Learn more about the guest speakers from our multi-class World of Choices special program events.
September 22, 2022 | Education
Melissa Lenz
Melissa Lenz

Jr. Behaviour Consultant/ Program Supervisor

Sea to Sky Behavour & Learning Inc.

Elicia Salzberg
Elicia Salzberg

Senior Associate Dean of Students

Sauder School of Business

Valerie Tosoff
Valerie Tosoff

District Indigenous Enhancement Teacher

Chilliwack School District

Karen Kettenacker
Karen Kettenacker

Retired Educator

Mt. Baker Secondary School

Melissa has over 15 years of experience working with children and youth. She has had the opportunity to work as a Youth Worker in Treatment Foster Care, an Early Childhood Educator, an Educational Assistant and a Behaviour Interventionist. Melissa’s many roles working with children and youth have led her to specialize in Applied Behaviour Analysis, specifically autism. Melissa now works as a Program Supervisor/ Jr. Behaviour Consultant, where she supports families, provides individual behavior therapy and runs social skills groups.

You don’t have to know what you want to do the rest of your life right now.
Find something you have passion for and a career will grow with hard work and dedication.

Elicia is the Senior Associate Dean of Students and lecturer at the UBC Sauder School of Business, where she currently teaches Commercial Law, Real Estate Law and New Venture Development. Elicia comes to academia from private practice, where she was a tech lawyer at national firms specializing in mergers & acquisitions and private equity. In practice, she leveraged her business acumen, grounded in her Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC Sauder, to deliver strategic and uniquely valuable advice. Coming back to UBC Sauder, Elicia found herself with an incredible platform and opportunity to focus on sharing and fostering business acumen and perspective with students; it makes walking into the classroom each day a decidedly exciting privilege.

Give yourself the same kindness and perspective you give others; when you find yourself in a tough situation, think about what you would tell your best friend if it was them.

Valerie is an enrolling member of the Chala:at Nation from Washington State. She has a Bachelor of Science from Western Washington University, a Bachelor of Ed from SFU and a Masters Diploma in Inclusive Education from Simon Fraser University. She is currently a Indigenous Enhancement Teacher in the Chilliwack School District.

My advice to my younger self would be to spend more time with my elders.

Karen Kettenacker has been a classroom teacher for 26 years and recently retired this past June. She worked at Mt. Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook for all of her teaching career, teaching grade 10-12 students. Karen is a Business Educator and taught the following: Accounting 11 and 12. Entrepreneurship 12, Marketing 11 and 12, Business Computer Applications 12, Career Life Education and Career Life Connections, Work Experience and supporting dual credit students in the trades. During this time she used Junior Achievement programs extensively in her classroom. Karen’s favourite

part of her job was sponsoring extracurricular activities while at the school. She coached many teams and enjoyed being with students outside of the classroom. She was the Regional Coordinator for SkillsBC. She also served as a Professional Development Representive for her school for many years.

A piece of advice I would give my younger self is to go and volunteer for a school in any capacity. Support a classroom teacher, coach a sports team or club.

October 20, 2022 | Entrepreneurship
Yuri Fulmer
Yuri Fulmer

Yuri is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and philanthropist. He has been building businesses since his early twenties, when he grew a $60 million business portfolio from a single A&W franchise. Yuri is currently Chairman of Fulmer & Company, a director and advisor on numerous Boards and charities, and the Chancellor of Capilano University.

November 17, 2022 | Financial Services
Laurent Munier
Laurent Munier

Financial Advisor/ Partner

Safe Pacific Financial Inc.

In 2011, Laurent founded his fifth company, Safe Pacific Financial, to help Canadians achieve their financial dreams. He’s been living the Canadian dream since immigrating here at 5 years old. His work life started with a paper route in the 3rd grade and he’s been working and building ever since. The “Why” behind launching Safe Pacific is to work with great people, add value to both their business & personal life and demystify the convoluted world of finances so they can focus on being the best at what they do for their families, companies and community. Laurent’s personal work philosophy is simple: Independent, relationship focused, no pressure, no rush. He loves working with like-minded and motivated people that strive for success every day.

