Regional Advisory Committee
Sharon has recently completed her MBA in Executive Management at Royal Roads University. Sharon Peterson is Chief Executive Officer for the YMCA of Okanagan, a position she has held for the past eighteen years. Prior to moving to Kelowna in 1995, Sharon lived in the north for 12 years working as CEO of the Yellowknife YWCA. Sharon is actively involved in YMCA Canada leadership initiatives and is a current member of the Advisory Council to YMCA Canada’s CEO. Among her colleagues, Sharon is known for her strategic outlook, eagerness to learn, and her tenacity in challenging the status quo.
Organizations that Sharon has volunteered for have included Rotary, Canadian Crossroads International, NWT Status of Women Council, Voluntary Sector Advisory Council to Service Canada, and Central Okanagan Foundation. With two grown daughters, both working in the field of Project Management for the airline industry and currently living in the UAE, Sharon and her husband Gary enjoy travelling and gardening.
Originally a native of California, Corie emigrated to the Okanagan in 2002. Following an assignment with the Regional District of Central Okanagan in the Parks department, she joined the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC) as the Marketing and Research Assistant in 2006, moving to Business Development Officer in 2010, and taking on the lead role of Manager in 2015.
She represents the COEDC as a member of the Economic Development Association of British Columbia (EDABC) and has also served on the EDABC Executive. She has served on the Okanagan Valley Economic Development Society (OVEDS) executive since 2008 including two terms as chair from 2010-2012. As a committed economic development practitioner she is working towards accreditation as an International Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council. Corie is very proud to have received her Canadian Citizenship in 2009.
Ms. Boelcke received a Bachelor of Arts focusing on administration and management and a Master’s Degree in Education specializing in andragogy and career development from the University of Alberta. She has over 28 years of experience in the social sector in both Alberta and BC within government and community agencies. Presently, she holds the position of Executive Director within Kelowna Community Resources, a multiservice not-for-profit agency in the Central Okanagan. Ms. Boelcke has planned, designed, and implemented curriculums for in-class and distance education for several educational institutions including Okanagan College. Community involvement includes past and present memberships on various boards and committees and an active volunteer in our community. Originally from Germany and with extensive international travel experience, she how resides in Kelowna, having made this her home for over 17 years.
Together with her team of exceptional staff and volunteers, Nancy has evolved Kelowna’s Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) into one that continually generates strong results for over 300 Kelowna area tourism businesses.
She hails from Ontario and has a background in resort and recreation marketing. During her 20 plus years of involvement in the tourism and recreation industries she has held the position of President of Destination Marketing Association Canada, Chair of the BC Destination Marketing Roundtable, and Board positions with the YMCA of the Central Okanagan and the Gryphon Professional Theatre in Barrie, Ontario.
Mandi Carroll works for Westbank First Nation as the Manager of Economic Development and Communications. Responsible for supporting business development on Westbank’s 5,340 acres of reserve lands, and ensuring a business-friendly environment, she feels fortunate to work for one of the most progressive and best managed bands in the country. With over 400 businesses, including the most commercial space of any band in Canada, WFN’s economic growth and stability can be attributed to its Self-Government Agreement with Canada, instituted in 2005 under the WFN Self-Government Act. Providing WFN with the rights, powers, responsibilities and privileges of an owner, including the authority to grant interests and licenses in relation to its land, WFN is the only First Nation to benefit from such an agreement with the Government of Canada.
Mandi enjoys working regionally, participating on several Okanagan and BC boards and commissions, and has worked for local government for over ten years. She has a degree in Communications from the University of Calgary and a certificate in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo. Mandi is married (Jamie) and has two children, a daughter Mackenzie, and a son Jackson.
Robert completed a degree in Urban Economics from the University of Toronto and Masters work at York University. With his degrees in hand, he brought innovative programming to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. In 1989 he moved to BC where he worked for the Sea to Sky Economic Development Corporation until 1996. Robert was awarded “Economic Developer of the Year” by the Economic Development Association of British Columbia and the Bank of Montreal. He spent 16 years as the Director of Economic Development for the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission. The Commission and its programs have been recognized with numerous economic development awards not only within British Columbia, but nationally and internationally as well.
