the team and part of his role is simply to help align the puzzle pieces to keep things running smoothly. At the end of the day, leadership (and success…and arguably life) is all about relationships. Building genuine relationships with your team, your customers and your strategic partners is essential. He is proud to have played a role in leading partnership discussions with Black Press Media. Through that collaboration, they bringing more reach / awareness to worthy causes, volunteers and good companies. In only a short while, this has resulted in tens of MILLIONS of views of local good community stories. This partnership shines a positive spotlight on those in Kelowna, the Central Okanagan and all across BC and they’re just getting started. He also is very proud of his company being recently recognized as a leader advancing the future of CSR technology in a 2021 global analysis done by Realized Worth, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
He has always strived to find ways to create exponential impact. In teaching, he would help students foster and develop skills and behaviours to become change agents. In this way, all of his students got more involved as volunteers and advocates. He took this same approach when he co-created an eBook on how to organize a TEDxYouth event at a school, so educators across the globe could empower students to have a voice via the TEDx stage. Now, at Do Some Good, they have created a platform that connects people, charitable organizations and good companies to create stronger communities. The platform and tools have increased volunteerism and advocacy locally and all across Canada. Personally, he still finds time to volunteer for causes close to his heart. A few of these have included TEDxKelowna, Central Okanagan Community Food Bank, Kelowna Snowmobile Club, etc.. He has also enjoyed developing educational materials and running workshops for Global Citizen Kelowna and SD23.
Officially, his highest level of education on paper is a Bachelor of Education degree. But, in travelling to 30+ countries and being an entrepreneur, this is where his true highest level of education has occurred. Travel helped open his mind to different people, places and cultures. It helped build empathy and understanding. Being an entrepreneur (especially a social entrepreneur) is not for the faint of heart, but at the end of the day, Jeff loves it. The team at Do Some Good is so driven by the impact they have created and continue to create.
In November 2013, he presented at the first ChangeUP Social Impact pitch competition. He ended up winning, which he describes as such an amazingly warm welcome to the community as he had just recently moved here. He was honoured to publish a book written by three young Indigenous female authors to help share perspectives on the land common across First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities. This was in collaboration with GreenLearning Canada, and TakingITGlobal, made possible through the Climate Action 150 initiative. He was also very proud that two of the children’s books they published hit #1 on Amazon’s best seller’s lists.
President, Kelowna Software Ltd.
After graduating from Thompson Rivers University, David spent 10 years in the Lower Mainland gaining experience as a software developer in a variety of industries (Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing, and Oil and Gas to name a few). He designed a software solution for Microsoft HoloLens, which was discovered by Microsoft and ended up in an invite with Microsoft Vancouver's General Manager - Edo De Martin. The 15 min presentation turned into a 90 min discussion and a job offer. After a decade of living in the Lower Mainland, he wanted to move his family to Kelowna and start up his own company in the tech space. David’s dream of starting a company on his own was finally a reality. Throughout the last 10 years he has been actively involved in mentoring youth programs in the community and coaching his children’s various sports teams. He looks forward to continuing to make an impact in the Central Okanagan personally and professionally.
David successfully helped to scale a number of startups to acquisition acting as the technology lead. The startups included ARAS360 (Faro) and CorTech Digital Technologies (Mercana). David is a value driven leader who values individuality, teamwork, and growth. He challenges employees to learn new skills and enables them to grow their expertise and celebrates shared success. Currently, David's leadership goal for Kelowna Software is to bring his best to the team every day by working as hard (if not harder) than anyone, asking for their opinions so they feel valued and heard, and creating a positive, trusting, and supportive environment for all employees that have and will ever work here. They are aiming to be the best company to work for in BC and beyond.
