New GM at Kamloops Kia
Okanagan Edge Staff - 11:12 am - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

Cam Clark Automotive Group has found its new general manager for Kamloops Kia, and it did not have to look too far to find her.

Heather Lewis, who has 17 years of automotive industry experience, is the new GM at the dealership, which is one of four under the Cam Clark umbrella in Kamloops. She most recently served as the regional controller for the Cam Clark group.

“We have always been impressed by Heather’s accomplishments, work ethic and continued knowledge of the industry,” Cam Clark chief operating officer Sean Bell said in a press release. “She is a strong leader and has lived most of her life in Kamloops.”

Lewis attended NorKam Secondary and Cariboo College before furthering her education and work in Alberta. She returned to Kamloops to start her family and most recently had been leading the accounting department for Kamloops Kia, Kamloops Ford Lincoln, Kamloops Mazda and Dearborn Ford.

“I am most excited to lead a team that has been so incredibly involved in the community, including the Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism, Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack and the Kamloops Blazers to name a few.

“I have big plans for redefining the Kamloops Kia experience for our team and our customers.”

Faces of #OKGNtech
Accelerate Okanagan - Dec 01, 2022 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

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 and growing with record speed, and maintaining connections through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic. We’ve got a plan.

This is “The Faces of #OKGNtech,” 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 at @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.

Meet Ingrid Takai, the founder of Ronin HR. When she’s not recruiting top talent for Okanagan tech companies, you can find her hiking, cross-country skiing or enjoying the occasional happy hour.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Stockholm, Sweden. While living there I did my first year of law school before realizing it was not my cup of tea. I made the decision to study French and Japanese, and after making that my focus I was able to network my way into a job in Tokyo. In Japan, I worked in the research and development department for a home construction company that had bought a factory in Sweden. While working there I met someone and decided to make the move to Vancouver, where we started our family. 

Why did you decide to call the Okanagan home?

I was at a point where I was restarting my career after being home with my two kids, so I made the decision to pack up and move our family to the Okanagan. We came here without any jobs lined up so it kind of felt like parachuting in without any parachutes, but we knew we wanted a different kind of lifestyle. I wanted better schools for my kids and easier access to skiing. We were also done with Vancouver traffic. 

Where do you work in the Okanagan?

When I first moved to the Okanagan I worked for a few different tech startups, and I had the opportunity to wear a lot of different hats. I quickly realized that being involved in the recruitment process was my favourite part of the job. When it was time for me to strike out on my own I had a pretty clear idea that I wanted to do recruitment, but I wanted to do it differently, so I started Ronin HR in 2015. At that time I had an opportunity to claim this little niche that was the OKGNtech community. At the time Kelowna was not super well known across Canada, so you really needed to promote it. The fact that I was located here allowed me to do things that most recruiters don’t get to do, like talk to candidates about neighbourhoods and schools as well as spend time with the companies I was recruiting for. 

What do you enjoy most about your role? 

For me it’s definitely the human connection. When I can successfully connect a candidate with a company it’s exhilarating, but I also like to keep in touch with my candidates after making the placements. I think that might be a bit unusual for a recruiter, but I’ve always felt such a responsibility for the candidates. If I am going to encourage someone to pack up and move their whole life to a town they’ve likely never been to, I need to be absolutely sure that it’s a good fit for them. By the time they’ve moved here they’ve become someone that I know relatively well, and I want to make sure that they are happy and well looked after.

What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours? 

There are two different ways to work as a recruiter. You can work in an HR role at a company and do recruitment for them, or you can work for an agency doing recruitment for a variety of different companies. I would say if you are interested in getting a job as a recruiter it’s really valuable to experience both sides. I would recommend that you take the opportunity to explore them both through internships, or at the very least sit down with someone and ask questions so you can figure out what role you are most interested in. Both options are quite different, and they provide different levels of satisfaction, so I think it’s important to take the time to figure out which side you will be happiest on.

How did you get involved in tech? 

When I moved to the Okanagan it was in the early days of OKGNtech. I had applied for a number of jobs, and ended up interviewing for a local tech startup. Initially I was interviewing for some kind of admin role, but in typical startup fashion when I arrived they had realized they needed a project manager and asked if I could do that. I said of course, and that was the beginning of seven years of working in startups. At the time startups were the perfect environment for me. You have to have a certain personality to thrive at a startup. You have to be OK with wearing whatever hat somebody needs you to wear that day and be able to roll with the punches. If you can handle that then startups are such an amazing environment.

