Biz 1on1: Wayne Tinker
Visland Media - 9:30 am - Columnists

Produced by Kelowna’s Visland MediaBiz 1on1 is an interview series that explores the lives of some of the most interesting business people in North America.

Host Randy Lennon sits down with CEOs and founders of a diverse selection of businesses, talking with them about their vision, passion, and experiences building and running their company.

The show covers a wide array of stories and, although Lennon interviews business leaders from across the continent, he puts a particular focus on people from Okanagan Valley.

Originally broadcast on national television, Biz 1on1 has found a new home on Okanagan Edge, adapted for an online audience.

This week, Randy Lennon sits down with Wayne Tinker of Candor Consulting.

Image: Visland Media

Faces of #OKGNTech
Accelerate Okanagan - May 21 - Columnists

Image: Accelerate Okanagan

A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.

Our community is strong. Growing with record speed and maintaining connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we’ve got a plan.

Introducing, The Faces of #OKGNtech (@OKGNtech). It’s a showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement.

Follow along (on the blog and on Instagram @okgntech) to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.

Meet Lexi. Lexi Keen recently left the Accelerate Okanagan team to tackle coding boot camp at Light House Labs. Lexi loves to learn, lives for outside time, and can’t get enough of her full-bodied cat Lenard. We recently caught up with Lexi to learn more about her passion for coding and what she loves about #OKGNtech.

What’s your favourite thing about coding? 

“I’ve been wanting to learn how to code for a while now. Last year my sister got engaged and I wanted to build her a really nice website for her wedding. I really enjoy working with someone to create their vision. That definitely solidified my dream of wanting to go to coding school…and look at me now! I’m starting coding boot camp in less than a month!” #Followyourdreams

“Growing up, I was always really interested in computers. I used to play around on formatting templates on Nexopia…when that was still a thing. I might be dating myself with that one. At the time I didn’t really think much of it but I guess that was my intro to coding 101” #90skid #Bringbacknextopia

When did you realize you wanted to go to business school? 

“My experience working at Club Penguin made me realize that I had a passion for business. It also made me realized that in order to move up in a company I needed to go back to school. So I asked around and I got a lot of feedback that the Okanagan College had a great business program. I’m so glad I chose to get my Business Degree from the College.”

What’s the best piece of advice you can share us? 

“If you’re unhappy or you’re stuck or if something isn’t working, do not to be afraid to change. I’ve tried a few different careers so far and I haven’t found one that fits. Luckily I’m in a position where I can change my mind and go back to school and try something new. You shouldn’t let that hold you back”

What do you love about #OKGNtech?

“The tech industry here is really unique. There are always people offering to lend a hand and everyone feels comfortable to ask for help. There will always be someone who is willing to put their own project on hold in order to help someone else. The community here is very collaborative. That has to be my favourite thing about #OKGNtech”

What’s one word you would use to describe yourself and why? 

 “Nerd! I am a total nerd at heart. I am seriously interested in everything. It is such a struggle. I have to tell myself ‘No Lexi! One thing at a time. One-thing-at -a-time.’” #alltheskills

What’s something you want people to know about you? 

“Relationships are really important to me. A few people that I am not even that close with have spilt their life story to me and then realized what they are doing and have been like ‘wow you are so easy to talk to’ and I love that. I want all people to think of me as easy to talk to and open.”

What was your favourite thing about working at Accelerate Okanagan?

“My favourite thing about my position at Accelerate Okanagan was really the people. I loved showing new people the amazing space and explaining Accelerate Okanagan’s mission.”

Faces of #OKGNTech
Accelerate Okanagan - May 18 - Columnists

Image: Contibuted

A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.

Our community is strong. Growing with record speed and maintaining connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we’ve got a plan.

Introducing, The Faces of #OKGNtech (@OKGNtech). It’s a showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement.

Follow along (on the blog and on Instagram @okgntech) to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.