David worked with youth programs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for over 10 years, mentoring young men and women between the ages of 12-18. This involved at minimum a 4-hour a week commitment during the week and on weekends. He helped each youth develop goals in specific areas around intellect, social, physical and spiritual characteristics. This included lessons on STEM related projects, like learning how to program a basic video game, public speaking, vehicle maintenance, learning new sports and providing religious instruction. While these youth have moved on to bigger and better things, David still keeps in touch with many of them on social media or video game platforms.
David was recognized by Microsoft Vancouver for creating additional technology for their HoloLens VR Headset Face of Technology (Kelowna) 2022, and he was asked to speak at Thompson Rivers University for their TRU Career and Experiential Learning virtual career mentoring networking event on the theme of entrepreneurship.
Co-Founder, CEO of Linkbase Technologies Inc
Shiven is the Co-Founder and CEO of Linkbase technologies Inc, a Kelowna based tech (IoT) company which recently raised investment at a valuation of $5.6 million. A happy go lucky person, Shiven co-founded Linkbase in 2019 along with his university friends which later became his business partners. Shiven is currently in his final year of his undergraduate business degree at UBC Okanagan. He has not just been a student entrepreneur but has also ran and won UBC SUO elections, co-created a smart inventory system with Dr Li (his professor) which later received funding from the federal government. He is the pioneer along with Priscilla Uribe (Director at Large) behind the Climate reimbursement policy implemented by the SUO during his term as Vice President making UBC Okanagan one of the first North American universities to implement such a policy campus wide. Shiven was always a very involved and well-known student at UBCO but rose to popularity after winning the election and coming to power as the elected vice-president Internal at the SUO of UBC in March 2021. An ardent cricket player, he loves taking the field and is always ready to give his all in any match.
His elected role at the Students Union impacts the advocacy needs of 11,000 students in Kelowna ranging from providing bursaries, lowering textbook costs, implementing climate policies and starting food security initiatives. He advocates for climate action not only through consultations at the university but also at the community at large. Shiven and Priscilla Uribe (Director at Large) pioneered the climate reimbursement policy at UBC Okanagan through the students Union making UBCO one of the first North American institutions to implement climate policy on food. The policy reimburses up to $600 to any student association that utilizes climate friendly food during their association events. All plant-based food being at the core of this reimbursement policy. As the current elected Vice-president Internal of the students Union of UBC, he serves as chair of the policy committee and has aimed to create SUO’s climate action plans.
Shiven has had the privilege to research and develop the Smart Inventory system under the guidance and leadership of associate professor Dr Eric Li to help reduce food waste at food banks across BC. Currently the system is being piloted at the Central Okanagan Food Bank and is funded by the government of Canada. He frequently volunteers at the Central Okanagan Food bank. He was elected as the president of Enactus UBCO in 2020 which is a not for profit social entrepreneurship organization. As president, he led other fellow students and co-started the Uganda goat project in partnership with the Spinoza Foundation to help individuals in Uganda suffering from HIV. A total of 66 families were helped through their team and through the support of the Okanagan community. He has been a very involved student inspiring many others to get involved at UBCO and has truly encouraged them to benefit the community as a whole.
Shiven completed a part of his degree at the University of Cambridge, England and he is currently in the graduating class of 2022 for the Bachelor’s of management program at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.
Shiven has been awarded many awards which include International Management Undergraduate Research Award (2020), awarded by the faculty of management at UBC Okanagan for excellence in research. He was also awarded the International Community Achievement Award (2021): The award goes to individuals who showcase strong academic performance while greatly contributing to the community around them. As well, the Canadian Tire Resiliency Award (2020): Awarded to individuals by Enactus Canada who show resilient leadership and for successfully executing projects despite the Covid-19 Pandemic. And, the Impact 2020 Award (2021); Awarded by the government of Canada to individuals whose co-op project has a significant impact on the local community around them. Shiven most recently also received the Student Entrepreneur of the year award from the University of British Columbia (2022).
