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 Sepideh. Sepideh Rezania is the Founder of Unrooz Solutions. When she’s not empowering her clients with JEDI-focused leadership training and strategy, you’ll find Sepideh hiking through the mountains, swimming in the lake, or officiating a wedding.
Where are you from?
I was born in Tehran, Iran, grew up in Shiraz and moved to Sri Lanka when I was 18. I finished my high school degree there, got my undergrad from Portland State University, and then completed my graduate program at the University of Toronto. Each degree is from a different country! When I got married, my husband and I moved back to the US—first to Florida and then back to Portland where we lived on a nice farm. We moved back to Canada in 2017.
Why did you choose to call the Okanagan home?
My cousin was getting his Ph.D. at UBCO, and in 2016 we came for a family reunion. I remember swimming in the lake every day on that trip. That’s what really sold me on the Okanagan. Originally being from Iran, the climate was very similar in the Okanagan. It felt like being back in my childhood. In 2017, we quit our jobs, sold our farm, put everything in the back of our sedan and moved here with our two teenagers. I don’t know if it was courage or just craziness. Maybe a combination of both, or maybe courage just sounds crazy sometimes.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I am the founder of Unrooz Solutions, a local consulting firm. I empower my clients with clean energy strategy development and leadership training. We do this through a human-centric and collaborative process. I build in a lot of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) so that my programs are designed to leverage the perspective of the larger community.
How did you get interested in clean energy technology?
In Portland, I was a program director, managing programs at a cell phone manufacturing organization for over a decade. After my kids were born, we tried to create a non-digital communication policy at home—limited TV and other electronics. I realized that I was living a dual existence. My professional time was spent in a place that didn’t reflect the way I was living my personal life. That’s when I started looking to change fields, eventually finding a position with an energy efficiency company. I’ve found a passion for working in green technologies and reducing environmental injustices that can unintentionally get into program design.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I really enjoy being able to work towards bringing businesses, nonprofits and government entities together—encouraging collaboration. Transportation electrification is a good example of where this can happen. Where do you start? With e-bikes? Electric buses? Success means connecting that initiative with the priorities in the region. It means getting multiple perspectives at the table and finding socially just and equitable solutions to help reduce our economic and social divides.
How were you first introduced to the OKGNtech community?
When I moved, I found Accelerate Okanagan and met with Brea and Alex to talk about what was going on in the community so that I could try and find my way in. They told me about the New Years Kick-off event as a way to connect. I’m not normally a fan of huge parties but I ended up meeting a lot of great people that I’m still in contact with like Trevor Butler and Peter Robinson—who work in a similar space as me. COVID impacted my ability to continue networking, but I’m looking forward to finding more opportunities to connect with the #OKGNtech community.
The best piece of advice you like to share?
Rapid change doesn’t stick. That’s something I’ve learned working in climate solutions. The impact we make, whether destructive or constructive, will build towards a true difference in someone else’s time. Don’t expect results right away. You need to be persistent and patient and be willing to never see the impact of your efforts within your lifetime.
Success means getting multiple perspectives at the table and finding socially just and equitable solutions.