Meet Matt. Matt Gomez wears two hats across two mission-based businesses, he’s the COO of Mazu and CEO of Soil Mate. (What a BOSS). When Matt isn’t watching soccer you can find him kickin’ it with his two kids. We recently caught up with Matt to learn more about his passion for problem-solving and who inspires him.

What do you enjoy about your jobs?

“I’m a problem solver. Mazu and Soil Mate are more than just products. They are two companies committed to solving big problems. Soil Mate is trying to change the way that people source and engage with food and Mazu it is trying to change the way that families and children interact online.”

“I wanted to get involved with Mazu because I have young kids and I see what social media is doing to kids self-esteem of kids and I wanted to do something about it. It really spoke to my whole kinda mantra in life – kinda giving a shit and being nice to others”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

“My dad used to always say ‘pain is in the mind’. As I kid I would be rolling on the ground after having been chopped down by some guy in soccer and I would think ‘pain is not in the mind – it’s in my f&$#ing leg!!’. But as I get older I realize that everything is about perspective and mentality”

Who inspires you?

 “People who take chances inspire me. I have a lot of respect and I get inspired by people who go for it. I don’t really care if they land it—I don’t think that defines the person. The courage jump, I respect the hell out of that.”

What do you want to be remembered for? 

“I feel like entrepreneurs have this reputation of being rash and breaking down the walls with their “I don’t give a f$#k” attitude but I don’t necessarily agree with that. It’s important to not take things personally but I think it is important to care. Maybe that’s the way I want to be remembered, as somebody who gave a shit.”

What’s something people don’t know about you?

“I used to travel a lot.  When I was travelling in Korea I spent some time living with Buddhist monks in mountain temples. This may sound annoyingly zen but what I learned was being a happy businessman has far more value than being a rich businessman #givefirst

What inspired you to start Soil Mate? 

“It wasn’t until I had kids that I actually started to care about where their food came from. It was important to me that I fed them good food and understood the origin. But I worked and I wanted to watch soccer on Saturday mornings…soooo I didn’t want to go to the farmers market. So for me, it was about what food I could get, where I could get it and how”. (Dedicated soccer fan right here)

“According to the Globe and Mail, I’m currently one of the most influential people in Canadian food so…. that’s kinda cool! The list includes the CEO of Monsanto, the CEO of Loblaws and little old me, sitting in my back office in Kelowna. They actually put me in the ‘Top Thinker’ category so not sure what that says about my execution skills hahaha.”

Top 40: Amy Rauscher
Okanagan Edge Staff - May 18 - Columnists

Image: Contributed

This year, Okanagan Edge and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce have partnered to showcase some of the Okanagan’s most exciting entrepreneurs, through the Top 40 Under 40 program.

Sponsored by BDO, the Top 40 Under 40 recognizes innovative young professionals in our community and showcases their accomplishments.

Okanagan Edge will feature a new honouree each week, so check back often.

This week we recognize Amy Rauscher, of MOGA.

Image: Contributed

In 2015, as an isolated new mom, Amy Rauscher created MOGA Moms as a “non-judgemental space for moms to connect and establish community.”

Rauscher has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Masters in Business Administration and worked full-time in geriatric health care. But she had seen a need in the community and wanted to fill it, anyway.

MOGA offers what Rauscher calls a holistic approach to health through things like Mom and baby yoga, educational events, stroller run club, doula services, and others.

The program started as “by donation only,” and MOGA was the first ever corporate donor to Mamas for Mamas. Today, MOGA has its own location and continues to maintain its roots of community, collaboration and empowerment.

In 2016, MOGA was a finalist in the City of Kelowna Civic Awards for the Corporate Community of the Year Award. MOGA was also nominated and acknowledged for the Best Community Impact and Best Concept award with Small Business BC.

“I am extremely proud that I have been able to grow the MOGA brand and community with my (now) three-year-old son completely involved,”  Rauscher says. “My son, Landon, tells people he works at MOGA and he will often do a yoga pose or ‘race’ in the middle of the sidewalk. He will grow up understanding the importance of hard work, determination, community and helping others.”

