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


Landon Orr
Okanagan Edge Staff - Feb 22 - Got the Edge

Name: Landon Orr.

What business or organization are you involved with? Freedom 55 Financial.

What is your role with that organization? Financial advisor.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? There’s so much potential for exploring: mountains, lakes, waterfalls, climbing, big mountain ranges close by, fantastic restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries. The list goes on.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Yvon Chouinard. He’s the founder of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. He’s a 79-year-old billionaire who still runs a massive company, is active outdoors, and is very influential environmentalist.

What’s your go-to happy place? Hiking around the Monashee Mountains near Cherryville, rock climbing
in Cougar Canyon in Vernon, or hanging at the family cabin on Okanagan Lake!

What are you most proud of? My lady, Devyn. She’s currently in the midst of schooling for her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. It’s essentially a full time job of studying on top of working full time as an accountant at a local firm. I’ve never seen anyone with so much
stamina, it’s amazing.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Achieve financial freedom so I can conquer all of the items on my bucket list;
2. Scuba dive with sea lions of the coast of Tofino;
3. Road trip all the way down to the southern tip of South America, bouncing around to as many places as we can along the way.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I was at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand when they brought out these short white worms as an appetizer before lunch. Not much taste, very weird texture. Wouldn’t recommend but would also probably eat it again.

Latest movie or book: The Emperor series by Conn Iggulden. It’s historical fiction about Julius Caesar’s life. It’s amazing. He also has one for Genghis Khan called the Conqueror series. The things those people achieved in their lifetime is insane.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? A monetary gift from my Nana and Papa when I graduated from Okanagan College. Not for the money itself but what it did, which was allow me to go for a two-month solo backpacking trip through Southeast Asia.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Round up as many loved ones as I can, head out to the family cabin, and have one last day by the lake.

Cameron Betts
Okanagan Edge Staff - Feb 16 - Got the Edge

Name: Cameron Betts.

What business or organization are you involved with? Betts Electric Ltd.

What is your role with that organization? President.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The mountain and the lakes. There’s endless options, in any direction, any time of the year. It’s an incredible place to call home.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be, and why? I would have lunch with my grandfather, Dave. He passed away several years ago and I would love nothing more than to see and talk with him one more time.

What’s your go-to happy place? Apex Mountain. Taking my dog Bailey for a hike or snowshoe always puts a smile on my face and clears my mind.

What are you most proud of? My family.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? Go heli skiing, fly in a fighter jet and see a Cowboys game.

Latest movie or book? Under New Management by David Burkus.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Have a big dinner with friends and family.

Daniel Lamhonwah
Okanagan Edge Staff - Feb 09 - Got the Edge

Name: Daniel Lamhonwah.

What business or organization are you involved with? The University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus.

What is your role with that organization? Enrollment Advisor, Faculty of Management.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? I love the ease of access to natural areas. Having hiking trails, lakes, provincial parks, wineries and orchards right in our backyard is to be savoured. There is nowhere else in the world I would rather live.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Civil rights activist, global rights advocate and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela. I would ask him what gave him hope during the darkest times of his incarceration.

What’s your go-to happy place? Kayaking along the shores of Peachland.

What are you most proud of? My daughter. Although she is only three, I am constantly inspired by her compassion, imagination and curiosity. It has been a joy watching her grow up.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. To see the Northern Lights;
2. To visit Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland;
3. To be featured on “Got the Edge” *hint hint*

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? An old roommate of mine swore by peanut butter and cheese sandwiches. I tried a bite and did not go back for a second.

Latest movie or book? Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, authored by Simon Sinek. I highly recommend this read.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? As a graduation present, my parents helped me pay for a trip across Europe. As someone who previously did not have much time off to travel because of school and work, the opportunity to see other countries and meet people of different cultures was life-changing.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Contacting all of my family members and close friends to tell them how much I have appreciate their love, guidance and support over my life.

Alison Yesilcimen
Okanagan Edge Staff - Feb 05 - Got the Edge

Name: Alison Yesilcimen

Employer: AY Enterprise

City: Kelowna

Occupation: CEO with a passion for growing companies, developing people and driving results.

Tell us about your job: I’m so lucky! I conduct results-based advisory services to a diverse portfolio of SME clients ranging from technology to manufacturing for the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust. I’m also an Executive in Residence (EiR) at Accelerate Okanagan providing proven methodologies that help commercialize early-stage tech companies.

Tell us about yourself: I’m a motivational leader who loves to set goals, work hard, and celebrate the success with a round of high fives. I’ve learned over the years that “failure” is not even trying something so I constantly push myself to have the courage to dare greatly!

What do you do for fun? I enjoy writing children’s books and have recently published Pretty Kitty in the City. It’s a fun rhyming book that has a tendency to cause both adults and children to giggle.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to? I put the Grrrrr in Tigger!

Latest movie or book: The force was with me when I went to see Rogue One.

What’s your go-to happy place? Clinking wine glasses at home with my best friend in the whole wide world…my husband Kenan.

Lauren Zucchiatti
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 31 - Got the Edge

Name: Lauren Zucchiatti.

What business or organization are you involved with? Cascades Casino.

What is your role with that organization? Guest services manager.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The beautiful landscape. I love waking up each day and seeing such picturesque views, from the mountains to the lakes to the vineyards. It’s all so beautiful.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I would want to have lunch with Richard Branson because he is such an inspiration, from his incredible business sense to his humanitarian efforts, but most of all for his ability to keep his employees happy by listening to them and keeping their jobs fun.

