PORTFOLIO.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs Magazine | Volume 2 | Issue 4 | 2024

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O R T F O L I O .

B U S I N E S S & E N T R E P R E N E U R S V O L U M E 2 | I S S U E 4














With every issue of Portfolio.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs M agazine published, I take great pride in championing the visionaries and innovators who are the bedrock of our business community Each story connects their 'asks' with the right people By placing their journeys in front of an extensive audience of peers and professionals, the power of word-of-mouth takes over and undoubtedly, success ensues

In this issue, I invite you to meet Shelina M awani (aka ' Samosa Queen' ), who has built the Nana' s Kitchen 'grab and go' empire based on a unique style of samosas that are being hand-crafted in Surrey to the tune of 30,000 daily!

Brittany M ichalchuk of YVR Entrepreneurs Club is an empowerment dynamo who has made it her life's mission to create success through high-level achievement. From exclusive intimate gatherings to large-scale events, she connects people through networking, learning, and collaboration.

David Wong, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Oration Global, has made significant contributions to the business world His passion lies in helping business owners secure financing, expand their businesses, and cut costs for success.

Those who know Jordan Kallman of The Social Concierge, understand his passion for Vancouver, and those who have never met him undoubtedly have attended (and enjoyed) many of the renowned events that he conjured into existence out of his desire to transform Vancouver into a PRO-fun city

Behind the scenes, Cybersecurity & Data

Privacy Lawyer Ritchie Po is contributing to developing AI and data privacy as a national legal expert and building a consultancy in a growing field

Kris Krug has launched Future Proof Creatives to tackle the enormous task of striving to protect creatives from the potential threat of AI annihilation and encourage and guide them to co-exist

Sustainable fashion designer Raquel Grebler

Quesne recently had her alpaca-based garments featured in Vogue Ukraine. From inception to realization, Ahblo Luxury Knitwear hits all the right notes with luxury lovers.

Tatiana Berdyugin and Natalia Khlystov of Luxx Nova Bridal have achieved a significant milestone in their business journey with the launch of their stunning Yaletown flagship They are now setting their sights on a cross-Canada expansion, a testament to their ambition and drive.

Julie Vu may have started on YouTube as Princess Joules, but as her star rises and personal brand matures, major retailers are now involved, and opportunities abound internationally for this Content Creator

Reece Sims of Sips Spirits Consulting is shaking up how hospitality and consumers approach spirits Her interactive Flavor Camp? is projected to have over one million members within five years!

From AI to influencers, spirits to speakers, sustainability to samosas, I am pleased to share the journeys of 11entrepreneurs shaping the future of our communities, our laws and lifestyles, and those we choose to spend time with online.

As Portfolio YVR is a quarterly publication; Issue # 5 will launch in September Submissions for inclusion in our curated sponsored content publication are now open! Please flip to the masthead and email me directly for details.



Shelina M awani is a resilient and successful businesswoman. Affectionally known as the " Samosa Queen," she is the visionary behind Nana' s Kitchen, a multi-million dollar company producing gourmet handmade samosas in Surrey, BC.

Success did not always come easy for Shelina. Born in the small town of M wanza, Tanzania, she grew up without a formal education or long-term goals for the future.

Shelina moved to Canada in 1983 and faced several setbacks, including a failed restaurant business. Undeterred, she kept her entrepreneurial spirit alive despite financial difficulties and numerous hurdles.

Through a combination of embracing struggles, celebrating successes, and collaborating with others, Shelina had the strength and enthusiasm to succeed.

Following in her parent's footsteps, she dedicates her time to helping others and is now able to employ and mentor more than 50 new immigrants.

Shelina's success has not gone unnoticed Over the years, she has earned numerous awards and recognition In 2019, the Bank of M ontreal celebrated her for her community and charity giving.

She was listed as one of the Top 11 ' Women- Owned Businesses in BC' by Business in Vancouver In 2021, she won the Business Resilience award for the ' 41 Plus' category by the Surrey Board of Trade.

Shelina attributes her success to the lessons she learned along her journey and the unwavering support of her family.


Nana?s Kitchen produces convenient comfort foods inspired by the culture, caring and kitchen memories of grandmothers all over the globe

The company offers a wide range of ready-to-eat savoury foods, inspired by the food from ?your Nana?s Kitchen,? including: handmade samosas, available in flavours such as Vegetable, Butter Chicken, Chicken Tandoori, Chicken, Beef, Cajun, Pakoras, and Savory Sauces that include a Tamarind Sauce The Mexi food line includes Chicken Chimichangas, and Burritos Coming soon are a Mac & Cheese Toasty, South of the Border Toasty, and traditional vegetable samosa

Nana?s Kitchen was established in 2000 in Surrey by founders Nasim and Shelina, to keep up with the ever-growing takeout orders for their pastry items.

