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?
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Kelowna?
I am from Montreal, Quebec, moved to BC in 2011 and have been living in Kelowna since December 2013.
Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
Now that is a tough question! There are so many people that I enjoy spending time with, who have enriched my life on so many levels.
Right now, I would say that my favorite person to spend time with is my boyfriend, Brian. We are best friends and “partners-in-crime”. Many of the items that make up the recipe for my happiness are in Brian’s pockets and what he cooks changes from day to day. Every moment that we spend together in our home and out is engaging, fulfilling and fun!
If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
I would go to Florida, gather my most cherished family members and tour the Southern West Coast, and the Keys with them. I lived in Boca Raton Florida for 13 years but did not do much touring. There are many places that I would love to see and experience, as well as re-visit. I have life-long friends who also live in South Florida, and it would give me the greatest pleasure to spend quality time with them once again.
What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
I love going to Sun Asian Market on Enterprise. It is family owned, and has all of my favorite items including homemade dumplings and dim sum! The owners are very kind and always informative. They almost “dote” over me to make sure that I find things easily, and even help me with recipes.
My experience each time is a good one, and I am happy to be able to support a local business with an international flare!
What is your favourite activity?
It is hard to choose one activity. I have five epic favorites (not necessarily in this order):
Running (long distance)
If you had to choose: pizza, tacos, or burgers?
Definitely burgers. I am a true carnivore.
What is a hidden gem you enjoy in the Okanagan?
Being from Montreal, Quebec, my quest (outside of the province) for a good poutine has been arduous over the years. Poutine is one of my favorite foods and I need to enjoy mouth-watering forkfuls on a semi-regular basis, kind of like a carnivore with steak. It is a necessary food group.
So, one day, I stumbled upon a small, local restaurant called Sub-City Donair on Bernard Avenue. I was politely greeted by one of the owners. I had already noticed that he had claims of excellent poutine mounted up on the wall so I, of course, challenged him to his claim as so many times I have been disappointed.
The stars must have been aligned that day. I would go so far as to say that Sub-City Donair is one of the best poutines that I have ever had and thank the owners Ray and Michael for being consistent with poutine awesomeness every time.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
Well, that is a tough one! There are so many things to choose from!
When I worked for BOLT Security Systems, I went on a quote for a newly built residential home. I was a very detailed and education oriented representative, so I had spent much time going through each room, explaining each suggested device, system choice, and design. It was important to educate my clients to the detail so they took part in designing their system with me, empowering them in the knowing of exactly what they were going to get.
This particular abode had not been moved into yet so it was completely empty except for one low hanging fixture in the dining room area. Once my client and I decided on the system design, I proceeded to sketch/draw the layout of the home and placement of devices for our technicians to follow at installation. The client had just moved to the valley so we were talking up a storm. Anyhow, I was in my final sketches, bending over to complete a detail and took a huge step back as I lifted my head straight up.
You guessed it.
I smacked the back of my head right into the low hanging fixture. I believe it was made out of metal because the impact was rock-hard and the resounding sound was loud, long and echoed way too long for my comfort level. Of course, my client was very startled and ran asking me if I was alright. I uttered that I was fine and muttered jokingly something about my clumsiness.
His response was: “I am sure that your ego is hurt much more”. He was a psychologist. Double embarrassing whammy.
What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
That is a tough question. There are so many things that inspire me, so many events in my everyday life that excite me to do better and to be better. There are people in my life; friends, loved ones, business associates, strangers in passing, and new connections that all have a part in my everyday conscious being - as we cross paths once, or many times over. I will share one event in my life that had a great influence and transcendental effect on me. For those that do not know about it, it is because I am alive today and saw no reason to bring it forward.
In the past year, I had an accident. A pretty bad fall and it is amazing that I did not break any bones or compromise my skull in any way. I was able to walk away with a few light gashes and very sore limbs, but I walked away.
That day, I was inspired. I was inspired by the resilience of my body. I was inspired by the life force that I still had inside me. I was inspired by all of the people that I would have left, and inspired by the realization and acceptance that they love me. To know that I am loved, to truly, truly know that I am loved, respected and appreciated is the definition of inspiration in my world.