Manager, Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, RDCO
Krista moved to the Central Okanagan from Calgary to finish her Economics degree in the early days of UBCO. While she was in school and following graduation she worked at Odlum Brown Limited, moving from reception to licensed Investment Assistant to Investment Broker over 5 years. While she enjoyed the work, she realized that it wasn't for her long term and joined the Women's Enterprise Centre (now WeBC) as a Business Advisor and Loan Officer in 2012 as a way to support women entrepreneurs. Having grown up in an entrepreneurial family, it was (and remains) deeply important to her to support the unique needs of the entrepreneurs who create jobs and solve problems in the community. In 2016, she followed the opportunity to join the Regional District of Central Okanagan's Economic Development Commission (COEDC) as a Business Development Officer. This was an opportunity to be part of the growth and diversification of the Central Okanagan. In January 2020, she took on the role of Manager of the COEDC and continues to lead the COEDC team.
As Manager of the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, Krista leads of team of 4 highly skilled full-time staff and 2 specialized contractors. She also serves in a leadership role as Vice-Chair of Community Futures Central Okanagan and on a variety of boards and committees including the Okanagan College Regional Advisory Committee, e@UBCO Advisory Committee, and YLW Air Route Task Force. She previously served as a board director with West Kelowna Minor Hockey.
Through her role with the COEDC she regularly advocates for the Central Okanagan to orders of government and provides input on regional issues. She also volunteers as a Vice-Chair of Community Futures, and on the Community Futures Loan Committee supporting entrepreneurs and contributing to funding decisions. In her personal life, she is a strong supporter of minor hockey, having served on the Board of Directors with West Kelowna Minor Hockey Association, and as a volunteer manager of her childrens' teams. She organized multiple ways for the teams to give back to the community and learn about volunteerism, including a hotdog drive by her son's team, The West Kelowna Flaming Hotdogs (that's what happens when 8-year olds name the team...) that provided a full-meal-deal hotdog lunch to over 50 families in need in partnership with Mamas For Mamas.
Her degree is a BA Econ. She is the recipient of the Lenore Hewlett Award for Volunteer of the Year, WKMHA 2019 Community Futures Volunteer of the Year Award, and 2019 International and National project awards for COEDC work.
REALTOR® LIVV Group Real Estate - CIR Realty
Marika moved to Kelowna in 2011 from Calgary knowing very little about the city and with relatively zero contacts here. This quickly changed as she pounded the pavement to restart her real estate business by networking, volunteering and doing anything and everything she could to penetrate the Kelowna business community. It worked! Going on her 16th year as a Realtor, Marika is a veteran at her career choice but always felt there was something missing. Last year she was able to fill this void by taking her volunteering to the next level and bringing the Shoebox Project to Kelowna.
Marika’s passions lie in helping all kinds of people whether it’s with her real estate business or on a personal level. Her ears are always open to listen and being able to help the community is helpful not only to others but for her own sake. Her business mantra is simple; always put people first. These days, with the number of negative external factors affecting our mentality, it is crucial to communicate and lead with compassion and empathy.
In the last few years, Marika began to dive deeper into her personal story around mental health, making the decision to do what she could and make a bigger impact on the local community. Partnered with the Great Canadian Woman publishing house, Marika recently announced a new book she co-authored, She’s Full of Fire. The book shares inspiring stories about women experiencing all kinds of situations, hardships and experiences. By sharing some of her story publicly, she knows that she can help others through theirs.
In 2021 she brought the Shoebox Project to Kelowna and is now the Lead Coordinator overseeing everything to do with the Kelowna Chapter. Their mission is to positively impact women who may be experiencing homelessness through gift filled shoeboxes donated by other community members. The shoeboxes are filled with approximately $50 of essentials, treats, gifts, and a heartfelt note from the maker of the box. The charity was started by Jessica Mulroney in Ontario and last year was their 10-year anniversary. Partnering with Hope, Karis, the Bridge Youth & Family Services, and Now Society, their holiday campaign goal of 145 shoeboxes turned into 188 and this year they hope to double this number. The plan is to add surrounding communities to the Shoebox Project for 2022 and their volunteer campaign is starting summer 2022.
