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


Rebecca Blackhall-Peters
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 19 - Got the Edge

Image: Contributed

Name: Rebecca Blackhall-Peters

What business or organization are you involved with? Home Hardware Building Centre Penticton

What is your role with that organization? Garden Centre Specialist

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Sunshine and wineries.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? I’d have great chats with Oprah because I admire her.

What’s your go-to happy place? The Summerland Ornamental Gardens.

What are you most proud of? My children and grandchildren.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
-Travel to France;
-Travel to Nepal;
-Make really good bread;

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

Latest movie or book? The 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith.

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

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With my family.

Raghwa Gopal
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 12 - Got the Edge

Name: Raghwa Gopal.

What business or organization are you involved with? Accelerate Okanagan.

What is your role with that organization? CEO.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? It’s natural beauty: the lakes, the mountains and the golf courses. And, of course, the amazing people.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? The Dalai Lama. What a great soul, and such inspiration he is to the world. I would Hope that some of his intellect and wisdom would rub off on me.

What’s your go-to happy place? Outside in nature–a golf course or a nice, quiet walk at the Mission Park Greenway.

What are you most proud of?
A number of things actually:
1. Helping make this community a much better place by doing whatever I can to help;
2. Helping build a great tech community here–which is the fastest growing tech community in the country;
3. And, raising two amazing human beings (my kids)–who are not only smart and humble, but respectful and great contributors to this world.

What are the top three things on your bucket list? This is an interesting one. I have done and seen almost everything I wanted to, but a couple of things that I would still like to do is:
1. Visit to Antarctica;
2. Yangtze River Cruise;
3. Visit Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? A Pig’s stomach at Bazaar Restaurant by Chef Jose’ Andres’ in Las
Vegas. Surprisingly, it was really good.

Latest movie or book? Winners dream – A journey from corner store to corner office by Bill McDermott, the CEO of SAP. It’s a great story, which I can relate to myself as I started my first job at age eleven at a corner store as well.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My beautiful and amazing wife and two kids, and the chance to live in the
best country in the world.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would just sit at home and chat with my wife and kids.

Rob Nelson
Okanagan Edge Staff - Apr 05 - Got the Edge

Name: Rob Nelson

Employer: Kelowna Life Real Estate Group & Century 21 Assurance Realty

City: Kelowna

Occupation: Licensed Real Estate Professional

Tell us about your job: I help people find their dream homes and market their homes for sale.

Tell us about yourself: I am honest, driven, and hard-working. I was born in raised in Edmonton, Alberta and have lived in Edmonton, Vancouver, Lloydminster and Kelowna.

Right now I live with my growing family in the Upper Mission and we absolutely love it here. The Okanagan lifestyle has so much to offer for our entire family and I could not think of a better place in the world to live, raise a family, and work.

What do you do for fun? I enjoy spending time on the boat with my family, walking the dog at mission creek, skiing at Big White or checking out our local wineries.

What Winnie the Pooh character do you most relate to? Winnie the Pooh, as I like honey too!

Latest movie or book: The Virgin Way by Richard Branson

What’s your go-to happy place? If it isn’t enjoying all the awesome things Kelowna and the Okanagan have to offer it would have to be Maui with my family. Such a great place to unwind!

Cherrie Reiter
Okanagan Edge Staff - Mar 29 - Got the Edge

Name: Cherrie Reiter.

What business or organization are you involved with? More Bite than Bark Natural Dog Treats.

What is your role with that organization? CEO.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Lifestyle, lakes, family and friends.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Kevin O’Leary. He is a very smart business man and I would love some ideas to move myself and team forward with our More Bite than Bark Natural Dog Treats.

What’s your go-to happy place? Camping with my favourite people.

What are you most proud of? Working at the best company ever! OK Ready Mix. My team of More Bark than Bite created a treat for the fur babies that are highly allergic to most foods.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?  Travelling to Turks and Caicos Islands with my honey and a horseback camping trip.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? I don’t.

Latest movie or book? I’m don’t remember. I fell a sleep.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My health and happiness.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Laughing so hard that I have tears rolling down between my legs. Then I would have my twin sister wipe up.

Giulio Piccioli
Okanagan Edge Staff - Mar 23 - Got the Edge

Image: Contributed

Name: Giulio Piccioli.

What business or organization are you involved with? One Big Table.

What is your role with that organization? Director.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Being able to jump into the lake at any given time of the day in less than five minutes.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Yotam Ottolenghi. He is a big inspiration in my cooking.

What’s your go-to happy place? Our cabin in the Christian Valley.

What are you most proud of? My family.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
-Live in the forest;
-Visit Argentina;
-Build a wood oven.

