Outgoing Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton will deliver his final graduation address next week.
The college will conduct its first online convocation ceremony next Saturday morning and graduate more than 2,000 students.
“Having presided over more than 60 convocation ceremonies during my time at Okanagan College, I’ve been thinking about this one, my final ceremony as president, for a long time,” Hamilton said in a press release. “I never imagined it wouldn’t happen face to face. I have witnessed so many times how human beings, when faced with challenges in their private lives, in their communities or on a global scale, will rise to the occasion and apply their energy, skills and intelligence to turn adversity into opportunity.
“Our students successfully navigated an astonishing amount of change. This resiliency and fortitude will serve them well in the years to come. On behalf of the Okanagan College community, I am honoured to congratulate each of you on your graduation.”
The ceremony will begin online at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, and it will confer credentials to students across all programs, including arts, science, business, technologies, trades, and health and social development.
Predator Ridge’s Kyla Inaba is one of nine female golf pros from across the country who will be part of a new program that will promote their professional development.
Inaba this week was named as one of the participants in Golf Canada and the PGA of Canada’s inaugural Women in Coaching program. Each participant will receive in-depth career development support that is focused on sports science and coaching education, hands-on training experiences with coaches and top players, project work and individualized learning plans.
Each recipient will also receive a $2,500 bursary to help offset the costs for the hands-on training part of the program.
“The Women in Coaching program presents an opportunity for some of Canada’s most-accomplished female leaders to further their career developments together,” Team Canada junior squads coach Jennifer Greggain said in a press release. “The strong collection of coaches will drive the initiative forward through knowledge and experience sharing on the way to building a foundation for the future.”
Specific areas of focus will be leadership, networking, building experience, Safe Sport, developing coach philosophy and expanding technical knowledge.
“The overarching goal with the Women in Coaching program is to help administrators to further understand barriers and identify solutions for women entering the field,” Golf Canada high performance manager Emily Phoenix said. “There remains much work to do, but this signals progress in achieving equitable representation of women in the Canadian golf coaching community.”
The Town of Oliver’s chief administrative officer, Cathy Cowan, has announced her retirement for the end of June.
Cowan has spent 10 years with the town and 30 years total in local government.
“During my time in local government, I have been fortunate enough to accomplish many career goals, and over the past few years I had the privilege and opportunity to work with an excellent team in Oliver,” Cowan said in a press release.
“I have decided that it is time for me to retire from public service and spend more time with my family, volunteering and travelling (once we get the OK).”
Mayor Martin Johansen said: “Through the benefit of Cathy’s strong leadership, council has been fortunate to make significant progress on its many priorities. Her efforts have also ensured Oliver is well-positioned financially to manage the immediate challenges of COVID-19 and plan for economic recovery in the future. Cathy’s legacy includes excellent working relationships with all levels of government, including the Osoyoos Indian Band, along with plans and documents to guide the community in the development of the downtown and Station Street.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Cathy during my first term as mayor, and on behalf of council and the community, I wish to say thank you for your service to the Town of Oliver.”
There is no word yet on a replacement for Cowan.
The South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation will have a new CEO at its helm this spring.
Sally Ginter, currently CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities in Toronto, has been hired to fill the role.
Ginter grew up in Peterborough, Ont., but has previous experience in the Okanagan. From 2010-13 she served as regional director for the Canadian Cancer Society in Kelowna and oversaw more than 5,000 volunteers in 40 Interior communities, including the South Okanagan through an office in Penticton.
In 2016 she was appointed CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities and prior to that served as president and CEO of Kerry’s Place Autism Services, North America’s then-largest autism services provider. She also volunteers as a director on Autism Canada’s board of directors and serves as chair of its governance and nominating committee.
She and her husband, Lauren, and their son, Carson, are looking forward to moving back to the Okanagan.
“I am thrilled to join the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation team and am excited to work alongside the board, the staff, the volunteers and all those who generously support the important work done by the foundation,” she said.
“I look forward to returning to the Okanagan and, in particular, am delighted my family and I will become part of the warm and welcoming South Okanagan community.”
Peter Steele, chair of the SOS Medical Foundation board, said the foundation’s entire team is excited about Ginter’s pending arrival as CEO.
“Sally was our number one candidate, and we’re lucky to have attracted her back to the Okanagan,” Steele said. “We’re looking forward to her arrival this spring. Sally brings a wealth of experience and already has a string of contacts here in the valley through her work with another Okanagan charity.”