This defines the choices that I make and the paths that I forge. I am inspired to live life with purpose, ambition, and humility. I am humbled by the beauty that I see every day and am inspired to share it.
Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
Going to Belmont Park! This was a Montreal amusement park that bordered the shore of Riviere des Prairies, just over the Cartierville Bridge from Chomedey Laval where I lived. On a family excursion in our car, my mom and dad would surprise my sister and me by unexpectedly driving into the parking lot of Belmont Park when we thought that we were going somewhere else. It was all I could do to wait to get through those entry gates and run like crazy to all of my favorite rides.
Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
Working with the Central Okanagan Food Bank gives me the opportunity to give back to our community every day. I am also a member and Executive of the Kelowna Sunrise Rotary Club where I have so many avenues to volunteer and give back to the community on an ongoing/regular basis.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
Oh gosh. Should I say it? Garage, yard and estate sales. It is an awesome way to explore our city, meet new people and get great stuff!
Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
Mountain trails. I find that I do my best thinking and reconfiguring when hiking.
Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
Kelowna is a beautiful City. Nestled in the Okanagan Valley, built off of the shores of Okanagan Lake, surrounded by rolling hills, forests, and mountains, it is a world destination for so many of the things that it offers, but there is one small detail in particular that can be slightly disturbing: The racket of motor vehicles.
One thing where I would like to see change is the amount of motor vehicle noise. In particular, the unmuffled motor vehicles that tour our streets day and night.
If you were granted one wish for work or in life, what would it be?
My wish in work and in life is to be healthy and live long past 90 years old.
Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I love reptiles. I had a Ball Python named Flame.
What is the name of your business/organization?
Central Okanagan Community Food Bank Society.
What does your business do?
Creating a healthy, hunger-free community.
Where can people find your organization online?
Why did you get into the nonprofit sector?
To be more involved and make a difference in our community.
What is the goal of your organization?
To create a healthy, hunger-free Community.
What has been your biggest struggle either in work or life?
My biggest struggle has always been with confidence. I was a huge nerd in my younger school years and was picked on in the morning coming into school, picked on at recess, and then bullied after school. It went on for many years starting in grade 4 going all the way up into high school. In college, the kids who came from my high school targeted me and began to bully me in grades 12 and 13. Boys, girls. It didn’t matter. I was a target and couldn’t get away from it.
It has taken many of my adult years to recover from that experience, but I still carry that insecurity and self-doubt that often times will come back and torment me.
If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
If I could start my life all over again, I would not change a thing. I have learned many life lessons and grown into the person that I am today because of the choices that I have made.
Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
I believe that it is important to shop locally because we are supporting our community and through our patronage, we create lasting relationships that often times turn into friendships.
Give someone that you think deserves it a shout out and explain why!
I would like to give a shout-out to Gary Gylytiuk, owner of BOLT Security. When I first moved to the Valley, I was not working and had time to explore the business community. In my explorations, I came across a job posting for Security Sales and answered it (by email) even though it was completely out of my business realm. I received a response the next day from Gary even though the position was filled. I asked to make an appointment to meet him for an informational interview of which he agreed. I was invited to his place of business. My success in this community is the result of that meeting. Gary brought me as his guest to his network group meetings, as well as circulated my resume to some of his business associates. He did what he could to connect me with the community. As a result, and unexpectedly, a few weeks later, he offered me a job and I enjoyed 2 incredible years in security sales.
When I moved to the Central Okanagan Food Bank, BOLT Security donated security equipment and technician hours to our organization.
Gary is a classy businessman and will always remain a dear friend to me.
My nomination for the In Focus spotlight is:
Valerie Kirpatrick - Owner of Trendz Consignment Boutique in West Kelowna.
Other information you would like to share:
I love inspiring people through presentations and speaking engagements.
Thank you to Kelowna Now for choosing me for an in-focus profile.
Thank you to you, the readers for reading this and being interested in learning more about me.
I look forward to seeing you in my travels.
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.