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 Chris. Chris Nielsen is a Partner at CapriCMW Insurance. When he’s not bringing employee benefits and retirement savings to the tech companies, you’ll find Chris golfing, critiquing local food, or enjoying time exploring the Okanagan with his children.
Why did you choose the Okanagan to call home?
Once you’ve spent time in the Okanagan and understand the scenery, it’s very difficult to leave. I was born and raised in the lower mainland but moved up to the interior with my folks in 2004 to finish my education. I graduated in 2006 and have never wanted to leave.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I work with CapriCMW Insurance and specialize in employee benefits and retirement savings programs for companies. The majority of my time is spent working with businesses in the technology sector. While I also deal with companies in other sectors like manufacturing, tech companies tend to keep my days a heck of a lot more interesting and entertaining.
How did you get into this kind of work?
You don’t choose insurance, insurance chooses you. When I was close to finishing school, my father was golfing with one of the partners at CapriCMW and he asked my dad what my plans were after graduating. I didn’t have any, but I knew I enjoyed the HR aspects of my classes. I stopped in to meet with that partner and left 4 hours later with a job offer. I’ve been there for 15 years now. I learned then that even within our realm, we don’t expect individuals to know insurance. We hire for character and then teach the rest.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
There is never a dull moment. There are always new problems and, even after 15 years working for CapriCMW, I still get questions that surprise me. There’s always a new challenge to find a creative solution for when trying to make sure that companies are getting what they need and what they want out of their insurance.
Were you always interested in the technology sector?
I fell into it a little backwards and blindfolded. I still have the first account that I worked with and signed, New Horizon Interactive, which later became Club Penguin and then Disney Online Studios Canada. That was where I got my start with many of those technology firms. I give a lot of credit to Jennifer Kilback, who now works with Hyper Hippo, for signing the first contract.
Was that your introduction to the OKGNtech community?
The community was just beginning back then. When I first signed New Horizon, the Landmark District was the technology hub. Being around that area and making yourself visible, you end up meeting a lot of people. It really catapulted me into the industry. I eventually started working with other tech firms, as well as companies coming through the various incubators. Looking back, it’s quite surreal. I’m still talking to those same individuals today.
What do you enjoy about the OKGNtech community?
It’s a close-knit community where everybody really does want everyone to succeed. Good people attract good people, so when you’re working in like-minded circles, more like-minded people want to be a part of that. That continues to grow as the community does and we continue to see wonderful success stories coming out of #OKGNtech.
Is there a piece of advice you often like to share?
Sometimes you just have to give it a shot. If you’ve got that people-first mentality and want to do what’s right for them, you’re going to succeed no matter what industry you decide to pursue.
We hire for character and then teach the rest.