The SOS Medical Foundation fundraises for Interior Health facilities throughout the South Okanagan Similkameen.
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 Markku. Markku Luopa is a freelance graphic designer and founder of CDN apparel. When he’s not creating one-of-a-kind designs, you’ll find Markku reminiscing about playing slow pitch and spending time at the gym in a pre-COVID world.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
As a freelancer, the thing that I like the most is being able to work with small businesses or individuals with ideas that I can help bring to life. Being able to drive downtown and see some of my designs on buildings or store signs hasn’t gotten old. For CDN, it’s being able to share a great story with what we’re trying to do and get people excited about apparel that’s made in Canada. It’s been so cool to have people message us after they’ve bought a sweater and tell me that it’s their favourite thing to wear.
What made you want to start CDN?
The driving factor was seeing apparel in airports around the country that say Canada 14 different ways with a toque-wearing moose on it. That, to me, wasn’t an accurate representation of Canada. That’s where my vision came from. The apparel doesn’t need to be loud, it can just be your favourite black shirt that you know was made in Canada.
Was it difficult having all manufacturing in Canada?
Yes, 100%. Especially when we’re trying to achieve price points that resonate with the consumer when they’re used to paying $15 for a T-shirt. Everybody has a budget and everyone works within certain means. We’re giving people an opportunity to buy apparel to modify their wardrobe and support local.
How did you get into this kind of work?
I always loved playing around with designs, drawings, fonts or whatever the case was. I finished school, started working with some fitness studios, and that just snowballed into helping various other people with their logos. There’s a certain percentage of luck, but there were a lot of hard days and long nights where you’re working for low costs.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
Your portfolio is yours. Don’t let people tell you what you should be doing for free. One thing I hate is doing work “for exposure” or “for my portfolio.” Those are things that I don’t regret, but it’s one piece of advice that I’ve shared. If something takes you only an hour that doesn’t mean you didn’t spend thousands of hours learning and perfecting your craft.
Do you think there is anything missing from the community here?
As a freelancer, it seems like we are competing for work, which isn’t what we want. I think that it would be great if there was something that could help bring us all together. There have been a lot of times where people have reached out to me asking to do some work for them and it just didn’t fit my skill set. I love having 10 or 12 people in B.C. that I can refer out to when something doesn’t fit.
The best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Or can share?
Believe in yourself. When it comes to creating a brand, it’s overwhelming how often the outside world tells you it’s not going to work. The only thing that keeps you going is yourself and the ability to pull yourself back up. The most successful businesses aren’t always the best ideas, but they’re the ones that kept at it the most. That’s something I draw on quite often.
Is there something you want to be remembered for?
As a designer, it would be cool to be remembered for leaving a mark on the city. Whether it’s the work for Tourism Kelowna or Okanagan Lifestyle, it would be cool if people knew I did them. Most people don’t know when they’ve seen something that I’ve worked on, but if they buy into what it stands for just, or like the look of it, that’d be a pretty cool feeling.
Kelowna’s Fission Uranium Corp. has named Gary Haywood as its new vice-president of project development.
Haywood, who is a mining engineer with more than 35 years of industry experience, will be responsible for taking the lead role in the next phases of advancement for PLS, which is Fission’s high-grade uranium project in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin.
“I’m delighted to welcome Mr. Haywood to the Fission team,” Fission president and CEO Ross McElroy said in a press release. “He is a highly skilled and respected uranium mining engineer and project leader, and his expertise will be a huge asset to Fission.
“As we move through 2021, Fission will be accelerating the rate of advancement at our PLS project, and Mr. Haywood will play a critical role as we enter the feasibility study and environmental assessment phases.”
Tara Pilling leans into our conversation, fully present. As we chat, she listens and watches with the attention of a seasoned pro who values a person’s unique essence and talents so that she might help them maximize and realize their potential. The experience is engaging and heartfelt, for it is clear to me that Pilling, a veteran lifestyle coach and “peak performance mindset consultant,” knows that we are a community of marvellous individuals seeking meaningful paths to well-being and abundance—and she wants each of us live the life we want.
Pilling also understands that our potential is often not met because of barriers, gaps and blindspots, having surmounted many personal and professional challenges throughout her own life. We all have barriers, and her work is to help you see them, understand them and then commit to overcoming them so that you can create a new life based on updated beliefs about yourself. Pilling has lots of tools in her kit for this, having travelled widely, studied extensively and worked with a vast array of clients from around the world.