Nasim retired in 2018. Shelina took the helm with full ownership of Nana's Kitchen, leading the company with passion and strength

The company?s mission is to create ?Convenient Comfort Foods with a Global Taste ?

Fueled by a strong vision to produce to the highest standards, Nana?s Kitchen made a passionate commitment to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)

certification and opened their state-of the art, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspected facility which received British Retail Consortium?s (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety

Nana's Kitchen also keeps sustainability in mind by preferring to source from local suppliers


"Looking at me today, you would think my journey to success was a straight path, clear of demanding challenges and obstructions However, to say that was the case would not be genuine My pilgrimage toward prosperity and happiness in the business world has been long, and it has been met with several hardships along the way.

"I was born in Mwanza ? a city in northern Tanzania, East Africa ? where I grew up without computers, cell phones, TV, large shopping malls, and many of the conveniences we have today.

"I was a carefree small- town girl just living day by day, unsure of my long-term goals or vision, especially after failing my senior year of high school

"One fine evening, after I came home from evening prayers, my brother asked me about my plans for the future, and I replied that I wanted to take a secretarial course. I made this decision not because I was interested in this course but because all of my peers were going to the city of Dar es Salam for their studies, and I did not want to be left alone With that, I went off and completed my secretarial course, then returned to Mwanza and worked for a few years.

"Then, when I was twenty, I had my " AHA" moment My parents have always had a lot of compassion for the less fortunate, and that has had a huge impact on me One day, my mother forced me to drive the nuns back to the church with their groceries"

"A storm had rolled in, so it was raining heavily as we arrived, thunder rumbling and lightning flashing across the sky. I saw children with leprosy walking towards the gate to get the groceries we had brought, and I froze in shock, tears rolling down my cheeks. This was when I first became aware of this deadly disease, the poverty experienced by those afflicted with it, and their living conditions. At that moment, I became passionate about being part of the solution.

"I decided to become an ambassador for leprosy In my first project, I landed myself the role of youngest chairperson for the Lioness Club of M wanza, an internationally affiliated organization dedicated to helping communities through charitable causes. For one of my projects, I set up diagnostic camps for locals to create much-needed awareness about leprosy. The other project I assisted in was sending eight children to England to receive treatment for their heart murmurs, which was unavailable to them in East Africa.

"Due to the unrest in Africa, my brother sponsored us to move to Canada in 1982 to enjoy a stable and safe life. Here, we were embraced and accepted as citizens. I married in 1985 and had two sons, the firstborn in 1987 and the second in 1992. Then, when they were very young, I lost my job and embarked on a journey into entrepreneurship. My sister Nasim had recently moved to our area and needed work, so together, we opened a 700- square- foot restaurant in Burnaby.

"Without my children and husband's support, I would never have been able to start this business. It was a difficult time in many ways

"Nawaz worked fourteen-hour days to support our family and also helped me financially in my day-to-day business.

"My children grew up independently, with the older brother looking after the younger one. I drove a 1968 Pontiac Parisienne, which I had paid $250 for, with doors that did not lock and wipers that did not work My eldest had to become an expert in guiding me to see through the rain-streaked windshield

"After nine months in operation, my sister Nasim and I had to close the doors of our restaurant as it was losing too much money. Instead, we decided to transition to the wholesale samosa market There was an increasing demand for ethnic foods, and samosas were being sold in mom- and- pop stores all over the area ? this was a food that we had grown up with and loved, so we thought we could impact the market. With that, Nana's Kitchen was born. Our first factory space was only 1,700- square- feet, allowing us to produce between 400-1,000 samosas daily. We started selling them as grab-and-go items to small coffee shops, gas stations, universities, and pizza shops

"When we first looked at creating our product, we considered what we could do to stand out Initially, I thought it would be about taste. We looked outside the box and created a unique gourmet product that stood out from the traditional Punjabi samosa that was commonly available.

"We used a completely different pastry and taste profile, and our samosas were almost three times the size of our competitors However, we soon realized our current market was not a good target for our product "

"I had to face the fact that price was a barrier in the ethnic community, so the bigger picture of selling to the mainstream community through grocery retail was born. We established our brand as a gourmet product, and in 2001, we acquired our first major grocery retailer. One would think that this was the happy ending to my story and the key to my success. However, I am reminded of the expression, " Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it."

