A convert to the technology industry. Open-minded advocate of volunteerism. Excited about the Okanagan’s future.
What opportunities do UBC grads have in Kelowna’s tech industry?
The technology industry in Kelowna has been gaining momentum for the last couple of years, and when I discovered my own interest in tech and started looking into the different tech companies in Kelowna, I was really blown away by the sheer number of opportunities that are available here. There are a large number of tech entrepreneurs and start-ups springing up all over the Valley in a variety of different industries, like education, media, gaming, and even high tech. Many of the entrepreneurs and tech professionals have come out of UBC programs and decided to start their companies and careers in Kelowna due to the number of talented people here and the great quality of life.
How has Accelerate Okanagan helped the Kelowna tech industry?
So many great start ups in Kelowna have gone through Accelerate Okanagan‘s programs and it’s great to be able to develop relationships with their very interesting and imaginative founders—we are all rooting for each other’s success. I work for a great company called Procera Networks, and we are very active in the local and tech communities. Procera, headquartered in the Silicon Valley, acquired a successful start-up from Kelowna (Vineyard Networks) and they have maintained the great team and office here. It’s a real Kelowna tech start-up success story! Procera sponsors Gennext and Digital Okanagan, and we often have fundraisers or events for the local food bank, the Terry Fox Run, and the Arthritis Society, to name a few. Everyone is willing to go above and beyond to develop the tech industry here—something that is very promising for those coming out of UBCO and interested in starting a career in the field.
How did you end up working in the technology industry?
The Master of Business Management degree really opened my eyes to the career opportunities that I never even knew were a possibility for me—I would have never ended up in technology, or even have been able to picture myself there, had I not entered this program.
What do you like about living in the Okanagan?
Kelowna is a great location for an active lifestyle. As a Biology undergrad with an interest in healthcare and personal health, I thought that ski patrolling would be a great opportunity to take on a different role within the community and kind of expand my skill set. Volunteerism is very important in career development, but it is also a great way to network and make a difference. There are so many different outdoor activities that you can enjoy here that you will never be bored! Whether it is mountain biking, hiking, or one of the many water sports, there really is something for everyone all year round.
What would you say to students considering UBC Okanagan?
UBC Okanagan provides you with a great education and excellent networking and relationship building opportunities. The school has a variety of options, but it also has small enough class sizes that you can really develop relationships with your peers and professors that are lasting and meaningful. Developing those relationships helped me to find an Honours Biology project that interested me, a great mentor (Svan Lembke), and discover the career that I am now in.