Some of the greatest value you are going to get from your school now, and any other schools you go to in future, are the relationships you build. Some of the people in your classroom now you will know forever and some you will never see again once you graduate. When you leave school it’s not so easy to meet this many people and to spend so much time with them and develop deep relationships where you know a lot about each other.

So as you continue your education journey, get the education, but make sure you develop strong and deep relationships with the good people around you. The most successful people I know have the best people around them. Learn how to find the best people, learn how to help people and add the most amount of value to their lives. If you can do this you will be successful in whatever you do.

June 2, 2022 | Businesses Leaders, Entrepreneurs & Role Models
Johnna Sparrow-Crawford
Johnna Sparrow-Crawford

Aboriginal Relations Advisor

Aquilini Construction and Development

Clarence Joseph Louie, C.M., O.B.C., C.B.H.F.
Clarence Joseph Louie, C.M., O.B.C., C.B.H.F.
Sharon Bond-Hogg
Sharon Bond-Hogg
William Belleau
William Belleau

Actor, Writer, and Director

Alkali Lake, British Columbia

Corey Brown
Corey Brown

Principal, Managing Director

Gwaii Engineering Ltd.

Johnna’s unique experience in building collaborative relationships between First Nations and non-First Nations organizations arose from her roles as Communication Protocol Officer in the Musqueam Indian Band and Band Coordinator in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

In Johnna’s role, she ensures Indigenous voices are heard and included in the development of their lands and territories.

Johnna believes that Indigenous peoples are and have always been storytellers, passing knowledge and teaching from generation to generation through a story. She is an advocate for Indigenous voices and stories not only in development but in the creative realm of film and television.

At the age of 24 Chief Clarence Louie was elected as the Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band, focusing on economic development as a means to improve his people’s standard of living. For over thirty years, under his direction, the Band has become a multi-faceted corporation that owns and manages thirteen businesses, five joint ventures, and employs approximately one thousand people.

Chief Louie’s efforts have been widely recognized in Canada and the United States as he is invited regularly to share his experiences and best lessons learned with First Nations people and Government & Corporate agencies.

Native people have always worked for a living; Go to School, get a job, or go get some counseling.

Sharon Bond has always enjoyed cooking, baking, and providing excellent customer service. For several years she has longed for her own restaurant and a place where everyone would feel acknowledged and welcome. To make this dream come true, Sharon created a unique Indigenous cultural cafe called Kekuli Café, complete with Indigenous art, staff, cuisine, and light pow wow music! Her specialty in the restaurant industry is bannock.

Find someone who inspires you, motivates you, and keeps you accountable.

William Belleau is an actor, writer and director from Alkali Lake, British Columbia. He received his schooling at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts from which he graduated in 2008. He is best known for his roles in the films The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Killers of the Flower Moon, Blackway with Anthony Hopkins, Corner gas with Lorne Cardinal and the TV series Frontier.

William has given back to his community by teaching First Nations youth about writing, making acting choices, getting over fear, blocking, rehearsing, and the principles of photography and editing.

A dream becomes reality through sweat, determination and hard work.

Corey Brown is a member of the Old Massett Village Band, which forms part of the Haida Nation on Haida Gwaii. He is part of the Sta’staas Eagle Clan and is the nephew of the current serving hereditary Chief 7idansuu. Corey is a registered Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) with Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBG) and a member of the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada. Since founding Gwaii Engineering in March 2017, Corey has grown the business significantly, including the addition of three partners.

May 12, 2022 |  Agriculture and Natural Resources
Clemente Miranda-Trevino
Clemente Miranda-Trevino

Section Leader, Environmental Technology

 Teck Metals Ltd.

Trail, B.C.

 Stepan Doubrava
Stepan Doubrava

Director of User Experience

CubicFarm Systems Corp.

Vancouver, B.C.

Jordan Blanchet
Jordan Blanchet

Systems Architect

CubicFarm Systems Corp.

Vancouver, B.C.

Mike Dittrich
Mike Dittrich

Director Business Development

TELUS Agriculture

Vancouver, B.C.

