White, Malcolm join COEDC council
Okanagan Edge Staff - Feb 26, 2021 - People in Business

Photos: Contributed
Ryan Malcolm and Jill White have joined the COEDC advisory council.

The Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission has added two faces to its 45-member advisory council executive.

Ryan Malcolm, who is the CEO of Ntityix Development Corp., will represent the construction and development industry, while Jill White, who is president of Waterplay Solutions Corp., will sit on the board as a manufacturing representative.

“Having served on the COEDC advisory council since 2018, I have experienced the value of bringing a cross-section of industry and community leaders together to support economic development in the region in times of strong economic growth and in times of economic uncertainty,” advisory council chair Terry Edwards said in a press release. “The appointment of this year’s new members adds valuable new insight and perspective to the council, and I’m honoured to chair the council in 2021.”

The advisory council serves as a conduit of information and insight for the COEDC and is made up of industry leaders, elected officials, local government staff and community organizations representing a cross section of industries.

Top 40: Matt Stewart
Contributed - Feb 22, 2021 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

Okanagan Edge and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce are partnering to showcase some of the region’s most exciting entrepreneurs through the “Top 40 Over 40” program.

Sponsored by BDO, the “Top 40 Over 40” recognizes high-achieving professionals in our community and showcases their accomplishments. This marks the seventh year the chamber has conducted a “Top 40” showcase. Honourees will be featured throughout the year on Okanagan Edge.


Matt Stewart is a community cultivator, ‘den mother’ and executive coach to entrepreneurs.

After a diagnosis of leukemia, Stewart left his coaching practice in Canada’s financial district and moved to the Okanagan. Originally from Hamilton, Stewart has been living in the valley for four years now with his husband and 10-year-old dog.

His “Yes, and …” approach has been fostered and developed over the past 20-plus years from coaching, collaborating and advising senior leaders across North America in a variety of industries, including health care, global finance, major international sports events (Olympics, Paralympics, Pan Am Games), and film production.

Stewart co-facilitated the volunteer leadership training sessions for the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games with Michael (Pinball) Clemons.

Stewart’s leadership experience includes co-ordinating the venue specific and job specific training team for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, where he was responsible for the development, on-boarding and training for the 50,000 strong workforce.

During the operational phase of the Winter Games—the last four months—Stewart was the mobile operations supervisor for the city-based venues, which was basically a fancy title for the leader of the cavalry. He had a team of 50 volunteers, who had the responsibility to backfill any role, any time, at any of the venues in Vancouver. If you watched curling, speed skating, figure skating, hockey or the opening and closing ceremonies, you may have seen Stewart and his team in action.

Stewart volunteers his time serving on the BC Cancer Foundation committee for the 2020 Discovery Luncheon and is the executive director of the not-for-profit Okanagan Society of Independent Filmmakers (OSIF).

Most notably, Stewart has given three international TEDx Talks, which can be seen here.

Findlater joins library board
Okanagan Edge Staff - Feb 19, 2021 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

Former West Kelowna mayor Doug Findlater is one of four new trustees on the Okanagan Regional Library board.

The board of trustees appointed new members at its meeting on Feb. 17, and Findlater was also named vice-chair. The others added to the board were Salmon Arm’s Louise Wallace Richmond, Spallumcheen’s Todd York and Okanagan Similkameen Regional District’s Subrina Monteith.

Keremeos councillor Sherry Philpott-Adhikary was elected as the new board chair. She replaces Karla Kozakevich, who completed her eight-year maximum term.

Oliver’s David Mattes is the finance committee chair, Kelowna councillor Loyal Wooldridge will lead the policy and planning committee, and Monteith was voted to guide the personnel committee and be the BCLTA liaison.

Faces of #OKGNtech
Accelerate Okanagan - Feb 19, 2021 - People in Business

Image: 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 Julia. Julia Lockhart is the founder of Adventure Marketing. When she’s not helping small businesses reach their audience, you’ll find Lockhart on the water, travelling or enjoying the sunset.

How did you get into this kind of work?

