Corie Griffiths is the director of economic development and bylaw services for the Regional District of the Central Okanagan. Recently, Griffiths was elected as the new board chair of Accelerate Okanagan.
In addition to Accelerate Okanagan, Griffiths serves in an executive capacity on the Economic Development Association of Canada, which is a national board, and the Local Government Management Association of British Columbia, a provincial board.
While she wears many hats, when it comes to Accelerate Okanagan and supporting #OKGNtech, Griffiths is all in. To introduce you, we sat down with her to learn more about her experiences, her new role and what makes her excited about the Okanagan’s tech community.
What made you want to become the chair of Accelerate Okanagan?
We have board members who are practising in corporate securities, specializing in HR, academic research, venture capital, digital advertising and animation. We even have a molecular biologist! The level of knowledge, creativity, technical expertise and experience far exceeds any of my capacities. I am very excited to work alongside these board members. I’ve seen Accelerate Okanagan grow in its profile, reach and impact in the region, and I’ve seen the board’s governance grow as well. That’s why I’m very honoured to serve as chair.
What are some traits you think great leaders possess?
I think great leaders should have a healthy risk tolerance and quiet confidence. Their egos should be in check. They should be willing to stick their neck out for calculated decisions. They should think very strategically and understand how to implement that strategy. However, the most important trait is being able to share power and support those around you. I know that I feel most fulfilled as a leader when I see those around me grow.
What are some of the changes that you have seen in the Okanagan tech sector over the years?
Ten or 15 years ago, which was some of the first exposure I had to Accelerate Okanagan, the Okanagan’s tech scene did not have much of a profile. Now there is a significant amount of momentum around the Okanagan as one of British Columbia’s leading tech hubs. As a country, we’re dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic while positioning businesses for a transformative change in how industries operate, what their needs are, and how the economy will be impacted moving forward. The Okanagan is well positioned as a region to address these challenges because of organizations like Accelerate Okanagan, CoLab, [email protected] and Valhalla Angels, who are supporting businesses through this time.
What makes you excited about the future of Okanagan tech?
I’m really optimistic about the increased profile of the Okanagan as a tech hub in Canada and throughout North America. I believe it has the opportunity to be viewed as an entry point into the North American markets. Accelerate Okanagan provides such breadth and depth in their support to the entrepreneurial community, but locally we don’t really hear enough about what they’re doing. The organization has done a lot to foster economic growth and new businesses in the region.
What can we do as a community to support entrepreneurs who are trying to scale a business?
We as a community can work more collaboratively to address some of the talent needs in the tech community, whether that be changing skills or improving entrance into the market. There’s also an opportunity to increase access to, and the amount of, venture capital for companies that are scaling in the region. Entrepreneurs and businesses have been looking for those opportunities for some time.
What is one thing people can do to help you?
Reach out to me individually, to the board or to Accelerate Okanagan’s team. Connect with us and learn more about the programs and services being offered, and participate within the community.
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