What is the best piece of advice you can share?

Life is too short to be in a job that you don’t enjoy. If you can find something that you are good at, it’s worth seeing if you can develop that further and become an expert in that thing. It may not be something you ever thought you were going to enjoy doing or make a career out of, but just go for it. I also think it’s important to find a workplace that you are happy with. A good team of people can really make all the difference. It’s important to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.

Who inspires you?

I would love the opportunity to give a shout out to my mentor. I’ve had the opportunity to be mentored by a recruiter in Vancouver, Raymond To. He manages Go Recruitment. Raymond has been incredibly knowledgeable and supportive. He is always there for me when I have a question. I am so thankful for his support, and I hope that I can be an equally good mentor for somebody else someday.

Vernon promotes deputy CAO
Jon Manchester - Nov 29, 2022 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

The City of Vernon has found its new chief administrative officer, and it didn’t have to look too far.

Patti Bridal has been appointed to the position, effective Dec. 10, for a two-year term.

“We could not be more pleased about this announcement,” Mayor Victor Cumming said in a press release. “Ms. Bridal has faithfully and enthusiastically served the citizens of Vernon for more than 18 years in leadership roles at the city. She has been Vernon’s deputy CAO since 2015, and has helped guide the work of numerous councils and many city staff members to offer the very best in public service.”

Bridal has worked in local government in B.C. for more than 25 years and began her career with the City of Vernon in March 2003. She has served as deputy clerk, corporate officer, manager of corporate services and director of corporate services.

She sat on the corporate officers forum committee with the Local Government Management Association for seven years. In May 2017, she was elected president of the LGMA of British Columbia.

In addition, council has appointed Kevin Poole as deputy CAO, effective the same date. He will also maintain his position as director of community safety, lands and administration.

“Choosing to promote two individuals from within the city’s existing senior management team demonstrates the strength of leadership, dedication to employee development, and succession planning that has been established within this organization,” Cumming said.

Bridal replaces outgoing CAO Will Pearce.

Seven ways to create happiness
Contributed - Nov 23, 2022 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

By John Schlapbach

In life, there are times of struggle and difficulty. It’s during these moments when we need to find our inner peace and access our personal reservoir of happiness. Finding happiness doesn’t have to be difficult. We can all achieve a sense of peace, love and contentment in any situation by learning how to find inner peace and happiness in any situation. Here are seven ways you can find your inner peace and happiness at any time. You might not feel like it right now, but the good news is that there are plenty of opportunities for you to develop a happier, more peaceful outlook on life.

Meditate and breathe

Meditation is a powerful self-development tool that can help you find inner peace and happiness in any situation. When you practise mindfulness meditation, you’re training yourself to become more aware of your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations—and learn how to let go of what you don’t need. This makes it easier to find happiness in any situation. When you practise sitting down to meditate, you’re giving your mind and body the space it needs to find a sense of peace and stillness that’s often hard to achieve when you’re going about your day with the restlessness and stress of everyday life. Studies have found that meditation has a wide range of benefits, including helping people deal with anxiety, lower their blood pressure and improve their overall health. And when you learn how to meditate, you can use it as a tool for finding inner peace and happiness in any situation. Breathing exercises can also help you find inner peace when you’re feeling stressed out. When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, your breath tends to become shallower. When this happens, you’re not getting enough oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your blood drop, which can make you feel more anxious. When you slow down and deepen your breath, you help bring your blood back to a healthy level and calm your nerves. This can help you find inner peace in any situation.

Exercise regularly

Exercising is a great way to find inner peace in any situation. This can be especially true if you’re going through a difficult time and feel stressed out. Physical exercise can be a helpful way to release your pent-up emotions. Some research suggests that exercise can reduce stress and anxiety by releasing chemicals called endorphins in your brain. It can also help you sleep better and improve your overall health, which can help you find inner peace and happiness in any situation. When you’re going through a tough time, it can be helpful to think of exercise as not only a way to release your emotions, but also as a form of self-care that’s important during tough times. Exercising regularly can also help you develop positive habits that can help you cope with stress and anxiety in the long term. For example, when you exercise regularly, you’re more likely to sleep better at night and have more energy during the day—both of which can help make it easier to find inner peace and happiness in any situation.

