This year, Okanagan Edge and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce have partnered to showcase some of the Okanagan’s most exciting entrepreneurs, through the Top 40 Under 40 program.
Sponsored by BDO, the Top 40 Under 40 recognizes innovative young professionals in our community and showcases their accomplishments.
This week we recognize the final honouree of the season, Eric Li, a professor at UBCO’s faculty of management.
Eric Li, who received his Ph.D. in marketing at Schulich School of Business, is the assistant professor with the Faculty of Management at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus.
Since he began his position in 2011, Li has actively engaged in community-based research and experiential learning projects. Most notable among them is the Healthy Living Project, which he first made part of his Introduction to Marketing course in 2013.
“It’s all about building a better, healthier, and more respectful community,” Li explains.
In the five years he has run the program more than 35 partner organizations (including local governments, non-profit, and for-profit organizations) and more than 100 student teams have been a part of it.
The community-based project aims to develop health marketing and promotion plans to address issues related to healthy living (such as food security, shopping local, alternative transportation, fitness and exercise, food waste management, mental health, and others).
In addition to the Healthy Living Project, Li works with a diverse group of researchers and community partners on several community-based research projects. He has been a part of a food economy study in Revelstoke, community building strategies in Lumby, and healthy housing initiatives in Kelowna.
Li says he considers himself an “academic entrepreneur” because he constantly seeks opportunities to connect his disciplinary knowledge to other disciplines to tackle regional socio-economic challenges.
He says he looks at university as a place for knowledge building. Researchers, educators, and students as well as community members, for Li, are all important stakeholders in this knowledge-building process.
In addition to his community-based research and education program, Li plays bass trombone and tuba in the Kelowna City Concert Band. He also coordinated the Tubachristmas (which is pretty much exactly what you expect it is) in Kelowna in the past 2 years.
“I truly enjoyed the moments of sharing my knowledge and music with the community,” he says.
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