Rauscher says she strives to be a leader in the community and advocate for women’s empowerment. She volunteers on the executive team at Mamas for Mamas and also volunteers in a marketing function on a special project for Mamas TV.

In 2014, she also founded and facilitate a local single mom group in Kelowna.

“I am always available for any mom in need of support in our community,” she says.

Faces of #OKGNTech
Accelerate Okanagan - May 17 - Columnists

Image: Accelerate Okanagan

A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.

Our community is strong. Growing with record speed and maintaining connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we’ve got a plan.

Introducing, The Faces of #OKGNtech (@OKGNtech). It’s a showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement.

Follow along (on the blog and on Instagram @okgntech) to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.

Meet Pete. Pete Macleod is the Community Manager at Change Gamers, a social enterprise based in Kelowna. When Pete isn’t having an earl grey beer at BNA or rocking out to Barenaked Ladies, you can find him on the stage at the Kelowna Actors Studio.

We recently caught up with Pete to learn about his role at Change Gamers and what he loves about #OKGNtech.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“I am a big believer in learning. When I was young I  boxed competitively. I remember I was doing quite well so my instructors started throwing me in with people who were kicking my ass. Going from always winning to getting your ass kicked is not a great feeling. I told my Dad I did n’t want to do it anymore and he said ‘you’re not going to get better unless you’re up against people better than you’. That is something that has always stuck with me.”

What do you enjoy about your role at Change Gamers?

“At Change Gamers we always joke that we have the best job in the world. It’s so rewarding when kids come in and get excited about the things on the app, or when you see the look of relief on teachers faces, and when a charity is enthusiastic about the children engaging with them… It’s the best. I love being a part of making this happen.” #joblove

What do you love about #OKGNtech?

“My favourite part about our community is that it’s so accessible and the leaders in the community are more than willing to connect.”

What’s it like to work for Change Gamers?

 “When Jason pitched the idea for Change Gamers to me I had never made up my mind up about something so quickly. I said yes in my head right away, but of course, I had to play it cool and tell him I’d get back to him”.

“Traditional education has always been about mathematics, English, and social studies, but more and more we’re seeing teachers starting to teach kids soft skills like social responsibility, global citizenship, climate change and kindness. Working on a platform helps with this has been a really rewarding experience”

We saw that you were spotlighted as one of UBC Okanagan’s most progressive students, can you tell us about that?

“During my time at UBCO I was a residence advisor (RA). One of the residences had an entire floor dedicated to students who had a specific interest in international things and the RA on that floor was responsible for connecting internationals and community events. I found that super interesting, so the next year I pitched an expressive arts Integrated Living Community (ILC). It caught on and now all 9 buildings have their own specific ILC. This all resulted in me being spotlighted at one of UBCO’s most progressive students – which was pretty cool”

What do you want to be remembered for?

“I think that if at the end of the day, I will be enormously and immensely satisfied if I know that the world is a slightly better place because of the work that I have dedicated myself to.”

Faces of #OKGNTech
Accelerate Okanagan - May 16 - Columnists

Image: Accelerate Okanagan

A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.

Our community is strong. Growing with record speed and maintaining connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we’ve got a plan.

Introducing, The Faces of #OKGNtech (@OKGNtech). It’s a showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement.

Follow along (on the blog and on Instagram @okgntech) to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.

Meet Kandy. Kandy Schroder is the Operations and Events Manager at The Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (KAST). When she’s not busy volunteering with kids or running trails in the backcountry, Kandy can be found spending time with her 3 daughters.

We recently caught up with Kandy to learn more about her role at the accelerator KAST and what she enjoys about working for a nonprofit.

What do you enjoy about working for KAST?

“We’ve got an incredible team and we’ve got incredible clients. No day is the same so the learning is constant here which is absolutely fantastic. As an accelerator you see everything—it’s amazing.”

