OKGNtech LIVE | People Talk

Blog September 24, 2018

Posted by Sara Scott

OKGNtech LIVE | People Talk Featured Image

The first ever OKGNtech LIVE event will be taking place October 4th and 5th at the Innovation Centre in Kelowna. The purpose of this event is to support and grow our entrepreneurial community and innovation ecosystem. Think of this event as your chance to connect with players from multiple sectors and learn more about our growing community of game changers.


The Accelerate Okanagan team first dreamed up this new flagship event in response to the OKGNtech Techstars Community Assessment that took place last fall. Chris Heivly and the Techstars team chose the Okanagan as one of only five pilot communities. Using a model developed by one of the world’s top accelerators, Techstars, Heivly assessed and scored the OKGNtech community, then highlighted a roadmap to support its success and enable the next set of leaders to thrive in the community that focused on two key priority areas: capital and talent. These key areas have been the foundation from which OKGNtech LIVE was been built.


Ten inspired speakers, one wine-fuelled intermission, and some real conversation around diversity, inclusion, team culture, mental health, leadership and wellness. This is a chance to learn, shift perspective, and get empowered. Emcees Andrew Greer, Founder of Purppl and Jamie Wood, Founder of Sanga Living kick things off at 6pm sharp but if you have time, join us for High Voltage Happy Hour from 5-6pm and mingle with some of the Okanagan’s finest.


We’ve got some exciting speakers ready to take the People Talk stage. Here is a sneak peek at the big names you’ll be hearing from

1.pngEntrepreneur, Community Advocate. Kathleen is the CEO of Nine Rising. Recognizing the gap in support between marginalized and privileged populations, Kathleen MacKinnon started Nine Rising to invest in the future of her community and advocate (loudly) for positive change. Expanding her vision of inclusivity, Kathleen now pursues the development of an innovative digital resource platform – ekanary – to support teachers, parents, and youth.

2.pngCo-Founder, NoW Innovations & NoW-Academy. Rocky Ozaki is one of Canada’s most passionate evangelists on the Future of Work who preaches that technology, a sharing economy and the connected generation have dramatically changed how we “work”. Rocky couples 10-years of executive leadership in large enterprise, with 5-years of startup tech experience. He also held the role of Vice-President and Head of Corporate Innovation for the BC Tech Association before co-founding NoW Innovations – a firm that help organizations future-proof their business, and the NoW-Academy – bootcamps to inspire and empower people to future-proof their careers. 

3.pngCEO of Vortovia and Social Responsibility Guru. Nicole Rustad is the founder of Vortovia, and a champion for world change. Formerly a Corporate Citizenship Program Director for the Walt Disney Company, for almost ten years she drove the corporate social responsibility vision, strategy, and programs for Disney Interactive across multiple lines of business. Now, Nicole consults with and talks to businesses, non-profits, and individuals who are committed to make real change. 

4.pngAuthor, Build Your Dream Network. Kelly is the author of Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships In A Hyper-Connected World. Kelly has been lauded from Forbes (“1 of 5 Women Changing the World of VC/Entrepreneurship”) to Fast Company (“1 of the 25 Smartest Women On Twitter”) to Empowering A Billion Women By 2020 (“100 Most Influential Global Leaders Empowering Women Worldwide”) and Inc. (“1 of the 10 Most Well-Connected People in New York City’s Startup Scene”). She has appeared on CNBC’s Power Pitch, contributes to publications such as Forbes, GO Banking Rates, Fast Company and Inc., and works with inclusive companies including Capital One and Comcast.

5.pngEntrepreneur, Speaker, Investor and Airstreamer. Paul is an entrepreneur, speaker, investor, and Airstreamer. Previously, Paul was a Managing Director at 1776 and a General Partner in 1776’s Seed Fund. Prior to 1776, Paul was the founder of Disruption Corporation and general partner of Disruption’s post-seed venture capital arm, Crystal Tech Fund. Before that, Paul was a Partner at 500 Startups, an accelerator and venture firm headquartered in Silicon Valley that has invested in over 1,900 companies across 50+ countries.

6.pngVP at Carebook Technologies & Founder of CJOYC. Charity is the Founder of CJOYC: The Catalyst Crew, a facilitation and training agency, and the VP of Strategic Partnerships & Experience at Carebook Technologies, a patient-centric healthcare startup in Montreal. Prior to these positions, Charity spent ten years in various leadership positions at the Walt Disney company, building the world’s most successful online game for kids, engaging over 300M children around the world. She holds an MBA in Executive Management, a certificate in theatre, and is active on the Board of Governors at Okanagan College.

7.pngEducator, Speaker, Social Justice & Community Advocate. Leah’s career, research & publication areas, education, and passions all lie in the fields of diversity and inclusion, equitable and social-justice driven practices, anti-racism, and intercultural awareness. Leah is an experienced director, program manager, facilitator, faculty member, and consultant who has worked extensively with senior leadership teams to develop, implement, and assess diversity and inclusion practices, programs, and policies. With over 20 years in the business, community, and educational sectors, Leah’s big-picture dream is to see diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism practices embedded into every community and organizational sphere. She is the Local Immigration Partnership Coordinator at KCR Community Resources, a role dedicated to furthering the development of Central Okanagan as an inclusive, welcoming community for all newcomers and immigrants.

8.pngEntrepreneur, Educational Game Changer. Gina Cherkowski is an educational game changer on a mission to ensure all students have access to high-quality STEM learning experiences so they are aptly prepared for our technology-driven, dynamic world. Gina realized that, as a teacher, her sphere of influence was limited to the students with whom she had a direct relationship. Knowing that she could achieve a larger impact–by upskilling teachers and providing transformational experiences for students–eventually led her to leave her teaching position and begin STEM Learning Lab. Gina holds a PhD in Mathematics Education as well as in Culture Studies in Education.

Are you excited yet?! This action-packed event is all about exploring the wild and wonderful world of innovation brewing right here in the Okanagan. It really is all here now and we want to make sure our community can be a part of it. Haven’t got your ticket yet? You’re going to want to grab one before they’re gone!

 For more information check out www.okgntech.com or connect with me. 

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