A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.
Our community is strong and growing with record speed and maintaining connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we’ve got a plan.
Introducing, The Faces of #OKGNtech. A showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement. Follow along (on the blog and on Instagram @OKGNtech) to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Meet Samantha. Samantha Smith is well – a lot of things. Sam works part-time as a communications designer for the University Relations Department at UBC. She also is a freelancer, and she has her own startup company, Dwell In. When she is not working on ALL THE THINGS, you can find her walking her dog up Knox, riding her bike around town, or down on the coast teaching scuba diving. We recently caught up with Samantha to learn more about her design work and who inspires her.
[Editor’s note: Dwell In is a company that brings trust and transparency to the competitive rental market]
What do you enjoy most about designing?
“I love approaching design as a problem solver. My clients bring projects to me, and it’s my job to find the best solution, whether they are trying to reach a new audience, tell their story or celebrate a new event. I try to use a human-centric design process to tackle every avenue of design.”
What do you love about the Okanagan?
“Growing up, Kelowna always felt like a really small town. When I was younger, I was really excited to get out of here, and I ended up moving to Vancouver. Since moving back a few years ago, I have seen this explosion of opportunity here. It definitely feels more inclusive and less conservative now, but I love that it still has a small town feel.”
What is something most people don’t know about you?
“Unless I bring it up, I don’t think that people would know that I am Metis and Cree because I just don’t immediately look like it, but yeah I have a lot of family from Northern Alberta.”
“My boyfriend is a Co-founder of Kettle River Brewery. I like to claim that I got him and the other founder into craft beer. When him and I met in university, I remember he was only drinking Old Milwaukee, and I introduced him to Phillips. When we would come back to Kelowna to visit, I remember sitting in our friends’ garage and Pilsner became Phillips beer became more craft beer…and so on.”
What is your favourite quote?
“I can only remember the end of it, but my favourite quote is ‘…To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded,’ I always try to keep this in mind.”
[Editor’s note: This quote is from an essay from Bessie Anderson Stanley.]
Who inspires you?
“I grew up in subsidised housing, and my mom went back to school when I was in middle school so we would be able to buy a house by the time I was in high school. Seeing her working really hard and overcoming the stigma of a single parent was really inspiring for me. I have had a lot of privilege and I am always so grateful for all the hard work that she did.”
“I love finding new designers that are making a big difference in a smaller way. I recently watched this talk by Robyn Kanner, a designer from Brooklyn NY. She has created this app called My Trans Health, a database for all trans-friendly doctors in the states so trans kids can find doctors who can help them. What is interesting is that she talks about the backend of her app and how they’ve really focused on how doctors talk to trans people and how trans people like to be spoken to. One thing she has said that really stood out to me is “More people, less pixels” and how do we as designers need to make sure we are actually helping people. It was such a great talk, and now I feel like all jazzed.”
[Editors note: You can find Robyn’s speech on YouTube ‘The Impact of Inclusion | Has Your Misery Ever Been a Sight to See’]
Tell us about your new company.
“When I think about our company Dwell In, from Startup weekend until now… Part of me is still like “I can’t believe this is happening!”. It started as an idea I was workshopping in the car on the way to Vancouver because I realised I should probably come up with something for Startup Weekend, and we ended up winning Startup Weekend 2018.”
Have you seen the rest of the OKGNtech faces? Follow us on Instagram.