Section Leader, Environmental Technology for Technical Services Trail, a division of Teck Resources, Dr. Clemente Miranda-Trevino has over 20 years of experience in the petrochemical and mining industries of Mexico and Canada. Clemente holds a B.Eng in Chemical Engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana and a M.Eng. and PhD in Process Engineering from the Memorial University of Newfoundland. In his current role at Teck, Clemente oversees the team that focuses on technology development in the environmental area. Some of the cool projects include the development and application of genomic tools in the mining industry, innovative water treatment and source control. A proud father of three, Clemente and his wife have embraced the outdoor lifestyle that living in the West Kootenay provides. Although originally from Mexico, he is a proud, self-proclaimed adopted Newfie.

Learn to enjoy every step of your journey. Learn how to laugh at yourself.

Stepan is a seasoned business and UX professional with over 17 years of experience in managing teams and projects in Canada, the USA, Europe and Russia. He thrives in creative environments when dealing with complex issues that require innovative thinking. He loves to navigate a complex environment of global corporations as well as small dynamic startups. Stepan most enjoys building teams that strive to design cutting edge products and one-of-a-kind user experience.

The world has never been this good and it is only getting better.

A software engineer with nearly 20 years of experience, Jordan has worked at a wide range of companies from 2 personal startups to large corporations like Microsoft and Electronic Arts. Across those companies, he has worked in a variety of industries including financial software, web development, video games and most recently agricultural technology.

There’s some aspect of your life that you enjoy doing, try your best to have a career related to that.

Mike is Director of Business Development, TELUS Agriculture, and is based in Vancouver, BC.
Mike started with TELUS in 2006 as General Manager in Customer Solutions Delivery Alberta, quickly becoming a well-known and respected TELUS and community leader. In 2009, he moved westward to B.C. and has since held key senior leadership positions supporting national infrastructure investment and customer experience.
Prior to joining TELUS, Mike worked within the Bell Canada family of companies for 20 years in a number of senior leadership roles.

Continue to seek out opportunities like this to learn about different career opportunities. You never know what you might discover.

April 28, 2022 | Tourism & Hospitality
Paul Clissold
Paul Clissold

Regional Manager

Joey’s Only Franchising Ltd

Calgary, Alberta

Troy Klemo
Troy Klemo

Vice President/General Manager

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Surrey, B.C.

Velour Alexander
Velour Alexander

Executive Coordinator

JABC

Vancouver, B.C.

Alisha Reynolds
Alisha Reynolds

Vice President

Sandman Hotel Group

Alberta

Paul began his career in the hospitality industry in 1995 and since then has owned three restaurants, multiple barber shops and a home services business. He currently is a regional manager for a national restaurant franchise and uses his expertise to help franchise partners set and achieve their goals.

Just say “Yes”. You never know what excites you if you don’t try.

After graduating from the University of Idaho with degrees in Marketing, Human Resource Management and Production and Operations Management Troy began working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car in the year 2000 as a Management Trainee in Spokane Washington. Over the next several years he worked up through Assistant Branch Manager and Branch Manager before becoming an Area Manager overseeing several locations throughout Eastern Washington. In 2011 he moved to Seattle to oversee the Car Sales division in Washington. After two years overseeing three dealerships, Troy moved back into Enterprise’s daily rental division as a regional manager and then became a Regional Vice President. Troy joined the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Eastern Washington/North Idaho and has served ever since. In August of 2021, Troy moved to British Columbia to serve as the Vice President and General Manager of Enterprise Holdings for the province.

Be curious and enthusiastic! The path you are on is not always the one you will stay on so don’t be afraid to try new things and when you do, put your whole self out there. You never know where you will find your passion.

Having over 10 years of Customer Service Experience, Velour has worked in various roles: Child Program Developer, Front Desk Manager, Digital Marketing Specialist, Event Coordinator, Server, Barista, and Management in various companies. With a wide scope of abilities, Velour has been able to navigate a volatile job market which has led him to being the Executive Coordinator at our very own JA British Columbia.

In a new position, be as friendly as you can be and show that you are willing to work hard at things that you do not enjoy. Anyone can work hard at what they like and enjoy; people respect those that can work hard at tasks that are not enjoyable.

Alisha is the Vice President of Sandman Hotel Group, overseeing 13 hotels and a team of nearly 400 employees. Prior to her career at Sandman Hotel Group, she worked in various roles: in human resources at a golf and country club, as a corporate lawyer at two international law firms, and as a real estate advisor for Moxie’s Restaurant Group. She has a Bachelor of Commerce and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, a Certificate in Hotel Real Estate Investments from Cornell University, and an MBA from Queen’s University. She is married, has two kids, and an adorable Yorkshire Terrier.

