General Manager, Community Futures of the North Okanagan
For nearly 20 years, Leigha has been involved with supporting business and economic development in the North Okanagan region. She believes that strong communities are built through collaboration, developing partnerships and engaging stakeholders toward a common goal. In her role as General Manager of Community Futures North Okanagan, Leigha works as part of a dynamic team that supports business retention and expansion, workforce development and economic development planning. Leigha is active in the community through various groups, committees and organizations in Vernon and Coldstream. Having made the North Okanagan home for over 20 years, Leigha feels fortunate to be able to raise a family here and is grateful to be able to live in and contribute to this beautiful part of the Okanagan Valley.
Code Wrangler, Automattic
Daryl is a software engineer, community builder & outdoor adventurer. He spent time working for various startups & agencies in the Okanagan area as well as spending many years as a freelancer. Currently he works for Automattic, the force behind WordPress.com, WordPress VIP, and many other products. Prior to moving to Vernon, Daryl lived in Kelowna where he helped build the tech community by running events through Digital Okanagan, the Okanagan Developer Group and Startup Weekend Okanagan. One little-known fact about him is that he has spent time working in almost every coworking and shared office space in the Okanagan area. When Daryl isn’t working on code, you can find him running, biking or skiing somewhere deep the wilderness or high up a mountain.
Regional Dean, Okanagan College
Jane Lister is the Regional Dean at Okanagan College’s Vernon Campus and previously spent twenty-one years in the role of General Manager at Community Futures North Okanagan. During this time, she has focused her work on creating partnerships between local organizations, businesses and institutions in order to develop and enhance community assets and the skills and knowledge of the local workforce. Currently, Jane is involved with the City of Vernon’s Economic Development Committee, Community Futures’ Loan Committee, and is a member of the program advisory committee of the OVCMT. Jane has a B.A. and an M.B.A. from the University of British Columbia.
John Perrott started his career in Economic Development in 2003 and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Okanagan College and a Master of Management from the University of British Columbia. John has been an active member of the British Columbia Economic Development Association’s Board of Directors since 2016 and has been a featured speaker at past annual conferences.
In 2015, John’s dedication to his work in Economic Development was recognized with two awards: The Okanagan College Young Alumni and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Top 40 Under 40. John brings significant experience to the City of Vernon from his previous position as the Economic Development and Tourism Manager for the City of West Kelowna.
Male Youth Representative, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations
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Justen Peters is the Male Youth Representative for the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations and he is a member of the Okanagan Indian Band. Justen is involved with Indigenous economic development at regional, provincial, and national levels—having worked with the Office of Indigenous Economic Development with the Province of B.C. government, CANDO Economic Development Youth Summit, and the BCAFN Economic Development Business Forums. Justen offers a unique and valuable perspective of how the business community in the North Okanagan can grow and progress while increasing the relationships and benefits with local Indigenous communities and partners. Justen’s other interests are psychology, politics, spirituality, and humor.
CEO, Phyxter Corp.
Jake is the CEO and Co-founder of Phyxter.ai. He believes that technology, partnerships and collaboration will play an immense role in changing the negative stereotype of being an entrepreneur. Jake has a BA from the UPEI as well as a Red Seal certification in refrigeration and air conditioning.
In 2020, Jake decided to put his beliefs and experience to work and co-founded Vernon Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical Services. The companies mantra is to “Live the Okanagan Trades Life”, using technology and partnerships to work efficiently on weekdays from nine to five. The rest of the time, he’s enjoying family, friends and the Okanagan lifestyle.