Who We Are
Brea Lake has been leading Accelerate Okanagan (AO) as their Chief Executive Officer since 2019. She has been supporting the growth of the local… technology industry for over 10 years through her economic development efforts; launching new entrepreneurial programs, investment initiatives, and community-building events. Brea also champions Okanagan tech nationally as an Advisory Board Member for the Canadian Technology Network.
Brea’s first taste of the Okanagan technology industry was with Disney’s Interactive Studios where she was responsible for global training and curriculum development. She then joined the team at AO as their Community Manager, where she focused on fostering relationships and supporting tech entrepreneurs. Brea then had the opportunity to take on the role of Director of Operations, where she managed the day-to-day operation of the team and implemented strategic initiatives.
Brea is a proud Okanagan College Alumni of the Bachelor of Business Administration program, was involved with the Enactus OC team, and received the Young Alumni Award in 2018. She currently gives back to the local community through her volunteer work as a Director for the Okanagan College Foundation, an Executive Board Member of the YMCA South Interior BC, and an Advisory Board Member of the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission.
Director of Programs
Thuy Tran is the Director of Programs for Accelerate Okanagan. Thuy has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and has been… supporting the growth of the tech community for the last 6 years through her work at AO. In her role, Thuy leads our program design and development, is directly responsible for the delivery of AO’s mentorship programs, and supports founders start and scale their companies. Thuy also spearheaded the development of OKGN Angel Summit, a program designed to help bridge the gap between investors and companies.
Thuy Tran was born in Vietnam and immigrated to Canada in the late 80s and has since called the Okanagan home. She graduated from the Centre for Arts and Technology, then went on to then worked with one of Canada’s leading medical technology companies, QHR Technologies. Besides her passion for supporting entrepreneurs, she is also passionate about running her own photography business, living an active lifestyle and spending quality time with her family and two young sons.
D’arcy Schaerer is our Finance Manager. A highly motivated self-starter with strong analytical, communication and interpersonal skills, D’arcy has worked with diverse groups of people… throughout her career. Her experience in project coordination, supervision, and office management with the likes of seismic jug hounds, archaeologists, palaeontologists, railcar buffs and condo consultants gives her all the skills she needs to work with this diverse group of techies.
When she’s not teching the halls, D’arcy like to do pottery and considers her life to be fun, funky, and functional.
Brand & Communications Manager
Sara is our Brand Manager. Before joining the AO Team, Sara spent over five years working in Guest Experience with Disney Interactive while balancing her… passion for event management in her spare time.
Born and raised in Kelowna, she is an excellent tour guide for the Okanagan. In addition to being an avid gardener, Sara enjoys jewelry making, camping and spending time outdoors kayaking.
Alex Goodhew (On Leave)
Alex is our Community Manager. In this role, she works to connect and collaborate with people interested in and involved with innovation and entrepreneurship in… the Okanagan. She focuses on developing and nurturing relationships with community partners, helping to build industry connections.
Alex grew up in the South Okanagan but lived in Vancouver while attending UBC. She returned to the Okanagan to work in higher education and eventually found her way into the vibrant innovation sector. Alex gets her signature energy by surrounding herself with people and helping others. She loves the Okanagan for its full 4 seasons and enjoys skiing, playing volleyball, being outdoors with her pups, and a good patio session.
Leslie is our Community Manager. In her role she supports AO with events and people & culture. She is here to help connect our community… members to the right people, programs, and events in the Okanagan.
Leslie grew up in Ontario, and moved to BC in 2009 to attend UBC Vancouver. In 2017, she made the move to Kelowna for the tech community and Big White. When she is not in the office Leslie loves being outside with her family as much as possible during all four seasons.
Brand & Communications Lead
Alanna Haggard is the Brand and Communications Lead at Accelerate Okanagan. In her role, Alanna works closely with the brand team developing content that aligns… with Accelerate Okanagan’s mission, vision, and values.
Alanna was born and raised in the Central Okanagan and graduated from Okanagan College in 2019 with a Diploma in Communications, Culture, and Journalism. Her desire to do impactful work,and her passion for helping others succeed, led her to find a home at Accelerate Okanagan. When she’s not at work, you’ll find her enjoying the best the Okanagan has to offer: camping, kayaking, hiking with her fur-son, and visiting the local wineries.
Scale Up Program Lead
Jessica is our Scale Up Program Lead. She strives to surround herself with innovators, and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs create tech-enabled solutions that allow… them to rethink the future of their industries.
Prior to joining Team AO, Jessica worked full-time as a marketing specialist in post-secondary education and tourism, as well as across a range of industries as an independent consultant. Jessica holds a Bachelors of Applied Arts in Visual Communications and a Graduate Certificate in Corporate Communications Management.
When she’s not at the office, you’ll find her frequenting local coffee shops, enjoying a great book, or exploring the beautiful Okanagan outdoors with her son.
Meghan is the Community Coordinator for the Kelowna office. In her role, Meghan can be found connecting with AO members and tenants of OKGNworks, aiding… in developing relationships with the innovation and entrepreneurship communities, and sharing resources.
Originally from the South Okanagan, Meghan came up to Kelowna to pursue post-secondary at UBCO and has remained in Kelowna since 2019. Meghan grew up within a family business in which a key value was to “do what you can for all people that walk through your door” and has carried that same passion with her throughout her career.
When Meghan is not in the office, you can find her experimenting with different coffee recipes, exploring the valley, and taking every opportunity to celebrate what each season has to offer.