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


Deb Lawless
Contributed - Oct 10, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Halloween Alley.

What is your role with that organization? District co-ordinator.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Although most people think I love the fall, I love all seasons and mostly that is because of the 18 years living in the Okanagan. I love that we can truly enjoy every season in Kelowna, whether it be sports or other activities—enjoying a patio dinner along the waterfront or skiing and enjoying all winter has to offer up at Big White.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would love to have lunch with Richard Branson. Although I love working for corporations, I have done many things and consider myself still to be an entrepreneur. I love his zest for life, taking chances and trying new things. I always say, “Go big or go home.”

What’s your go-to happy place? My happy place is just hanging out with my family and friends. With family living in other provinces, my community has been surrounded by an amazing tribe of friends that have been here for myself and family throughout the 18 years of us trying to raise our children. There is no one that makes me happier than my friends. I am truly grateful for all in my life.

What are you most proud of? Without doubt, my three children. Sometimes I say they drive me crazy, but my love for them … well, I can’t even explain. I wish I could keep them little forever. However, everything I do in my life is to ensure they have every opportunity they want to try in life. It is my job as a mother to give suggestions and help them to make decisions on their own (hopefully good ones). I am not perfect, nor always right, but hopefully they learn to be true to their passions, work hard, be honest and live their best life ever! (quoted by my 18 year old)

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1) Travel to Australia (and make a pitstop in Hawaii)
2) Be a billionaire with a cause that helps change the world
3) Have lunch with Richard Branson

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I did eat bugs in Alberta once. However, I went to an Iranian restaurant with my husband many years ago and really enjoyed it!

Latest movie or book? I’m currently reading the book “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? I wouldn’t say it was something tangible. I have learned from a lot of people in my life that have passed away. The traditions and morals my family have instilled in me truly make me who I am. So to answer the question clearly, I would have to say all the memories that I have and am able to pass on. The people in my life complete me to who I am.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? If I found out today was my last day, I think I would find my children, hug them lots, write them a note of how grateful I am and tell them that life is just starting, so live every moment to the fullest like it was their last day. I may partake in a few beverages with my tribe and look forward to the best sleep ever!

Brooke Astells
Contributed - Sep 11, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

With what business or organization are you involved? Innerspace Watersports.

What is your role with that organization? Marketing management.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? What I love the most about the Okanagan is having four distinctive seasons. Summers are made for playing behind the boat and kayaking! Fall is perfect for hikes up Silver Star and dirt biking. Winter brings the champagne powder to ski and snow bike in! And spring allows for a bit of everything. Late season turns on the mountains and early season paddling begins!

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My mum. Because I like her the most.

What’s your go-to happy place? Depends on the season! Kal Lake secret beach in the summer and the top of a snowy mountain peak in the winter.

What are you most proud of? My ability to continue learning and expanding my interests and skill set.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? Working at Innerspace Watersports allows me to do most of the things that were on my bucket list. Snow biking, surfing, diving, trips! I am very luck in that regard. I supposed if I were to re-write it I would say …
• Become a sponsored snow bike athlete in the coming seasons or be a Timbersled ambassador
• Become more involved in ski touring in remote areas, including cat skiing and heli-skiing
• Buy a house

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? While travelling in western Australia I was invited to a traditional Aussie barbecue. Being a vegetarian I was hesitant but decided ‘when in Rome,’ so I allowed myself to try everything they were cooking, including emu sausages, crocodile and kangaroo. I liked the crocodile. The rest I wouldn’t need to try again.

Latest movie or book? The latest movie I saw was Once Upon a Time In Hollywood at the Vernon Cineplex. I wanted to see the Lion King but didn’t know how I felt about 3D, so was convinced to see this one.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? A car.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With all my favourite people eating all of our favourite food and maybe we could go for a swim and a ski in the same day! It would have to be July in Whistler so we could ski the glacier and swim in the lakes in the afternoon!

Vicky Belteton
Contributed - Jul 18, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Kids Spanish Club Kelowna (Fun Spanish classes for children)

What is your role with that organization? Owner/founder and Spanish teacher

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The people, the lake and weather!

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would love to have lunch with my Granma and Grampa. I miss them so much! I would like to sit and talk with them and ask for some advice.

What’s your go-to happy place? A quiet place by the water.

What are you most proud of? My nine-year-old son is my pride and joy!

