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 Stephan. Stephan Grynwajc has a law firm in New York that focuses on supporting startups and entrepreneurs. What brings Stephan to the Okanagan? This travel-loving lawyer works very closely with the Kelowna Law firm Kimmitt Wrzesniewski. We recently caught up with Stephan to learn more about his connection to the Kelowna law firm Kimmit Wrzesniewski and his love for OKGNtech.
[Editor’s Note: Stephan has lived in the UK, France and now the States]
What is it like to be a lawyer in 4 countries?
“I am a lawyer in 4 countries; France, the UK, the US, and in Canada. This provides me with the ability to navigate across all four markets and really understand them. I also like that I am able to bring perspective and advice to companies that are outside of these markets.”
How did you meet Kelowna lawyer, Joanna Schlosser Wrzesniewski?
“Joanna Schlosser Wrzesniewski and I met very out of the blue. Both she and I had been asked to represent at a Canadian Bar association event, in Newfoundland in 2014. When I found out that she was focused on small businesses we started talking about how we could find a way to work together to support entrepreneurs in both countries. This chance meeting resulted in us in each of us getting qualified in respective countries. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work together and advise on both systems of law.”
When were you first introduced to OKGNtech?
“I attended NYKO 2018, and it was great. I really liked that it allowed me to meet a lot of the players here in OKGNtech. At the time, I was just discovering the startup community, and it was neat to see so much going on in the ecosystem.”
What do you love about OKGNtech?
“I am in a market here in New York that is very busy and has a lot of players, and because of that, there is a lot of competition. When I visit the Okanagan Valley, I feel like there is a more relaxed approach to enterprise generally. Everyone in the OKGNtech community is so collaborative and motivated in terms of growth.”
Why did you choose to focus on technology?
“I don’t know if I chose to focus on the tech sector, as much as it chose me. When I first started my career, it was at a time where the World Wide Web didn’t exist yet. I actually started in big law, and then back in 97, I moved in-house and started to do corporate law in the technology sector. For 15 years of my career, I was working in technology companies, and it got me really kind of in tune with the technology industry.”
Do you have a piece of advice you can share?
“One thing that I have learned from being in the US is that failing is okay. In Europe when you fail, you end up feeling terrible. But in the US and in Canada failing is viewed as a quality, because failing causes you to learn from your mistakes and teaches you how to get better.” #fail #learn #repeat
“It doesn’t matter where you have come from as much as where you go. I always say that people come with different baggage and it is okay as long as you are doing something that baggage that takes you to the next stage of your life. In the end, if someone has succeeded in everything, it is very boring and not that inspiring. When you see somebody sharing what they’ve learned from their failures and experiences, it makes them more human. That is my best lesson that life has taught me.”
What word would you use to describe yourself and why?
“There is a stigma that lawyers being very conservative people. I have learned over the years to be a lot less conservative, so I would probably describe myself as very curious and a risk taker…in a good sense. I am still very calculated in my decisions.”
Have you seen the rest of the OKGNtech faces? Follow us on Instagram.