Earthy departs WeBC
Okanagan Edge Staff - Dec 02, 2021 - People in Business

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Jill Earthy has resigned as the CEO of WeBC to take on the same role with InBC Investment Corp.

Earthy spent eight years on WeBC’s board of directors and then nearly two years as CEO. WeBC, which is based in Kelowna and supports female entrepreneurs, recently changed its name from Women’s Enterprise Centre.

“On behalf of the board of directors and the team of WeBC, we are thrilled for Jill Earthy as she embarks on a new challenge leading InBC,” WeBC board chair Renata King said in a press release.

“Jill led our organization through COVID-19, one of the most challenging economic periods for small business, which disproportionately impacted women entrepreneurs.

“WeBC will greatly miss Jill, her passion and her leadership. However, we are thrilled for this opportunity and know it will allow her to further her life’s work advocating for small business while reducing barriers to success.”

InBC Investment Corp. is a new Crown corporation responsible for a $500 million strategic investment fund whose goal is to help promising countries grow.

Melanie Rupp, who is WeBC’s senior director of loans and advisory services, will serve as interim CEO while the organization looks for a new boss.

Second term for chamber president
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 30, 2021 - People in Business

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Amber Hall has been given a second term at the helm of the Greater Westside Board of Trade.

The West Kelowna-based chamber of commerce once again elected Hall to the position during its annual general meeting on Tuesday morning. Hall works for Telus as a small business solutions account specialist.

“As I look back on 2021, I am incredibly proud of the commitment to growth that I have witnessed by our directors and members alike,” Hall said in a press release. “2021 was a year of transformation, and as we continued to support local businesses, we rallied to rise and thrive against the challenging economic environment.

“I am honoured to be elected for a second term as president, as it is truly my passion to support and grow our business community.”

The rest of the executive for the next year will consist of vice-president Ed Stephens, treasurer Scott Beaton (Grant Thornton), secretary Bryan Fitzpatrick (Pushor Mitchell) and Greater Westside executive director Heather Robinson.

Directors on the board include Craig Garries (PostNet), Julie Pringle (Snap Commercial Photography), Dr. Lauren Tomkins (West Kelowna Integrative Health Centre), James McCormick (Valley First), Tina Bisson (Manchester SPG), Bobby Bissessar (The Cove Lakeside Resort), Tory Braun (Okanagan Young Professionals Collective) and Scott Simpson (Royal Bank of Canada).

Appointee directors are Jenny Money of Westbank First Nation Economic Development Commission and John Whitehead of John K. Whitehead & Associates.

Macaulay leads new AO board
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 29, 2021 - People in Business

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Michael Macaulay is the new Accelerate Okanagan board chair.

The new Accelerate Okanagan board of directors is a who’s who of movers and shakers in the valley.

The tech organization held its annual general meeting in late October, during which time it welcomed new board members, said goodbye to others and brought back several more.

The board also welcomed Michael Macaulay as its new chair, taking over for Corie Griffiths, who has shifted to the treasurer’s role.

Macaulay is a partner at Lawson Lundell LLP, whose Kelowna office he helped open. He focuses on corporate, securities and technology law, but he has extensive experience working with and advising entrepreneurs, startups, emerging companies, angel investors and venture capital funds.

Tanja Halsall, who is the chief people officer at Potentia Human Resources, is the board vice-chair.

Other board members include Ashley Ramsay (Yeti Farm Creative), Buffy Mills (First Nations Group Benefits and Pension), Chris Pinkerton (Clearco), Doug Gilchrist (City of Kelowna), Harry Singh, Jennifer Kilback (Hyper Hippo), Mark Betteridge (Mark Betteridge and Associates), Nicole Rusted (Vortovia), Phil Ashman (Okanagan College), Phil Barker (UBC Okanagan), Sally Powell (PAI Health) and Shayne Dyrdal (City of Kelowna).

Blair Forrest, Josh Fraser and Quinton Pullen all departed the board.

Shuswap Lake GC hires new GM
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 25, 2021 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed
Shawn Jordan, left, with his caddie during this year’s MacKenzie Tour stop in Kelowna.

Shuswap Lake Golf Course in Blind Bay has hired Shawn Jordan as its new general manager.