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
• A trip to Paris and Greece
• Going to an Adele concert
• Meeting Robert Downey Jr

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Zompopos de Mayo con sal y limon! Yummy big ant butts with lemon and salt. They taste and crunch like peanuts, and the season is too short to linger! (You can only eat them during rain season in May)

Latest movie or book: Actually reading Becoming, by Michelle Obama.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My son Matteo! He was born Christmas Day in Kelowna at 8 p.m.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Having a big party with mariachis and my whole family in Guatemala!

Edan Fay
Contributed - May 29, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

With which business or organization are you involved? The Royal Kelowna hotel

What is your role? Director of operations

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Being able to enjoy the outdoors year round. Lake, golf, beaches, wineries, fishing, hunting and, of course, skiing.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My Grandma Jean. She is the coolest and one of the most interesting people I know. She’s in her 90s and can still take me at crib.

What’s your go-to happy place? Anywhere with family and friends, golf club in hand or a fishing rod on the boat or on the ice. No matter, as long as I am with good people.

What are you most proud of? My family and my kids. I have never done anything as important or satisfying as being a father to my three kids and a husband to my wife.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
• Sky diving
• Driving a race car
• Taking a month off to travel with my family to somewhere exotic

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Rattlesnake or prairie oysters.

Latest movie or book? Pillars of the Earth. It was an amazing read.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My kids.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Camping with my family at a mountain-top lake and sitting around the fire at night. Perfection.

Brett Turner
Contributed - Apr 17, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Joy Road Catering.

What is your role with that organization? Owner and chef.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? My favourite thing is the sense of community and the amazing outdoors. The Okanagan is a unique region, and I love nothing more than exploring its natural beauty. I am excited to return to my roots in the region I grew up in and immerse myself back into the community.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I’d fly, then take a boat to Francis Mallmann’s Island in Patagonia, then have lunch and way too much wine with him. I love his approach to food and wine. He’s an extremely interesting person.

What’s your go-to happy place? It’s a tie between being holed up in a snowy cabin or spending time in a tropical place where you can get away with not wearing any shoes all day!

What are you most proud of? We just won our second ACE award for Best International Caterer with Cocktails and Canapes Catering in Vancouver. This has been a huge achievement for us and our team.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

1. Tour North America with my fiancée Olivia and son Max in our VW Westfalia van

2. Build an A-frame cabin in the woods

3. Spend time in Capetown, South Africa. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Have you ever had natto….?

Latest movie or book? I watched Chef’s Table Season 6 on Netflix last night, the Sean Brock episode. Gives me goosebumps watching it. For books, I am currently reading Traction by Gino Wickman. It’s a great business book.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Is it too cheesy to say our son Max? I mean, I’ve received some cool stuff in my life but nothing close to being a dad.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? A nice bottle of wine and a huge plate of my mom’s spaghetti bolognese beside a campfire with family.

Amanda Westrheim
Contributed - Mar 13, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

Name: Amanda Westrheim

What business or organization are you involved with? Real estate

What is your role with that organization? Residential sales

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? We live in paradise! My favourite thing is the unparalleled beauty and weather. I’m so passionate about where we live.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Gwen Stefani. I just adore her!

What’s your go-to happy place? Knox Mountain. I can’t stop taking photos of the views.

What are you most proud of? My bodybuilding achievements. I had no clue how disciplined the sport is. I have such an appreciation for it now!

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
• Travel the world
• Help everyone access clean water
• Invest in land outside of Canada

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Mystery meat in Thailand. LOL.

Latest movie or book? Birdbox

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? When I bought my first house in Vernon at 19, my dad visited from Vancouver and took me to Rona, where he purchased all of the must-have items a homeowner needs. He then helped me to improve the home and do simple energy saving upgrades over the whole weekend. I just lost my father, so this memory is special to me.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Eating all my favourite foods with a very expensive bottle of wine. Or two. Or three.

Tyler van Bergen
Contributed - Feb 05, 2019 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Garage Kings Vernon.

What is your role with that organization? Owner/partner.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The weather was a major drawing card. I love being able to do so many things outdoors with my family throughout the year.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Zac Efron. I think lunches should be fun. He is funny, and I think he would probably laugh at my jokes. And my wife would like to come.

What’s your go-to happy place? At home with my son.

What are you most proud of? My wife and sons.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1) Skydiving
2) Travelling to Australia
3) Running with the bulls

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

Latest movie or book? The new Grinch movie.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My sons.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Eating good food with friends and family.