Marika is a natural born leader and teacher. She has helped many agents on their career paths and continues to do so while building the LIVV Group, her business. She has recently completed her Real Estate Broker Course with the UBC Sauder School of Business and looking forward implementing her knowledge and leadership within the industry. Her next project deals with mental health in the real estate field as this has impacted her life over the years. There is not enough out there in terms of resources for Realtors specifically; it's a very high stress job, highly scrutinized by the public where mental health is very much affected. Marika hopes to take on this leadership role if presented and if it’s not, well, she is already busy creating it!
Marika holds a BA in Communications and Media studies from the University of Calgary and has held her Real Estate license since 2006. She is part of The Luxury Home Marketing Institutes Guild Division and constantly adding to her business education. She recently completed a designation in Nutrition and working on her 200 hour yoga teacher training to aid in achieving her health goals. The only people she is trying to impress these days are the two most important to her, her children. Fun fact: she competed in Miss Universe Canada back in 2009.
Co-founder & COO Konseqy Apparel Inc.
Gursagar is a fifth year student in the Bachelors of Management program at UBC Okanagan, who describes himself as a young and ambitious entrepreneur. Currently finishing university, Gursagar runs businesses in the real estate, e-commerce, and business process outsourcing industries. Starting his undergrad he was eager to connect with his peers. He founded the Indian Culture and Dance Club to pursue his fascination with Indian culture and connect the Indian communities within UBCO. He competed in case competitions and clubs related to consulting and entrepreneurship. Wanting to share his experiences, he was positioned as the director for Consulting Club. In his third year of university, he founded a real estate holdings company and started a gym apparel company. Determined to give back to UBC Okanagan and help students, Gursagar decided to run for Senate governing educational policies advocating for mental health awareness and the restrictions for invigilation. Gursagar assisted the VP Finance of the Student Union and budgeted their expenses. In the summer of 2021, he launched the BPO and made a strategic alliance with a realty company.
Leadership to Gursagar has included the HK Phil Vision Strategic Alliance with DDR Real Estate Brokerage Services; founding Konseqy Apparel Inc. in 2020; founding HK PhilVision in 2021; co-founding JSD Cresco; constructing a website and transaction-based software to connect POS systems for SMEs in the Food & Wine Industry; boosting employee morale and resolving clientele interpersonal conflicts in Ohana Manpower Services Inc.; working as a student-at-Large within UBCO’s Student Union Funding Committee; being elected as Faculty of Management Student Representative in The University of British Columbia Okanagan Senate by majority vote; named Director of Consulting Club UBCO within Management Student Association; and taking second place at the UBCO Management Student Association Consulting Case Competition.
Lots of fundraising also defines who Gursagar is. He took part in charity events at UBCO, United Way; BrainTrust BC; and many others. He also volunteered and advocated for mental health awareness and curriculum policies as a student senator within his 2020-2021 term.
He will graduate in 2022 with a BA in Management from UBCO; and took part in the MGMT Case Competition in 2019.
Consultant & Owner, Strong Beginnings and Adventure Time Early Learning Centre
Ashley is the founder of Strong Beginnings Consulting established in 2018. She has a passion for newborns, chubby little cheeks, and growing families. Her consultancy provides professional Sleep and Potty-Training support to families in three languages, globally. She has been a Sleep and Potty Consultant for almost six years, providing support to almost 1,000 families. Ashley is also co-owner of Adventure Time Early Learning Centre, a commercial daycare established in August 2020 in the heart of West Kelowna. Their early learning programs provide care for over 50 families. They recognize every child has a unique perspective on the world and has their own individual interests. Curriculum is built to reflect that of the child’s interests, allowing them to explore and develop their love of learning in an empowering environment.