Jordan, who started in the role on Nov. 1, has plenty of experience in the golf industry, including stints at Tower Ranch Golf Club, Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club and Predator Ridge Golf Resort.

“Ultimately our goal is to create a fun and inviting golf atmosphere at the course, driving range and restaurant,” Jordan said in a press release. “Over the years the course has created many memories that locals cherish, and we want to build upon them the best we can as a team.”

Jordan took golf course management and business administration at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif., and his first job out of school was at Indian Wells Country Club.

The management team also includes this year’s staff of golf shop manager Kasey Lewis, head pro Tony Vogel, course superintendent Jenn Rozak, executive chef Claudia McFadden and restaurant chef Todd Lucas.

Working together to help you heal
Contributed - Nov 24, 2021 - People in Business

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Relax, let your cells talk amongst themselves and “unwind your story.” Whether breaking the bonds of old traumas or increasing a client’s career effectiveness, Carla Van Voorst and Daneaya Ziolkoski offer a range of life improvements that are as impressive as they are inspiring. Not only can their treatments help to unburden you from the harmful effects of the past, but they can help you say goodbye those unhealthy patterns for good. They have an uncommon approach. 

Friends Carla and Daneaya have their individual businesses—Van Voorst owns Holographic Healing, and Ziolkoski owns Naya Hypno—but they work together as a powerful duo with decades of combined experience and learning. While both are certified in energy healing modalities, such as Reiki and BodyTalk practices, each brings a unique set of skills and insights into their sessions. Van Voorst focuses on intercellular communication, microbiome health and stress-related epigenetic expression to find and correct our inner imbalances and let the body heal itself. Ziolkoski, a trained and certified clinical hypnotherapist and neurolinguistic therapist, helps clients settle into their subconscious and access the source of the emotional pain and obstacles affecting the body and life.

Their services are highly complementary and mutually enhancing, as they help people release what isn’t working and achieve lasting balance between the mind, body and spirit. Their vision is one of holistic healing and living in the truest and fullest sense. Van Voorst and Ziolkoski share a clear and unified goal: to help you live as you were meant to live, with inner strength, health, growth and joy. As Ziolkoski puts it in one video, “Our soul wants to feel good.”

Let’s start with the why. What motivated you both to do the work you do. And what brought you two together? 

Ziolkoski: My personal motivation for doing what I am doing is an interesting story!

My father had a psychotic break when I was five years old that resulted in him receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia—and my mother becoming a single mother to two young kids. I remember wanting to learn everything I could about the mind so I could understand his illness. I also had a love for people and a desire to help them, and a natural way of connecting with those that I met.  

However, life took me down a different path. I spent twenty years in the food service industry, which would eventually cause arthritis in my hand. I began to dive into energy medicine in 2013, and then became a Reiki master and Breathwork practitioner in 2014. At the time I was also newly certified in payroll and was working in a great tax office. When I attended a talk about becoming a hypnotherapist, I KNEW I needed to be in that course. But I wasn’t able to enrol that year, and so I went back to school to learn more bookkeeping and payroll skills. Then Carla entered my life. 

Carla and I met at a spiritual function in 2015. When I told her I wanted to be a healer, she said, “You need to come and see me for a few sessions first.” She worked with me to help me heal my hand, and we ended up training in hypnosis together. I can only describe my first experience as a goosebump in my solar plexus! I KNEW that this is what I was meant to do; this was my path. I have not looked back since. The addition of neurolinguistic programming has dramatically changed how I work and allows me to expand into coaching, among other areas. 

And it was during our training for hypnosis that Carla and I had the epiphany about working together. We were treating a young man who had suffered a serious brain injury and had been given ten months to live. By our fourth session with him, he had gone from fainting twenty times a day to being ready to work again! We knew we had found something special and began to offer our services together more and more from that moment on.

Van Voorst: It was in 1995. My husband was sick, and the medical system just kept throwing pills at him, and he got steadily worse until he simply stayed in bed most of the day. I started looking for alternatives and found a course in energy healing. When I finished the first course, I managed to get my husband better. My neighbour, who had chronic fatigue, noticed the change in my husband and came to me for help. I worked on her and in a few months she was back working full-time again.

And it all exploded from there.

