Brodie Desimone


Brodie is an Investor-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. Brodie has a passion for digital disruption in niche markets and leveraging tech solutions to accelerate growth at the seed stage. He was the founder of three successful startups before he joined Microsoft Canada and spent the next 10 years developing technology strategy in mining, forestry, retail, and telecommunications. In addition to Brodie’s passion for developing businesses, he also is also an active investor. In 2012 Brodie became a partner of Anrias Capital Corp. Anrias is a boutique investment firm with investments in several hospitalities, technology, and financial business.

Brodie currently sits on multiple boards and is also extremely active in mentoring and supporting early-stage companies. Brodie has been an Investor in Residence for The Next Big Thing. He is active in youth entrepreneurship and is supporting the growth of angel network. Brodie is an avid experience seeker and can be found on caving expeditions, sailing trips, scuba diving, and long-distance motorcycle adventures.

Sheldon Gardiner


Sheldon is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. He is an experienced entrepreneur who has started and grown several companies (including 2 exits) over the past 20+ years. His most recent technology start up is still in development. Sheldon has a background in business development, sales, venture capital and private equity and is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs achieve their potential.

Sheldon is very active in the Kelowna non profit community, has a keen interest for social enterprise and impact investing. His best start up was the startup of his family and is the proud father of 2 girls with his wife Shauna. Sheldon calls Kelowna home.

Crystal Henrickson


Crystal is an Executive-In-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. Crystal is a Certified Leadership and Career Coach and an employee experience consultant, working with technology-driven companies to build thriving cultures.

Having spent more than a decade working in the new economy, some of Crystal’s experiences include rolling out employee engagement strategies on shoestring budgets, developing distributed/remote teams, managing internal crisis and conflict communication and building values aligned hiring processes. Previous to co-founding her leadership and career coaching practice, Talent Collective, Crystal managed functions such as community management, people operations, marketing, PR and sales for a robust mixture of startups and small businesses ranging from brick and mortar beauty businesses to software and hardware. She is credited with driving the market expansion for Yelp into Canada and has had opportunities to work with local economies from across North America and as far away as Belgrade, Serbia.

Robin Jones


Robin is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. Robin has a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University, and an MBA from Northeastern University in Boston. Robin is a career marketing executive with over 20 years’ experience building and leading marketing teams in global technology companies. She has been instrumental in moving startup and mid-size organizations through rapid growth stages, and has managed more than 20 strategic acquisitions and partnerships, as well as 2 IPOs.

Robin enjoys wake surfing, snowmobiling, and home design and renovation, as well as entertaining friends and family.

Andrew Klingel


Andrew is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan and a Professor at the Okanagan School of Business. Prior to joining Okanagan College, Andrew consulted for major corporations such as Telus, TD and General Motors—but his real passion is entrepreneurship. He has been involved with many new ventures as an operator, investor and advisor. He also developed and launched a line of consumer products that are now sold in over 10,000 retail locations across North America.

Andrew is most proud of co-founding the Framework Foundation, a non-profit which has raised over 200,000 volunteer hours while investing $1 million in local artists. Andrew supports entrepreneurs in the North Okanagan through the Enterprize Challenge and Shuswap Launch-a-preneur programs.

When not teaching or working with entrepreneurs, Andrew enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and three daughters.

Grant Lawrence


Grant has been an active angel investor since 2015 and in 2017 Grant joined Valhalla Angels and took responsibility for managing their BC chapters in Kelowna and Vancouver, which includes continuous interaction with founders (mentoring, advisory positions) and community involvement (panelist, judge, guest lecturer…). Grant is also a co-founder of Valhalla Private Capital. He enjoys the rush of helping founders navigate through a variety of challenges

Grant is Board Partner at Startup Studio where they help innovation companies drive business development and sales,  and help with their capital raises; and he is VP Investor Relations at UpCapital,  which helps founders go-public. He also has 20+ years in the B2B environment where he has built and ran sales teams and created and ran indirect sales channels (VARs, VADs, Sis, OEMs….) on an international basis.  He has worked with some of the world’s largest organizations, helping them solve critical business issues.

Michele Leeners


Michele is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. She has over 25 years of experience building and leading finance and operational teams. Her diverse industry experience includes start-ups to large corporations, both private and public. Throughout her career, she has been instrumental in leading businesses through significant growth, new initiatives
and organizational change.

Michele is a graduate of the University of Calgary’s Bachelor of Commerce program and has the Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant designation (CPA, CA). In her spare time, Michele enjoys golfing, biking, swimming, entertaining family and friends, and tending to her extensive vegetable garden.

Sandra Oldfield


Sandra is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. Sandra brings over 30 years of strategy, marketing and human resource knowledge in her CEO role from production, sales and customer experience in the BC wine industry. Sandra founded Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in 1994 and grew it from a 1,000 case production to over 40,000 cases before its sale in 2017. Innovative packaging and marketing initiatives including becoming the only carbon neutral winery in Canada and the only winery to include its employees as an integral part of its sustainability program are just some of the ways Sandra drove innovation.

Sandra was recently awarded Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women in the Trendsetters and Trailblazers category and now enjoys coaching dynamic companies with incorporating employee engagement into their strategic plan.