“I come from a forestry and municipal government background. While I was working for the government I had been involved with KAST and saw them evolve over the years. So coming into this position was really really an exciting thing for me. Now I get to help out where I watched them help out others for so many years.”

Why nonprofit? 

“With a nonprofit, you’re not there to make money, you’re there to serve the community. That part of it is pretty fantastic. You’re not looking at everybody as a customer, but as someone you are supposed to be helping.” #Givefirst

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

“I would prefer to be running on the trails in the backcountry than sitting at home or making dinner— it’s my favourite place to be in the entire world. 5:30 am is the best time of day to be outdoors – it’s totally amazing – you start the day energized. It’s my therapy.” (What does she put in her coffee?)

What’s one word that describes you and why?

“One word to describe me? Energetic. I NEVER stop moving.” (We’ll have what she’s having)

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“The best piece of advice I’ve received was the first sign of insanity is to continue with the same actions and expecting different results, so I always look to change when something isn’t working.” (PREACH)

Who inspires you?

“My husband inspires me every day. He has been teaching forestry at the college here for over 20 years and he comes home every day with great joy talking about the students and what he’s been able to teach them, as well as the relationships he’s made with the students and the staff. I find that so encouraging and inspiring.” #Joblove

Biz 1on1: Geolyn Mantei
Visland Media - May 15 - Columnists

Produced by Kelowna’s Visland MediaBiz 1on1 is an interview series that explores the lives of some of the most interesting business people in North America.

Host Randy Lennon sits down with CEOs and founders of a diverse selection of businesses, talking with them about their vision, passion, and experiences building and running their company.

The show covers a wide array of stories and, although Lennon interviews business leaders from across the continent, he puts a particular focus on people from Okanagan Valley.

Originally broadcast on national television, Biz 1on1 has found a new home on Okanagan Edge, adapted for an online audience.

This week, Randy Lennon sits down with Geolyn Mantei, the entrepreneur behind MODA partners and Muddy Stilettos.

Image: Visland Media

We won’t be able to help you
Bill Hubbard - May 14 - Columnists

Photo: Contributed

It sounds bizarre, however, on June 15 the government is changing how we and you buy and sell real estate.

After the changes, when we advertise your house for sale and someone calls us, we must advise them to use another realtor. You hire us to sell your home and we will not be able to do that directly.

Most sellers expect their realtor to go out and find a buyer. We really won’t be able to do this without getting someone else involved after June 15. We would have to advertise to find a buyer and them give them to another realtor.

We could treat the interested person as an unrepresented party, but the way the law is changing it will be very risky for that buyer. Also, if you have a relationship with a realtor and you want to buy one of his or her listings, the government is going to force you to use someone else.

Why would the government do this? In its mind, it is to fix a problem with the realtors dealing with both the buyers and sellers.

How big of a problem is this? Less than one-tenth of one percent of the deals in British Columbia last year had problems with dual agency.

So, the government is making a major change to the way the entire province sells real estate—sending the message to consumers that they are too stupid to make an informed decision to fix a problem that is almost non-existent.

Seems logical… but that is just the world according to Bill.

Bill Hubbard is a real estate broker and the owner and broker of a four-office real estate firm in the Okanagan-Shuswap. He has been in real estate for 28 years and has been an owner and broker in Vernon for 20 years. At almost 60 years old he is just as passionate about real estate as the day he started.

Top 40: Julian Helman
Okanagan Edge Staff - May 11 - Columnists

Image: Contributed

This year, Okanagan Edge and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce have partnered to showcase some of the Okanagan’s most exciting entrepreneurs, through the Top 40 Under 40 program.

Sponsored by BDO, the Top 40 Under 40 recognizes innovative young professionals in our community and showcases their accomplishments.

Okanagan Edge will feature a new honouree each week, so check back often.

This week we recognize Julian Helman of Karat Chocolate.

Image: Trevor Nichols

Julian Helman learned the culinary ropes at the Canadian Culinary Institute in Charlottetown, further refining his chocolate and pastry skills at the famed French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago.