While Pilling offers a variety of modalities—healing arts, yoga, Ayurveda and the proven principles of human potential expert Bob Proctor—she builds her business on the fundamental truth that reaching our highest goals of success and self-leadership requires self-awareness, a clear mindset, positive focus, accountability, and a new system of daily habits and practices that work.
First let’s talk about what didn’t work for you. You’ve mentioned some of your early personal and professional challenges. Tell us about your own limiting beliefs and how you began to overcome them.
I grew up with a parent on social services and developed a lot of limiting beliefs around money. I often ask: What was your parents’ relationship to people who were successful and had money? As a society we have a dysfunctional relationship with it that few of us want to address. It’s a systemic problem. We’re told it’s bad to want money or nice things. Money is actually a really wonderful tool or vehicle we can use to do a lot of good and wonderful things on this planet. Bob Proctor has said that a millionaire is someone who can positively impact a million people. I want to leave this world a better place than I found it.
Another problem is that many of us are operating out of a poverty mindset that devalues our skills—the superpower that is ours to offer. Or some say, “I don’t care about money. It doesn’t matter to me.” When I hear that I know the person is being totally dishonest. The flow of money is the perpetual transmutation of energy, an exchange of energy between people. It’s natural to want money and nice things, not to be attached to them, but to live the life we want and do the good we can. The purpose of spirit is to expand and grow, and money creates options and possibilities.
And there is a science to earning it, which Bob Proctor teaches. If we truly recognize that we are born rich, and we have all the riches within us, we can free ourselves from the old, limiting beliefs, and the money will flow. It took time, but this awareness worked for me. After years of resisting, I applied Bob’s principles, and in the past year my income has gone from five figures to six figures. We have to vocalize it, write it down and embrace the power of thoughts to bring the change we envision. And there’s no greater time on this planet right now to align with these principles and your intention to do good in the world.
And there were more limiting beliefs. You’ve been open online and with me about your brother and the special relationship you have. It’s a story of profound hope and grace—and one of learning. Share some of this story and how it has informed your life and work.
Nathan has been my greatest teacher in my life and my work. He was born sick and had a lot of health problems from a young age. As his older sister I formed a belief that I was always responsible for him. When my mom died in the fire when I was nineteen, that only deepened my sense of duty toward Nathan and my other brothers, Richard and Cam, but especially Nathan because I knew he was really struggling. Later we lost our dad to alcoholism, and my brother was a product of that. He has spent years struggling with addiction and homelessness; some really rough times. I have seen sides of life, even here in this city, that you wouldn’t believe.
For years I was grasping, wondering: What if he dies? That would just reinforce how bad or unlovable I was. I felt responsible for helping my parents when they were alive, and I felt responsible for Nathan, and this carried into my work life; I became attached to some of my clients’ outcomes.
One of my first clients in my yoga studio where I did group coaching had such a bad attitude and, blessings to her, I was always scared of her. But I didn’t want to piss her off. I was constantly a bit of a people pleaser, trying not to rock the boat, to make sure she was OK—just like Nathan. This was the worst thing I could’ve done. I had an opportunity to be brutally honest with her and call her out on her bad attitude. I didn’t realize my attachment to outcome was the product of a weak mind, that I was going in the wrong direction. I still had that old programming that I was responsible for people and their healing, even when they didn’t show up and do the work.
Bob said it isn’t my job to be peoples’ best friend or to fix them. Nor is it my right to tell them how to live. He said it’s my job to love them enough to be honest with them, and to believe in their dream and support them as they move toward that; to leave them with the impression of increase. But they have to do the work.
Bob also has a saying, “So within, so without.” People are mirrors in our lives. It’s easy to think that Nathan was the problem I had to fix, just like my clients. I was attracting clients that didn’t want to be helped, who didn’t want to hear the truth. But the real problem and solution was inside of me. Also inside of me was a perfectionism that was holding me back. I didn’t feel I was good enough to be honest enough with people. I resisted. Bob would say I have to get out there and start helping people who want to grow, and learn and grow myself through this process with them.
