Got the Edge
A light-hearted Q&A with the people who make the Okanagan work


Mangla Bansal
Contributed - Nov 10, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

With what business or organization are you involved? Sustainable Life App

What is your role with that organization? Founder and CEO

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Every. Single. Thing. I have lived in Vancouver or Burnaby for the majority of my life. The last five years or so, I just knew I wasn’t meant to be there anymore. I knew home was elsewhere, but I didn’t know where that elsewhere was. I got a job working with Shaw as their community producer, creating local documentaries, in 2019. I came to Kelowna one weekend and … I just knew. There was a frequency here and every bit of uncertainty I felt all of a sudden shifted to excitement. I am so grateful to call Kelowna home and wouldn’t have it any other way. I miss my family, but there’s Facetime and the holidays, so we’re good.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? That is such a hard question. On the one hand, I would love to have lunch with Oprah and Gayle and be their honourary third musketeer for a shared meal. But then there’s also Michelle Obama. Maybe she can teach me how to do one-handed pushups. And, of course, Beyonce! I want to share with her how hard I have been working learning the dance moves for Mi Gente and Power. Can I say all of the above? And if we take a group picture, can I be in the middle?

What’s your go-to happy place? The Kelowna Farmers’ Market and riding my bike. Nature is my happy place.

What are you most proud of? Building Sustainable Life App. It truly is my purpose in life. It’s a free app on Apple and Android that connects eco-conscious consumers with sustainable brands and businesses in their area. I created it to inspire #SupportSustainable in addition to the #ShopLocal movement. The app features green businesses, eco-products and services from many industries, including: eco travel options (hotels and tours), event venues, retail shops, grocery stores, local farms, cafés, restaurants, hair salons, spas and so much more! Our mission is simple: Sustainable Living Made Easy! I want to keep building it, even 10 years from now. I don’t want to stop until we reach a point in our human existence in which sustainable consumption becomes the forever norm. I know it’s a big, hairy, audacious goal, but I like to dream big.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

1. Finally get to interview the Dalai Lama. The last time I had an interview scheduled his press officer called me to cancel the interview the night before because—and I later found this out—one of the high ranking monks in his monastery was discovered to be a Chinese spy. So yeah, that’s a big one for me.

2. Be able to do a yoga headstand called shirshasana and really OWN it.

3. Raise a beautiful child and work hard to make sure he or she has a safe future with a healthy and sustainable earth/life.

Latest movie or book? I watched the Social Dilemma recently on Netflix … sigh. I am reading a book called Our Peaceful Planet. I’m going to be interviewing the author Yasmin Davar on the Sustainable Life Podcast. So far it’s very insightful on the kind of internal and external healing we all need to do in order to live a sustainable life.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Being born into a family that had the best grandmother ever. She was my everything, and I give her a lot of credit for the person that I am today. Great grandparents are the best gifts.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? LOL. I will never tell!

Shannan Schimmelmann
Contributed - Oct 13, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

With what business or organization are you involved? Liquid Kudos

What is your role with that organization? Managing partner

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? I love living in a playground in nature. Our family loves every season, and some favourite activities are to hike, cycle, kayak, stand-up paddle board, downhill ski, snowshoe, golf and so much more.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Brené Brown as the author of Dare to Lead and many other amazing books is very inspiring. Elon Musk, I would like to learn more about his leadership style and innovation.

What’s your go-to happy place? Unlimited Okanagan trails. Some favourites are Mission Creek Greenway, Lebanon Creek Regional Park and trails, Mt. Boucherie trails, Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park and trails.

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my children, and my accomplishment being co-founder of a leadership camp for youth.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? I would like to visit and have adventures:
1. Hiking in Peru and Machu Picchu
2. Climb the Great Wall of China
3. Beach, Wine, Port and Gastronomy Tour in Portgual

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Sushi with spam

Latest movie or book? Orange Socks by Valerie Simonson is my latest book.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? A photo book of amazing memories.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would be surrounded by loved ones, and enjoy an adventure in nature with gourmet food and wine.