Ashley was raised by entrepreneurs. She saw them succeed and fail with their businesses. What she took away from that was the need to be sure of one thing: belief in capabilities and the ability to persevere. She doesn’t strive for perfection, but rather, strives to be better every day, learning from experience. She leads 15 women across the two businesses; she wants them to believe in themselves as capable and to know their worth, in order to provide the highest standard of care to the families they serve. Ashley says she still has lots to learn, but by being open and honest that she hopes to engage and empower them to excel.
In terms of what matters, Ashley is an advocate for mental health. She lost her mother to bipolar disorder recently, and her goals include finding a way to support others who are caring for or navigating alcohol addiction and bipolar disorder. Ashley hosts free parenting seminars to educate new and soon-to-be parents on caring for newborns and understanding the importance of sleep as their child develops. She also teaches early childhood educators potty training practices within daycare settings and sleep hygiene as part of their career advancement. The consultancies’ volunteerism includes sponsorship through the Metis Society; fostering youth; and adding a commercial washer and dryer for the Kelowna homeless shelter.
Ashley is a certified Maternity Nurse, certified Holistic sleep coach and a certified Potty Trainer. She holds a degree in marketing. She is thrilled to be a Top 40 Honouree.
President & Managing Broker, Inspire Property Management Ltd.
Greg began in strata management in 2005 and worked for nearly a decade in the industry before deciding to establish Inspire Property Management in 2015. He’s always found time for community, volunteering his time for local charities and non-profits such as Central Okanagan Child Development Association (as it was then called), Motionball for Special Olympics, and United Way. He has fundraised for, and donated funds to these same organizations and others, such as Movement Foundation.
Early in his career, Greg started at an entry level retail position and earned promotions and advancements before becoming a manager for a local branch of a large multinational retailer. When his career shifted to strata management, he again started in an entry level position as an unlicensed administrative clerk. His peers identified him as a leader and mentor in the business. Before long, he was promoted to a managing broker position, the license category for a person who is responsible for the licensed activities at the brokerage. He started Inspire Property Management in 2015 and have grown it from an idealistic vision into the company it is today – one award was the 2020 Kelowna Chamber Ethics in Business Excellence Award. He was elected as President of the Professional Association of Managing Agents in 2020; the association’s first President from outside the Lower Mainland.
Greg’s philanthropy extends to many industry associations and stakeholder groups including the Professional Association of Managing Agents (PAMA), Financial Services Authority, Office of Housing and Construction Standards (OHCS), and Strata Property Agents of BC (SPABC). Part of his role on the Kelowna education committee for the PAMA is to create and provide seminars designed specifically for the issues faced by strata and rental property managers that serve the local area. In his time as President of PAMA, he has led the association as it transitioned from in-person only seminars to 100% online seminars – not only making education accessible during the pandemic but making education readily available outside the Lower Mainland for the province’s licensees. For OHCS, he participates in regular discussions with the policy branch on how best to fulfill the mandate as it relates to strata housing.
Greg holds University of British Columbia/Sauder School of Business Certificates: Strata Management Licensing Course; Rental Property Management Licensing Course; Managing Broker Licensing Course.
Inspire Property Management was nominated for the 2021 Kelowna Chamber Small Business Award and was a finalist for the Inclusive Workplace Award. The Professional Association of Managing Agents recognized Greg as a finalist for their Industry Contributor Award.
Assistant Professor, UBC Okanagan
Charlene is an experienced Registered Nurse and currently, Assistant Professor at UBC Okanagan with a research program focused on health equity and health technologies. Her nursing, professional, and research training has taken her from McGill University, through UBC, Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health Authorities, University of the West of England, University of Exeter in the UK, Ryerson University, and now, to UBCO. In the short time she has been in the Central Okanagan, she’s already forged partnerships focused on health technology innovations with colleagues at Interior Health Authority and researchers with a focus on rural health equity. The Cluster - the Rural Health Equity through Social Enterprise and Technology Systems (RHE-SETS) - is funded by the UBCO Eminence Program. In the coming years her close collaboration with these groups will bring to the Central Okanagan cutting edge research to support the development of inclusive technologies and innovations to serve the unique needs of the Central Okanagan and rural communities in the interior and support the routine inclusion of equity in the development of artificial intelligence technologies in region.