Robert is past president of the Economic Developers Association of Canada and the BC Economic Development Association. He is a past board member of the International Economic Development Council, based in Washington, DC. He is a past-member of the Provincial Small Business Roundtable, board member with the John Howard Society and was named the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Business Leader Award winner for 2009. He is also an honorary fellow of Okanagan College.
Mr. Gilchrist has a long history in government, having worked at the Provincial, Federal and Municipal level during his 16 year career. He has a passion for breaking new ground in government work and is genuine in his belief that government’s role is to lead and not follow the private sector. He attributes his success to the strong teams he’s had the pleasure to work with and adhering to key project management principles.
The historically fast pace of development in Kelowna keeps his team on their toes and allows them the opportunity to advance truly transformative initiatives such as; a LEED Gold Neighbourhood known as Central Green, a number of P3 affordable housing projects and some targeted revitalization partnerships that are transforming the downtown of Kelowna. One recent project led by Mr. Gilchrist was the regional acquisition of a historical, 50 km railway line running from Kelowna to Vernon.
through the International Economic Development Council. Corie is very proud to have received her Canadian Citizenship in 2009.
Janice Larson is an Executive Director in the Government of British Columbia, with over 20 years of experience in public policy development and implementation, focused on strategic planning, regulatory and economic development, community and international relations. In her current role as Executive Director, Regional Innovation Initiatives with the BC Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, she is based in Kelowna at UBC’s Okanagan campus, and focuses on building academic/ community/industry connections to enhance innovation throughout the province.
Previously Janice was with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology, leading the development and implementation of BC’s International Education Strategy, and working to advance policies and initiatives that support BC’s higher education objectives and opportunities at home and abroad.
Janice also worked on the Pacific Gateway Strategy with the BC Ministry of Transportation, and from 2001-2011 she was the Director of Renewable Energy Development with the BC Ministry of Energy, working on the 2002 and 2007 Energy Plans, the BC Bioenergy Strategy, and other initiatives to advance clean technology, renewable energy, energy efficiency, low-carbon transportation and related energy/environmental objectives.
Janice has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Lethbridge, degrees in Education and Law from the University of British Columbia, and she is a non-practising member of the Law Society of British Columbia.
Patti Killback has lived in Kelowna since 1988 after growing up in Langley. Graduating from Langley Senior Secondary she took a year off to work on her Graphic Arts business, however one year lead to another and it was 2001 when she completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Okanagan University College.
Now nearly 30 years in the cultural field; as a business owner, freelance artist, teacher and director, Patti currently manages all public and curatorial activities at the Kelowna museums.
Previous to this position he was the Brewery Manager for Columbia Brewery in Creston BC. a partner of Labatt’s Brewery. While in Creston, he served on many community and volunteer boards including two terms on the College of the Rockies Board of Governors. Dave is married with two children and he is an active supporter of post-secondary education and learning in his community.
Aside from the many community committees associated with his job, John currently serves as the Vice President of the Business Improvement Area Association of British Columbia. He also sits on the Okanagan College Alumni Board, and was appointed to the Services Canada Employment Insurance Board of Referees in 2008. John was recognized in 2015 as being one of the regions "op 40 - Under 40" and was also awarded Okanagan Colleges distinguished Young Alumnus Award.
When not enjoying his days downtown, John will most likely be found cycling, on the golf course throughout the summer or at Big White in the winter where he teaches skiing to children and adults.
Bruce Stevens' background is Consulting Engineering and is currently employed as a Business Counsellor and Analyst for Community Futures Development Corp. of the Central Okanagan. He is a Director on the Board of Applied Science Technologists of BC and is a member of the Program Advisory Committee for the Civil Engineering department at OC. Bruce also teaches part time for the BCIT Technology Management Degree program.
Mr.Stevens is currently working with Dean Moritz of OC and Jim Duncan of BCIT in addressing the shortage of candidates for the technology based careers and an ongoing supporter and sponsor of the college's technology events such as the Math Contest, Robo Cup and Spaghetti Bridge Competition.