What’s your go-to happy place? My go-to happy place is Sparkling Hill, but since I can’t go there as often as I’d like, I would have to say this quiet part of the beach near Okanagan Lake Marina.

What are you most proud of? The fact that I never give up. I have been through a lot of things in my life, but I always found a way to see the silver lining in everything.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

-Travel to the Maldives;
-Learn to scuba dive, then dive the “Blue Hole” in Belize;
-Backpack through Europe, especially Rome.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I think the weirdest thing I’ve eaten would be bear, but living in the Okanagan that’s not such a strange thing to eat.

Latest movie or book? You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Time: when someone I love or care about spends time with me. I have everything I need, so there really isn’t anything I would want from someone, other than sharing a moment with them.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would go see my family. They all live in Ontario so I would go visit them, since I only get to see them once a year.

 

Geoff Johnson
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 29 - Got the Edge

Name: Geoff Johnson

Employer: Flair Airlines

City: Kelowna

Occupation: Human Resources

Tell us about your job: Every day is something new. From interviewing and conducting orientations to helping create policies and procedures, no two days are the same. Best practices are always changing and it’s amazing to see what innovation and forward thinking can do for a company!

Tell us about yourself: I grew up in West Kelowna, froze in Alberta for a couple of years and made the jump back to Kelowna last fall.

What do you do for fun? Anything outside! Golfing, hiking, kayaking. I’ve also taken up practicing yoga and I’m really enjoying it.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to? Christopher Robin.

Latest movie or book: The Taliban Don’t Wave by Robert Semrau. A very good read about a Canadian’s tour of duty in Afghanistan.

What’s your go-to happy place? A golf course or a mountain summit.

Debbie Wilkison
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 25 - Got the Edge

Name: Debbie Wilkison.

What business or organization are you involved with? Building Healthy Families Society.

What is your role with that organization? Executive director.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? I was born in Kelowna and never tire of the beauty we are surrounded with.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? My three remaining brothers. I would like to tell them thank you and just visit.

What’s your go-to happy place? Dee Lake.

What are you most proud of? My life. It has been challenging, but I am blessed to work where I do, live where I live, and have a wonderful family.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
-Holiday in Maui;
-Holiday in Carlsbad;
-Win the lottery.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Raw quail egg sushi.

Latest movie or book: They’re Playing Our Song by Carole Bayer Sayer.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? All of my nieces and nephews, plus the little “great” ones.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With all my family and closest friends, having a barbecue and laughing in my parent’s yard.

Andrew McWilliam
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 23 - Got the Edge

Name: Andrew McWilliam

What business or organization are you involved with? 
Ratio Coffee and Pastry.

What is your role with that organization? 
General manager and co-owner.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? 
Seasons! I love having four distinct seasons, and how quickly they change.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? 
My wife. We have four kids and together with our business partners run Ratio, so quiet meals together are a very rare gem.

What’s your go-to happy place? 
Hornby Island.

What are you most proud of? 
My family. My kids constantly make me very proud. They are giving and generous and make the world better by caring about the friends they have.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Travel Canada coast to coast over a few months;
2. Visit one of the coffee growers who provide our coffee at Ratio;
3. Start a coffee shop… oh wait, that already happened 🙂

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? 
Coffee chewed on by monkeys from Australia.

Latest movie or book: The Third Plate by Dan Barber.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? 
Second chances.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? 
Likely how I spent today: serving friends and strangers coffee, spending time with my family and trying to build a community around me.

Jim Findlay
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 19 - Got the Edge

Name: Jim Findlay.

What business or organization are you involved with? Linda’s Quilt Shoppe and Sewing Machines.

What is your role with that organization? Owner; entertainer to our customers; sales; advertiser.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? I love the people and the array of things to do so close to home.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Who would have have lunch with? I would say Al Pacino. He has done some incredible roles and would be a blast to talk to.

What’s your go-to happy place? My happy place is jumping on my Harley and riding the roads in B.C. There’s nothing like having some “my” time.

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of taking over my fathers business and making it one of the most successful businesses in our industry.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
-Riding around Europe on my bike;
-Spending a year traveling with my two younger children;
-Skydiving.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I had a 21-course meal in Japan once, and it had some pretty strange foods, like shark fin soup.

Latest movie or book: The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift I have ever received is seeing my son Jaxson being born.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would start out with a ride on my bike for a few hours and then I would spend time with all my family and friends at the farm.

Cheryl Eedens
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 15 - Got the Edge

Name: Cheryl Eedens

What business or organization are you involved with? 
Vernon Vintners

What is your role with that organization? 
Owner/operator

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? 
Our beautiful backyard, all the lakes and parks that we can use anytime, and of course all the amazing wineries we have around us . I have travelled a fair amount and theres not many places that compare to what we have here .

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? 
I would have lunch with my dad and my family . My dad passed when I was very young and I would love for him to meet my husband and kids and just talk.

What’s your go-to happy place? 
Going for a walk and just just letting my mind go wherever it wants and enjoying the outsoors .

What are you most proud of? 
My family, my kids and my business Vernon Vintners.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? 
Traveling the world: Hawaii, Australia, France, Holland and Greece.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? 
We went to a wild game banquet a few times and I had couger and bear meat.

Latest movie or book: I just watched the movie Bad Moms on the plane to Dallas with my girlfriend and we laughed so hard half the plane turned around to stare at us.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? 
My family and friends.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? 
I would spend it with my family in our kitchen cooking and eating and drinking amazing wine.

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