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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?
Dr. Susannah-Joy Schuilenberg, RPC, MPCC-S, DAAETS, ACS.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Kelowna?
Ummm... most lately, Kuwait. I moved back this time to Kelowna in January 2015.
Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
Definitely my husband, Bill. He's crazy funny and brilliant and he loves me. He's probably my favourite person in the History of E.V.E.R.
If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
Okinawa. It's gorgeous, unusual, and far, far away. Getting there would require planes, trains, and boats, and the "travel" part of traveling is the deal for me, not so much the destination.
What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
Mosaic Books - that place is my Achilles' heel. The bargain books outside the door kill me. I can’t walk by and not stop.
What is your favourite activity?
Depends on when you ask. I took up running at 49, and still run. I love cycling with Bill, and I love, love, love spending time with the Opasons. Wintertime - snowshoeing.
If you had to choose: pizza, tacos, or burgers?
Burgers - but only because you made me choose. If I were choosing for myself it would be anything with cream cheese.
What is a hidden gem you enjoy in the Okanagan?
The Recreational Forest areas. Rough camping, exploration, biking or hiking.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
Trying to introduce my closest friend of 15 years to a colleague and blanking on her name. She never let me forget it, and now, after losing her to cancer, it's a treasured memory. We laughed over that gaffe more than once.
What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
Coming to recognize there is no intersection between religion & spirituality. The first is crowd control, the latter is relationship. There’s a lot of evil, wicked, horrifying things done in the name of religion.
Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
Lying in the uncut hayfield across from my parents’ acreage. I would take a blanket and a book, lay on the ground protected from the constant wind by the high grass, and read all afternoon. The sun was warm and the lazy, buzzing insects created white noise as a backdrop to falling into an alternate universe through the pages of my book.
Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
I offer trauma therapy and support to the refugees in our community, give workshops for the volunteers helping the refugees, and provide mental health information and support to a number of community agencies looking for help for their clients.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
The myth that 'different' equals 'dangerous.' Fear-based responses have, over the history of mankind, been responsible for atrocities that are incomprehensible. Whether religion, culture, geography, colour, looks, or whatever. . . humanity judges worth based on 'cloneliness.'
Boo hiss. We all share the DNA of being human, we all bleed red, and we all have the same intrinsic value simply by virtue of being born. I’d wave my magic wand and make that a truth everyone believes.
What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
Eating out, preferably with my husband.
Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
I love, love, love the parks here. My favourite is a little, mostly empty one at the end of Lakeshore Drive. I can’t remember its name.
Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
Since this is my second time in Kelowna, I actually have something to compare. Kudos to Colin Basran and the current council for the work they’ve been doing to make Kelowna a great place to live. Of course, my most recent experience was seven years in Kuwait - Kelowna does feel a bit like paradise.
If you were granted one wish for work or in life, what would it be?
The ability to teleport. I want to be here now, and someplace else tomorrow. Wouldn’t that be perfect? Shift to the Maldives for the weekend and back for work on Monday. Beam me up, Scotty!
Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
Argh!! My whole life is pretty much on social media somewhere. Ummm... I was invited to apply to the FBI Behavioural Sciences Unit as a profiler, but didn't pursue it as a consequence of the circumstances of my life at the time. I don’t regret it, and use a lot of the same skills in my work as a trauma specialist – but I would totally have rocked the ‘Criminal Minds’ thing.
What is the name of your business/organization?
William & Associates Consultant Services.
What does your business do?
We support our clients in whatever way is most effective, to restore emotional equilibrium, to get ‘unstuck’ and to increase quality of life. Life is too short to live unhappily.
Why did you get into/start this business?
I started tutoring at 12 years old, and realised that those deemed a “failure” were often individuals who didn’t fit into the traditional (systemized) classroom. So my interest in trauma started with those being traumatised in the process of trying to get an education and from there, progressed to different forms of trauma. Most recently, I’ve worked with people experiencing complex, complicated trauma due to war, displacement, violence, and slavery.
What is the goal of your business?
To support individuals in crafting a life that fosters optimal heath: physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
What has been your biggest struggle either in work or life?
Hands down, not becoming cynical about humanity.
If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
I am content with the sum of my experiences and choices. Even the bad choices that I might want to redo have contributed to the whole of who I am, and I like who I am. Going back would probably change that. I don’t want to “start all over again.”
Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
Shopping locally makes a difference in my neighbourhood. Shopping in local stores means someone I know can pay the mortgage, hire people, send his/her children to college. The money gets circulated in OUR community. Really. Shop LOCAL.
Give someone that you think deserves it a shout out and explain why!
I want to give props to Karen Mason. She’s the Executive Director of the Kelowna Women’s Shelter, and her commitment to providing a non-judgmental resource for those caught in the cycle of intimate partner violence is HUGE …and she can sing. How perfect is that?
My nomination for the In Focus spotlight is:
Shannon Christenson of Mamas for Mamas. That group is vibrant and supportive, and Shannon’s commitment to finding untapped resources in the community that will support mamas who have NOTHING is incredible. She’s my hero.
Other information you would like to share:
I am absolutely committed to collaboration in community resources. If someone calls me for help, even if I am not the best solution for that need, I am invested in helping that individual or family find and access the resources needed.
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.