Spend time with loved ones

Spending time with loved ones can be a great way to find inner peace and happiness in any situation. This can be especially true if you’re going through a difficult time and feel stressed out. It can help you let go of the negative emotions that are weighing you down and find strength in your loved ones. It can also help you recognize that there are people around you who care very much about you and want to help you through your struggles. When you’re going through a tough time and feel like you don’t have the strength to keep going, spending time with loved ones can help you find the boost you need to keep going. When you’re going through a difficult time, it can be helpful to think of loved ones as allies and sources of support. It can also help to set up specific plans to spend time with loved ones. This can help you make sure that you take the time you need to recharge, and find inner peace and happiness in any situation.

Help others

Helping others is a great way to find inner peace and happiness in any situation. This can be especially true if you’re going through a difficult time and feel stressed out. When you help others, you have the opportunity to focus on others and put your problems aside for a little while. This can help you let go of the negative emotions that are weighing you down. It can also help you discover new strength within yourself as you find ways to help others. When you’re going through a tough time and feel like you don’t have the strength to keep going, helping others can help you find the boost you need to keep going. When you’re going through a tough time, it can be helpful to think of helping others as a way to find inner peace and happiness in any situation. It can also help to set specific goals for how you want to help others.

Write in a journal

Journaling is a powerful way to find inner peace and happiness in any situation. This can be especially true if you’re going through a difficult time and feel stressed out. Journaling can be a helpful way to express your emotions and process what you’re going through, which can help you find the strength to keep going. It can also be a helpful way to stay mindful of your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations so that you can pause when you need to and let them go when you’re ready. When you’re going through a tough time, it can be helpful to think of journaling as a valuable tool for finding inner peace and happiness in any situation. While you might want to journal every day, it can be helpful to set aside specific times when you know you can give full attention to your journal. This can help you stay focused and make the most of journaling as a self-development tool.

Watch your thoughts and feelings without judgment

When you’re going through a difficult time, it can be easy to get caught up in your negative thoughts. When this happens, it can be hard to feel calm, peaceful and happy. But you can learn how to find inner peace and happiness in any situation by watching your thoughts and feelings without judgment. When you practise mindfulness—being aware of your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations—you can find a peaceful state of being that can help you overcome your negative thoughts and feelings. Being mindful can also be a helpful tool when you’re going through a tough time and feel like you don’t have the strength to keep going. When you’re mindful, you can pause and take the time you need to recharge, even if you only have a few minutes to spare. When you’re going through a difficult time, it can be helpful to think of watching your thoughts and feelings without judgment as a valuable tool for finding inner peace and happiness in any situation.

Reflect on what you’re grateful for

When you’re going through a difficult time, it can be helpful to shift your focus from your problems to what you’re grateful for. Focusing on what you’re grateful for can help you recognize that there are many positive aspects of your life that don’t get enough attention when you’re focusing on your problems. When you’re grateful for the people and experiences in your life, you can find inner peace and happiness in any situation. It can also help you pause when you’re stressed out and let go of the negative emotions that are weighing you down. When you’re going through a tough time, it can be helpful to think of reflecting on what you’re grateful for as a valuable tool for finding inner peace and happiness in any situation.

In conclusion, then you’re going through a difficult time, it can be helpful to remember that there are opportunities for you to find inner peace and happiness in any situation. With practice, it can become easier to access your inner peace and happiness during difficult times. These tools can help you achieve a sense of peace, love and contentment in any situation. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life; you can always find a way to be at peace with yourself and your surroundings.

John Schlapbach owns Visions Healing

This column was submitted as part of BWB Wednesdays

Historic board of directors named
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 22, 2022 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

The Thompson Okanagan region is well represented on the BC Hotel Association’s new board of directors, which is the most diverse one yet.

The organization gathered in Vancouver last week for its annual general meeting, and three Thompson Okanagan hotel industry professionals ended up on the board.

Bryan Pilbeam of Kamloops, who works at Delta by Marriott Hotels, remains on the board as past chairman and governance boss. Kelowna’s Tanya Stroinig, of Prestige Hotels and Resorts, will serve as vice-chairperson, while Jessica Dolan of Ramada Penticton is on the board as a director.