Carla, you’ve talked about “the story of the body’s ‘why’”—a fascinating way to phrase the imbalances we carry. How does this story show up energetically and epigenetically? And how do your energy medicine treatments address imbalances and help restore health? 

We all have had trauma and stresses in life, which show up in our body in different ways. It can blow a fuse, so to speak, sometimes permanently affecting the body, like PTSD.

We have cell memory. When you cut yourself, it will heal as a scar, which is rebuilt for the rest of your life.

So we also have mental cell memory. When a body has been under stress for a long period of time or there are other health issues present, these side effects can become much more serious. 

With pharmaceuticals, there is the possibility of unpleasant side effects such as pain, redness, swelling at the injection site, fatigue, upset belly, headaches, chill, fever and even more severe reactions. These reactions are your body’s way of dealing with something foreign.

Yet, the body has this incredible ability to heal itself. When you get a cut, the skin knows how to heal. When you catch a cold or the flu, the body knows what systems to activate, and in which order to activate them to bring the body back into health. The physical body and mind have the ability to tap into and learn how to support this wisdom, but we are not taught how to do that in most of our society. 

I am able to successfully help the body come back into harmony after enduring a huge variety of things, by removing blockages from the body, rejoining broken nerves and meridians, and removing cell memories. I do that by talking to the “innate intelligence,” or subconscious mind, of the person, and by clearing auras and energy fields of anything a person picks up from the environment or other people.

Daneaya, I’m intrigued by your description of hypnosis as a “highly focused state of relaxation.” Also that there are many forms of hypnosis, including daydreaming. Still, there must be people who are tentative about hypnotherapy. Address those concerns for us by telling us how it works and why it’s safe.   

Hypnosis has definitely gotten a bad reputation due to movies and stage shows. Please understand that stage hypnosis is an art form that takes an amazing amount of skill to be successful. It is, however, a show. It is entertainment, and the biggest thing I would like to emphasize here is that those people up on the stage, who are receiving suggestions, always have the option of not doing what is being asked of them. 

The subconscious mind will not accept or do anything that is not in alignment with the values of the person being hypnotized. The word “suggestion” can create hesitation in some people as well. Let’s remember that we are presented with thousands of suggestions every day: what to have for breakfast, what outfit to wear and so on.

People are always in control of what they choose. Always. In fact, in a hypnotic state during a session, one is in more control because there are less outside influences. Hypnosis is a natural state we all go in and out of every day. One could say that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis because we choose what we believe or don’t believe.

Now the two of you together! Paint us a picture of what combined treatment looks like and why it’s so effective. How do you start and proceed when someone comes to you?

Ziolkoski: I usually have a chat with a person before they book a session. I like to begin building a relationship first. When their appointment comes along, they are set up in the comfort of their homes, connected via Zoom, and we have a discussion about their health forms and what they want to work through in their session. I ask a lot of questions here, asking them to get specific so that I know where to guide them as they shift whatever they need to shift. And they can also ask us questions if they have any. I encourage questions!

As the session begins, I ask for permission to hypnotize them and then I began to talk, taking them into a brain wave where their conscious mind, as well as their critical mind, is out of the way, and then the change work can begin. This looks different in every session, as there are many ways to help facilitate the shift the client is looking for. 

Once the session is complete, we talk about what they experienced, and we help integrate what they have learned about themselves. Carla speaks to them about what she facilitated in their body.

Van Voorst: When we work together, we both relax the person in our own way, and the more relaxed a person is, the more work we can do. I relax the physical body, which enables Daneaya to relax the mental body, and we both are able to work on the subconscious mind.

You’ve both been on long journeys with your work, through challenging times. What has changed and what has stayed the same in terms of your motivation, and even your approach?  

Ziolkoski: Great question. A lot has changed as we navigate the current times. First of all, our physical office has closed and we have transitioned online, which has proven to be a great decision for everyone—ourselves and our clients. My motivation has only increased as the need to take care of one’s mental health has never been greater. My approach has always been one of compassion and caring. I have taken a few courses in the last year and a half, and I have a few more tools to enhance what I already do.

Van Voorst: Yes, what has changed is the way we work, mostly online now since we gave up our office last year. As for my motivation, it is stronger now than ever, as trying to help people in these stressful times can be a challenge.

