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.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I’m the founder and CEO of Curatio. Really, the ‘Bus Driver’ should be my title. My job is to get the right people on the bus, point us in the right direction and keep fuel in the tank. I see one of my main responsibilities as being the holder of the vision, which is “no patient alone.” At a broad level, Curatio is on a mission to end loneliness, especially in healthcare.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It’s like going on a road trip—the shared experiences you go through as a group of people working towards a common mission. As a team, you can come together and make something from nothing. Looking at the start of the journey compared to where we are now is incredibly satisfying and, of course, none of that happens without everyone on the bus. Despite the ups and downs of the travel—the flat tires and potholes—you gotta keep everyone excited and focused on the destination.
How did you get into this kind of work?
I became a patient and was going in and out of the clinics every week. I found myself really lonely and isolated. I would spend hours every night looking for evidence-based information trying to understand the medical conditions I was facing. I wanted to find other people that were going through the same thing. Being an entrepreneur, I wanted to figure out how I could solve this and if it was a problem for anyone else. I quickly learned that it was a huge problem and I had an idea how to solve it.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
If you’re coming through the social impact door, build in sustainability. Profitability shows that your solution is needed. I mentor some early-stage entrepreneurs who are uncomfortable thinking about money and profitability. It takes a bit of work to reframe that mentality but, in order to reach as many people as possible, the business needs to be sustainable. That’s how you can make the biggest impact.
What’s your experience working in the tech industry?
I have spent my entire career in the digital medium. I’ve worked across pretty much every technology platform outside of radio. It’s funny to think of it now, but I was the author behind some of Canada’s trade action plans and chaired that national committee. I was fundamental in getting the Centre for Digital Media started and funded. I was invited to represent Canada on two United Nations missions in the area of digital media.
What’s something that you enjoy about the #OKGNtech community?
Everyone will mention the lifestyle, and it’s great, but I think that does a disservice to the amount of entrepreneurialism that exists here in the Okanagan. Being a part of that community is really powerful. UBCO and the Okanagan College are paramount to having a healthy cluster that contributes to the Okanagan as a whole. I’d love to see the community continue to support events like Metabridge where we can introduce people from outside BC and Canada to what’s happening here in the Okanagan.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I had two parents who didn’t let me accept the status quo. They always helped me see the world in terms of the opportunities and didn’t allow me to self-edit or to think that something wasn’t within my grasp. In high school, I was upset about something and my dad said, “you can keep complaining about it and nothing will change, or you can figure out how to change it and go do that.” That stuck with me. That’s been a foundational piece of my view on the world.
Is there something you want to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered for helping people and making the world a better place. I don’t want to be remembered in name or on buildings or things that I’ve had a roll in. I just want to be remembered for making a difference in people’s lives.