Her growth as a leader continues to develop, informed by her professional and academic experiences as she takes on more leadership roles. Her role as a nurse research facilitator for the Fraser Health Authority in BC from 2011-2013 was her first substantial leadership role; there, she was responsible for promoting nursing research skill building and facilitating knowledge translation, targeting over 8000 nurses in the health region. This experience provided invaluable information about the nature of leadership, the importance of proactivity and relationship building, as well as awareness of contexts and structural factors at play. Charlene’s diverse academic training has further strengthened her leadership skills and enabled her to step into influential leadership roles. She has founded two internationally influential groups – the International Medical Informatics Association Student and Emerging Professionals group (that she currently chairs) and the Nursing and AI Leadership Collaborative. The influence of these groups is evidenced by invitations to spearhead important events and efforts.
Charlene ensures that the work and research she conducts in the Central Okanagan and BC Interior are done in meaningful partnership with key stakeholders. As she is new to the region, she focuses first on connecting with health authority stakeholders. This is helpful as future work will increasingly involve connections with communities. Charlene looks forward to identifying and working towards shared goals with community members and continued advocacy for the routine inclusion of equity in the development of health technologies.
She holds a PhD from UBC Vancouver; her special interest group was awarded the IMIA Working Group of the Year Award in 2019 and 2020 when she was vice-chair. She was also invited to co-lead the development of the Position Statement on AI in Nursing for the International Council of Nurses; the ICN is the global voice for nursing.
President, Lakeview Homes
As director and owner of Lakeview Homes, Rick is responsible for building multiple homes and multifamily projects across the Okanagan. He doesn’t believe in waiting for opportunities to come to him, but rather believes in going after the opportunities that are presented. Over the last 10 years, he has spent his time building Lakeview Homes and advocating for affordable housing in the Okanagan. He believes that everyone should have the right to have a comfortable and affordable house to live in. Lakeview over the last ten years has grown into a multimillion-dollar real estate development firm in BC and Alberta.
Rick has led employees and trade partners while building multiple Okanagan projects. The team and Rick have continuously satisfied clients housing needs; thanks to effective communication, a dedicated team and leadership, they can complete projects on time even during the uncertainties caused by Covid. He has been praised for an ability to solve problems which are daily in construction. Lakeview has gone from a single-family home builder doing 1-2 houses per year to a multimillion-dollar real estate developer.
He is excited for his next project which is a 106 unit apartment building in Rutland, slated to start early next year. It will be the largest project for Lakeview Homes to date. He is a true believer in building quality living spaces to give home buyers confidence and satisfaction for their families.
Rick has a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. One achievement that he is particularly proud of is his building of a Gazebo at Zetter Care Centre in Edmonton. He did this to give seniors in the care facility shade from the summer sun. Rick took on the project to honour his grandfather, Sukhdev Singh Dhaliwal; he thought it would be a sincere tribute to his grandfather’s family legacy.
Lawyer, FH&P Lawyers LLP
Gill’s career experience began on the family raspberry farm when she was young. She helped prune, harvest and plant “ever since she can remember” on family cranberry, raspberry and blueberry farms. She started university without knowing exactly what she wanted to do - although her mom says her dedication to debate club in high school was a clear indicator. As a undergrad at SFU, she worked in the Treaties and Aboriginal Government Department of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Government. There, Tanvir gained exposure to the practice of law through the Ministry of Justice, who operated in the same Vancouver building. Many of the agreements she drafted required communicating with the Justice Ministry; being exposed to contract review and drafting she gravitated toward law. After law schools, she articled and was called to the Bar in Kelowna in 2019. Tanvir now practices commercial and residential real estate, business law and wills and estates through the FH&P offices in Kelowna and Penticton.