I enjoyed your video presentation on the immune system for BWB’s recent Well-Being Experience 2021, particularly your mention that stress keeps the body from doing what it’s supposed to do. The pandemic has been a strain on us all in so many ways. But sometimes we don’t know we’re not okay. What self-checks can people do to see if they might need help?  

Ziolkoski: Thank you. This is not a one-size-fits-all answer. We are all different and regulate ourselves in our own way.

Things to look for could include changes in appetite, sleep patterns, and behaviours that are not usual—irritability, lethargy, depression or anxiety. Indulging excessively in alcohol, drugs, online shopping or social media, and losing interest in outside connections can also be a big indicator that someone needs some help.

Self-checking can be a challenge because mental concerns and changes can be gradual, making it easy to miss the signs. Some easy measures to self-care can include getting outside, breathing deeply, eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water.

Van Voorst: There are some questions you can ask yourself: Do I sleep well? Do I eat well?

Can I focus on the task at hand? What do I do for self-care?

Tell us a fun fact about yourself, an engaging story, or some helpful points of information about your work.  

Van Voorst: I have three. The first is epigenetic. Every cell in your body has the same DNA. What makes us different from each other are the markers on our DNA. These determine a cell’s specialization, like skin, hair and heart. DNA is the blueprint for miRNA, which carries information to a cell’s protein making factory. However, exposure to toxins or stress can cause mistakes or changes to happen. With BodyTalk, we can reverse these changes by manipulating these markers. We can add or remove a marker by going back in history and finding out when they changed, and then repair inherited markers.

The second deals with body ecology. Our immune system has evolved over millennia alongside bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. As new microbes evolve and old microbes disappear, our immune system can go into overdrive and cause allergies, inflammation and imbalances. This form of symbiosis helps every organism, as our co-existence is mutually beneficial and makes life possible. And a healthy microbiome creates a healthy immune system. The more diverse your diet is, the more biodiversity you have in your microbiome. Eat lots of plant fibre.

And the third point is about energy medicine. Energy medicine does not diagnose or address specific diseases. The energy practitioner relies on the guidance of the body’s natural wisdom to locate broken lines of communication and asks the body what needs to be done and in what order. Every person is unique, and the client’s own innate wisdom will address what needs to be balanced. Even if two people have the exact same symptoms, the sessions may be total different. No two sessions are ever alike.

Ziolkoski: I like to collect interesting keychains. Oh my goodness, I have been collecting them for thirty-three years! I have hundreds of them, from all over the world.

Daneaya Ziolkoski is the owner of Naya Hypno based in Kelowna

Carla Van Voorst is the owner of Holographic Healing in Kelowna

This column was submitted as part of BWB Wednesdays

OC profs hit podium again
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 24, 2021 - People in Business

Photo: Contributed
(L to R): Kerry Rempel, Stacey Fenwick and Dr. Kyleen Myrah.

A trio of Okanagan College professors has proven its dominance when it comes to case research and writing.

Business professors Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Kerry Rempel and Stacey Fenwick last month captured bronze at the North American Case Conference, which was held virtually on Oct. 14 to 16.

It marked the second straight year that Okanagan College hit the podium at the event, as Dr. Myrah and Rempel won gold in 2020. This year there were 200 North American Case Research Association members taking part from more than 20 countries, and 120 cases were submitted.

“We’re competing against major powerhouse institutions where people are funded to do research,” Rempel said in a press release. “To be recognized as one of the top in the world in case research and writing, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Myrah, Rempel and Fenwick’s case explored EnactusOC, a student-run organization at Okanagan College that uses entrepreneurial activities to make a positive impact in the community. The case explored motivational theories and group dynamics during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our case was situated around how EnactusOC transitioned through a pandemic,” Rempel said. “In particular, how a leader continues to motivate and move a team through these times, especially a team over which they have no authority or responsibility.”

YMCA boss calling it a career
Jayden Wasney - Nov 24, 2021 - People in Business

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After 26 years as the CEO at YMCA of Okanagan, Sharon Peterson has announced her retirement.

“I am so proud of the organization we are today and the impact we’ve been able to have on our community,” said Peterson. “I’m excited for what’s next for this remarkable organization, which is led by a team of incredibly talented staff and dedicated board of directors.”

