Only two short weeks after taking on the position of Chairman for Accelerate Okanagan, I received the news that Raghwa Gopal was stepping down as CEO and taking on a new role as President and CEO of Innovate BC. Raghwa gave us almost three years of outstanding leadership and accomplishments and we will always be grateful for that. Although the community was sad to see him go, we know this is an incredible opportunity for both Raghwa and OKGNtech.
Since Raghwa’s departure, Brea Lake, former Director of Operations, has stepped into the role of Acting CEO and together we’ve taken some time to reimagine the future of OKGNtech. Through a comprehensive process, we developed a strategy and vision process designed to help us better understand the kind of leader the organization will need moving forward.
While we have a thriving ecosystem here in the Okanagan, the world of innovation and technology is moving fast and if we want to compete on a national stage, we will need strong leadership to help us get there.
I would like to take this opportunity to give you a more detailed look at the vision and strategy process the OKGNtech community developed, the results of the Techstars community assessment, and review where we are at in the hiring process.
Vision & Strategy Process
This process has resulted in a reaffirmation of our mission, vision, and values, as well as a new set of strategic priorities. These priorities have been approved by the Board of Directors and we can now move forward with the CEO search process.
Community Assessment Results
I think it’s important to highlight the healthy amount of community consultation we have sought throughout this process has been invaluable in terms of really knowing our truth. We believe this community engagement will serve Accelerate Okanagan and OKGNtech well in creating an even more inclusive and collaborative innovation ecosystem.
Here is a taste of what our community had to say…
Working from this shared set of common perspectives is crucial and this community assessment ensured we could lay a solid foundation. Here is a look at some of the high-level observations, themes and insights:
Supporting entrepreneurs: Emotionally and in other ways, it seems that founders and entrepreneurs can be seen as a more deliberate focus.
Leveraging the university and college: Building deliberate connections with academia remains an opportunity.
Embracing non-tech businesses: There seems to be an appetite from non-tech businesses to still benefit from the momentum and support of this movement.
Trends and Themes
1. Founder focus: The founder/entrepreneur is seen as an important potential focus. Paying attention to these emerging leaders seems critical.
2. Marketing and authenticity: in General publicity (of the region, of its companies) remains a healthy opportunity, though maybe with a tilt towards showing the authentic support and struggle in the midst of these growth stories
3. Matchmaking: Bringing together (all aspects of) the community: Investors, companies, mentors, entrepreneurs. The community match-making is a huge opportunity area.
Hiring Process Update
A search committee has been activated and consists of the following Board of Directors:
Philip Ashman, Region Dean, Central Okanagan, Okanagan College
Corie Griffiths, Director, Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission
Karen Hawes, Senior Vice-President, Culture & Technology, Interior Savings
Jason Kryski, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Strawhouse Labs
Michael Macaulay, Partner, Lawson Lundell LLP
Scot Speiser, Partner, Vice President Business Development, Capri CMW
After reviewing the expression of interest from six different search firms, the Search Committee is pleased to announce HR Search Firm , LoveHR has been retained to support us in undergoing an open hiring process as well as a nation-wide search for the next CEO. The job description and application process can be found here.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our community members who have supported this process to date. We appreciate your feedback and insight and we look forward to continuing this journey together.
If I’ve left you with questions or inspired ideas, let’s connect.