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In Focus | Jonathan Blais of Farm Credit Canada

In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition for the people, businesses and organizations that help make our city great. The team at KelownaNow.com is passionate about this community and the people that make it amazing. We want to show our friends, neighbours, family and colleagues that we notice them and the fabulous things that they do.

What is your name?
Jonathan Blais

What do you always find yourself saying?
“Why not?” This saying has helped me take more risk.

If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select and why?
Warren Buffet. He is a self-made billionaire, an active philanthropist and the most successful investor of the 20th century… It would be great to learn about his path to success and his vision.

If you were to receive any existing public award, what award would you like to win?
Any form of public recognition is very flattering and it would be an honour to be a recipient of any.

If you could spend a day with any historical figure, who would you choose and why?
Henry Ford, because I too am always looking to do things efficiently.

Who inspires you?
My father. He showed me the value of money through hard work.

What are three things on your bucket list?
Visit all seven continents
Run a full marathon
Learn how to solve a Rubic’s Cube

If you had an enormous yacht, what would you name it?
“Le Joual”. “Joual” refers to the Popular Quebec French, which is very distinct from the “standard” French that has evolved in Europe. French Canadian will understand the full meaning of this one.

If you could foresee a single day of your future in its entirety, what date would you select?
I wouldn’t choose a single day, but I am always looking forward to my next adventure/trip. I recently travelled to Costa Rica and am already planning a new trip to Asia.

What are you passionate about?
People, my career and being active. I like to stay busy through my involvement in various associations like the Kelowna Jaycees and Okanagan Young Professional Collective; both groups are highly involved in our community. My career allowed me to work throughout Canada and get established in Kelowna… How awesome is that. And of course, if I’m not working or being involved locally, you’ll find me in the mountains, at the gym or by the beach.

What has been your favourite day of your life, up to this point?
Participating as the youngest contestant on the Stihl Timbersport Series in 2006. I am the only Canadian to this day to have participated and won this competition… Hard to find words to describe how awesome it was to compete in USA and from that moment forward I was hooked. I am still active in the sport by doing lumberjack shows at various fairs, including the IPE in Armstrong.

What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Moving to western Canada and working in my second language. I moved from a small French town in Quebec to Calgary in May 2012, then moved to the Okanagan in October 2014 and haven’t looked back since.

Where is your favourite place to dine in Kelowna? What do you like about it?
There are so many great restaurants… Micro, The Curious, La Bussola, etc. Whether you’re looking for an awesome oven backed pizza from The Curious, a Charcuterie Board with Canadian cheese or a fantastic pasta dish, these restaurant will take care of you. What I appreciate the most is the experience they share with you through their dish, drinks and atmosphere.

What is your favourite activity or event in Kelowna? Why?
Favorite event is Leadercast, because it allows you to get leadership insight from world class speakers. Favorite activity is snowboarding and wine tasting… no explanation required!

What is the name of your business/organization?
Farm Credit Canada (FCC)

What does your business/organization do?
We provide financing, loan insurance, software and other business services to agriculture producers, such as orchardists, vineyards, dairy producers, cattle operations, and any other businesses that are considered to add value to Canadian agriculture.

Where can people find you or your business online?
www.fcc-fac.ca

How do people connect with you on Linkedin?
www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanblais

Where can people find your business on Facebook?
fccagriculture

What is your Twitter account?
@Blais_jb

What is your mission?
Enhance rural Canada by providing specialized and personalized business and financial services and products to farming operations, including family farms, and to those businesses in rural Canada, including small and medium-sized businesses, that are businesses related to farming. The primary focus of the activities of the corporation shall be on farming operations, including family farms.

If you could achieve one thing within your field, what would it be?
To make positive impacts on local farms, promote and help grow businesses throughout the Okanagan.

Where do you want your business/organization to be in five years?
The full agriculture and agri-food value chain believes FCC is “advancing the business of agriculture”. I believe FCC is “the” place to obtain financial products, services and knowledge tailored to producers and agribusiness operators. I would like to see FCC keep this position as the leading agriculture lender, while being committed to serving the industry through all cycles, and to being socially and environmentally responsible.

Who do you consider to be a forerunner within your field?
Our customers. I find that Canadian farmers are the most innovative and creative entrepreneurs.

What three qualities do you feel that your business/organization exemplifies?
Passionate
Professional
Accountable

What would you like to say to your employees/volunteers?
What sets FCC apart from other financial institutions, is that our employees are committed to agriculture and most of us are from a farming background. We are lucky to be part of such a noble sector; one that feeds billions of people around the world. Without farms, people do not eat.

How does your business/organization impact the community?
FCC Drive Away Hunger is the largest employee-led food drive in Canada, which helped raise over five million pounds of food in 2014. FCC is also a proud supporter of 4-H youth development, United Way and many other organizations in rural communities across Canada.

If you were trapped in an elevator with several wealthy investors from any field, which field would you want them to be experts in? What would say to them/talk about?
Investment and economy. I am always looking to learn more about how we got here and where we’re going as a country. I would like to learn about their path to success and their businesses.

If I could change one thing about Kelowna, it would be:
Less fog over the winter months.

What do you think makes Kelowna great?
Awesome weather and proximity to the mountains.

My choice for the Kelowna In Focus spotlight is:
Lee Bradshaw of LDB Chartered Accountants

Some general comments I would like to share are:
I have been working with FCC since 2011 and have focused my career toward providing financial services to Canadian farms. I’ve worked in three different provinces where I’ve built expertise in orchards, vineyards, dairy, hogs and beef operations. As a farm kid, I always liked to know where my food comes from and who is produced it, and I’m proud to be able to help local family farms provide us good and safe food. I am proud to call Kelowna home and would like to thank Mathieu Bedard for the nominating me and KelownaNow for promoting local businesses.

We encourage you to leave your comments and words of support below, and submit your own nomination by clicking HERE. You are also welcome to submit a form of your own by clicking HERE. Thank you, Kelowna!


 
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