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


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.

Teresa May
Contributed - Mar 23, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: www.jessica-andy.ca

What business or organization are you involved with? Teresa May Agency

What is your role with that organization? Founder and director, helping talent find roles in films, commercials and events

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The recreation and culture. Okanagan Lake is a passage that links three cities together, and it’s full of activities for families and friends to enjoy on water and on land. From wineries to golf courses to one of my favourite activities—wake surfing! As for culture, there are many opportunities for theatre, ballet, opera and symphony to take in every single weekend of the year. The Okanagan has so much to offer.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Dead or alive? Princess Di, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa. They are people who were not afraid to stand up for others, who were full of compassion and gave of themselves to others. Real role models!

What’s your go-to happy place? My go-to happy place is volunteering in my community with my friends. There is nothing that makes a person feel better than showing some random acts of kindness each and every day. To get out and really give your time to serve your community in some way each week may seem like an altruistic act, but it is truly a way to feed one’s own emotional well-being, too. When I can put a smile on someone’s face, I smile not only on the outside but in my heart as well.

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my two children: Alisha, who’s 32 and Trevor, who’s 23. They have become two loving, kind, compassionate human beings with big hearts and gentle souls. I love them both with all my heart, and I am proud of them every single day.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? Why call it a bucket list of things to do before you kick the bucket but a life list to do while you are still living?

1. Build a home for at-risk teens (young adults)

2. Travel to more countries around the world

3. Trade the Tesla S to the Tesla Roadster

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Try everything at least once, I say. How about crunching on a piece of cricket? Or eat bear sausage!

Latest movie or book? The Elon Musk book. Love this guy for his intelligence, not his personality. I’m inspired by him because of his future outlook. He is light years ahead of anyone else.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift I have ever received is a Kangen Water machine from my son. It is truly a gift of health. For a kid who is barely making a lot of income and who bought it for me because he wants to me healthy, now you know why I am so proud of my children.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would spend it with my husband, my kids, my family and my friends. Just throw a big party and live it up, as that is how I want them to remember me—life of the party! Do not be sad. My time in this world is over, and I will live in your hearts forever.

Jim Tabler
Contributed - Mar 02, 2020 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Parkers Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat.

What is your role with that organization? General manager and partner.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? It is all about the easy living in the Okanagan and outdoor lifestyle for me! I like to spend time outdoors- camping and love to play golf.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would love to have lunch with Tiger Woods. I think he would be a cool guy and could use some golf tips!

What’s your go-to happy place? I sit under the stars in the quiet of the night.

What are you most proud of? My kids. I am proud to see who they have become. They are great people!

What are the top three things on your bucket list? Travel, travel and travel some more! I would like to see more of Canada, Eastern Europe and cruise the Mediterranean.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? A chocolate-covered grasshopper. Yuk!

Latest movie or book? The Joker.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? When my younger son was eight years old, he gave me a collage of pictures that he had collected of him over the years. I still look at this every day and smile!

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would be with my family, good friends and my dogs!

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