The board overall has fulfilled its commitment to the Canadian government’s 50-30 Challenge, which calls for gender parity (50% women and/or non-binary people) and 30% representation of visible minorities, people with disabilities, sexually diverse individuals and Indigenous people.

“Diversity in leadership not only creates an opportunity for the next generation of leaders but also fosters understanding and innovation as we are pushed to look at things from different perspectives,” Pilbeam said in a press release. “We are delighted to have met our 50-30 Challenge goal ahead of schedule and to welcome a group of exceptional leaders that more accurately reflect the make-up of our industry. 

“We also share our thanks to the former board members who selflessly volunteered to step down from their positions for this goal to be met.”

Kelownian top young professional
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 22, 2022 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed
Nicole Kiatipis poses with her award earlier this month.

Club Management Association of Canada has recognized a Kelowna woman as one of the organization’s top young professionals.

Nicole Kiatipis, who serves as Kelowna Yacht Club executive co-ordinator, is a 2022 winner of the CMAC’s Young Professional Award. Kiatipis was named one of two Young Professional Award winners in August, but she received her hardware during the CMAC’s annual conference earlier this month.

The award recognizes a young club management professional who demonstrates notable professional accomplishments to date and shows great future potential. It serves to enhance the club management profession by celebrating young professionals and promoting future leaders.

New boss at theatre company
Kristen Holliday - Nov 22, 2022 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

Western Canada Theatre has a new executive director.

In a news release, the Kamloops-based theatre company announced Leslie Biles, who most recently held the position of vice-president of operations for Calgary’s Art Commons, was hired after an extensive national search.

Biles joined the WCT team on Monday.

WCT board president Beverley DeSantis said Biles brings “an abundance of experience, commitment and vision” to the role.

“We know that the organization will thrive and evolve under her experienced leadership and collaborative stewardship,” DeSantis said in the release.

According to WTC, Biles has management experience, a passion for business and the arts and a vast knowledge of theatre production, having worked in the industry for over two decades.

During her tenure at Arts Commons in Calgary, Biles led a team responsible for venue booking and sales, client and patron services, production, facilities and security.

As the previous general manager of Calgary’s Lunchbox Theatre, Biles raised $1.6 million and oversaw the development of a new theatre facility.

Biles said she is “delighted” to join James MacDonald, WCT’s artistic director, as the theatre company implements its new strategic plan.

“WCT has a reputation for being a dynamic, inclusive and sustainable company with a strong track record of creating outstanding new Indigenous and Canadian works. I am eager to build on these successes and advance the next phase of growth,” Biles said in a statement.

“As we come out of these challenging times, I very much look forward to championing the relationship between arts, culture and community and helping to contribute to the great quality of life in Kamloops.”

MacDonald said the team at WCT is excited to welcome Biles, who he described as a passionate arts leader who will help the theatre company launch its strategic plan.

“I look forward to working with Leslie as my leadership partner, and I know she will be a terrific addition to WCT, to the Kamloops arts community, and to our city,” MacDonald said.

Hall heads chamber yet again
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 18, 2022 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed
Amber Hall

The Greater Westside Board of Trade held its annual general meeting earlier this week, and one of its tasks was setting a board of directors for the next 12 months.

Amber Hall, who works for Telus, is back for her third straight term as president, while The Cove Lakeside Resort sales and marketing director Bobby Bissessar has been promoted to vice-president.

The other two executive members are Grant Thornton’s Scott Beaton, who is back as treasurer, and Pushor Mitchell lawyer Bryan Fitzpatrick, who returns as secretary.

The directors at large are Craig Garries (PostNet), Julie Pringle (Snap Commercial Photography), Dr. Lauren Tomkins (West Kelowna Integrative Health Centre), James McCormick (Valley First), Tina Bisson (Manchester SPG), Tory Braun (Okanagan Young Professionals Collective), Scott Simpson (Royal Bank of Canada) and Ed Stephens.

“Reflecting on the past year, I am filled with gratitude to have been able to lead a board comprised of so many diverse, driven and dedicated individuals,” Hall said during Tuesday’s meeting. “Your commitment to our membership is inspiring and unwavering. I am honoured to be elected for a third term as president, as it is truly my passion to support and grow our business community.”