You owe it to yourself to follow the path you love. Find your passion, and be great at whatever you choose to do!

April 7, 2022 | Workplace Safety and Skilled Trades
Shannon Corbeil
Shannon Corbeil

Prevention Officer

WorkSafeBC

Vancouver, B.C.

Dawn Wilson
Dawn Wilson

Fire Protection Sales Representative

Victaulic

Surrey, B.C.

Cyril Sombol
Cyril Sombol

Head Chef

Earls Restaurants

Vancouver, B.C.

Shannon Corbeil is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional and works as a Prevention Officer for WorkSafeBC. Her career in Occupational Health and Safety started from her desire to help others and was shaped through her pursuit for life-long learning.

Never stop asking questions, even if you think you know the answer.

Red Seal Certified Sprinkler fitter with 10 years of installation, maintenance and testing experience. During this time Dawn embraced many opportunities to tackle different types of construction projects all over Canada and the US. Through industry networking and her desire to try new things, Dawn sought out a sales role 7 years ago. Dawn is currently selling Fire Protection products in the Vancouver region optimizing her experience and knowledge in the Fire Protection field.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes, these experiences grow you as a person and lead you to endless possibilities.

Well-versed in all operations aspects including training, budgeting, communication, marketing, people development, succession planning, project management, business analysis, culture creating, management and leadership.

Cyril’s passion for food and people go hand in hand, good food and good people are the keys to life.

Lead and love yourself. Be relentlessly yourself.

March 9, 2022 | BioTechnology and Medical Devices
Candice Madalena
Candice Madalena

Associate Director, Business Operations

Zymeworks Inc.

Vancouver, B.C.

Ariana Wilson
Ariana Wilson

Junior Systems Engineer

StarFish Medical

Victoria, B.C.

Lilin Zhang
Lilin Zhang

Business Development Associate

Acuitas Therapeutics Inc.

Vancouver, B.C.

Kate Meagher
Kate Meagher

Research Associate, Process Development

Acuitas Therapeutics Inc.

Vancouver, B.C.

Alec Lillis
Alec Lillis

Mechanical Engineer

StarFish Medical

Victoria, B.C.

Candice has over 10 years of experience in the biotechnology industry and has held roles in Business Development, Project Management and Operations. She earned a BSc from the University of Victoria, her MBA from UBC Sauder School of Business and holds a PMP. During her time at UVic she had the opportunity to take part in the co-op program which exposed her to many different career options within sciences and introduced her to the business side of science which ultimately changed the trajectory of her career.

Try everything, what you like and what you’re good at might surprise you.

Ariana has been working at StarFish Medical for just over 2 years, starting as a Manufacturing co-op and now working as a Junior Systems Engineer. She has worked in a number of different industries, including solar energy, motorsports, and marine engineering, before discovering her affinity for the medical device product development field.

Don’t close any doors. Whether you have a clear career path or haven’t found what you’re passionate about yet, that’s ok; try to expose yourself to as many different things as you can and push yourself out of your comfort zone to pursue unique opportunities.

Having a background and passion in kinesiology, health care and business, Lilin has taken on many roles in these areas. Currently, Lilin works in the business development team at Acuitas and has been with the company for just over two years.

Keep an open mind and be open to all opportunities that come your way.

With 10 years of experience in the pharma and Research & Development industry, Kate has had the opportunity to work in many areas of drug development and manufacture. Beginning her career at Pfizer in Ireland, Kate gained invaluable industry experience working in a GMP environment for almost 4 years. The transition to Canada brought with it a transition into the Research & Development lab and Kate has been working at the forefront of mRNA therapeutic development. Now specializing in scale-up and process development, Kate has had the fantastic opportunity to work on the recent COVID-19 vaccine and many other cutting edge technologies like it.

Work hard in all areas of learning but really try to identify and focus on what you enjoy, not necessarily just what you’re good at.

