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Jordan Perrey to lead IT Services at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Jordan Perrey Aug 2017A respected IT professional with a unique blend of private and public sector experience will join Okanagan College next month with the addition of Jordan Perrey as Director of Information Technology Services.

Perrey comes to the College from the bustling Okanagan technology sector where he most recently led innovation as the Vice President of Operations at Mazu in Kelowna.

Prior to joining the private sector Perrey spent eight years working in the B.C. government. He began his public sector tenure as Director of Technology Solutions within the Ministry of Energy and Mines, as well as the Ministry of Economic Development in Victoria.

In 2012 he joined the Ministry of Advanced Education as its Chief Information Officer and Executive Director. During that time he managed a team of more than 30 employees and completed a number of infrastructure and application projects with a focus on improving efficiencies and services for students.

“I was drawn to Okanagan College because of its strong reputation both in the Okanagan and within the sector,” says Perrey. “The education landscape is changing at a rapid pace and I’m very excited to help guide the College as we seek to find new ways to deliver education. I will be drawing on my previous experience in post-secondary and building on existing relationships to help find solutions to meet the needs of students and employees.”

According to Roy Daykin, the College’s Vice President of Employee and Corporate Services, Perrey brings a unique blend of experience and insight into the post-secondary environment, along with a track record of success in innovation and leadership.

“Jordan’s experience leading IT within the Ministry of Advanced Education is a huge asset for Okanagan College,” says Daykin. “He has developed a strong reputation as an insightful problem-solver who knows how to motivate people and use technology to support students and the delivery of education.”

Perrey holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Entrepreneurial Management from Royal Roads University. Prior to earning his degree he completed a diploma in Computer Information Systems at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Perrey will begin his new role as Director of IT Services on Sept. 25, 2017.



TELUS supports natural play for child care centre with $20,000 gift
Okanagan College Media Release

A major investment from the community will enhance the great outdoors for South Okanagan children at Okanagan College’s new child care centre.  

The TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board has announced a donation of $20,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright from the Start fundraising campaign. The gift will support an innovative outdoor learning environment at the centre on the Penticton campus.TELUS donation Aug 2017

The College’s project fulfilled two of the funding areas the Community Board strives to support – education and environment.

“TELUS has a longstanding history of supporting Okanagan College and the tremendous work they are doing throughout the community, whether it be through various campaigns, sponsorships or bursaries,” says Steve Jenkins, General Manager, Okanagan and Vice Chair, TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board.

“The TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board is proud to contribute $20,000 to this new facility knowing it will provide a foundation for future learners and will help foster a passion for the environment and nature for generations to come.”

Operated through a partnership between Okanagan College and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS), the new centre will provide 64 new child care spaces for infant and toddler care, ages 3-5 daycare, preschool, and after-school care for families in the South Okanagan, including College students and employees.

“TELUS has been a long-time champion of our students, programs and campuses,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We deeply appreciate the generous investment from their Community Board that will help provide a high-quality educational environment for our next generation of learners.”

The outdoor space is designed to follow current research on outdoor learning. Four unique play areas will provide children the opportunity to explore, play and learn through activities that help spark a sense of wonder about the natural environment. 

“It’s important to provide as many opportunities for children to experience and connect with nature as possible,” explains Tanya Behardien, Executive Director of PDCRS. “In addition to the physical benefits, natural play is vital to early childhood development and encourages emotional and intellectual skills, including creativity and problem solving.”

The new child care centre opens September 2017 and the outdoor play environment will be developed later in the year in cooperation with students in the College’s trades program.

The Okanagan College Foundation is approaching individuals, organizations, and foundations, including College staff and alumni in the community to help reach the $700,000 fundraising goal. 

To make a donation or learn more about the innovative project, visit


Call Home program gives mobile injection unit a technology upgrade
Okanagan College Media Release

Interior Health’s mobile RV overdose prevention unit is getting a unique technological boost with a lot of heart courtesy of Okanagan College’s Enactus team and their newest community initiative, Call Home.