"Getting the business of a large grocery chain was a joy, but it came with its own burden. This meant we had to move from our small facility with seven staff to a custom- built HACCP- approved plant that required more than doubling our team. This also meant getting federal inspectors onsite daily to check that we followed good manufacturing practices and confirm all our export declarations We spent almost three years upgrading our facility Our staff had to be FOODSAFE and WHM IS- certified and undergo vigorous training before they could even step into the production area

"Today, I am proud to say that we are the only HACCP/ BRC- certified plant producing handmade samosas in BC However, when I look back at the huge investment it took to reach this goal and the failures I experienced, I count myself lucky to have made it We had a much higher chance of failing than succeeding; I should have done my research about the finances that were required before we jumped into this new direction

"The costs of building this new facility and training all the staff were high We almost instantly had a 1424% increase in operational expenses and a 690% increase in rent just to maintain our current sales volume.

"I maxed out my line of credit and was forced to take out a second mortgage on my family home and borrow from my relatives. Then, in 2008, the recession hit, and the economic toll of my debt grew heavy.

"One morning, my bank called and told me, "You are a risk to our business. Your line of credit is used too much, and we consider your business an unworthy partner." Then, the man made me an offer ? or as I saw it, took us hostage:

"Pay us $25,000, and then we will send a risk assessment advisor to look at your plant operations and administration. If you do that, we can remain your bank " I was shattered; it felt like this would end my business I could not afford to close as I had too much at stake, but there were too many hurdles to continue

"Fortunately, I found another bank, Envision Financial, willing to take on my business and the outstanding loan without the risk assessment. This allowed us to keep operating, but nothing changed about my everyday struggle to come out of my financial stress My accounts were always overdrawn, and I would sit on the stairs every night and cry as I tried to figure out what I would tell the bank the following day Needless to say, times were tough.

"There were five long, hard years where our sales did not meet our overhead During this time, I got good at juggling our income and expenses Sometimes, this required a call to the bank, pleading with them not to bounce our rent cheque " Just give us two more days" became my slogan Sometimes, I could not afford to pay my employees and had to ask them to push their paycheque back one or two weeks. I couldn't pay the bills, and our vendors were ready to put our account on hold."

"For those who have never experienced financial difficulty, it is hard to explain the deterioration of your mind and emotions It's like your consciousness is stuck in one place, and the negativity surrounding you buries any instincts and judgements you have left. You cannot think about what will happen tomorrow because you are too busy worrying about how to get out of your current situation

"I could not have gotten through this time or seen the success I have today without my employees ? it is because of them that I am now a successful entrepreneur. As an immigrant and a woman of ethnicity, I understand firsthand the struggles of immigrating to a new country. This fuelled my passion to create opportunities for people from different ethnicities and backgrounds.

"I hired people with little to no English and gave them an opportunity to thrive and gain confidence. These same employees are still with us and are now in management positions. With teamwork, we can achieve the extraordinary

"At the end of those five years, we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. The lease on our factory was paid out, and Nawaz, who had joined the business in 2002, had developed our Canadian market and started to penetrate the US market This was a huge turning point for us, and Nawaz was the one who made it happen, travelling for weeks at a time to establish brokers and distributors, and yet all I could see was that I was still stuck in a room that was on fire. Then, I ignited the spark within me and took the leap to change my thinking. I felt a new beginning coming towards me and welcomed it with open arms."

"However, I had to change my mindset and re- evaluate the situation to meet this new beginning. I had to take on a positive outlook and convince myself that despite drowning in debt, I could do what it took to come out of it At this time, I had learned a vital lesson: I had to drown before I could swim, and that, indeed, became my asset.

"To succeed, I decided we needed to improve our execution and marketing We hired a consultant on a contract basis to help us brand our product and identify and overcome our weaknesses.

"We also hired right- minded professionals in marketing, social media, trade shows, and brokering to take our business to the next level Finally, we brought on a volunteer board of advisors made up of people who had owned large corporations, and they were able to help guide us through some of our business decisions.

"Throughout my professional career, I have developed a personal philosophy that offers solutions to the problems that surface while creating a business I call them my "Three C' s. "

"The first C is 'CONVERSATION, ' which holds significant value in the business world. Conversation is your biggest asset when you encounter a problem, no matter how far-reaching it may be. One of the ways I raised awareness about our products is by starting to network on social media and advertise at community events. I did product demonstrations at local stores, spoke at local colleges and universities, and attended events where I could have a table to display my flyers and share what makes my product different from any other in the market. These allowed me to communicate directly with our customers and ensure that our product met their expectations

"The following C is 'COLLABORATION. ' Regardless of your strengths, you will fail to achieve your goals in business without collaboration While you must first believe in yourself and your product, you must ask for advice from those with experience in the field and be willing to use their help to take your business to the next level. I joined women' s organizations that would meet every month so I could network with like-minded women and get some solutions to my problems.

