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.
Introducing, We are #OKGNtech. 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 Justin. Justin Goodhew is the founder and CEO of Trellis. When he’s not helping charities increase their bottom lines, you’ll find Justin up in the mountains snowboarding, mountain biking or hiking with amazing life partner and two dogs.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I’m the founder and CEO of Trellis. We help charities raise money through ticketing, virtual events, donations, silent auctions, and live auctions—anything you can think of to drive more money into a charity’s bank account. We want to give people who are trying to solve these systemic issues in our communities more resources.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love problem-solving, that’s what gets me excited to go to work in the morning. Whenever you solve a problem, there’s always a taller, more difficult one waiting to be addressed. Running a startup mostly sucks. It’s really hard, demoralizing, and stressful. But when you see clients raising money every day through the platform and what they do, it makes solving those business problems worthwhile.
How did you get into entrepreneurship?
Turns out, I’m not very employable. In my fifth year of university, I applied to 35 jobs and didn’t get a single interview. Then I got fired from my volunteer job. I met my first co-founder at a startup weekend and was grinding for a year starting a company. I spent 3 months in the Plug and Play incubator—crashed, burned and failed in every way possible. I learned a ton from that experience.
Have you always had an interest in supporting charities?
I never consciously thought of myself as someone who was charitable or philanthropic until I started Trellis. As I looked into the problem we were trying to solve with Trellis, I recognized how charities are working in outdated systems with lots of problems. I wanted to help them move into social enterprising and sustainability. I needed to do something with a tangible impact.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
You just need to start. Like with every problem I try to tackle, figure out where you want to go and then break down the first three or four steps towards that goal. Solve those first few steps and then figure out the next ones you need to address. With time, family or financial restrictions, just talk to the people that are important in your life, find out what limitations there are and never cross them.
How were you first introduced to the OKGNtech community?
It was pretty easy to get connected in the community. I moved into CoLab and met Shane Austin and then I went to Startup Drinks and met a bunch of other people. I also signed up for a bunch of newsletters from all these community groups and attended a lot of events. I didn’t know anyone so it was a great way to meet new friends, too.
Where are you when you’re not at work and when you’re not online?
I’m originally from Ontario, a place where there are no mountains. Living in the Okanagan now, I just love being up in the mountains. I’m usually snowboarding in the winter or mountain biking in summer—trail and downhill. Anything that gets me outside.
What’s the best piece of advice you like to share?
Winston Churchill said, “Success is moving from failure to failure without any lack of enthusiasm.” If you Google me, there’s an article with the headline: “Failure is an Option” and it’s just the best. As rudimentary as it is, embrace failure and don’t do it twice. I keep f**king up but I also keep moving forward without any lack of enthusiasm. The only thing you can control, in this startup world, is how you react to failure.