Call Home 1 Aug 2017Recognizing a need for better access to communication for some of the community’s most vulnerable people, the College’s Enactus team purchased and installed two iPads in Interior Health’s mobile unit. Access to the iPads will be free and is open to all visitors as a resource to connect with their loved ones. The devices were installed on Aug. 21 and are currently in use.

“Call Home is a project that serves to provide the people who are using this mobile unit with a positive opportunity to reach out to a family member or loved one that they may have not been in contact with for several years,” says Zabrina Semchuk, Enactus Project Manager and Okanagan College student.

Interior Health launched the mobile unit in late April as a response to the opioid crisis. In July approval was received from Health Canada to operate the unit as a supervised consumption site, making it among the first in Canada. Last month alone, more than 1,000 visitors were logged.

Call Home 2 Aug 2017“Call Home is an important addition to the mobile unit because it is often difficult for homeless or marginalized individuals to keep connected,” explains Corinne Dolman, Mobile Supervised Consumption Services Manager for Interior Health. “It can be extremely valuable for them to contact their loved ones and to be reminded that there are people that care about them.”

Enactus Okanagan College is a non-profit student run organization that develops and implements projects in the Okanagan region that improve the quality of life and standard of living across the valley.

“It’s fabulous seeing students developing programs that can have such a tremendous impact on all members of our community,” says Devin Rubadeau, Okanagan College Professor and Enactus Faculty Advisor. “This project impacts families everywhere by giving people in our community an opportunity to connect with loved ones.”

Currently, the RV stops in downtown Kelowna at 455 Leon Ave. from 1 - 5 p.m. and at 125 Park Road in Rutland from 6 - 11:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.


Okanagan College instructor shares her passion for leadership
Okanagan College Media Release

Carolyn Gibson Aug 2017When Carolyn Gibson first moved to Revelstoke in early 2014, she had no inkling that she would soon find an outlet for combining two of her biggest passions: teaching and leadership. Over the past three years, she has listened to and worked with the region’s business owners to develop and share strategies they need to support their teams and grow their businesses – a collaborative process she’ll continue this fall thanks to a unique and ever-changing course at the College.

Gibson is currently teaching the Leadership Essential Series, a five-part series consisting of one-day seminars focused on specific leadership skills required in today’s workplace.

It’s a course that continues to grow and develop with each semester, as Gibson continues to integrate the latest trends and challenges she encounters from her students, who range from CEOs to those entirely new to leadership.

“The series is ideal not only for seasoned workplace veterans, but also for those leaders looking to identify and develop new leadership skills,” says Gibson, who holds an MBA from Queen’s University and has a Certificate in Conflict Management from Conrad Grebel/University of Waterloo.

Gibson’s students benefit from her wealth of educational and practical experience, acquired over a 20-plus-year career in business, which has seen her start up her own business and consulting firm. She is also an advisor on the MBA program at Queen’s University.

“I love teaching in general as it’s so exciting to see people start to look at things differently,” says Gibson. “It’s great to watch them think about and apply different ways of handling a situation, different ways of looking at their jobs, different ways of communicating.”

Gibson’s path to Okanagan College was fortuitous.

A glance at an Okanagan College Continuing Studies brochure ultimately led her to becoming an Instructor for the College. In the brochure she saw an ad indicating Okanagan College would be open to discussions from professionals in the community regarding potential new course offerings. The rest is history as she celebrates three years and counting as a College instructor, sharing her love for leadership across the College’s campuses from Revelstoke to Penticton.

As a business owner herself, Gibson is quick to point out the value of creating a solid foundation of leadership skills and constantly building on that foundation as trends change – a point echoed by one of her students.

David Murray, Corporate Safety and Environment Manager at Gorman Group, also has the role of coordinating leadership training for his company with Okanagan College and Gibson.

“I can say that Carolyn has been exactly what we were looking for and needed to have regarding an outside trainer for our company,” says Murray. “In order for our management team’s education in leadership essentials to be effective, the instructor not only needs to have expertise in current business and performance management theories and tools, but also needs to be able to tailor the delivery with the challenges that our group faces, and content specific to our high-value wood products manufacturing business. Carolyn and the Okanagan College team did this competently and with the necessary flexibility to our needs.”