Through Peterson’s leadership, the Okanagan YMCA has become one of the largest and most impactful charities in the B.C. Interior, as well as one of the strongest in the Canadian YMCA federation.

During her tenure, Peterson and her team set and achieved goals continuously for themselves and their YMCA, helped make the organization become a valued and trusted community partner, built new and expanded existing facilities, and keep their promises to provide the community with high quality and impactful programs and services.

“Since joining our YMCA in 1995, Sharon has modelled a strategic, disciplined, supportive and progressive leadership style that has capably served our YMCA community,” YMCA board chair Steven Pavelich said.

“This has been well-evidenced by our association’s significant growth, the development of many innovative programs to meet the community’s evolving needs, a healthy internal culture and demonstrated community impact. Sharon’s contributions to our YMCA have made our community stronger, and she will leave an everlasting and impactful legacy.”

Some of the work that was accomplished during Peterson’s time included securing a 30-year agreement with the City of Kelowna in 1999 for the management of the newly expanded Kelowna Family YMCA. The H2O Adventure and Fitness centre was also built, and in 2017 the Y’s newest centre of community, the downtown YMCA, was constructed.

Peterson also helped bring innovative YMCA youth, mental health, family support and specialty health programming to Okanagan residents, and established hundreds of new YMCA childcare spaces, with four new multi-age childcare centres in development.

“It has been my great honour and privilege to serve our community,” Peterson said. “I will always remain connected to the YMCA movement and a champion of the Y’s charitable work.”

The Y’s board of directors is currently conducting an extensive search for their next CEO to ensure a smooth transition prior to Peterson’s retirement date of April 1, 2022. The job posting can be found by clicking here.

Huge discovery in COVID battle
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 23, 2021 - People in Business

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A UBCO researcher has received a prestigious award after finding a better way to fight the COVID-19 virus.

Dr. Seyyedarash Haddadi, a post-doctoral fellow at UBCO, received the Mitacs & NRC-IRAP Award for Commercialization for his work on an antimicrobial fabric coating that can be applied to face masks.

The award is being presented today (Nov. 23) during a hybrid ceremony held both online and in person at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Dr. Haddadi was working on anticorrosion coatings when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, so he pivoted his research to virus prevention. He ended up inventing a novel compound that, when applied to a mask, reduces transmission of active pathogens by more than 99.99 per cent, including COVID-19 viral particles and bacteria. It recently received Health Canada approval and is being incorporated into millions of face masks for sale worldwide.

Photo: Contributed

“The final product is made from a silver-coated graphene oxide sheet, less than one nanometer in thickness, that we disperse in water and then spray on the surface of fabrics,” Dr. Haddadi said. “When we apply it to an average four-ply face mask, we coat the inner layer so that nothing is on the exterior of the mask.”

No solvents or toxic chemicals are added to the compound, which means it is an odourless coating that is safe for humans.

Dr. Haddadi worked with industrial partner Zentek and Dr. Colin van der Kuur in a Guelph, Ont.-based lab to create the compound, which commercially is known as ZenGuard. Zentek recently made its first ZenGuard sale, to a Collingwood, Ont., company that will soon be launching what it calls a four-ply mask.

“Mitacs helped me commercialize my research in two important ways,” he said. “First, as a graduate from university in Iran, Mitacs introduced me to research and industry in Canada, and secondly, the stipend Mitacs provided enabled me to focus on my research and discovery so I didn’t have to find a second job and could focus on developing my research.”

Dr. Haddadi is one of eight Mitacs national award winners, chosen from thousands of researchers who take part in the company’s programs each year.

Robson among Canada’s best
Okanagan Edge Staff - Nov 19, 2021 - People in Business

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Kelowna’s Tyler Robson has been honoured as one of Canada’s top young executives.

Robson, who is the chair and co-founder of The Valens Company, was named to Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 list, which is curated by Caldwell and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 is an annual leadership award that recognizes exceptional achievement for those under 40 years of age. The group is chosen based on four factors: vision and innovation, leadership, impact and influence, and social responsibility.

“Achieving Top 40 signals a level of dedication and commitment that shows up in Tyler’s leadership style, and is what helps drive and propel our leadership and success of The Valens Company,” Valens president Jeff Fallows said in a press release.