Alec studied for an Undergraduate Degree in Biomedical Engineering in Ireland before traveling the world for several months. He returned to Ireland to do a Master’s Degree in Medical Device Design and worked for another 3 years at home before traveling again for over a year. He moved to Canada to work with StarFish Medical, a Medical Device Design Consultancy in Victoria BC and also spent 2 years in Toronto helping with setting up a second StarFish Medical facility. He has had the opportunity to support the design of over 30 Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical Products in several roles including R&D Engineer, Product Design Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Industrial Designer, Human Factors Engineer, and Project Manager.

Try different things and consider all opportunities that come your way. Never stop learning and expanding your mind. Be open to all possibilities. Some of the most valuable learnings are not found in textbooks.

February 14, 2022 | Healthcare
Lyndsey Albrecht
Lyndsey Albrecht

Guardianship Social Worker

VACFSS

Vancouver, B.C.

Kearney O’Keefe
Kearney O’Keefe

Registered Nurse

Eastern Health

Burnaby, B.C.

Omar Shafi
Omar Shafi

Physician, Faculty Lead (Research Projects)

University of British Columbia

Vancouver, B.C.

Veronica Tissera
Veronica Tissera

Vice President, Client Experience

Nurse Next Door

Vancouver, B.C.

Lyndsey Albrecht started as a social worker assistant in the Child Protection office at Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society. 2 years ago, she moved to the guardianship office where she currently works. A guardianship social worker is the legal guardian of children from 0 to 18 years old who are growing up in foster care. Her job is really anything and everything for a child and youth, where she has to ensure that their rights are protected and that their needs are met.

If you’re willing to be open to possibilities, success can look like so many different things. Being able to adapt to different life events can help you be successful and happy in what you choose to do.

Kearney started her nursing career in North Carolina in 2005 working as a Level 1 Trauma Centre. She has a daughter who wanted to move back to Canada and so she researched the process and took the required exams to move back and work in Newfoundland. In 2011 they moved to Newfoundland where she continued to work in an emergency. After 7 years working in an emergency, she felt that she needed a change so she transferred to labor and delivery, where she has been working for the last 3 and a half years.

Don’t be afraid to do what you’re amazing at! My entire elementary parent-teacher meeting reports always came back with “Kearney’s grades would be so much better if she did her own work before helping others”. My mom knew I’d be a nurse, since I was a little girl. She knew because she’s also a nurse just like her mother.

Dr. Shafi has been involved in healthcare for over 10 years. He got interested in this field after working as a crisis line consoler during his undergraduate years. After finishing his bachelor’s in Genetics and Cell Biology from UBC, he went to Saba University School of Medicine for medical training. He completed a portion of his training with medical health systems in Louisiana, New York, Michigan and Quebec. After medical school, he worked as a research coordinator for Oregon Health and Science University where he helped run pediatric neuro-oncology clinical trials. In 2019 he joined the residency training program at UBC. He currently works as an urgent care physician; full-scope family physician and he is also the faculty lead for research projects at Surrey Memorial Hospital’s Family Medicine Residency program.

Always have faith in yourself and stay resilient in the face of adversity.

Veronica Tissera works as a Caregiver in HealthCare, specifically at Nurse Next Door, where she has worked for the past 7 years and is currently Vice President of Customer Experience. Nurse Next Door is a home care service founded in Vancouver where they focus on a few pillars including companionship, meal preparation, homemaking and home nursing care for the seniors. She has previously worked at Please Mum, Aritzia and YYoga.

Follow your heart and your passion and you will love what you do. Be the first one to put up your hand and say you want to learn and to be given the opportunity to step into situations that will develop your leadership and skills. Don’t wait for anyone to ask you, take the initiative to contribute, lead and make a difference.

January 27, 2022 | Construction
Zen Bellot
Zen Bellot

Design Manager

Gensler

Vancouver, B.C.

 Jonathan Xu
Jonathan Xu

Journeyman Plumber, Business Student

Langara College

Vancouver, B.C.

Christina Chow
Christina Chow

Project Architect

Gensler

Vancouver, B.C.

Patrick Hage-Moussa
Patrick Hage-Moussa

Project Manager

Ledcor Construction Limited

Vancouver, B.C.

With more than 15 years of experience in Corporate Real Estate, Zen has represented her clients and managed teams through the Tenant Fit Up process. She has held different titles such as Project Manager, Facility Manager and now Design Manager. Her process remains the same each time. She values her team and has a proven successful track record.