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

Latest movie or book? The Third Plate by Dan Barber

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift I ever received was meant to be joke, but it turned out to be the best gift I have ever received.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? In the forest, cooking on open fire (which is a funny thing to write considering the state of the Valley these days, but we are talking hypothetically).

Julene Ashford-Koslowski
Okanagan Edge Staff - Mar 14 - Got the Edge

Name: Julene Ashford-Koslowski.

What business or organization are you involved with? Camelot Haven Alpacas.

What is your role with that organization? Owner.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? The rolling hills.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? Probably my twin brother, as I do not get to see him very much.

What’s your go-to happy place? In the garden among the flowers and birds.

What are you most proud of? The children.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
-Visit the Cook Islands;
-Visit Polynesia;
-Visit the Greek Islands.

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

Latest movie or book? Edible and Medicinal Plants

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Genevieve (Jenny) my Newfoundland dog who saved my life.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would do something that will make a difference.

Mel Breitkreutz
Okanagan Edge Staff - Mar 08 - Got the Edge

Image: Contributed

Name: Mel Breitkreutz.

What business or organization are you involved with? www.HIITit.ca.

What is your role with that organization? Co-owner.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? Many things, but here are a few. How beautiful it is; the lake; the love for life you feel in people around you; that it is an active and healthy community; the people.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? This always changes year-to-year as my interests evolve, but here and now, I’d have to say Carl Lentz. He is one of the leaders with Hillsong United NYC, and I find his love for people and changing the world through goodness absolutely inspiring.

What’s your go-to happy place? The lake!

What are you most proud of? The online fitness business my best friend Chelsea and I have created over these last three years, www.HIITit.ca.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Visiting Fiji;
2. Using HIITit.ca to inspire confidence, strength and positive self-image with our followers;
3. Live in Europe for a month.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Chicken feet stew.

Latest movie or book? One Month to Live by Kerry and Chris Shook. It’s so good!

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My husband, he is my everything.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? With my family and close friends, hands down. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, just being together.

Vanessa Jahnke
Okanagan Edge Staff - Mar 02 - Got the Edge

Image: Contributed

Name: Vanessa Jahnke

What business or organization are you involved with? PURE Gym and Juicery in Penticton, as well as an online wellness business.

What is your role with that organization? Owner, general manager

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? It’s so hard to pick just one. What I love so much about the Okanagan is that there is so much opportunity for young entrepreneurs; it’s such an exciting time for the city right now.

On top of that, the fact that we are half an hour away from an amazing ski resort and just minutes away from spectacular beaches, there really are endless opportunities here. We are so lucky to live here.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? OPRAH! I am so enamoured by her wisdom, I would absolutely love to talk to her and ask her so many questions.

What’s your go-to happy place? Home with my family in the Kootenays, if I had to pick just one, but a spin class or a beach in Maui are high on my list.

What are you most proud of? I would say my business in Penticton, PURE Gym and Juicery.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1) Hike in Cinque Terra with my mom;
2) Retreat in Bali;
3) Live in Maui.

Lots of travel

Latest movie or book? The Subtle Art of not Giving a F! by Mark Manson

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Travel and education.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Fly to Maui with my family and spend the day at the beach.

Alex Reid
Okanagan Edge Staff - Feb 27 - Got the Edge

Name: Alex Reid.

What business or organization are you involved with? Accelerate Okanagan.

What is your role with that organization? Community manager.

What’s your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? How there is always something amazing to do outside. I love skiing, volleyball, taking my dog hiking, being on the water, sitting on a patio, and having a glass (or two) at a winery. Plus there is a pretty cool tech community here that I get the opportunity to be a part of.

If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? In celebration of Canada’s 150, all of the Canadian Justins. Justin Trudeau, Justin Bieber, and my partners name is Justin, so him too.

It would be cool to learn about JT and JB’s experiences growing up in the spotlight, hearing their stories about growing up in Canada, and getting insight into their thoughts on the future. Maybe followed by a concert…

What’s your go-to happy place? More recently it has become going to the dog park with my puppy and partner.

What are you most proud of? I recently bought a home here in the Okanagan and have a great group of family, friends and colleagues that are awesome, so I’m pretty lucky.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Kayak the fjord’s of Norway;
2. A road trip through South America;
3. Learn a third language.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Frog’s legs. I was living in France at the time and it was the holiday dinner. It pretty much tasted like chicken.

Latest movie or book? The Founder on Netflix, which is about the story of McDonalds and I was recently reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris (there are some good take away nuggets in this one).

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My puppy, Sawyer from my partner Justin. She is family.

If today were your last day, how would you spend it? I would be with the people I love and share stories and laugh over a lot of chocolate and some Okanagan wine.

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.

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