Isaac Oslund


Isaac is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. He’s a passionate technologist and entrepreneur that’s driven by the relationships and genuine connections he makes with the people in his life.  As co-founder and CTO, he helped Bananatag grow to over 150 employees before merging with Staffbase, a German-based startup, where he took the position of CTO of Staffbase North America. Since the merger, Staffbase has grown significantly and hit the coveted unicorn milestone in 2022.

As part of his entrepreneurial journey, Isaac regularly meets with other founders as both a mentor and mentee. He believes that sharing with and learning from others is the key to any business’s success, Beyond the digital world, you will find Isaac in nature, occasionally donning the hat of a part-time farmer. Off the clock, he values moments shared with his wife and their dog.

Rocky Ozaki


Rocky Ozaki is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan and the visionary behind NoW of Work Inc. Having held executive roles in both large enterprise and startup tech, Rocky is a rare talent who truly understands the challenges companies face today. He is a keynote speaker, corporate trainer & consultant with a hyper-focus on creating innovative, agile and capable teams through complex transitions.

He assists organizations through what he calls “The Rise and Fall of HR” which focuses on how critical it is for organizations to become 21st Century ready. He is deeply entrenched in the Canadian tech-sector having previously held the role of Vice-President Community & Head of Corporate Innovation for the BC Tech Association.

Alison Ruks


Alison is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. Alison brings over 15 years of experience specializing as an entrepreneur, consultant, and executive leader in consumer packaged goods, natural health, cannabis, and education. She oversees multiple companies including Murdoch & Ruks in the growth strategy consulting category; and, Mobobaby in the eco-friendly and sustainable baby accessories category.

Alison’s passion for health and early foresight into the rising trends of natural health led her to begin her career studying natural medicine in 2001. After starting her first business in her early 20s, she pursued a business degree – graduating with honours – from the University of British Columbia. With a combined passion for health, wellness, and business, she shortly thereafter became certified as a Chartered Human Resources Professional with a goal of fostering positive, healthy, and productive workplaces.

She has demonstrated success in companies across multiple industries and in public, private and non-profit sectors via her passion and history of providing elevated leadership, promoting people-and-culture-focused human resources programs, shaping strategic plans, effectively executing projects, developing and distributing products at a global scale, and facilitating optimal brand identity and communication. She has engaged in the development of multiple brands, business models, and the associated investor relations and communications that resulted in sales and fundraising results in the multi-millions.

Gary Smith


Gary is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. Gary is an accomplished CEO with a track record of fast and effective situation analysis and strategy development in turnaround and business development situations. He graduated in engineering and has held senior roles in five verticals (sports media, telecommunications, utilities, information technology and construction). His roles have covered three continents (North America, Europe and Asia) in businesses of all sizes from start-ups to multi-nationals.

Gary’s career journey led to Canada in 2004 when he took over Bell Canada’s television businesses (ExpressVu satellite and Fibe IPTV). He has since been back to school for an MBA from Ivey Business School and became a Chartered Director through the Director’s College at McMaster. Gary is insatiably curious and has a passion for helping businesses succeed. He moved to the Okanagan in 2020 and is an enthusiastic cyclist, Nordic skier, motorcyclist and is currently on a mission to learn to play the piano.

Larry Smith


Larry is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. He has led several technology companies from an early stage, through rapid growth, to become market leaders. These companies were recognized (several times by Profit, Deloitte, Branham and others) as leading growth companies, became respected in their markets, and ultimately attracted the attention of acquiring companies. This growth was built on a robust understanding of the market, careful positioning, and capitalizing on best opportunities through marketing, sales and strategic acquisitions. He has rounded out his leadership experience by advising a number of technology companies—assisting them to navigate challenges, turnarounds, and rapid growth while supporting and mentoring their leadership team.

Larry focuses on achieving traction and growth through good strategy, focus, leadership, marketing, sales, operations and overall execution. He works to understand and build commitment to the focus that allows a technology company to grow to the next stage and increase value. His experience selling companies helps him prepare companies to maximize their long-term value.

Larry has a degree in Information Science, an M.B.A and has earned the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation. In his spare time, Larry enjoys sports and the outdoors with his family.

Ty Summach


Ty is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. Passionate about supporting the local leaders of tomorrow, Ty officially joined Accelerate Okanagan in 2019 as an Executive in Residence (EiR). With extensive entrepreneurial experience, Ty continues to bring expertise and guidance to a long list of ventures within the Innovate BC landscape. In addition to 1:1 mentorship, his role includes facilitating training sessions ranging in topics from Lean Business Model Design, Customer Development, Market Analysis, Positioning, and Pitching.

Known as a “triple threat” amongst his peers, Ty has held the role of Chief Operating Officer, Chief Product Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, all while navigating teams from the private markets to the public markets and through various mergers and acquisitions.

Beyond spending time with his young family, Ty is the first Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) at UBCO and has recently founded his latest start-up within the Creator Economy.

Corey Wagner


Corey is an Executive-in-Residence at Accelerate Okanagan. Corey is passionate about revenue and go-to-market strategy, as well as hiring and building great leadership teams.

As Co-founder and CEO of Bananatag Systems Inc, his bootstrapped SaaS startup went on to become one of North America’s fastest growing tech companies, and one of Canada’s best places to work before being acquired by Staffbase to form the largest internal communication tech company in the world.

In his spare time, you might find him cruising along the vineyards on his motorcycle.