 It is ok to be unsure, uncomfortable and hesitant. I find when I am gaining the most growth when I am experiencing those feelings. Embrace them and explore what new things they are bringing to you.

Coming from a family full of tradespeople, it was only natural that Jonathan followed in their footsteps. Jonathan’s plumbing career began at BCIT and during his career, Jonathan moved around to different companies exploring many facets of the plumbing trade. He has experience in condo new construction, residential and commercial plumbing and heating, custom homes and renovations, and building retrofits. Jonathan is currently a business student at Langara College. 

Get out of your comfort zone and connect with other people. By interacting with more people, you learn through their unique human experience

Christina worked in various firms in different places like Vancouver, Toronto, Boston and Paris throughout her schooling. When she graduated with her Masters of Architecture, she started working for MMC Architects, an architectural design firm that specialized in high-end retail. She started as an Intern Architect and worked hard to become a Senior Associate before moving to Gensler. Gensler gave her the opportunity to contribute back to the community and urban fabric – the real reason why she decided to become an architect in the first place.

Work hard and with integrity for what you are passionate for and always remember that finding personal fulfillment in your career is what will keep you motivated and happy. Never stop growing and know that you bring a unique and valuable perspective to everything – own it!

Patrick has worked with Ledcor Construction for 8 years and was hired immediately after he completed his degree in Civil Engineering from BCIT. Since then, Patrick has been a part of three major construction projects for Ledcor; The Tsawwassen Mills Mall, VIU Health Sciences Center, and currently what will be the third tallest high-rise tower in downtown. When he is not at work, Patrick enjoys playing sports like hockey and golf, carpentry, barbecuing, and hanging out with his dog.

The best way to find out what we want to do for a career is to learn about the things we like and don’t like. Stay curious, learn about yourself and it’ll lead you to a career you will be excited about each and every day.

November 18, 2021 | Financial Services
Laura Kershaw
Laura Kershaw

Account Manager

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC)

Vernon, B.C.

Samantha Liang
Samantha Liang

Manager Business Markets – Fraser Valley Region

RBC Royal Bank Canada

Vancouver, B.C.

Colton Cheney
Colton Cheney

Branch Manager

Prospera Credit Union

Penticton, B.C.

Jaime Rein
Jaime Rein

Product Manager

Sage

Kamloops, B.C.

Laura Kershaw has been in the finance industry for over 20 years now and is about to celebrate her 10th anniversary with CMHC as an account manager. In this role Laura manages bank, credit union and broker relationships for the Interior and Kootenay regions of BC.

Samantha Liang is a Manager, Business Markets at RBC, overseeing the entire Fraser Valley Region. She currently has a CPA, CMA. She has worked at the Royal Bank of Canada for over 5 years in various different areas and has many advices to share, including this one.

It’s great to know exactly where you want to go, but don’t let tunnel vision have you turn down an opportunity that could be hugely impactful to your personal growth and career development. Take a chance, and always be curious.

My name is Colton Cheney, born and raised here in the Okanagan. I am currently the Branch Manager for Prospera Credit Union in Penticton and have worked in the banking industry for 9 years between here and TD bank. I started my banking career when I was 19 as a part time teller while getting my business degree at Okanagan College. I was promoted to a part-time financial advisor in my third year and received a full-time position as I finished my last few courses. Six months after officially graduating I was promoted to management and haven’t looked back since. I have held my current position for three and a half years and started my MBA this past January.

Your financial health matters! As you get older and start using credit cards etc. it is extremely important to make sure that you are spending within your means and making payments on time. Same goes for bills like your cell phone. If you miss payments, your credit will be impacted negatively which can lead to issues when you want to get a car loan or buy your first home.  
Pay attention in school! Your grades do matter. Whether you are going to post-secondary school right after high school or not, your grades will follow you if and when you do decide to seek further education.

Jaime Rein is a Product Manager in the Cloud- Native Products at Sage, and currently living in Kamloops. She has been working as a Product Manager working on the cloud native products and was previously an owner of the Rein Business Services, a professional bookkeeping company.