And I had to look inward. The more I started to dive in through the material and do my own internal work, and commit to it daily, the more I began to recognize patterns and beliefs that were part of the problem, and I saw that my honesty was a superpower. Then change started to happen, both in my life and my relationship with Nathan and with my work. It’s been exciting because after so many years of struggling with addiction, Nathan has now been clean for a year.
When I needed a house and yard manager, Nathan showed up and got to work, doing a fantastic job. He was so excited. He’s been with us a few months now—quite a while for him—and we pay him a fair wage, like an employee. It’s been a great experience, for both of us and our relationship. I’m a different person than I was even a year ago. There’s less grasping. I can’t control what he will do next, but each of us has the power to decide what we do now, what we open up to, which direction we take.
Your range of skills is impressive, and the detailed explanations you offer on your website are illuminating. How do you streamline it all? What do you do when someone first approaches you?
The more tools we have in our tool belt, the more opportunities we have, which is so important because everyone is different. But one vital higher mental faculty is intuition, which can be strengthened, and I’ve really strengthened mine. And a part of my practice, I’ll just share, is I need support. I always ask God. I say: Make me a conduit of your good work. Tell me what to do, what to say, and to whom.
Whether that’s in a healing session, a consulting session, or just meeting someone in the grocery store, I know that I am divinely guided. I have faith. A lawyer friend of mine was unhappy in his work, so I suggested he read the book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. He said he had heard that many times. Intuitively, I knew that he wouldn’t read it unless someone gifted it to him. So I went out and bought it for him and wrote him a note. He said that was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for him, and he began to read the book.
I listen to the subtle messages I receive and then trust my experience, tools and training. I have training in energy and holistic medicine. I have trained with Anthony Robbins, Robin Sharma, Diederik Wolsak, and Bob Proctor. I’ve been a yoga and meditation teacher. And I have training in access consciousness. My intuition draws on all of these tools and more.
I know that when I meet someone, sit and listen, and they start sharing around something, I will quickly learn where their issues might be. When there is inner conflict there will be reactivity and resistance, and most people aren’t even aware of it. I trust that my divine guidance, intuition and training will align and allow me to see, respond, and act—or sometimes not—depending what is called for. I choose not to question it, and it works.
Recently I’ve felt intuitively guided to help more people by offering my healing circles again, to teach what I have learned to clients or whoever wants to jump in. I hold these on Wednesdays at seven in the evening. They are a way to do a deep dive and go to the core of your limiting beliefs systems that go back to how we were raised or even our genetic programming from previous generations.
If someone is considering approaching you for help, what should they do, know or ask themselves?
You have to have a desire to get better results. If you don’t have a desire, then you’ve probably given up on yourself, and I encourage people not to give up on themselves. There’s a mantra that goes, “You have to do it yourself, and you can’t do it alone.” I’ve been in those crappy spaces, where you feel all alone and not supported and you don’t know what to do. But there was something in me, call them divine nudges, that knew I had to reach out to people who were getting better results, to mentors who had the wisdom.
I’ve spent a big portion of my life studying with some of the best on the planet. Many think it was easy for me, but it was the exact opposite. I was a mess for most of my life. I get it. Now I want to see people get they support they need to move forward.
I’ll help anybody, and I have. I’ve helped homeless people get back on their feet as well as some high-functioning people who still aren’t getting the results they want. It all depends on what vibrational level they are ready to move toward. I’m very picky about who I work with; there has to be a vibrational match. They have to show up with purpose, with a desire to quantum-leap their results.
If there’s no desire to get better results, then it’s just a waste of time. That’s what I did for years with Nathan. He didn’t want to get better, didn’t want his grasping sister trying to save him. When I meet someone new, I can tell right away if they’re ready.
Tell us a fun fact, interesting perspective or engaging story about yourself that most wouldn’t know.
I’ve always been very athletic. I love sports. And I raced jet skis as a Canadian racer at Lake Havasu, Arizona, in 1994, and I made it to the world finals.
And I’ve always loved team sports. I played rugby, believe it or not. It helped me after my mom passed away. I still love it. It’s a brutal sport, but it’s one where you truly have to work together as a team.
For me, being able to move my body has helped me assimilate my experiences and the trauma that was held within, which is why I was intuitively drawn to yoga when I was young, before and then after my mom passed. I am so grateful I was introduced to it. I could’ve easily gone into alcohol and drugs at that time of suffering. Instead, I really leaned into a physical practice of meditation and yoga, and I do believe it saved me.
Tara Pilling is a Kelowna-based lifestyle coach.
