It’s amazing that Peter MacPherson sleeps.
The Kelowna resident is a lawyer with Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP, and when he’s not doing that he can found helping out a significant non-profit organization.
“You just try to do what feels right from day to day,” MacPherson says. “It’s definitely a struggle. You end up wishing you had more time to do everything, whether it’s the community work or parenting or more work at your practice. You try to touch on it all and do the best you can.
“I couldn’t do it, either, without a supportive family, too. My wife and kids have been a hundred per cent behind it the entire way. I couldn’t do it without them.”
MacPherson’s legal career and work in the community are just two of the reasons why he is the latest member of the Top 40 Over 40 list, presented by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and BDO Canada.
MacPherson’s father was born in B.C. and moved to Ontario as an adult. MacPherson did the opposite, growing up in Ontario and moving to B.C. for university, where he studied science at UBC in Vancouver. He didn’t want to spend too much time in a laboratory, however, so he decided to study law at the University of Victoria.
“My degree was in aqueous and atmospheric environmental chemistry,” MacPherson says. “At the time there were lots of legal issues surrounding ozone layer and acid rain, so I kind of got drawn into some of the legal aspects of those issues and was more interested in that than the chemical aspects of it.”
MacPherson worked in Vancouver for a few years until he and his wife Margaux, who is from Salmon Arm, decided they wanted to slow down. They moved to Kelowna in 2003, which is when MacPherson started at Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy.
It wasn’t long before MacPherson started donating time to his new community, which came at the urging of his partners at the law firm.
“I had some great mentors from the existing partners here at the time in terms of mentoring me to get out in the community and get involved in things and make those connections,” he says.
“I’ve always had a bit of community bent as well, so that kind of aligned itself. So while growing the law practice, typically I’ve been involved in one non-profit at a time over the last 16 years.”
He is currently chair of the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, which is responsible for some of the region’s biggest projects and has more than $27 million in assets. He has been on the KGH Foundation board for seven years, and he also served as chair of the local United Way chapter.
Other groups to which he has donated his time over the years are Kelowna Estate Planning Society, Kelowna Visual & Performing Arts Centre Society, Okanagan Science & Technology Council, and Project Literacy Kelowna Society.
And that doesn’t include all the time he’s spent on his children’s activities, including the Kelowna Minor Hockey Association and Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association. Isla, 13, Cameron, 11 and Bronwen, 9, guarantee that life will never be dull for MacPherson.
“A lot of the stuff that they do from a young age relies on the backs of community volunteers,” MacPherson says, “so that kind of inspires you and compels you to get involved yourself, too.”
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