Faces of #OKGNtech
Accelerate Okanagan - Aug 10 - Columnists

Photo: Contributed

A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable, and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.

Our community is strong and growing with record speed, and maintaining connections through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic. We’ve got a plan.

Introducing “The Faces of #OKGNtech,” a showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth and more excitement. Follow along on the blog and on Instagram at @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.

Meet Paris. Paris Gaudet is no stranger to working with technology and innovation. For more than 10 years Paris ran a tech accelerator in Nanaimo, and she is now supporting Canada’s Digital Super Technology Cluster initiative. When Paris isn’t working on building the future of technology and innovation, you can find her trail running with her husband, buying fresh vegetables at the farmers’ market or hanging out with her 16-year-old daughter. We recently caught up with Paris to learn more about Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster and what she loves about OKGNtech.

What is Canada’s Technology Supercluster?

“I get that question a lot! There are two components to Canada’s Technology Supercluster. One half is technology leadership, so R&D projects, founding members and ultimately creating innovation that is disruptive on a global scale. The second part is capacity building, which is supporting regional British Columbia and Canada with jobs and skills training for the jobs of tomorrow.”

“The crazy thing is, the future of work is changing so fast. We don’t even know what half of the jobs are going to be like by 2030. As a parent and as a community member,  I often wonder how to make sure that everyone—every citizen in BC: women, Indigenous, everyone—has the skills they need to participate.”

What do you love about OKGNtech? 

“I remember the days when the Okanagan wasn’t on the radar. I have been in the sector regionally for almost 11 years, so even when you go back to 2008 people weren’t connected. Seeing where it is now, knowing that it was a bunch of people getting around a table saying, ‘We gotta come together. This is what we envision for our community. No longer do we have to be focused on the space things. To move our communities forward we need innovation and tech,’ that’s what I love!” #OKGNtech

What’re you passionate about?

“I just love learning about what is going on in communities and helping people get to a place where they know what their best self is and what their unique opportunity is. Let’s be bold and brave!” #goforit

What is the best piece of advice you can share with us?

“There is nothing you can’t come back from. No matter how ugly things get and no matter how challenging things are. Of course, it’s painful. We’ve all gone through it for sure, but it definitely builds character.

“When I was young my grandma told me to think of my life as a child’s mobile. So imagine there are all these pieces hanging down: family, sports, spirituality, work and all the things that make you who you are. And just like a child’s mobile, if there is one corner—or piece of your life—that is turned up everything else gets out of balance. I think that as entrepreneurs and innovators we are always focusing on one thing, and that doesn’t serve anyone. It’s important to make sure that our mobiles are balanced.”

Who inspires you? 

 “My daughter inspires me every day to be the best person I can be. When you’re a teenager, all you can see is in front of yourself right? We lose that as adults, and we forget that it’s OK to be selfish. So I try not to sweat the small stuff, and I try to take the time during the day to go for a run or to read a book.”

What’s one word you would use to describe yourself and why? 

“One word I would use to describe myself is integrity. It can be hard to do the right thing when it’s not the popular choice, right? There have been times where I have followed my heart and wondered, am I doing the right thing? Was this the right decision? But when you choose to live with integrity you can always walk away knowing that it was for all the right reasons.”


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