If you are worried that you don’t know what you want for a career, that is okay, technology is moving at such a fast rate of change that for the majority of you, your career hasn’t even been invented yet.

October 27, 2021 | Public Safety
Jessica Franz
Jessica Franz

Firefighter

Surrey Firefighters

City of Surrey, B.C.

Benjamin Ansari
Benjamin Ansari

Primary Care Paramedic

British Columbia Emergency Health Services (BCEHS)

Vancouver, B.C.

Binita Cieslar
Binita Cieslar

Police Officer

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

City of Surrey, B.C.

Aaron Cyr
Aaron Cyr

Firefighter

Surrey Firefighters

City of Surrey, B.C.

Jessica Franz is a firefighter for the City of Surrey. She was a professional basketball player, was involved in her community and knew she wanted to do more for it! 

Work hard, be present and dream big! 

Ben is an active Primary Care Paramedic with British Columbia Emergency Health Services (BCEHS). In that role he is responsible for responding to emergency medical and trauma calls, and transporting sick and injured patients to hospital. Ben’s work with BCEHS has allowed him to travel to the Interior, Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Metro Vancouver. In addition to his role as a paramedic, Ben is a local ski patroller, first aid instructor and volunteers with the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue.

Don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams and interests. It can be scary and people may tell you it’s not a good idea. Keep going, believe in yourself, and be ok being uncomfortable. It’ll be worth it! 

Constable Binita Cieslar has been a police officer for 15 years and has worked in a variety of sections including patrol, Domestic Violence Unit, Youth Section, and Crime Reduction Units. She was born and raised in East Vancouver and speaks Hindi and English. 

Keep trekking along, focus on your goals and you will achieve everything you want.

Aaron Cyr has been a firefighter with the Surrey Fire Service for 14 years. Aaron is a strong supporter of Community involvement and charity work.  

Set your goals high! Hard work will always lead to bigger and better things. 

September 28, 2021 | High Tech
Gustavo Fernandes
Gustavo Fernandes

Senior Startup Solutions Architect

Amazon Web Services

Vancouver, B.C.

Sonia Singh
Sonia Singh

Director of Sales – ISV/DNB

Amazon Web Services

Vancouver, B.C.

Rahim Jivraj
Rahim Jivraj

Enterprise Account Manager

Amazon Web Services

Vancouver, B.C.

Jennie Kendall
Jennie Kendall

Enterprise Account Manager

Amazon Web Services

Vancouver, B.C.

With more than 10 years of experience in the Software and Cloud industry, Gustavo had the opportunity to work in many roles, including Software Developer, Development Manager, Team Lead, Operations Engineer and Solutions Architect. Gustavo co-founded 3 startups in his home country, Brazil, before relocating to Canada, where he worked in different startups before joining AWS Startups team.  

You’ll often have many paths to choose from. After considering your options, embrace your decision and don’t look back: from this moment on you’ll never know what would be like to have chosen another path. 

Sonia Singh is a senior sales leader with over 15 years of account management, business development and training experience. She currently works at Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Vancouver where she is helping BC’s largest enterprise customers transition to the cloud and transform their digital businesses.

As a mentor and coach, she believes in using technology as an enabler and actively encourages her customers and mentees to develop the skills and abilities necessary to stay relevant in the fast-paced technology industry.

Rahim Jivraj is an Enterprise Account Manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He has been with AWS for 4 years + 9 months.

The best advice one of my mentors gave me was treat people with respect and be humble, good things follow.

I am an entrepreneurial sales leader committed to leveraging technology to solve customer challenges. High energy and curious, I bring a unique balance of entrepreneurialism, leadership and marketing savvy to each situation I encounter. Areas of interest and focus include empowering collaboration in the enterprise and leveraging all that technology as to offer.

Say yes as often as you can – especially to those offers/ suggestions that seem completely out there.

January 26, 2021 Program Event
Ryan Bohlken
Ryan Bohlken

Customer Service Manager

Finning Canada

Vernon, B.C.

Nick Bourassa
Nick Bourassa

Managing Partner

Lakewood Electric  Ltd.

Prince George, B.C.

Monique Brosseau
Monique Brosseau

Senior Vice President, Investment Operations

British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI)

Victoria, B.C.