I started Adventure Marketing, a Facebook and Instagram advertising agency, in 2017. I’ve always thought that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I never knew in what field it would be, but I knew I loved business. When I finished school, I had no idea what I was going to do. I ended up finding a marketing position at Strawhouse in Kelowna, which was one of the best experiences of my life. They were doing Facebook ads, and that’s where I learned all my skills. It wasn’t anything I had planned on doing, but I really love where I ended up.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

My favourite thing about my job is helping e-commerce businesses grow into being able to produce solid income and revenue. I was working with a single mom who started a makeup line, who had been losing money for two or three years. I started working with her in April, and she’s made over a million dollars in revenue since then. It’s awesome being able to see someone’s dream come true.

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

Stop thinking about it and just do it. The thing that really pushed me into starting my own business was getting laid off from my old job, but I’m really glad it happened. I might have left eventually, but that push really gave me the opportunity to give it a go. I always tell people to go after their dreams and do something that they’re passionate about. It feels good to be taking my own advice.

What do you enjoy about the OKGNtech community?

I love the size. You get to know people and build relationships. You see them at the same events over and over again. If it was a larger city, you wouldn’t get that same sense of community. I love being involved in a place that appreciates startups and small businesses, and likes to support local.

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

I have finished all of my grade 10 classical piano with honours. And I lived in Austria for six months. I got to live there through Okanagan College and travelled on my own to 12 countries while I was there. Austria is the country of music. It was incredible to be there and attend operas and classical performances.

The best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Or can share?

Find balance in your work and personal life. Don’t overwork yourself. It’s not worth your physical health or your mental health. I’ve gone through that and experienced burnout. We live in a culture where working so much can be rewarded, but we need to be more appreciative of work-life balance. If you’re not healthy, you can’t experience anything to its full potential.

Who inspires you?

My mom. She does the bookkeeping for my dad’s company, runs her own business and always puts food on the table. She does everything. She’s always baking and cooking, and she still has time to work 16 hours in the day. I don’t know how she does it.

Is there something you want to be remembered for?

I would hope that I’m remembered for my drive—ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you that I work my ass off no matter what I’m doing. I’m also an extrovert at heart and love hosting and having people over for a great time, so I hope they remember me for my hospitality.

Better understand your emotions
Contributed - Feb 17, 2021 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

Emotions are messages from you to you. They are chemical signals that travel through your body in about six seconds, preparing you to navigate through life.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions, and recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others. Are you listening to your emotions? When we use our emotional intelligence we see and choose more clearly. We respond instead of react.

There are 15 skills involved in emotional intelligence, and we all have them to a greater or lesser degree. Men generally use their emotional intelligence to solve problems and make decisions. Women generally use their emotional intelligence to build relationships, nurture and empathize. Most of this comes from the differences in how boys and girls are brought up.

Boys are socialized very early on to be competitive, confident, assertive, decisive and even aggressive. They’re taught that winning is the most important thing. Girls are socialized to be nurturing, care about others, show emotions, get along and be empathetic. They learn that the process is more important than winning and that relationships are key.

Can you improve your emotional intelligence and improve relationships? Yes. Here are seven tips for to get you started:
• Respect the other person’s world view. We build our perspective from our experiences. Their view of the world is no less valid than yours.
• Don’t let your ego get in the way. Don’t think that if they respected you more things would be different.
• Look at every interaction as a new event. See things objectively, and focus on what is relevant to the situation.
• Ignore more. If someone says something that offends you, remember it’s their issue, not yours.
• Don’t push your perspectives on other people. Learn to disagree agreeably.
• Remember that people don’t do things to you; they do things for themselves.
• Give people space. Remember, you don’t know what the other person is going through.

Dale Choquette is a master trainer and human behavioural consultant who offers emotional intelligence coaching at Dale Choquette Co.

This column was submitted as part of BWB Wednesdays.


UBCO prof up for forestry award
Okanagan Edge Staff - Feb 12, 2021 - People in Business

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A UBC Okanagan professor has been named a Canadian finalist for an international forestry innovation award.

Dr. Kevin Golovin, who is an assistant professor of engineering at the Kelowna institution, is one of two national finalists for the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award. The award was created by the International Council of Forest & Paper Associations, which wanted to honour young researchers who are advancing the global bioeconomy while sustaining the natural environment.

The other nominee is Laval University’s Véronique Rouleau.