Spencer Brown
Contributed - Sep 04, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

With which business or organization are you involved? Brown Benefits Agency Ltd.

What is your role with that organization? Group Benefits & Financial Services Broker

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The proximity to mountains and the lake. On any given day you can go for a walk or hike near either while enjoying tremendous views. The Okanagan doesn’t feel too big but has all you need resource-wise. I enjoy the array of recreational activities available and the diverse range of local businesses.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Barack Obama. I would try to avoid asking him about the presidency, though. I’d love to pick his brain on the law, writing books, Hawaii and how he became such an impressive orator.

What’s your go-to happy place? Early morning or evening, air brisk, view of or walking alongside Okanagan Lake, walking our dog while listening to a podcast.

What are you most proud of? I’m proud of the family my spouse and I are building. I’m proud to work in a family business with a positive dynamic. I’m thankful to live in Canada.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Return to London, England, where my spouse and I lived for a year (not now, of course)
2. Confidently emcee or give a speech at a wedding
3. Write a book

Latest movie or book? Business book: Adam Grant’s Give and Take. Non-fiction: Jeffrey Toobin’s The Run of His Life. Movie: Palm Springs.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? When one of my grandfathers passed away, I was given a sapphire ring of his. It’s a neat memento as well as my birth stone. I’ve probably worn it only a couple of times. On a lighter note, I was given AirPods a couple of Christmases ago. Life changing convenience!

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I’d spend as much time with my family as I could. I’d try and squeeze in a round of golf with my dad. I’d drink a lot of coffee. I’d have some sort of open house and invite all the important people in my life. Our dog would get endless treats.

Shae Ryga
Contributed - Aug 19, 2020 - Got the Edge

With what business or organization are you involved? Willow Studios

What is your role with that organization? Songwriter, musician, producer

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? My songwriting idea come from the wonderful people I meet in the Okanagan, and my inspiration to turn them into full blown productions comes from the beauty of the Okanagan nature around me. I wouldn’t have achieved what I have with music without the beautiful views in this valley.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, whom would you choose and why? Amos Lee, as he is an incredible inspiration and role model for me as a songwriter and singer. I aspire to create works of art as perfect as his.

What’s your go-to happy place? My music studio. Nothing feels better than sitting in the studio with a guitar on my lap, a microphone in front of me and a world of possibility waiting to be uncovered. I lose track of time and dedicate myself to creation.

What are you most proud of? Willow, my debut album. I have spent six months on it, doing almost all the writing, instruments and recording/production myself. I taught myself to record just for the album, and I worked hard to do the drums, guitar, bass and vocals independently.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? I have already accomplished my number one thing, and that is to make somebody feel an emotion while listening to my songs that I felt when I wrote them. My only goal in music is to describe the feelings everybody has and make an art piece that reminds somebody of exactly that.

Secondly, I’d love to get my car on the road, as I’ve been working on it a long time and want to see it finally one day driving around.

Lastly, I’d like to pay back my family and friends for all the things they’re ever done for me. I want to work hard and show them that all the belief, funding, support and love was not for nothing.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Probably a Welch’s candy wrapper. Definitely not a great idea, but I was bored.

Latest movie or book? House of The Scorpion

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My first guitar was a gift from my mother and has changed my life more than anything in the world. Music has become my way to channel emotions and express myself. It has given me direction in life, and there are few things I would give that up for.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I’d seclude myself in the studio and lose myself in creation. I’d pay no attention to time, only to fully committing myself to making art.

Myrna Selzler Park
Contributed - Jul 27, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

With what business or organization are you involved? Camino Consulting, Value Drivers Consulting

What is your role with that organization? Visionary, facilitator, advisor to clients.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The warm summer mornings.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Melinda Gates. She’s a smart, capable woman doing practical, good things in the world.

What’s your go-to happy place? My deck. It overlooks trees and a fast running creek.

What are you most proud of? Hiking 300 kilometres on the Portuguese Camino on my own and making great friends along the way. And on the business side, building a company that had a great culture and became No. 15 in Canada out of 400.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

• Hiking caminos every two years

• Skiing 50 different mountains

• Creating great communities by supporting great companies

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Crickets, and I shared them secretly with my team. They did not know!