Tiffany Woodfield
Contributed - Dec 18, 2018 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

What business or organization are you involved with? Raymond James

What is your role with that organization? Cross-border licensed financial advisor

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The sense of community! I grew up in Kelowna, and my whole family is here. I love that wherever you go you see people you know. I still believe we can support our local businesses. I also have twin seven-year-old boys, and when my husband and I had to decide where to raise them, well, I won and he moved from Vancouver. I love that we can ski, bike, swim and golf. We are in a beautiful location that offers an amazing lifestyle.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My core is to meet the Dalai Lama because he is so gifted at teaching others to be present and kind, to trust we are where we are meant to be. I think I would learn and feel his energy just being in the same room. But I will say lately it is tempting to think I would love to sit across from Donald Trump and ask, “How did you do it?” And more importantly, “How do you continue to do it?”

What’s your go-to happy place? I’m very happy in nature, and this creates my balance. So in the winter it is on the cross-country trails at Big White when no one is around and you can hear the snow falling on the trees. It is truly magical. I can then recharge and be ready to get back and ski downhill. In the summer it is swimming in the lake. We usually go at 6 a.m. and swim laps at Gyro.

What are you most proud of? I guess I would be most proud of the first time I stepped out of my comfort zone. I grew up in Kelowna, and it was so hard to leave my family and friends. However, I went to London, England, for a year and was a manager at Harrods in my 20s. I can remember the first day having my team in front of me. Many of them were older than me and from different countries in Europe. Here I was from a little city of Kelowna. When asked to address them I had to swallow my fear and insecurities and demonstrate confidence and strength. This has served me well as it taught me it is OK to be afraid. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something. It just means you are stretching. I tell my kids now to stretch, and it is OK to be afraid.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1) Take my family on safari in Africa.
2) Egypt cruise on the Nile River.
3) Hang glide. I have skydived a couple of times, and it was exhilarating and then peaceful. Next, I would like to hang glide. I have always wanted to feel like I could fly.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Popcorn at 5,895 metres on the summit of Uhuru Peak on Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. Oh, and vodka on our trek up from a Russian’s flask 🙂

Latest movie or book? Winter in Paradise, by Elian Hilderbrand. Chick book but so relaxing.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My twin boys. Best gift ever!

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With my husband and two boys away from it all. No phones or iPads. A glass of wine and a beautiful view overlooking a lake. I would love to be in nature connected to them, knowing we will meet again.

Nico Boesten
Contributed - Nov 28, 2018 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

Name: Nico Boesten

What business or organization are you involved with? New Horizon Productions

What is your role with that organization? work dad/general manager

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Oooooh. It’s a toss-up between the traffic and the sun. Haha. OK, let’s go with the fact that everything is within biking distance.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Simon Sinek. This guy has some refreshing perspectives on business, kids and life in general.

What’s your go-to happy place? Mmmmmmmexico.

What are you most proud of? My offspring, Misha (19) and Sylas (18), are some unbelievable human beings who continuously make me smile.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

1. Jumping off of a mountain (sure, with one of those paragliders attached)
2. See my kids get married
3. Go over 300 km/h on a motorbike, preferably in Italy

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

Latest movie or book: Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? It’s a toss-up. My first thought would be my kids, but I’ve been mentioning them a lot here. Right up there would be the last trip my dad made out to Connecticut to come visit me.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? It would be with my kids. We’d probably spend most of it at a beach or doing some dumb and childish things on a wild adventure.

Tina Walczak
Contributed - Nov 02, 2018 - Got the Edge

Photo: Contributed

Name: Tina Walczak

What business or organization are you involved with? Hiilite Web Design and Marketing Agency

What is your role with that organization? Chief Design Officer

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The Okanagan is an absolutely stunning place to live. I’m grateful to live in a place that has continually changing seasons. When anyone comes to visit, I love having the opportunity to experience the Okanagan’s beauty and culture through their eyes.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would choose David Kelley because of his relative metaphors when teaching creative confidence and design thinking. I really admire his ability to articulate design processes and would love to be mentored by him.

What’s your go-to happy place? Knox Mountain in Kelowna is where I go to reflect and unplug.

What are you most proud of? I’m most proud of my relationship with my husband and business partner, Will. His unconditional support and mentorship have given me the opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Ted Talk speaker
2. Travel India
3. Great white shark diving

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I have eaten a grub (a worm-like creature) from my friend’s garden, and I would advise anyone that if you think it is a good idea, it is not.

Latest movie or book? Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift I ever received was from our friend, Dina. She planned our wedding and surprised us with a beautiful ceremony at Christleton Manor. Without her, our wedding day wouldn’t have been nearly as magical.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would call everyone I know to remind them of their natural gifts and tell them I love them; I would go skydiving; and I would invite everyone I know to a huge, final celebration.

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