“The leading-edge research being conducted by Ms. Rouleau and Dr. Golovin are two examples of what puts Canada’s forest products sector at the forefront of innovation, and we are excited about their ability to compete on the world stage,” FPAC president and CEO Derek Nighbor said in a press release. “The work of our two finalists is aimed at tackling real problems with innovative solutions that can mean better environmental outcomes for the industry and society—and for that they should both be congratulated.”

Dr. Golovin is researching the development of an oil and grease resistant paper without using perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) by investigating nano-silicone brushes. He is working on next-generation water and oil-repellent coatings in an effort to develop greener and more eco-friendly alternatives to PFCs. Specifically, Dr. Golovin is focused on food packaging, which normally is non-biodegradable. His silicone technology is biodegradable, so it solves one issue and also reduces a mill’s carbon footprint.

Dr. Golovin is one of 21 international finalists, of which three will be chosen as winners during the ICFPA’s CEO Global Roundtable in the final week of April.

Get your body, mind as one
Tom Kernaghan - Feb 10, 2021 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

If you don’t have your health, what do you have? Many of us have heard this question, but how often do we stop to consider what it really means?

For Mona Niebergall, the owner of Stepping Stones Homeopathy, health equals abundance, a harmony of being and vitality that lets us live life to the fullest. For Niebergall, the power and possibility we often associate with physical well-being flows through all spheres of our lives: emotional, mental and spiritual; she treats the person as a whole (and she treats animals as well). Her focus and ultimate purpose for her clients is that they attain freedom from all limitations in life—from allergies to anxieties—and her services reflect this broad perspective.

Niebergall has practiced homeopathy for more than 10 years, having studied at Luminous Homeopathic College in Vancouver and the Devonshire School of England. Offering intuitive guidance and a vast array of vibrational modalities, she can help you shift your mind-body connection into an inner alignment that extends outward as well. Niebergall’s motto is, “Be kind to each other, because we are all connected on some level.” Not surprisingly, she has a love for nature, gardening, travel, music and biographies. She is fascinated by life and others’ lives.

You’ve been interested in helping people since you were a child and homeopathy for many years. Some called you “Counsellor Caissie” when you were young. What drove you?

I think that some people are born to serve and that they just love helping other people. I remember in grade school, if people weren’t being included in the group activities, I wouldn’t join in until they included everyone. I stood up for people, and I still do that to this day in a healing and teaching capacity. I like to serve in a supportive way, and that has followed me in my life.

We certainly share a love for people’s stories. I find them utterly fascinating. How do they inform your work?

I find that people’s stories inform how and why they are dealing with disease and illness. Every illness tells a story with a mental/emotional picture of that person. Their story is represented through their body’s expression of the illness, in their words and in the symptoms that they have. It tells me where they hold their problems and how I can address this and ultimately help them with remedies to peel back the layers of the stress. People get sick when they are under a stress of some kind, even when they are not consciously aware of it.

How often are you surprised to discover more about a client through the course of treatment?

My clients sometimes do surprise me with what their bodies bring up through the healing process. Illnesses they thought were gone show up again with symptoms from long ago, asking to be healed in a whole way. I myself have had very old things from over forty years ago show up to be healed: old ear infections and surgeries, antibiotics taken as a child. It’s amazing when you go through this process what shows up again. It takes time, but the healing is done fully and completely. Like an onion being peeled back to its core, our bodies want to be whole again. The body knows how to heal, and we just need to support the process. It’s an honour to be a part of this for people and support them.

I love that you work with animals; we are definitely connected to them. What sort of therapies do you provide? 

Animals are treated in the same way that I treat people. The expression of their illness or disease is looked at from a whole perspective. What happened before they got injured or sick? How did they deal with it? And what is their mental state? The owners can see a change in them or how they interact when they are ill or injured. It is no different from humans. Sometimes, you just have to be attuned to the animal’s frequency to pick up on the subtleties a little more than with a human.   

“Like cures like,” a line on your website, strikes me as homeopathy in three words, and it brings to mind balance and well-being. What do these words mean to you?

