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.
This is “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 Linsey. Linsey Reimer is the owner of Bright Creative and the co-founder at TasteAdvisor. When she’s not helping small businesses brand their big ideas, you’ll find Reimer out wine tasting, enjoying a casual game of golf or trying her hand at a new hobby.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I’m the owner of Bright Creative, where I’ve been providing branding and creative design for 15 years. Most of my clients are entrepreneurs who run small-team, service-based businesses. I’m also the co-founder of TasteAdvisor, the world’s only white-labelled marketing platform for wine tourism regions. Being a part of a true startup, I jump in wherever I’m needed, but my focus is on telling TasteAdvisor’s story through marketing and design.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I really love storytelling. It’s taken me a while to realize that design is just another way to tell a story. I love hearing about people’s journeys and getting to know how they got here, what they love about their work, what’s driving them nuts and why they get into this kind of work. Being able to hear how and why people go about starting their business is fascinating.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
Before starting your own company, get a job in an established business and learn all that you can. That will help you build a good foundation for you to build your own business. There is a big difference between what you learn in school and applying it in the real world. Entrepreneurship is sexy to a lot of people, and they want to jump right into it. But it’s important to get an idea of what you’re getting into first.
How did you get started in tech?
I’m into anything creative—work or hobbies. I graduated from UBC with a fine arts degree in oil painting and printmaking. I wasn’t all that employable in a lot of ways. At that time, the internet was just becoming publicly available. So I was introduced to Photoshop and taught myself how to write HTML. I made some really terrible websites. There were no classes for learning to code. You just needed to learn from your peers or figure it out on your own. I got a job building websites in the mid-90s and continued on with tech from there.
How were you first introduced to the OKGNtech community?
When I first came to Kelowna in 2004, there wasn’t a whole lot of tech going on. The first two people I met were John van der Woude from Hockey by Design and Shane Austin from coLab. After meeting them, new introductions started to happen organically. You would meet one person, and then they would recommend a half dozen more. You slowly start to integrate all these people together and form a network of your own.
Is there anything you’d like to see more of in the community?
I would love to see more connections between the tech community and the high schools. When you’re 17 or 18, you don’t know what’s going on in the local business community. And you can’t become what you don’t know about. If high school students could interact with our tech companies, ask questions and learn about what opportunities are available for them, they could learn about jobs they didn’t know existed. They could discover new interests in their own backyard.
The best piece of advice that you like to share?
Listen to your gut. It’s really easy to be overwhelmed when people are telling you that there is only one way to accomplish something. It’s important to hear that advice, but at some point you need to filter those suggestions, follow your gut and go your own way. It’s not guaranteed success, but nothing is.
Who inspires you?
My TasteAdvisor team. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, and it’s ever-changing. We’ve pivoted a lot and quite significantly, but it’s always been a positive experience. For each change, we’re excited, jumping right into the turn and still loving each other. That is not something I’ve found in a lot of teams—people who can roll with the stress of a startup but still be super fun to hang out with, inspire and motivate me to keep showing up.
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