Now retired, Don Wigfield’s career was in scientific research and teaching. He was Professor of Chemistry at Carleton University, Ottawa for 36 years, simultaneously serving five years as Director of the Ottawa-Carleton Chemistry Research Institute and another five years as Director of the Institute of Environmental Science. He is the author of over 100 research papers on chemical reaction mechanisms, biosynthesis, chemical toxicology and environmental chemistry. These research contributions were recognized in various ways including election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1980 and the award of the D.Sc. degree from the University of Birmingham in 1987. Don also received recognition for his teaching, including the Ontario University-wide OCUFA award in 1992. In 2006 Don and his wife Anne left Ottawa, came west and settled in Peachland. Don was heavily involved in the organizing of the year-long events celebrating the Centennial of Peachland in 2009. His first book about Peachland, The Roads of Peachland: the Historical Origins of their Names, was published in 2011. His next book, The Chronicles of Peachland: History of the Years 1984-2012, of which he was Editor-in-Chief, appeared in 2013, and his latest book, The Story of Peachland, is expected to be published in 2015.
Is the President and CEO of Tourism Kelowna, the lead destination marketing organization for the Central Okanagan. Together with a team of dedicated marketing professionals, Tourism Kelowna works on behalf of over 370 local businesses to promote the region as a top destination for year-round leisure and business travel, aiming to attract 3 million visitors annually by 2021.
Born in Montreal and raised in Winnipeg, Lisanne arrived in the Okanagan in 2017 having worked in Alberta for the past 20 years in business and marketing leadership roles in economic development, tourism promotion, public facilities management, provincial government, technology, media, and major event production.
She was most recently with Edmonton Economic Development Corp. where as General Manager of the Shaw conference Centre she was responsible for the positive financial and social impact of the city’s downtown convention centre hosting 650 events, half a million guests and generating $30 million in economic impact annually.
Lisanne is a firm believer in continuous learning, community building and fostering partnerships as the corner stones of successful organizations. A life-long learner, she is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration’s Senior Executive Symposium and has achieved accreditation by the International Association of Venue Managers. She has undergraduate degrees from the University of Manitoba and Winnipeg and was proud to serve on the University of Alberta Senate Executive.
Previously, Anne-Marie was the Senior Program Officer for Financial Planning with Alberta Health Services (AHS) where she was responsible for leading the Financial Planning team, including development of the AHS $14 billion budget and alignment with organizational strategic planning and directions. She also worked for Interior Health from 2003 – 2011 serving in leadership roles in our information support, information management, and research departments.
Anne-Marie specializes in health services research and has extensive experience using linked health administrative databases for research into chronic health conditions and service utilization, along with use of health authority data to support analytics and performance management and reporting. She completed a PhD in Management and Policy Sciences specializing in Health Economics at the University of Texas Health Sciences Centre and has completed a post-doctoral fellowship at CHSPR in Vancouver.
Anne-Marie’s significant experience in translating her extensive academic background into practical application, combined with her doctoral and post-doctoral work on primary and community care, is an asset to IH as we continue our journey to shift the focus of health care from acute to community settings.
Ms Berchowitz received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a focus on Political Science from the University of British Columbia. She is the Executive Director of the Okanagan College Students' Union, a multiservice multilocation non-profit agency for the students of Okanagan College attending the Kelowna, Penticton and Salmon Campuses. Ms Berchowitz joins the Regional Advisory Committee with over 8 years experience working within the Post-Secondary environments of UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College. Miss Berchowitz served as a Student Representative and Board member of the UBC Students' Union Okanagan during her undergraduate studies. Ms Berchowitz previously served as a member of the President's Advisory Committee at the University of British Columbia and as a member of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Environmental Advisory commission.
Ms Berchowitz has worked alongside the Okanagan College on a variety of endeavors throughout her time at Okanagan College including assisting with the Orientation campus events, student tours, institutional committees and working with the Okanagan College Foundation for donations towards the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Penticton and the new Trades Training Complex in Kelowna. Ms Berchowitz was also involved in the creation of the Okanagan College Students' Union bursary program and OCSU Student Initiatives Funding program.
Ms Berchowitz is also an active member of various sports leagues and organizations within Kelowna and is happy to call the central Okanagan home.