Well-being and balance to mean you’re mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually aligned. You are free to make choices with no limitations of fear or worry about anything. Freedom from limitations is the ultimate of health. You do not have limits from your physical body, and you can achieve your goals. We are not just an arm or an organ or a disease; we are whole, and you can’t separate those parts of us to heal. Our bodies heal when our “stress” is released, no matter how long ago it started. Our immune systems know how to heal, but many people have obstacles because of the past stressors that need to be addressed. This is where homeopathy shines, because it addresses all of this at the same time with vibrational remedies that are closely matched with your physical and mental symptoms.

Let’s return to another of your loves that we share: music, perhaps the ultimate vibrational medicine. You were a DJ for many years. Tell me about that experience, what you learned about music’s benefits and how music relates to your work now.   

Though the benefits of music are widely known, it can also be thought of in the same vein as meditation and journaling. When you listen to music it elicits feelings of good times and allows us to visit a happy place that is part of our feel-good brain waves. It’s such a great tool to keep oneself centred and happy in everyday life, not to mention the extra health benefits if you dance to the music! And of course you experience the joy in groups and at events.

My husband and I spent nine years doing weddings, anniversaries, New Year’s and Christmas parties, and other events along the way. Teen dances with a moshing pit—OMG, never again. Most events were very magical in their flow. I was the one who “read “ the crowd. I would use my intuitive sense to know the right song to play at the correct time. We got standing ovations and revelled in the glow of the energy of the melodies and the sound vibrations.

We only had one time at a wedding where we could barely get anyone to dance the whole night. It was very memorable for me, because I felt like we had failed and hadn’t done our job to make their night memorable, especially as it was a wedding. But at the end of the night several people clapped and came up and thanked us for the great tunes. We were stunned. They told us they weren’t dancers but had loved the music and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

This showed us that not everyone enjoys themselves in the same way, as the vibrations of the music gave them exactly what they needed. They sang the songs and talked and laughed. Making people’s lives better in any way is a huge accomplishment. Bringing joy to people is a great gift and not to be taken lightly. Today I work with vibrational medicine, so in a very synchronistic way I have just brought my gifts to my clients on another vibrational level. Good vibrations all the way around!

We’re in challenging times, as we all know. What is your advice for navigating our overall well-being right now?

I think people need to really be selfish in caring for themselves. It’s important to have a protocol in place so that you have tools like music, meditation, journaling, exercising, talking to a friend or watching a funny show that you love. Anything that brings you daily joy should be used. If you feel good then the people around you will feel your joy, and it can spread quite easily with just a nice smile and a hello. We are all connected, so the more you take care of yourself, the better off those around you will be. It sends a ripple effect to everyone when you feel good. People can see it and feel it. In the words of Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Share something about yourself most wouldn’t know—a fun fact, interesting perspective or engaging story.

I love to sing harmony, and in my next life I’m coming back to be an entertainer. I want to feel the energy of the crowd singing along with me. I want to know what that would feel like the next time around. That’s the only way I’m coming back.

Mona Niebergall owns Kelowna’s Stepping Stones Homeopathy

This column was submitted as part of BWB Wednesdays.

Faces of #OKGNtech
Accelerate Okanagan - Feb 08, 2021 - People in Business

Image: 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 Michael. Michael Wendland is the CEO and founder of Refresh Financial. When he’s not finding ways to help Canadian’s improve their credit scores, you’ll find him playing the piano or spending time with his family around the Okanagan.

Where do you work in the Okanagan?

I work as the CEO and founder of Refresh Financial. I’ve been in the financial services sector since moving to Kelowna in 2008 and started Refresh in 2013. Refresh is a Canada-wide fintech company that provides credit building solutions to Canadians with low credit scores. We want to help consumers move up the credit ladder and, in doing so, help them gain access to more credit and lower borrowing costs.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love being the dumbest person in the room and working with people who are really smart in their areas. It’s fun to go to work every day to create and collaborate on new opportunities and relationships in the market.

How did you get into this kind of work?

Hearing the word “no” sucks, especially when it comes to borrowing money from a lender. What made me want to start Refresh was a personal situation where I was declined for our first home. My credit score had plummeted because of a credit card that my wife and I had paid off and cut up four years earlier. There was a $25 annual fee that had accrued on the card and I owed $100 of collections. That stopped me from getting approved for our mortgage. That was the pain point I was trying to solve.

