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 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 Brian. Brian Stephenson is a Partner at Pushor Mitchell LLP. When he’s not helping people close real estate deals, you’ll find Brian shooting hoops with his wife or working on building his own business development course.
How did you end up calling Kelowna home?
I’m originally from Barrie, ON, but my family moved out to Kelowna when I was young so the Okanagan is home for me. I went to Vancouver for law school and came back to Kelowna for my family and the community. I never felt nearly a strong connection to the bigger city and Kelowna was, at the time, an opportunity to be a bigger fish in a small pond. But that pond has gotten much bigger lately.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I’m a Partner at Pushor Mitchell LLP, specializing in commercial and real estate law. The work usually involves a lot of real estate-based and lending-based transactions. I also work with a lot of companies at various stages of their operation. However, my expertise on the business side is surpassed by some of the specialized individuals that we have at the firm—which is a great thing about Pushor Mitchell.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Now as a Partner, I’m able to start making decisions that impact the future of the firm—being cognizant of how the community’s evolving and how we can continue to service their needs. For me, business development is a lens that I often look through. However, the younger group coming up through the firm is very strong, bringing in a lot of perspectives. Looking at what the senior-level people have been able to achieve has been really cool, and gets us thinking about what we want to achieve for the firm as a younger group.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
When you’re not familiar with an industry’s landscape or terminology, you can feel uneasy not knowing what will impress people. Now that I’ve been on the other side of the hiring table, I’ll tell you that being genuine is what impresses people. A company wants to find people who are intelligent, able to grow, and an all-around good person to work with. As much as we want expertise, we need to know that you are someone we would want to spend time interacting with around the office.
What do you enjoy about the OKGNtech community?
I like that the community’s evolving. Growing up here, it was a small town with a sleepy feel. That has changed quite dramatically over the years. To be a part of that evolution and seeing the city develop and mature has been cool. Financing, collaboration, and physical spaces have been exciting ways that I’ve been able to help influence that growth in my own way. With COVID, we’re starting to see new calibres of talent having access to our community and supporting its growth.
When you’re not working, what are you up to?
I’ve been working on a course with some other professionals in town. It supports the next generation of leaders, partners and owners by offering personal and organizational business development. Once a week, we meet over zoom and talk through various subjects to help expose them to ideas and practical implementations. It creates an interesting space to help build some best practices. So working on that, or playing basketball with my wife.
The best piece of advice you often share?
Kill them with kindness. If you try to take a more conciliatory approach and take time to acknowledge their perspective—as opposed to choosing to fight them on it—you can help ensure that the conversation is always moving forward in a positive way. There are situations where there are time pressures on people and personality can be more difficult to deal with than others, and having empathy is an extremely useful tool. But, it’s not always an easy path.
Is there something you want to be remembered for?
Whether it’s coming through for a client or being home when I told my wife I would be, I want to be known as someone who keeps their word and provides value to others. Every day I make promises to people that can have serious impacts on their lives. In my line of work, there are a lot of commitments that I make to help other people achieve a goal. If I don’t keep my word, they won’t gain a full understanding of purchasing a house, or they won’t be able to buy the house because we missed a deadline.
Being genuine is what impresses people.