Nari Rampersad
Nari Rampersad

Senior Practice Lead

TELUS

Vancouver, B.C.

Sam Wong
Sam Wong

Community Market Manager

RBC

Richmond, B.C.

I started as an apprentice Heavy duty and Agriculture Technician, now I have two journeyman tickets and manage a Caterpillar branch. I have worked at sjx different branches across three provinces. I won the President’s Safety Award in 2019.

Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. The world will always need people that know how to use their hands.

Completing red seal and becoming a Journeyman Electrician. Getting to travel to different locations across Canada like the Diamond Mines in the NWT, Canmore, Red Lake Ont. Becoming a foreman and running crews of up to 50 guys at a time. Becoming a partner and learning business skills on top of electrical skills.

Never say no to an opportunity. The best things of life have come from some of the things that scared me, made me uncomfortable the most.  Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Some of the proudest moments of my career have been when I’ve been involved with significant change initiatives. I find it incredibly rewarding to work closely with people, to break down a massive goal into smaller parts, and in the end achieve something far greater as a team than any one person ever could.

Believe in yourself. You’re capable of much more than you give yourself credit for. At times, it won’t be easy, but if you persevere and work hard, you will succeed.

Representing the TELUS brand to our clients and the community, always focused on a positive outcome for all parties. I’m especially proud to have won the TELUS President’s Club award five times, and to be recognized as a TELUS Passionate Leader.

To not be so hard on myself considering I had no clear direction forward in terms of career and life path. As well, seek out mentorship, both formal and informal. Ask for help.

I have been recognized as a RBC Conference Recipient in 2019 – an honour awarded the top 1% of RBC employees for their dedication and performance excellence.

Your career is a journey, not a race.  Be patient and take your time and look at every job or task you do as a learning opportunity.  You end up having a lot more enjoyment in the process.

January 28, 2021 Program Event
Carmela Gonzales
Carmela Gonzales

Scientist & Operations Lead

Open Ocean Robotics

Victoria, B.C.

Stephanie Lin
Stephanie Lin

General Dentist (DMD)

South Granville Dentistry

Vancouver, B.C.

Jessica Nordlander
Jessica Nordlander

Chief Operating Officer

Thought Exchange

Nelson, B.C.

Kiran Sandhu
Kiran Sandhu

Commercial Account Manager

RBC

Vancouver, B.C.

Paul Tiefensee
Paul Tiefensee

Chief Executive Officer / Partner

Formula Contractors Ltd.

Prince George, B.C.

Changing international insurance policy, establishing UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) policy and assessment methodology, and currently working on solar-powered autonomous boats with Open Ocean Robotics.

Keep pursuing the things you like and are genuinely interested in — an emphasis on the plural; you don’t need to be a “specialist” just yet. All the things you were interested in led you to this point (where I am now). Believe in yourself and your wants.

After graduating from dental school, I matched to my first choice at a competitive General Practice Residency (GPR) program in Manhattan, NY. It was a demanding and rewarding program that required me to work regular hours at a hospital clinic and be on call at any moment. Completing the program allowed me to practice in New York, which I did for another year before returning to Vancouver.

Stay positive and calm. We all take different paths to get to the same destination, and it’s okay if it takes a little while for you to get there. Try not to compete with others and do your best. One person’s success does not mean you have failed or vice versa.

I have been Managing Director on three different continents before turning 30, was named “Sweden’s most innovative leader” in 2019, became a member of Forbes Technology council in 2018. Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives.

You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do with your career right now. Just make sure that you do work and try different things so that you become more and more certain about what you don’t want to do.

I experienced a secondment in Toronto to RBCx, an innovation and intreprenurship program where I worked within a cross functional team that used design thinking and agile methodologies to explore disruptive solutions and learn new ways of working. I am passionate about disruptive innovation, and love nothing more than an ingenious “outside of the box” solution!

Say yes to opportunities that come your way that give you an opportunity to stretch and grow.

Paul is proud of Formula’s strong relationships with employees, communities, commercial relationships and First Nations throughout the region. Formula has many long-term employees which provide the basis for its success. Formula operates in many northern communities and has a strong tradition of supporting important causes.

Life skills are really important, I like building stuff. Stay grounded, be kind and have grace. You can accomplish amazing things together.

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