As a woman and as a member of a visible minority, Tanvir always felt that it was very important to speak up for herself and to give herself a seat at the theoretical table in life. While at Simon Fraser University, she began volunteering for Junior Achievement BC - an NPO which provides education to elementary, middle and secondary school children on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. It was important for her to get involved in teaching children and young adults about finances and business. Getting them to think through the differences between 'wants' and 'needs', what is a business, and how can they turn their ideas (even homemade slime!) - into a business venture. Tanvir started her volunteerism with JA in Surrey and was happy to continue in Kelowna with local schools. At FH&P, she assists the partner who runs the real estate department by providing legal updates, conducting conveyance meetings, reviewing file capacities and staff workload and developing their department.
For Tanvir’s past three years in Kelowna, she has volunteered as an Ambassador with the Kelowna Chamber, meeting and greeting new Chamber members as well as helping out at different Chamber events. She is also a Board Director with the Downtown Kelowna Association. This is an important position for her as someone who lives and works in the downtown core. So much change to the downtown area has been evident, whether seen within new developments, with local and new businesses, and with the ever-changing effects of Covid-19. She was excited to receive a nomination to the DKA Board, having experience in commercial real estate, development, and business law, and simply as an individual who is vested in seeing positive and exciting growth for the downtown Kelowna area.
Tanvir holds a Juris Doctor (2018) Bachelor Degree (political science and international studies) (2015) from Simon Fraser. Her greatest honour (so far) is her nomination to the DKA Board. She is also very honoured to be a Top 40 nominee. It is truly a rewarding feeling, she says, “to know that people find me worthy of this nomination, regardless of whether I am selected by the judges.” She was.
CEO & Creator of Opportunities, Zhu Luxury Lifestyle Inc. (Ikigai Marketing)
ShangNing founded Zhu Luxury Lifestyle (Ikigai Marketing) in late 2017. For four years, ShangNing has been a driving force behind the company’s exponential growth and evolution from a single business venture for 3D renderings into a real estate project marketing company. The company is now involved in marketing over 10 multi-family projects in both the Okanagan and on Vancouver Island. Ikigai Marketing’s comprehensive services deliver a meticulous approach to the development process including site analysis, market research, pre-development planning, design consultation, strategic marketing and closing arrangements. Every stage of the process is approached with innovative thinking, the latest technologies, unrivalled market knowledge and rigorous attention to detail.
With real estate project marketing, leadership and collaboration are always in play. ShangNing believes forging relationships take trust, effort, and mutual respect, requiring that he go the extra mile. ShangNing has solid working relationships with industry leaders and development partners, allowing him to leverage connections and personal relationships. His diverse network of professionals includes realtors, builders, developers, lawyers, architects, designers, photographers, and building materials suppliers/manufacturers. ShangNing travels to Asia regularly to continue to expand his network.
ShangNing came to the Okanagan to study Interdisciplinary Performance at UBC Okanagan where he was nominated for the Emerging Artist “Okanagan Arts Award” in 2016. With a performing arts background, he volunteered for annual “The Living Things” Art festival and presents local, regional, national and international performances. ShangNing was also a council member at Innerfish Performance Co., a non-profit art organization that provides infrastructure for producing and touring devised (theatre) performances.
He graduated with an Interdisciplinary Performance (Bachelor of Fine Arts) at UBC Okanagan in 2015. He was nominated as Best Young Entrepreneur 2019 in Kelowna by KelownaNow.
Senior Marketing Director, World Financial Group
Over the past seven years, it has been Justin’s mission to help educate families on how to better manage and protect their finances, along with helping them understand and take charge of their financial future. He is currently one of the senior brokers in the World Financial Group office on Clement Avenue. Their firm of licensed agents has consolidated millions of dollars' worth of debt in the Okanagan, placed tens of millions of dollars in life, critical illness, and disability insurance on middle-income Okanagan Families, as well as growing their clients’ retirement accounts by millions of dollars. Justin and his wife moved to Kelowna five years ago to open a branch office and start a family. They now have two boys, age four, and one age four months. Meanwhile the business span across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and into the US.