The Leadership Essentials Series is just one of the hundreds of Continuing Studies courses and certificates that is offered at Okanagan College campuses. To find out more about the series, or to discover a new career path, check out Okanagan College’s newly released fall 2017 Continuing Studies Brochure.


Indigenous education advancement: learning from the Maori success
Okanagan College Media Release

An international scholar and global leader at the forefront of transforming Maori and Indigenous education will be in Kelowna this week to share insights into how communities can benefit from fostering meaningful relationships with Indigenous peoples.

Dr. Graham Hingangaroa Smith will share his expertise during a free public presentation on Friday, Aug. 18 at 4 p.m. in room H115 at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College.Dr. Graham Smith

Dr. Smith’s life work has been dedicated to building up the emergence of Maori Education Studies through the development of immersion schools (elementary to post-secondary level). He has played a key role in negotiations and settlements with the Maori and New Zealand government and has worked to ensure that Maori knowledge and presence is pervasive throughout New Zealand.

“Dr. Smith's commitment is not only to Maori interests but to the transforming potential of Indigenous knowledge and praxis globally,” says Dr. Bill Cohen, Indigenous Studies professor and Okanagan-Syilx educator at Okanagan College. “He has resolutely, and respectfully, worked to ensure that actual positive change was, and is, occurring.”

The Okanagan visit is a return one for Dr. Smith: in 2005 he received an honorary Doctor of Literature from Okanagan University College (OUC).   

Okanagan College proudly operates on the traditional territories of the Syilx and Secwepemc peoples. An Indigenization Task Force was created to fulfill the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan’s vision of the institution’s ongoing commitment to working with, and learning from, the Indigenous Community.

“The College has a demonstrated strong track-record of engaging with the Aboriginal community and of supporting our Indigenous students with their educational goals,” says Cohen, who leads the task force. “But we can do more. That’s where the task force comes in. Our goal is to take a good look at the College’s offerings and how we can develop meaningful knowledge relationships across departments, programs and courses.”


Heska appointed Director of Human Resources at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Linda Heska August 2017Okanagan College will welcome a new Director of Human Resources next month. Linda Heska, a post-secondary administrator with nearly 30 years of management and consulting experience in the public sector, will step into the role on Sept. 18.

Heska brings considerable expertise in the areas of workplace conflict resolution, collective agreement administration, collective bargaining, performance management, recruitment, onboarding and orientation. She honed this expertise while serving in a number of Human Resources leadership roles with Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) over the past 27 years, most recently as Director, Employee Relations – a role she occupied for almost 10 years.

She holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University and a Management Certificate, major in Human Resources, from BCIT. Heska has also published a book on organizational practices that contribute to employee engagement. 

“I’m looking forward to working with the Human Resources team to help create and enhance engagement across all our employee groups and every corner of the College community,” says Heska, who hails from Port Moody originally and recently moved to the Okanagan from the Lower Mainland.

“I believe in supporting individuals to be the very best they can be, and that their successes drive organizational success. I’m excited to get to play a role in empowering people to success in their careers at the College.”

“We’re so pleased to have Linda’s depth of knowledge and experience in human resources in the B.C. post-secondary sector without making an understatement,” says Roy Daykin, Vice President Employee and Corporate Services at Okanagan College. “On top of that, she brings a track record of inspiring enthusiasm and motivating those around her that I expect will make her a welcome addition to Okanagan College in short order."

Heska is well versed in the challenge of helping employees thrive and feel engaged across multiple campuses and regions. In her time at KPU, she helped guide policies and practices that affected instructional and support staff at the institution’s four locations in Metro Vancouver. She has also provided coaching services to individuals in the areas of career and transition, performance, leadership and legacy.

“I’m passionate about understanding the bigger picture, but I also pride myself in having the ability to respond quickly and efficiently to situations and needs at the individual level,” explains Heska.