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

Plan your steps if you’re looking for a career in finance. Chart out your path and get to know people in the market. The success of Refresh came from building a good network of people. As much as technology is at our fingertips, value comes from building trust and relationships. Value the people in your network, not to use them or take from them, but to give back to them. Good things will come as a result.

What do you enjoy about the OKGNtech community?

Over the years, the combination of success stories, leadership and growth of our post-secondary institutions has increased the number of people looking at the tech community and visiting to see for themselves. The one thing that stands out to me, though, is Kelowna itself. When you combine a youthful entrepreneurial mindset with the luxury of doing business anywhere, Kelowna is literally the best place in the world to work and access a great lifestyle.

The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Your success has a much lower ceiling if you don’t take care of your team. In order to be successful, you need to take care of your people first. Your people are the output and resemblance of your brand. If our brand is tarnished, it’s a result of you doing something wrong internally with your culture. I haven’t been perfect in that, but you want to take care of your own and be a great employer.

When you’re not at work and when you’re not online, where are you?

We have a full house, which means lots of family time these days. We have three children, from 9 to 13—so we’re regularly going to the grocery store to fill the fridge. We do a lot of skiing and snowboarding together and a lot of water activities in the summer. Lots of good family time. I personally like playing the piano, golfing and reading.

Is there something you want to be remembered for?

The best decision of my life was marrying my wife. I want to be remembered for being a great husband and father. I’m not perfect. There’s a lot of work to do, but that’s where my focus and priority needs to be. If I’ve done those two things well, I’ll have a long life. That’s enough for me.

Kamloops hires researcher
Brianne Foley - Feb 08, 2021 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed

The City of Kamloops and Thompson Rivers University announced Friday they have appointed a researcher-in-residence for the Tournament Capital.

According to a press release from the City of Kamloops, this appointment marks the start of a joint pilot project during which the city and university working together to develop research-based solutions for community needs.

Dr. Cheryl Gladu, who has been teaching at TRU since 2019, will step into this role.

Gladu holds an interdisciplinary PhD in design and management from Concordia University. Gladu said she is excited to take on the role.

“This is unusual for an academic to have this kind of opportunity. It’s a very interesting approach,” she said.

According to Gladu, the job will be full-time, and she will split her time between working in city hall and at the Xchange, a collaborative space located in The Station building on Tranquille Road.

“So 50 per cent of the time I’m working for and with the city, and 50 per cent of my time I’m working for and with the community.”

The pilot program is funded jointly by the city and Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that connects academics with industries needing research-driven business solutions.

Gladu will be supported by five research interns and will work to identify projects that have a direct impact and relevance to the community, according to the city.

“Anticipated areas of research and policy development could include economic recovery from COVID-19, response to vulnerable population needs in the community, and future planning for the cultural sector,” the city said in a statement.

Gladu said her research goal is to make the community a more liveable place and to personally get to know the city better.

She said those in the community can reach out to her for help with “anything that’s looking at engaging people in city processes.”

“If there are community groups that have ideas about projects, please don’t hesitate to contact us,” Gladu said.

“My door is open.”

— with files from Tim Petruk

Corbett takes KHMA reins
Okanagan Edge Staff - Feb 04, 2021 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed
Natalie Corbett is the new Kelowna Hotel Motel Association president.

The Kelowna Hotel Motel Association elected its new board of directors during its annual general meeting on Thursday.

Natalie Corbett, who works at Accent Inns Kelowna, is the president, and her vice-president is Cedric Younge of Hyatt Place Kelowna.

Coast Capri’s Dale Sivucha moves into the role of past president, while Hotel Zed’s Emma Whanstall will serve as the organization’s secretary.

Heather Schaub of Casa Loma Lakeshore Resort will continue as treasurer, and the returning directors are Christa Park (The Royal Anne Hotel), Edan Fay (The Royal Kelowna) and Rick Andre (Kanata Kelowna Hotel & Conference Centre).

Daniel Ruel, from Fairfield Inn & Suites, is the lone new director on the board, which acts as a liaison to facilitate, develop and support the business initiatives affecting the accommodation sector in Kelowna.

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