Meet Iwona. She was born and raised in Poland and has lived in Canada for 28 years. The last 17 of those years have been spent in Kelowna.
Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
My sister, because I always have so much fun with her, she inspires me and encourages me to be the best I can be, but doesn’t put up with my nonsense.
What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
Fisherman’s Market; I love what they stand for and their passion for what they do. Their customer service is amazing.
Describe yourself in one word.
If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
Prince Edward Island. Anne of Green Gables is my favourite childhood story. I first read it in Polish when I was 12 years old and since then I’ve read it many, many times. When I first came to Canada and didn’t know English, I decided that I could proclaim to be fluent in Engish.
What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
Yoga and skiing.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
Leaving my house wearing two different shoes and not noticing until I was standing in front of the room full of employees and clients.
What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
A couple of years ago, when I going through a very difficult time in my life, I was inspired by people who showed up to support me. What was inspiring was that they were often strangers or acquaintances that I didn’t know well but they were willing to help without asking for anything in return.
Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
Spending summers at my grandparent’s farm, milking cows, feeding chickens and weeding vegetable patches.
Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
I am a mentor at the Kelowna Resource Center. I assist newcomers with nursing backgrounds in obtaining their Canadian nursing license. I also sponsor a beautiful 11 years old boy from Peru through Plan International Canada.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
I would like everyone to have easy access to clean water and healthy food.
Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
In the summer, I like to go for a walk at Mission Creek Park to be in nature. In the winter, I love skiing alone at Gem Lake up at Big White.
Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
I would like to see more affordable housing for seniors. We have a growing population of seniors in Kelowna and many are living below the poverty line, struggling to have their needs met.
What do you think makes Kelowna great?
What are 3 things on your bucket list?
This may not sound very cool but I don’t have a bucket list. Maybe it is time to create one with going to PEI is the first thing on it.
Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I am an introvert acting as an extrovert.
How do people connect with you, personally, through social media? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
What is the name of your business/organization?
Healthy Transitions Consulting.
Why did you get into/start this business?
I spent over 30 years working in various health care systems and many of those years in leadership positions. I witness many of my colleagues, clients and employees experiencing chronic stress. I spent the last couple of years healing from chronic stress.
What is the goal of your business?
To help entrepreneurs and business leaders incorporate tools and techniques to alleviate chronic stress and utilize healthy stress to increase productivity, employee satisfaction, retention and as a result increase revenues.
What has been your biggest struggle either at work or in life?
Making sure that my values and beliefs align with the work I do and how I show up in the world.
If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
I wouldn’t change anything. Everything that I have experienced so far helped me to become who I am today.
What do you always find yourself saying?
Tell us your best piece of life advice.
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
Oh, this is a hard question. There are so many great people that I deeply admire. I would have to say, Oprah. I admire her for her courage, perseverance and strength.
Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
Supporting local economy helps our community grow. It is also a wonderful way to get to know our neighbours.
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
My formal education, as an immigrant who came to Canada without speaking the language or knowing much about Canadian culture, I am very proud of becoming Canadian nurse and graduating with a BSN and MBA.
Give someone you think that deserves it a shout out and explain why!
My two daughters. They are wonderful and courageous young women who make me very proud of how they live, what they believe in and how they show up in their relationships and in the world.
My choice for the KelownaNow In Focus spotlight is:
Michael Buffett of the Start Fresh Project.
In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition of the people, businesses, and organization that help make our city great. Thank you, Kelowna!