Latest movie or book? How to Think Like a Roman Emperor by Donald Robertson.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? I take my kids and grandkids on a big “running shoe shop” every year. Last year they gave me a cool stylized picture of a circle of feet in new running shoes. It made me laugh.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Visiting family and friends and reminding them of all the ways I see their greatness and their unique gifts to the world.

Laura Brookes
Contributed - Jun 04, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Castanet Kelowna

What is your role with that organization? News reporter.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Living somewhere we get the best of all four seasons!

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand prime minister and all-round legend.

What’s your go-to happy place? When I’m in New Zealand, it’s Wanaka. When I’m in Canada, it’s Banff.

What are you most proud of? The people I consider family and friends. They are the greatest humans I know.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
• visit Peru
• see the northern lights
• travel around New Zealand in a camper van

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Raw fish in Tonga. Can’t say I’ve done much worse.

Latest movie or book? Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. I highly recommend it—movie or book!

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My first digital camera. Once upon a time, that was very exciting.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I’d invite everyone I know for food and drinks—and six feet distancing.

Megan Holuboff
Contributed - May 21, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

With which business or organization are you involved? Comfort Tech Heating and Cooling Ltd.

What is your role with that organization? Administrator

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The weather and the outdoor active living in the Okanagan are my favourite things. Being able to explore and play in every season is wonderful!

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would love sit down with architect Frank Gehry to see his point of view on the world, which created some amazing structures. It would be awe inspiring.

What’s your go-to happy place? My go to happy place is in the forest near a water source. Hearing the water flow and leaves rustle is a calm, simple happiness, which is much needed when living a busy life.

What are you most proud of? I’m proud of having a wonderful life. I am only in my 20s but have managed to finish school with no debt, get married and buy a house with our own savings, and get our first dog.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
• Build a forever home.
• Travel to Copenhagen.
• Travel on a train.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? The weirdest thing I have ever eaten was an earth worm. I was in a course practising for a survival situation. Let’s just say they are very weird things to eat.

Latest movie or book? I am not much of a movie watcher or a book reader (I’m dyslexic, so I avoid books like the plague). The most recent Netflix show I watched was Last Kingdom. I am super fascinated by Vikings and history, so this was a great fictional Viking show to watch.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift I ever received was a pair of pink camouflage Snap-On work gloves. At first I absolutely hated them, but they came with a promise to always be with the man I love, because he hid my engagement ring inside them knowing that it would throw me off from the big surprise!

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would want to spend it with the people I love: my family and extended family. Having people there who have encouraged me to work hard for the things I care about and have pushed me so far in just a few short years would be lovely, and I would love to thank them for that.

Sean Colluney
Contributed - May 06, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

With what business or organization are you involved? Valley Pool and Spa

What is your role with that organization? Business development and sales manager.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Weather and lifestyle. We have four seasons as opposed to many parts of our country and easy access to lots of outdoor activities year round. The Okanagan is definitely the best area of Canada to live, and we should count ourselves lucky that we live in such a beautiful part of the world.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics and former world record holder in the 800 metres, 1500 metres and mile. He was my hero while I was a young runner, and he has made the jump from world record holder and multiple Olympic champion to being British Minister of Sport to the president of World Athletics, the international track and field governing body.

What’s your go-to happy place? Zihuatanejo, Mexico, which is my winter happy place. We have a condo there and love the place. The people are amazing, and the nightlife is so much fun. Incredible restaurants, great beaches. It is just such a beautiful place. My summer happy place would definitely be out camping and mountain biking.

What are you most proud of? What beat my athletic accolades was my accomplishment as a coach. Being a positive influence on young athletes and helping several to international competition has been very fulfilling. Also being awarded a civic award for my contribution to sport has been a feather in my cap.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? Having a degree in history, I have always been fascinated with ancient cultures. Therefore, I want to visit:
1. The pyramids in Egypt
2. Machu Picchu in Peru
3. Anghor Wat in Cambodia

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Originally being from Bolton (just outside Manchester) in England, it has to be Bury black pudding! If you know what black pudding is, you have probably never eaten it again! This is a special kind of black pudding from the town of Bury, England.

