C.J. Wilkins is one of B.C.’s leading green entrepreneurs.
Born and raised in Southern Alberta, he holds a Bachelor of Applied Communications in Public Relations from Mount Royal University and a Master of Arts in Applied Communications from Royal Roads University.
C.J. spent more than a decade working in corporate communications specializing in the energy sector including Shell Canada Limited, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and AltaGas IncomeTrust.
With a growing feeling of dissatisfaction in being a key proponent of oil sands and sour gas projects, C.J. dropped everything , relocated to Kelowna from Calgary in 2010 to start Optic Signs & Marketing Inc.
By taking passion-based risks, Optic has grown quickly and become one of Canada’s most environmentally progressive and sustainable sign companies. In 2012, C.J. was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Green Innovator of the Year by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.
To balance his career, C.J. can often be found gaining a new perspective by flying his paraglider high over the Okanagan Valley.
"Destroy Normal" is the phrase Taylor Conroy lives by. And he means it. At age twenty he became the youngest firefighter in Canada. At 24, he picked up his real estate license to use on his days off from the firehall, and in his first full year, became the top grossing new agent on the continent. Over the next 3 years he built a million dollar real estate business that he would later sell to fund his current social venture, 'Change Heroes'. He has surfed the longest wave in the world (in Peru), meditated with Zen monks in Japan, trained as a yoga teacher in Costa Rica, run with the bulls in Spain, built schools in Kenya, stepped foot on every continent and explored 33 countries.
Inspired after a life-altering trip to Kenya, he sold his real estate business to launch Change Heroes, a ground-breaking friend funding platform that has raised over $530,000 to fund 50+ education-focused projects in 9 developing countries. He gave the opening keynote at the Harvard University Social Enterprise Conference, and lectures on social entrepreneurship at New York University. Taylor recently addressed delegates from around the world at the United Nations in New York, and is considered a pioneer and thought leader in the social entrepreneurship and social enterprise space. In 2013, Taylor plans to use Change Heroes to educate 1 million of the world's most in need children. And as he puts it, "have a total blast while doing it".
David Barmon co-owns Fiddlehead llc, a Portland Oregon based landscape construction and consulting company which promotes an integrated approach to food, forestry and water. Most of David's work involves digging earth with machines or by hand and he has the dirty fingernails and calluses to prove it. He has worked on several edible garden projects for Gerding Edlen, the largest green developer in the US. Last fall, he installed the landscape at the Full Plane House, one of the first Living Building Challenge projects in North America. The Living Building Challenge is the most stringent green building certification program in the world.
While most citizens of the 21st century are trying to figure out how to turn humans into high tech cyborgs that will live in the digital age, David is fascinated with the physical world and all of the amazing information our modern society is about to forget. He believes our religion, culture, cities, food, clothing, smart phones, yeah, basically everything, comes down to understanding plants and rocks.
Heidi Thompson studied art in Europe. She returned to Vernon and worked as a professional photographer, painter, teacher and publisher. Her book, Sveva Caetani, won the VanCity Book of Excellence award. Currently, Heidi Thompson paints and exhibits her artwork internationally.
35 years ago, Heidi learned breath awareness (Anapana) at a 10-day Vipassana retreat. Experiencing how breath awareness improved her focus, health and happiness, she wanted to help children. In 1996, she created an attention developing program called Mindmastery and was one of the first to teach breath awareness in B.C. schools. Mindmastery was featured on CBC. Heidi is author of Calm Focus Joy: The Power of Breath Awareness – A Practical Guide for Adults and Children.www.calmfocusjoy.com
Kelsey Ramsden is Canada's Top Female Entrepreneur ranked by Profit and Chatelaine Magazines. She has founded and run businesses as diverse as construction and children's toys. In her work she balances venom and virtue, book and street smarts, while always holding that imagination is a power greater than knowledge. In addition to her ongoing ventures, Kelsey provides wing man services to both budding and big business as well as provides comment to various media agencies across the country on the topics on entrepreneurship, modern play and the value of nimble thought in our modern economy. She is Mommy to three children under 7 and a still blissful bride of 9 years.
Janice is a successful entrepreneur committed to creating social change.
If anyone has turned their life around, it’s Janice. After growing up in difficult circumstances, she’s turned her life experiences and education into a winning combo.
Janice honed her business skills during a 10-year-career in pharmaceutical sales, before starting her own company. Just two weeks after launching Just Be Friends, she was chosen as one of Oprah’s Ultimate Viewers, and took the trip of a lifetime with Oprah to Australia.
She was recently chose as one of 12 Tech Women in Canada to represent the talent in technology in Silicon Valley. Then she jetted off to San Francisco to join the Rocketspace Canadian Tech Accelerator Program, before joining Accelerate Okanagan, and setting up her company roots in Kelowna, BC.
Janice is so inspiring, encouraging, and full of energy, being around her for just five minutes is enough to get you pumped for your “Just Stand Up!” moment.
For more information, visit Just Be Friends
Kori Chillibeck & Matt Moreau
Kori Chillibeck: Earth Water started in Kori's campus apartment with a cell phone, a laptop, and money raised through family and friends. Today, Earth Group provides life-saving essentials to hundreds of thousands of children living in the most desperate of situations.
Matt Moreau: Matt co-founded Earth Water in 2005. In 2008 he co-founded the Earth Group of Companies. He has helped with projects up to and including expansion into the United States & Europe, and the launch of Earth Group’s new products. Together, Kori & Matt manage day to day operations of the company, liaise with the United Nations and their staff globally, as well as grow sales and support for the mission.
Kent is Okanagan Bureau Chief for CTV News. Based in Kelowna, he travels the southern interior of the province filing stories for CTV British Columbia and occasionally for CTV National News. Over his 25 year career Kent has earned several prestigious awards for his work including the Jack Webster Award for Best TV News Reporting in BC in 2006. The most rewarding moments for him are those occasions when bringing issues to light brings about positive change. Regardless of all that however, he will probably always be best known for a piece of viral video showing him accidentally walking into a pole while attempting to interview a lawyer. Kent proudly assists his wife Jennifer in her role as President of The View Winery and Ward's Cidery. The Molgats live with their two young daughters on an acreage in South East Kelowna.
Jeremy started his career in Calgary, Alberta. An international man of mystery, Jeremy has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia.
In 2008, Jeremy was head hunted to host Entertainment Spotlight on CTV, a show highlighting fashion, entertainment/celebrity interviews, and current affairs in Montreal. Jeremy wrote, produced and hosted his highly acclaimed weekly segment. He was dubbed as "Montreal's freshest face in television."
As of January 2010, Jeremy moved to Vancouver, BC to experience the 2010 Olympic Games, and was asked to be the "Guest Anchor" of an Orlando, Florida based morning show for the duration of the games. After deciding to stay in the beautiful city of Vancouver, Jeremy signed on as the new Host of FMA Weekly. FMA Weekly was a weekly entertainment show highlighting local entertainment and travel segments, it aired throughout BC and Washington.
You can see Jeremy as a current guest host on Shaw TVs "The Rush" as well as CTVs National weekly.