Faces of #OKGNtech
Accelerate Okanagan - Nov 17, 2022 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

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 and growing with record speed, and maintaining connections through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic. We’ve got a plan.

This is “The Faces of #OKGNtech,” 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 at @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.

Meet Micah Joyner, a user experience designer and frontend developer at Acro Media. When he’s not optimizing user experiences, you can find him pursuing one of his many hobbies, including camping, making music, mountain biking, woodworking, gardening and beekeeping.

Why did you choose the Okanagan to call home?

I was born and raised in Kelowna, but I spent about a quarter of my life in Vancouver and Victoria chasing opportunities. While Vancouver and Victoria were valuable places to gain experience working in tech, they never truly felt like home. Eventually, an opportunity led me back here, where I enjoy a relatively less chaotic life in West Kelowna. Most of my friends and family are also located here, and I had established roots in the tech space, so it was a fairly natural transition back into the community while still being able to further my career.

Where do you work in the Okanagan?

I work for Acro Media as a user experience designer and frontend developer hybrid. In my role, I design and architect web based solutions for our clients with a focus on e-commerce. I had previously worked for Acro Media twelve years ago, and they have been instrumental in paving the way for my career as both a designer and developer.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

About two years ago, I followed my heart and went back to school for graphic and user experience design. I wanted to have more control over how people experience and interact with the things we build online. Going back to school allowed me the opportunity to tailor the experience of a solution to the needs of the end users. One of the best things about my role is knowing that I’m building something that is easy and intuitive for people to use, effectively making their lives easier. A side bonus is that I am now able to pass this knowledge on to others through training and mentorship, which is perhaps an even better perk.

How did you get into this kind of work?

Growing up, I was obsessed with the internet and I immediately started building websites—with dialup, of course. I have always had an intense fascination with form and function, and in particular the art and ingenuity that goes into combining both. Additionally, I have always had a strong interest in psychology. I find that UX design is the sweet spot between all of those things, so getting into this kind of work felt like a natural progression for me. After years of continuous learning and skill improvement I realized I could dramatically change how people experience what I built in a positive way, and therefore I could positively impact their lives.

What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?

If you stick with something long enough you can be great at it. You have to be passionate in what you do, because if you don’t care then you’re not being fair to yourself or anyone that you do it for. Embrace difficulty and be patient with yourself. Focus on the reasons why you’re interested, your reasons have to be motivating and inspirational enough to not only take you where you want to be, but to also to show you where that is.

What is something that people don’t know about you?

I’m partly Norwegian, and my ancestors were Viking blacksmiths. While I do love metal work, I simply don’t have enough space for a forge and the rest of the required equipment. If I win the lottery I will definitely honour my ancestors and become a blacksmith—on the side, of course.

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

“If you’ve found what you’re looking for, keep looking, because you never know what was meant to be.” While this may seem counterintuitive to maintaining things like loyalty and consistency within a company, it’s incredibly important to keep learning about yourself, improving and discovering who you really are. I made a career change 20 years into my professional life because I realized what I actually wanted to do, and it was one of the best decisions in my life.

Is there something you want to be remembered for?

The coffee I bought someone the other day. The hug I gave to someone who really needed it. The joke I made, even if it was a terrible dad joke. I’m not really about some legacy that I need to leave behind. If I am going to be remembered, I hope it would be for being a kind and compassionate human being.

New operations boss in Armstrong
Jon Manchester - Nov 15, 2022 - People in Business

Photo: Wikipedia

Armstrong has a new manager of operations.

Brad Ackerman brings more than 15 years of experience in local government management experience to the position.

Ackerman previously worked for the Regional District of North Okanagan as manager of parks, recreation and culture, and the Regional District of Central Okanagan as manager of parks and resource operations.

Ackerman has also served as an auxiliary constable with the RCMP since 2007, as operations section head for Emergency Operations Centers, as well as in airport management with Transport Canada Management Systems.

“We are very excited to have Brad come to the City of Armstrong. His experience in team building and leadership will be a welcome asset to our Public Works Department as well as the management team,” chief administrative officer Dawn Low said.

“We are looking forward to having Mr. Ackerman’s expertise and knowledge in Armstrong as we move forward with new council objectives and goals to ensure Armstrong is a great place to live now and into the future,” Mayor Joe Cramer said.

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