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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?
What do you always find yourself saying?
"Are you serious?" I know it sounds funny but I use it with my kids after school and even with clients I interview. It always gets me more information...
If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
Probably Bob Dylan. He's lived such an interesting life and has had such an impact on culture and music for decades. I grew up loving his music.
If you were to receive any existing public award, what award would you like to win?
Best Documentary Film. I am with so many unique people with amazing stories. And these are folks who think they have nothing to say about their life! They should win the award...
If you could spend a day with any historical figure, who would you choose?
Jesus. The biggest influence on humankind has got to be good company!
Who inspires you?
The Greatest Generation (those born after World War One). They fought battles for our freedom, put up with unbelievable poverty and hardship and are still laughing.
What are three things on your bucket list?
I would love to go on an epic sailing trip, learn to ride a motorcycle and make it back to Paris one day.
Please tell us about a defining moment in your life
When I became a mother. Never in my life have I needed to rise to the occasion to protect and care for a precious life. I have never felt so needed as much as I did with my own child in my arms.
If you had an enormous yacht, what would you name it?
Immanuel. Not only does it mean "God with us" (which is a good idea on a boat!) but it's my Dad's middle name and he taught me how to sail. His mom gave him the name as he was born during World War Two in Holland. I'm sure it was encouraging to her.
If you could foresee a single day of your future in its entirety, what date would you select?
My 100th birthday. I can't wait to see how my family has multiplied and feel the fruits of my labour. Hopefully they'll sit long enough to watch my Life Story!
What are you passionate about?
Preserving the most important aspects of people's lives: their values, memories, beliefs, experiences and wisdom. Being a former teacher I've seen how many kids suffer when they don't have solid roots. Knowing your own roots and family stories gives you something to hold on to when things get tough in life. Reflecting on what others in your own family had to deal with gives you perspective on your own challenges in a way no one else can give. There is such strength in that! Youth don't realize what a treasure this will be for them yet but their parents do. It's one thing we can do for the generation coming - give the family history and wisdom so they have something to fall back on when it counts.
What has been your favourite day of your life, up to this point?
Besides the days my three kids were born, I'd say it was my wedding. An outdoor oceanside day began my life journey with the love of my life, Tim. Thirteen years and counting!
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Launching this business. The field of Personal History is growing. I feel like I already have a wealth of wisdom from my interviews. I'm only four years in but I know this job will never get old. I'm very proud to have helped families reconnect with one another through their Life Story Film. They can be shared with family no matter where they live.
Where is your favourite place to dine in Kelowna?
For the amazing food and Eastern flare I love Blu Saffron at the Volcanic Hills Winery. I love how quaint, cozy and close to my house it is too!
What is your favourite activity or event in Kelowna?
I am pretty new to the Okanagan still so I have a lot of things to try! So far it's being on or in the water in summer and hiking at Kalamoir Park with my dog every day.
What is the name of your business/organization?
Life Story Film
What does your business/organization do?
Here's what I do: I save the lives of seniors by preserving stories, photos, values and wisdom on video for their descendants to watch and enjoy forever. I do every stage of production and even organize 'Premiere' nights for showing your movie.
Where can people find you or your business online?
How do people connect with you on Linkedin?
Where can people find your business on Facebook?
Life Story Film
What is your Twitter account?
What is your mission?
To change the way seniors are remembered by providing their families with a vibrant video legacy.
If you could achieve one thing within your field, what would it be?
To ensure that every senior in the early stages of dementia has a Life Story Film done before entering into a facility so that they can relive their lives, watch something therapeutic and enable all staff and volunteers to really know who they were.
Where do you want your business/organization to be in five years?
This is my passion so to continue providing this for families is my reward. I would also like to be a household verb actually. My son once said, "You haven't been life-storied yet!" I want this to become the normal way for families to honour their parents
Who do you consider to be a forerunner within your field?
There are only a dozen or so private video biographers in Canada. I belong to the Association of Personal Historians and all my colleagues have been a goldmine of help and resources for this career.
What three qualities do you feel that your business/organization exemplifies?
I over deliver, respect my client's wishes, and strive to make them happy at all costs.
What would you like to say to your employees/volunteers?
Anyone volunteers for me if they spread the word about what I do. Many have helped me do that and I thank them. Word of mouth is how this has worked for the past 4 years.
How does your business/organization impact the community?
When a senior records their history a community benefits because their life has an impact on whoever sees it. It's hard to explain what happens once you see a film of a person you are related to. It gives you an additional perspective on life. Even months later you still get new insights into their character.
What makes you successful? Tell us about it.
Everyone has a life story to share. The lives of those who have gone before us combined with our own journey shapes who we are. My life has had twists, turns, rogue waves and roller coasters. So far it has all given me a drive to succeed at what I have chosen to do. I am very determined in most things. Some may say I have the stubbornness of the Dutch in me. I won't give up on what I love and I transfer that energy to my clients. They have placed their story in my hands and they trust me to care for it and present it in a way that honours them.
If you were trapped in an elevator with several wealthy investors from any field, which field would you want them to be experts in? What would say to them/talk about?
Well, Bill Gates is aging and he certainly has made some wise investments! He needs a Life Story Film done just for his family. Then I'd convince him to invest in a "Life Story Foundation" where an army of us could provide this service to families.
If I could change one thing about Kelowna, it would be:
I have a hard time complaining about anything here. I'm so happy to be back in BC after seven years in Ontario so I'm even thankful for the winters here.
What do you think makes Kelowna great?
I love the combination of outdoor enthusiasts with the cultural crowd. You can ski or hike, taste internationally renowned wine and head to the theatre or symphony all in the same day.
My choice for the Kelowna In Focus spotlight is:
Lynden Beesley. She has a beautiful garden exhibit at the KAG right now.
Some general comments I would like to share are:
I can't count how many times I've heard, "I wish I would have known about you and your business before I lost my Mom or Dad."
We don't think we need this until it's too late. Don't wait!
Whether it's a simple hour of audio recording stories to CD, digitizing photos for a special occasion or a feature documentary about your history, there is an affordable way to preserve a life before it's too late. Honour your parents or grandparents now.
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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