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 Accelerate Okanagan blog, okgntech.com, and on Instagram @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Meet Kate. Kate Wilson is the Vice President of Marketing at Pela and is an owner of Current Taxi. When she’s not making the world a more sustainable place, you’ll find Kate outdoors with her dog, cooking, camping or out sailing.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I’m the VP of Marketing at Pela. I help our products team determine designs and how we’re going to enter into different markets. I also work with our growth team, which focuses on our online space, as well as our amazing creative and community team who really bring our products to life and showcase them in a really stunning way. I’m also an owner of Current Taxi here in town. We started with 2 cars in the Okanagan, now we have over a dozen cars in both Victoria and Kelowna.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
When I was younger, I really enjoyed the idea of working in the not-for-profit space, that’s where I thought my home was. From my experiences working in that sector, and then from my time working with for-profits, I learned that businesses just need to have good ethics and they will be able to have the same positive impact as a not-for-profit. My favourite thing about Pela is that we don’t sacrifice one for the other. We make sure that we’re profitable in order to reach our end goal of protecting the environment.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
Don’t be too fixated on a final destination. There will be so many opportunities that appear in your career and throughout your life. You owe it to yourself to consider them all. If you have a fixed destination, and you reach it, what do you do next? If you have a loose goal and want to experience everything in front of you, you’ll be able to advance even further than you could have imagined.
How were you first introduced to the OKGNtech community?
Current Taxi was my main intro to the tech community. When we started, we didn’t even know what the tech industry was here. Once we opened, we got contacted by a lot of people in the tech community who were interested in our business model. We were blown away by the number of events and mixers that we were invited to. It really got us excited to discover this active community that could support us through our growth.
What do you enjoy about the OKGNtech community?
I really appreciated that there is support for whatever your business needs—tech, HR, or branding and marketing. There are so many experts that live and work in the Innovation Centre, your access to them is so much easier than it would be in a larger community. I usually refer to the Innovation Centre as a sort of campus, everyone has the same energy and shared goals: success and breaking down barriers.
Do you think there is anything missing from the community here?
When you’re in it, the tech community feels like the whole world. But there is a disconnect that happens as soon as you step out of the Innovate Centre. It’s surprising how many people I speak to that don’t have a clue about what’s going on in our tech community. If we’re able to somehow bring those two worlds together, in a tourist kind of way, it could help increase awareness of what’s happening in our entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The best piece of advice that you like to share?
Staying authentic to yourself is so important in developing your career. It can feel easier to just be the agreeable person in the room—going along with whatever idea is pitched or whatever fix is proposed. But, when that doesn’t work out, you’re going to have to account for why you agreed to it. Being authentic to how you feel and how you think ensures that you can stand by the outcomes of your choices.
Is there something you want to be remembered for?
Recently, I’ve found myself in more of a leadership position than I ever have before in my career. Being a compassionate and empowering leader would be really special. Having my team feel like they’re supported and can voice their opinions, knowing that they don’t have to go along with something they don’t agree with, is important to me.