Latest movie or book? Latest book I am reading is the Knights of the Black and White (book two of the Templar trilogy, based on the Knights Templar) by local Kelowna author and former professor of mine at SFU Jack Whyte. Jack Whyte is my favourite historical fiction writer. He has written several incredible series of novels.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The copious amount of alcohol given to me at my 50th birthday party in February of this year. I think I have enough to open a bar now! Pretty much stocked for life.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With my beautiful fiancée, Andrea. Every day I get to spend with her is a gift on its own. She is an inspiration to be around. Also my family. I have been blessed with wonderful parents and amazing children, two of whom have their own children now. I am so lucky to be surrounded with such a loving family. That is how I would like to spend my last day, surrounded with friends and family.

Christine Ransome
Contributed - Apr 23, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

With which business or organization are you involved? Cheers For The Years

What is your role with that organization? Co-creator and partner

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The people, the most amazing people and wonderful friends I have been so fortunate to meet since moving here. Also, the views. I was born and lived for 23 years in beautiful Scotland. I travelled to Ireland for many of those years, visiting family and friends of my parents. I lived on the beautiful island of Barbados for 13 years, and now I get to live in wonderful Kelowna. I am so lucky to have enjoyed so many amazing places in my life, and I now get to add yet another beautiful spot to my list. Thank you, Kelowna, for adding another hot spot to my list, as Kelowna is certainly beautiful.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, whom would you choose and why? Can I choose two groups? Please? In Canada, my children and grandchildren. In the United Kingdom, all my wonderful sisters and brother with their spouses and as much family as they could bring.

What’s your go-to happy place? Scotland, sitting in front of the fire in my sister’s home, which reminds me of a scene from Wuthering Heights as the wind whips around the outside of the house and we play guitars, sing and drink Champagne inside.

What are you most proud of? My beautiful family—what I have given them and what they have given me.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? This has truly changed due to present circumstances. Life’s needs, wants and desires have all been re-assessed.
• Be with my family
• Hug my family
• Be there for my family

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Frogs legs … accidentally. Thought it was chicken!

Latest movie or book? Judy.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Surprise 60th birthday party at my sister’s home in London. Our annual family reunion in London, which we have been doing for 35 years, did not coincide with my 60th in February. However, my amazing sisters organized a wonderful surprise 60th party for me, knowing that family and friends would all be around to wish me the very on this special day.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would have a barbecue with my beautiful children and grandchildren at my home in Gallagher’s Canyon. Eat dinner, drink Champagne, chip and putt competition on the fairway, drink more Champagne and continue to laugh.

Chip Vatamaniuck
Contributed - Apr 02, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

Name: Chip Vatamaniuck

What business or organization are you involved with? The Bistro at The Castle at Swan Lake in Vernon.

What is your role with that organization? chef/managing partner

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Seeing our wildlife and enjoying the many lakes the Interior has for us.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Masaharu Morimoto, ever since his involvement in Iron Chef Japan and U.S. He has very unique ways of creating amazing food and passion for food. Would love to experience a day with him and enjoy his creations.

What’s your go-to happy place? I was brought up enjoying what B.C. can bring us, enjoying the mountains, lakes, rivers and our great outdoors.

What are you most proud of? Joining and becoming a partner with The Bistro at The Castle at Swan Lake. With the help of Jacqueline (Brooks), she has given me back the passion to continue cooking within this city of ours.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Visit the volcanos of Hawaii
2. Go on a coastal fishing trip in the honour of my dad
3. Try to live a healthier lifestyle for my family

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Escargot and frog legs. Other than that, I love to experiment with the flavours and products from this great province.

Latest movie or book? The last movie was Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The last book was Last of the Breed by Louis l’Amour.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Seeing and being with my dad every day before he passed on from ALS. I was able to say goodbye.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Being with family is the only way to spend your last days of life.

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