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?
Originally from Hampshire, UK and I have lived in Kelowna for exactly eight years.
Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
Aside from my immediate family, obviously! I'd have to say my adorable niece, Millie, in England. She is funny, beautiful inside and out and she lights up my world.
What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
Factor Furniture they have great owners, Scott and Leeann, and fabulous product, something a bit different from the 'norm' that we see in Kelowna.
Describe yourself in one word.
If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
It's probably a frame of mind but I'd love to be on one of the Maldives Islands right now, pina colada in hand... no cell service!
What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
Hiking with my dog in the snow at Big White.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
I can't tell you, it's way too embarrassing.
What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
The time my daughter and I met Phil, a great guy who had recently managed to get off the streets into his own home, very humbling hearing his amazing story.
Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
Both my divorced parents had their pilots license, and my step-father, Trevor is a commercial pilot. We used to fly all the time. Often over our town and surrounding areas and my mum would give me the 'china-graph' pencil to follow the roads on the ground and compare to the map. I attribute my spatial awareness to this! Also, Trevor used to take me up in his Tiger Moth, bi-plane on weekends, totally cool childhood memories!
Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
We have all been touched by mental health issues and my family is no different. I'm on the fundraising committee of CMHA and work closely with Foundry Kelowna. I like to give where we can from a business perspective, most recently some work with metro community. Our street community is something that worries me personally, especially this time of year. Mental health and homelessness is something we should all be listening to because everyone deserves dignity.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Childhood cancer. Heartbreaking.
Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
Gravity Float & Wellness Float Space or up on the top of the Crawford Trail.
Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
Given the new foundry has opened and is already making a great change to our community's mental health, I'd have to say homelessness. It devastates me.
What do you think makes Kelowna great?
So many things, it's paradise for me. Canadians make Kelowna great for me. That, and the amazing scenery!
What are 3 things on your bucket list?
1. To get my PhD.
2. To see the incredible, and I mean that in the literal sense, architecture in Dubai.
3. To see the Northern lights, properly.
Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I left home and lived in South Africa for four years. Good and formative times!
How do people connect with you, personally, through social media? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
Facebook, I'm a bit of an addict.
What is the name of your business/organization?
Evolve Design Build Inc.
Why did you get into/start this business?
Because the way that our industry is 'done' in this country can be improved. I believe we improve the client experience exponentially. We are one point of contact for your whole project. What's not to love?
What is the goal of your business?
To change the landscape of commercial renovation projects and what the client expects.
What has been your biggest struggle either in work or life?
My eight-year-old niece, Ella, lost her battle with cancer in 2012. She was beautiful. She is beautiful. It broke my heart. I'm a fixer and I couldn't fix her.
If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
Definitely the same! You can't change what's done, keep moving forward!
What do you always find yourself saying?
Yes. I always say 'yes' to quote Richard Branson, say 'yes' and figure it out later'! We are doing well with this, mainly because I have an exceptional team!
Tell us your best piece of life advice.
Something that carried me through after Ella died: 'Everything will be alright in the end, if it's not alright, it's not the end.' That quote is by John Lennon and I can't say it's all alright, however, I do believe this quote. This too will pass.
If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
This is a tough one. Lots of people come to mind. Some who are no longer with us. My Gran, for sure, but she is gone. I suppose I would settle on Richard Branson. I think I could blow his mind!
Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
No question, we are all in this together!
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
My children. They are awesome. How did that happen?!
Give someone you think that deserves it a shout out and explain why!
So many awesome people on this planet, Jody Pihl. She is an incredible human and friend. Always advocating for people who don't have a voice. One of the first people I met when I arrived in Canada and I've always been in 'awe' of her. She sets the bar.
My choice for the KelownaNow In Focus spotlight is:
Nicole Rustad. Another incredible human. Amazing take on life, more socially aware than anyone I know, super interesting and fascinating new company, VortoVia. You'll love her.
Some general comments I would like to share are:
I love this spotlight you give to 'normal' people, working hard to build businesses in this amazing city!
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.