The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce was finally able to recognize its Top 20 Over 20 for 2020.
The chamber, in conjunction with KPMG Canada, announced Vernon’s top 20 business people in the spring, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented it from presenting plaques and bottles of wine from O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars until this month.
“It’s a great honour to acknowledge these outstanding individuals and their contributions to the North Okanagan as role models, mentors and community builders,” chamber president Krystin Kempton said in a press release.
This year’s honourees are:
• Kristi Bieber
• Carla Dahlen
• Stacey Davidson
• Teresa Durning
• Barrita Durward
• Heath Fletcher
• Kari Gares
• Ian Hawes
• Kim Heizmann
• Leigha Horsfield
• Clint Houlbrook
• Tanya Laing Gahr
• Carmen Larsen
• Brad Marsh
• Mike Nolan
• Charlene Smart
• Bill Tarr
• Veronica Ukrainetz
• Deb White
• Josh Winquist
Each recipient was nominated from within the community and they were selected based on business success and community involvement.
The Regional District of North Okanagan and Castanet also sponsored the initiative.
The Town of Osoyoos recently honoured some of its long-term employees, including one man who has been serving the community for three decades.
Frank Zandvliet, who is with the town’s public works department, was recognized for 30 years of employment with the South Okanagan town. He and four others were honoured during Osoyoos’ employee recognition of service ceremony earlier this month.
The other highlighted employees were Tom Snoek (25 years), Gerald Davis (15), Steve Shannon (15) and Justin Price (five).
Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff and council also gave special congratulations to Shannon, who is retiring.
By Murray McEachern
This was a common refrain when I was a teenager, each time I bent the rules so far they broke.
‘They’ being my parents.
And there they were, those same words, gracing my lips just a couple of weeks ago, as if a direct quote, despite my oft vow to myself that my ability to influence my kid would never deteriorate into something so base as a grounding.
So when my soon-to-be teen son heard those words directed at him for the first time, he quite innocently and quite matter of factly said, “Huh, I’ve never been grounded before. What does that mean?”
With the frustration that foreshadowed my strike of the gavel, still teeming within me, my inside voice on the very tip of becoming my outside voice, ripe and ready to pounce with something to the effect of, Well, I’ll tell you what a grounding means!
My lovely wife saved me, in effect saving us, from the slippery slope I had put us on.
“By grounding, what dad and I mean is you, we, all of us, need to ground ourselves sometimes,” she said. “It’s normal and natural, as we go through life, to have times when big feelings have us less respectful, less kind, less patient than we normally are with one another. So, it’s especially at times like these that families need to return to what’s important; return home, to each other, to our bond, and re-ground ourselves.
“So, for or the next week (the duration of the sentencing I had just handed down) the three of us, from after school and after work, through the weekend, are going to be home, here together. No hangouts with friends, no extra-curricular activities; instead, here at home, being together, to reconnect, all of us grounded.”
I couldn’t help but notice that here, on the heels of my grounding my son, my wife just grounded me.
The truth of it is, she was in the process of grounding us.
Grounding us in what was a beautiful blinding flash of the obvious.
And before I accentuate what the blinding flash was for me, I want to acknowledge that you, of course, would not be wrong to say: “What’s new, Murray? We have all been grounded off and on since the pandemic was declared worldwide.”
I’m curious, though, as to how many of us have found our way, as individuals and families, to becoming grounded, throughout, while grounded.
Grounded in connection to those who especially matter.
Grounded in what is truly, not falsely, essential to living a fulfilled life.
Grounded in gratitude for all the riches we have that have little or nothing to do with our tired and common definition of rich.
Grounded in what it means to love each other—truly love each other—especially when chance and circumstance hurt, especially when our reactions get away from us and have us, even momentarily, not in our light with one another.
The blinding flash of the obvious to me, being that there are times in life, perhaps many, that we need nothing other than to know it’s OK to declare our need to be grounded.
With those we love and who love us.
When and where true love, for oneself and for one another, can weave its magical, restorative power.
This recent vignette of my life reminding me of something my wife passed along to me, that her brother once said to her, to the effect of: “You know, sis. I know that if worst came to worst, I can always go home … knowing that there is that oasis I can return to, any time the need may be there, to renew and replenish, gives me all the strength I need to go out there and do my thing in the world.”
Murray McEachern is an Okanagan-based guide, speaker and writer.