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 at record speed and maintaining a connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we’ve got a plan.
We are #OKGNtech is 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 Amy Gopal. Amy is an Innovation Advisor at Innovation Canada. When not she’s building connections that help businesses grow, you’ll find Amy training to be a sommelier, practicing Muay Thai, or out and about with her friends.
Where are you working now?
I moved to Vancouver recently to work with Innovation Canada as an Innovation Advisor helping businesses that are looking to scale. We form a team around them that can connect the company with the resources it needs to grow faster. I’m the liaison between the company and our government partners.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
In previous work, I was very focused on the traditional tech sector. Being able to broaden my scope and learn about innovation in other industries has been exciting. There are businesses that are doing some pretty amazing things in Canada, it’s fun being able to pick their brains. It can be overwhelming but in a positive way. I really like seeing the solutions people are coming up with in their industries, especially from a sustainability perspective.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
Get the experience you need first—go out there, try things and fail because that’s part of learning. Ultimately, what makes the biggest difference is mentorship. Surround yourself with the right people who have been there before and aren’t shy about giving honest feedback. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just have an open mind and be willing to learn through experience.
How were you first introduced to the OKGNtech community?
My dad, Raghwa, had one of the first tech companies in Kelowna and he would share a lot of stories. He also used to keep jelly beans on his desk, so I think that contributed to visiting the office so much. Since hearing about all the problem-solving and innovative solutions, I’ve been really interested in tech and entrepreneurship. My dad showed me that you could have fun working through problems, which encouraged me want to get into that industry.
What did you enjoy about the OKGNtech community?
I loved the volunteer opportunities. It’s easy to get stuck in one community and not see what else was happening outside of that. While I was first building my business, volunteering was a great way to find people who were in the same space as me. When you’re in high school or college, you’re constantly moving around and making connections, but once you’re out in the world and trying to build a business, it can be really difficult to meet like-minded people.
What do you want to see more of in the community as it grows?
While I was living in Kelowna, the tech community was very supportive. It is so easy to network in the Okanagan because everyone was very open to connecting and willing to introduce newcomers to the right people. Over COVID, there was an influx of new talent, entrepreneurs and businesses moving to the region, choosing to operate remotely. It would be amazing to see the community hold onto that supportive and inclusive mindset as it grows.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Failure is not the be-all-end-all. Switch your perspective and look for progression over perfection. When you’re a perfectionist, you won’t start a project if you think there’s a high risk of failure. But the people that get ahead are the ones that take the risk, fail, and make improvements. Don’t be afraid of taking the chance. If it ends in failure, take your learnings and push forward.
Is there something you want to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered for having a positive impact on the people I meet. Growing up in Kelowna, I looked and thought differently than everyone else in my community. When you’re the outsider, you really see how people can leave a mark. So, when you’re going through the world, it’s important to make sure you make a positive mark. There’s no excuse for not being a decent human being.
Switch your perspective and look for progression over perfection.