“He is a team player, always ready to lend a helping hand or be a listening ear to someone in need. This approach has not only unified employees but also enabled Valens to reach all its operational milestones.”

Robson over the last 12 months has led Valens into the U.S. cannabis market through the acquisitions of LYF Technologies, Verse Cannabis, Citizen Stash and Florida-based Green Roads.

“Tyler is a one-of-a kind, natural-born leader,” Fallows said. “We are proud to have him as part of the Valens team and congratulate him on this major accomplishment.”

Faces of #OKGNtech
Accelerate Okanagan - Nov 17, 2021 - People in Business

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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 Alanna. Alanna Haggard is the startup programs lead at Accelerate Okanagan and the founder of the Knotty List and Void of Course. When she’s not bringing guidance and support to entrepreneurs throughout the Okanagan, you’ll find Haggard out in the woods camping or sipping red wine while reading a good book.

What are some of your responsibilities at Accelerate Okanagan?

As the startup programs lead, I connect with entrepreneurs to figure out the best options for mentorship and opportunities to grow their business through the Venture Acceleration Program. A big part of my role is speaking with participating companies to hear their feedback and identify opportunities to improve the program so that we’re continuing to provide valuable solutions. I’m a big believer in practising what you preach, and if we’re telling our cohorts to perform customer discovery, so should we.

What do you enjoy most about your role as a startup programs lead? 

Being surrounded by entrepreneurs every day. It’s really inspiring to see people come up with an idea, commit to working on it and then seek out support. I love being a part of their journey and being a part of their business’s growth. A lot of the time the businesses that join are quite early, so it’s amazing when we get to see them launch their business and start generating revenue. It makes me feel like a proud mom when our companies succeed and hit major milestones.

What made you want to start your own businesses? 

I’m someone who likes to push myself. Starting these businesses was an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and start something of my own. Being surrounded by entrepreneurs, their spirit is so infectious. I was envious of their drive and wanted that for myself. One of our mentors told me that I needed to chase my own passions. That’s where the Knotty List and Void of Course came from—I love crocheting, reading tarot and performing reiki in my spare time. I saw it as an opportunity to explore my passions to see what I could build.

How did you get into this kind of work?

I’ve always chased my passions and followed my gut instinct. And as a result, I’ve had a lot of jobs. I was looking for work where I could make an impact. I graduated from Okanagan College, completing their communication, culture and journalism course. I eventually found a community co-ordinator job listing with Accelerate Okanagan and the qualifications resonated with me. I applied, and after the interview my gut was telling me that I needed that job. I got the same feeling when the startup program lead opportunity came up. They were jobs where I felt like I could make a difference.

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

It’s OK to change your mind as long as you’re trusting your intuition and chasing your passions. A lot of the time, especially in high school, you can feel pressured to choose a career path without knowing much about what it actually looks like. Instead, take the time to figure out who you are and what you want in life. If you’re interested in something, reach out to someone in that field and see if you can shadow them or ask questions. If you don’t, you can end up in an unsatisfying career. Being somewhere you can be passionate about the work you’re doing is worth a few career changes.

Do you think there is anything missing from the community here?

I’d like to see more support for mental health and wellness in the community. Mental well-being can be one of the first things a company loses during “crunch times,” and I don’t think that’s a healthy practice. With all the changes in the pandemic and people working remotely, it would be great to see a little more structural support for those entrepreneurs. A lot of them are ‘solopreneurs’ or operate in small teams that don’t have access to benefits but need that support. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey, and I don’t want anyone to feel alone.

What is one piece of advice you often share with others? 

Everything happens for a reason. In life, everyone’s going to face different challenges. You can face that challenge with a negative attitude or you can figure out how to get through it. We’re all given everything we need to succeed in life and every challenge we grow through just helps develop us into that person we were meant to be. In the moment, it may feel unfair, but when you come out the other side you’ll find that you’ve taken away learnings you couldn’t have gotten from anywhere else.

Is there something you want to be remembered for?

Something I’d like to be remembered for is showing up authentically and making an impact on the entrepreneurs in our community. It’s what’s driven a lot of my decisions. As someone who has been looking for a job where I can make a difference, being able to help startups grow has made me smile every day. I’m someone who wants to give back to the community and stay true to my values. If people reflect back on me, I hope they feel that.

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