From there he worked in a wide range of positions at various establishments, before eventually striking out on his own and starting Karat Chocolate.

At Karat, Helman creates chocolate with premium local ingredients like lavender, cherries, and freeze-dried Cabernet Sauvignon.

Helman says his training has had a “profound impact” on his last 15 years, proving to be a foundation for his creations not just in style and technique, but philosophy.

“Food is more than just food,” he says. “Good food can be something special when made with care.”

Along with running his own business, Helman volunteers with organizations as diverse as the Alan Brooks Nature Centre, the Kelowna SPCA, and the Central Okanagan Food Bank.

He also helps the Canadian Mental Health Association and Kelowna Gospel Mission during the holidays by supervising classes or preparing food.

Can cleantech save the world?
Trevor Nichols - May 11 - Columnists

Image: Pixaby

It’s been said that we currently have all the technology we need to tackle the world’s biggest environmental challenges, like climate change, water, air and soil pollution, and the negative impacts these problems are creating for human health, natural ecosystems, and our economy.

Plus, investments in new and improved technologies are happening every day.

What is CleanTech?

According to Investopedia, “cleantech firms seek to increase performance, productivity, and efficiency by minimizing negative effects on the environment.” Wikipedia adds that “clean technology refers to any process, product, or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements, the sustainable use of resources, or environmental protection activities.”

So, cleantech—or greentech as it is often called—covers a broad range of businesses and applications. Businesses can either be creating clean and green technologies, while many businesses are taking steps to integrate these technologies into their existing operations and business models.

At GreenStep, we consider ourselves a greentech company because we’re applying the use of technology and innovation to enable us to help thousands of businesses, governments and institutions integrate clean and green technologies to improve their environmental performance, while reducing their impacts and costs.

Who Uses Cleantech?

Well, everybody.

In one way or another we are likely using clean technology and innovation in our lives and in the places we work. Think emissions controls on vehicles, LED lights, smart meters, air filtration systems, bio composites, modular building, low flow fixtures and drip irrigation, certified organic food, and goods, recycled paper, lighting or HVAC programmable sensors and controls.

The list goes on.

These types of clean and green innovations have been incorporated into almost every industry and include a wide range of products, services and processes related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, recycling and waste reduction, the built environment, IT solutions, low carbon transportation, emissions reductions, organic agriculture, green chemistry, water conservation and much, much more.

Often, the use of these more common technologies has been legislated or incentivized. In many cases, these technologies not only help reduce negative environmental impacts, they also help to reduce costs through efficiency gains.

So, Can Cleantech Save the World?

Absolutely, and we could do it today if everyone jumped on board.

Unfortunately, most of these technologies are not being deployed as quickly as they could be, primarily due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the tremendous economic and other benefits that can come from implementing these technologies in a strategic way, that would also simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution and environmental degradation, while at the same time make our economy more resilient and competitive and create jobs.

Canada’s Economic Development Commission estimates that the opportunity for Canadian companies to bring our homegrown cleantech solutions to the international marketing is worth $1 trillion and expected to surpass $2.5 trillion by 2020.

A recent report published by Citi Global Perspectives and Solutions, a division of Citibank, points out that the global cost of climate inaction is estimated to be $192 trillion, and the cost of actually solving the climate crisis is $190.2 trillion.

So, globally we would be saving $1.8 trillion, “and also the existential future of the human race,” while in Canada we have a $2.5 trillion dollar market opportunity.

If we want cleantech to save the world, we can make it happen, and profit from it, but we have to stop asking “how can we afford to tackle climate change,” and start asking, “how can we afford not to?”

Today, if you’re not including clean and green technology in your business and home, you’re probably wasting money and creating negative impacts you’d probably like to avoid.

Continued investment in clean and green technology is essential to accelerating our society’s ability to tackle the world’s biggest environmental challenges while transitioning to the green economy.

Image: Contributed

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