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In Focus | Julia Keller

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?
Julia Keller.

Where are you from and how long have you lived in Kelowna?
I was born in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan and have lived in Regina, Calgary and Saskatoon before moving to the Kelowna area in 2013. We moved to West Kelowna from Lake Country one year ago.

Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
My husband and two daughters. They make me a better person and they believe in me.

If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
Liard River Hot Springs, BC. The remoteness of this park would make for a wonderful trip.

What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
Okanagan Spirits. The owners, managers and staff are all extremely friendly and knowledgeable and the award-winning liqueurs and spirits are amazing.

What is your favourite activity?
Camping with my family.

If you had to choose: pizza, tacos, or burgers?
Tacos. Fish tacos.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
Crying during speeches that I have given.

What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
Visiting Quebec City and shopping in the quaint chocolate shops in Old Quebec. They inspired me to begin a career in the chocolate business.

Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
Traveling to BC with my family. Visiting Vancouver Island left a big impression on me.

Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
I have volunteered at Big Brothers Big Sisters, I am active at my daughters’ school and through my business have supported several local charity fundraisers including Paws it Forward, Diabetes Canada and Central Okanagan Hospice Association.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
I would increase our support for green technologies. I would like to see electric cars and solar energy become an affordable, normal part of our lives.

What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
Biking along the Mission Creek Greenway with my family.

Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
Hiking trails in Rose Valley Regional Park.

Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
I would like to see the schools grow at a faster pace to keep up with the population growth.

What do you think makes Kelowna great?
The number of outdoor activities, the climate, the fresh fruit and produce, and the beautiful scenery.

What are 3 things on your bucket list?
1. Furthering my education
2. Learning a new instrument
3. Taking an extended vacation with my family

Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I have my chemistry degree and spent four years as an analytical chemist.

How do people connect with you, personally, through social media? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
You can reach me through my business on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

What is the name of your business/organization?
Liv a Lil Chocolate.

Why did you get into/start this business?
My husband and I wanted to embark on something new once we had moved to the Okanagan and we were inspired by a trip to Quebec to start an artisan chocolate business.

What is the goal of your business?
To make high-quality artisan chocolate with a focus on sourcing local ingredients wherever possible.

What has been your biggest struggle either in work or life?
Finding a balance between work and life. It is always a challenge finding the right amount of time to spend with my children, to spend working and to just spend on me.

If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
Things would definitely be the same. I strongly believe things happen for a reason and I wouldn’t be where I am if things didn’t fall just right to make it that way.

What do you always find yourself saying?
'It is what it is.' Sometimes life throws something at us that is completely out of our control and we have to stay positive and make it work to our advantage.

If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
Jocko Willink. He is an American podcaster, author, martial artist and retired U.S. Navy Seal. He is a large inspiration for my entire family, including teaching my girls, through his novel, 'Way of the Warrior Kid', to be warriors.

Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
I find it rewarding to meet the people behind each business and to establish lasting relationships within the community.

What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Teaching my daughters how to play piano. Music is such an important part of my life and I feel it’s very important to pass on the love of music to my girls. I have never been so proud as when I watch them play.

Give someone you think that deserves it a shout out and explain why!
Olivia Schliep. She is an amazing Midwife working out of the Maternity Care Clinic in West Kelowna. She’s also a wonderful neighbour and friend.

My choice for the KelownaNow In Focus spotlight is:
Jamie Mullen of Willow Development.

Some general comments I would like to share are:
Thank you for supporting small businesses. They are such an important part of our community!

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.



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