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?
Anna Marie Gierach.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Kelowna?
I am originally from Edmonton but moved to Kelowna in February of this year!
Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
Since moving to Kelowna, I met a fantastic friend and fellow health care provider, Dr. Erica Volk. She is always up for an adventure, teaching me new things and connecting about our challenges and successes about growing a practice here in Kelowna!
If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
Right now, I would love to explore Greece and Croatia! I love food culture, and those countries are breathtakingly gorgeous as a bonus.
What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
I really love Karat Chocolate. I appreciate how they are incorporating local products and inspiration into their craft, and have you tried their High Tea bar?! It’s amazing.
What is your favourite activity?
I love to cook! Going to the farmer’s market on Saturdays, getting some amazing local ingredients and making dinner with a glass of wine in hand is my favourite way to spend an evening.
If you had to choose: pizza, tacos, or burgers?
Tacos, hands down. Especially from YLW Food Truck!
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
When I was a kid, I drove my bike straight off the dock at a family cabin. I get reminded of it at every family gathering!
What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
Watching my mom grow a successful business through all the setbacks life has put in her way. She is the most amazing example of persistence, hard work and passion for building something that supports her and those she has on her team.
Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
I actually have very fond memories of coming to visit my grandparents here in Kelowna. We would stay in the Mission Park Inn and spend all day at Gyro Beach on the mini zipline and getting snacks at the apple!
Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
I have a few ways that I am getting involved in our community here. Through Mamas for Mamas, I am sponsoring a few moms at any given time for complimentary care. Giving those who may not otherwise have pre or post-natal chiropractic care, has been one of the most rewarding things I have done here so far. I also am part of JCI Kelowna, or Junior Chamber International. I am starting an elected board position as Membership Director in the new year, and am looking forward to finding more ways to connect with our membership and support local projects in the community.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Wow, well that is a tough quesion. I would want to reduce inequalities for health care access and gender. When everyone has access to health care and women feel empowered, amazing things can happen with that hope.
What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
I am really enjoying hiking and paddle boarding. Getting out and connecting with nature while taking in the gorgeous landscape we have here is something that I am really loving.
Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
There’s a little spot, just before the apex of Knox that I like to sit at when I am hiking alone. Gives me perspective, peace and so much happiness to be in such a beautiful place.
Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
There is so many mamas in our community living with financial challenges. I would love to see more recycling of resources back into the community. Money is only one part of how we can give back and help the groups of need in Kelowna.
What do you think makes Kelowna great?
I think Kelowna has an amazing way of integrating lifestyle into daily life. I haven’t lived anywhere else where people make their extracurricular activities such a priority. It's refreshing and so comforting seeing that as a priority for my friends and patients.
What are 3 things on your bucket list?
1. Hike Kilimanjaro and go on a chiropractic service trip.
2. See Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway in London
3. Go to culinary school somewhere in Europe.
Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I was terrified of driving up until September of last year. It took me moving to Augusta Georgia where there was a terrible public transportation system and had no friends to rely on before I forced myself to drive. I ended up doing three separate road trips while there, one of which was to Atlanta, and survived. It put a huge dent in my fear and now I actually enjoy it!
What is the name of your business/organization?
I am a chiropractor at AltaVie Integrated Family Health.
Why did you get into/start this business?
I became a chiropractor to help families get back to doing what they love by improving function, decreasing pain and as a resource to get them the right care. I worked with my stepdad back in Edmonton who was a chiropractor and saw what a huge impact we can have within a community. When I found out about a family-focused office here in Kelowna working with pre and post-natal mamas and babies, I knew it was the perfect place for me to bring my skills and help families thrive.
What is the goal of your business?
To provide safe and effective evidence-based chiropractic care to the families of the Okanagan in a place where they feel safe and welcome to meet us where they are at on their journey.
What has been your biggest struggle either in work or life?
Picking myself up through a tough time while in grad school. The challenge of school was relentless and I held myself to a very high standard.
If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
I would do almost everything again. I would definitely be on the same path, maybe taken a little more time for school-life balance, and enjoy California living a little more than I did!
What do you always find yourself saying?
'I am enough.' I often compare myself to a very high standard and this helps ground me in knowing that whatever I am doing is what I need to do in that moment.
If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
Another tough question, but I would love to meet Michelle Obama. She took her role as such an opportunity to make significant and positive changes. I admire the grace and passion she brings to whatever she puts her mind to.
Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
Of course! My parents both owned small businesses back in Edmonton and I know that a community thrives when you can give back and help keep small businesses supported.
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Graduating as Valedictorian of my class in Chiropractic school.
Give someone you think that deserves a shout out and explain why!
I never pass up an opportunity to shout out my mom. She works tirelessly for her business, her family and those she supports.
My choice for the KelownaNow In Focus spotlight is:
Dr. Erica Volk! She is teaching me so much about ways to impact health from a natural and holistic perspective that can help pretty much everyone!
Some general comments I would like to share are:
I love connecting with people personally and professionally. If you would like to connect or find out more about JCI Kelowna please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook!
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.