Growing up playing hockey in Kelowna Justin loved to take on leadership roles within the team. Over the past seven years, he has taken all the skills acquired in previous roles and refined them into a system of success that allows anyone to win in the financial services industry. He currently leads a team of 16 licensed agents that is planned to grow quickly to 30 by the end of the second quarter in 2022, and 50 licensed agents by the end of 2022. He loves to lead by example, and constantly takes personal development and leadership courses. He believes in investing at least 10% annual income into self-improvement, as well as living by this motto “CANI” which stands for constant and never ending improvement.
The WFG Charitable Trust puts a big emphasis on raising money for those in need and giving back to the community. Justin and his partners run events in the office, raising money for the Kelowna’s Women Shelter, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada, Habitat for Humanity and Children’s Miracle Network. All monies raised at these events were matched by the WFG Charitable Trust. He also participates in playing hockey for the WFG Classic, a charity hockey game at the West Edmonton Mall. This event has raised over $100,000 every year it’s been held for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Justin graduated from Okanagan College in 2009 with a Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Accounting/Finance. After college, he worked at TransCanada Pipeline looking after budgeting and forecasting hundreds of millions of dollars in construction projects. He is life insurance licensed in BC, AB, ON, NS as well as securities licensed in BC and soon to be in Ontario. Justin was voted top Financial Advisor in Kelowna in 2021 Best of Kelowna and nominated as one of the Top Entrepreneurs under 40 in Kelowna. He is passionate about financial education and financial literacy in the Okanagan.
CEO, Ink & Arch
Seven years ago, Leanne took a leap of faith into the beauty industry and started the first eyebrow and cosmetic tattooing studio in the Okanagan. The impetus came when a good friend with cancer lost her eyebrows – Leanne just knew there had to be a way to help give her back her confidence.
Enter microblading. Fast forward seven years, and Ink & Arch is one of North America’s best recognized brow brands and soon will be one of its fastest growing franchises. Ink & Arch helps women throughout the Okanagan get back confidence once lost – through the art of cosmetic tattooing. They also have an academy that teaches women their technique and how to start their own business in the art of microblading / cosmetic tattooing. So far, they have taught over 350 women and helped them build careers of their own, not only igniting new-found independence but also allowing them to better support their families with a new career. Plus, Leanne set up an e-commerce store with her line of professional products that are shipped to artists in eight different countries.
Being a leader in this industry is something she was given early in her career. Leanne traces this back to her experience in university as captain of the volleyball team. Leadership is a role, she says, that you take on knowing you are responsible for wearing multiple hats - by encouraging others to not only do their best but to feel their best. While educating her students Leanne is aware that they look for a leader: not only to educate but also to encourage. Being able to influence and guide followers and other members of the organization is something she holds in high regard. Leanne focuses on organizational performance, including high levels of customer satisfaction, organizational productivity, financial gains, and product quality. Her effective leadership has a positive impact on employee retention, performance, engagement, and morale: all closely watched by their nearly 40,000 followers on social media. Making a positive and meaningful impact on someone’s life is incredibly rewarding.
When it comes to community, Ink & Arch advocates for Mamas for Mamas, a specialized poverty relief agency and all-inclusive community for mothers and caregivers. Ink & Arch donates 15% of monthly profits for in May (Mother’s Day month) to Mamas for Mamas. They also volunteer a team to raise donations and participate at Motionball, a national not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to introduce the next generation of donors, volunteers and sponsors to the Special Olympics movement through integrated social and sporting events.
Leanne’s training includes a degree in graphic design and marketing from the Vancouver Art Institute and multiple certifications in cosmetic and paramedical tattooing.