"The final C is 'CELEBRATION, ' which remains a pivotal component of my journey to success. You must never forget to celebrate every win, no matter how small. Initially, I would forget to celebrate because I was so focused on my struggles and failures. Still, now I celebrate every milestone because they demonstrate that everything has entwined together to create a business built on love and respect And thankfully, we have lots of reasons to celebrate!

"Today, Nana's Kitchen occupies an over 30,000- square- foot facility in the heart of Surrey, BC. It produces more than 30,000 handmade samosas daily, which are sold in grocery stores throughout North America

"As a businesswoman, I have won many prestigious awards, including ' Business Woman of the Year' by the Times of Canada and ' Best Export Business' by the Surrey Board of Trade in 2016

"In 2017, I won ' Woman of the Decade' through the Women Economic Forum, and in 2018, I was the only Canadian woman awarded the ' Bharat Saman' award by the House of Lords in London, England. In 2019, I was recognized by the Bank of M ontreal for community and charitable giving."

"That said, my mindset is always about giving more and expecting less. Throughout my life, I have continued to impact the people around me wherever I can positively.

"I was on the organizing committee for the Salama Gala, which raised funds for Camp Good Time for kids who have cancer and also supported the Watoto wa Africa orphanage in my homeland of Tanzania. Most recently, my business has become a community champion for the Surrey M emorial Foundation, local food banks, and local community programs

"To me, courage is not about changing or grasping for something better? it is about being in the present I was able to overcome the constraints of living in a third-world country and the struggles of immigrating to a faraway, unknown place

"I then pushed through the challenges of starting and expanding a business to become the 'Samosa Queen,' as customers and friends have dubbed me. And now, my newest passion is speaking about my journey of embracing failures to achieve success

"There are many lessons that you will take from my story. One is that even the most successful entrepreneurs have made mistakes along the way, allowing them to discover valuable lessons that enable their growth.

"So, regardless of the market you enter, do your homework

"Refrain from fooling yourself into thinking that things will fall into place, and ensure you have the funds to support your business ventures in the long term.

"Also, remember to question whether your product or service is in demand and ensure that you're considering both passion and practicality.

"Another crucial lesson has been the importance of family. My husband, Nawaz Mawani, and my children, Samir and Sarfaraz, are my biggest inspirations and have supported me throughout this journey. Without them, I would not be where I am today.

"Finally, make sure you dream big but also have realistic goals. Take a few minutes daily to reflect on your goals and achievements and ensure you are on track for where you want to be.

"You have to possess the right mindset to make the leap in your mind. And when you orientate your goals to embrace conversation, collaboration, and celebration, there is no telling what you can achieve

"There were some tough years during my journey to success; living through them was no easy feat However, I have learned so much from my failures that today, I salute them M y happiness was always within me; to find it, I just had to seize the moment

"My mission in life is not to survive but to thrive with passion and style, and that is a right for every human being? including you."


Oration Global is unwavering in its commitment to providing a comprehensive range of services, dedicated to helping business owners not just grow, but also secure the funding they need, and reduce costs They value clients and their success is a top priority.

Oration Global was co-founded by David Wong, a seasoned marketer with 12 years of experience and operational expertise, and Carl Brodie, MA, CFP, a professional with a rich background in corporate tax planning, insurance, private equity, and working with high-net-worth families

Oration Global is led by individuals who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, ensuring the provision of comprehensive business advisory services

The company serves its clients through its portfolio companies: OnticGrowth, a revenue-driven marketing firm; Oh Granted, which helps business owners secure government funding and commercial financing.

Additionally, Stone Owl Family Office, which focuses on wealth growth and preservation for business families through tax planning and various investment products.

Oration Global works with Canadian business owners of all sizes throughout the business lifecycle, from acquiring start- up capital to business growth to wealth preservation as they approach retirement

Oration Global is not just a business advisory firm, but a community hub. The company takes pride in its expansive, specialized team and partnerships with numerous Canadian vendors, positioning itself as an ' air traffic control' for business solutions Moreover, Oration Global actively engages the community by hosting events that provide a platform for showcasing the work of our team, clients, and partners

"We are fostering the growth of the OG Consortium, a vibrant networking and mastermind community, because we believe in the power of collaboration and shared success," shares David

David Wong, the co-founder and managing partner of Oration Global, is a dedicated professional who oversees business development and operations within the organization, instilling confidence in his capabilities

David's impressive track record includes two successful exits and a significant contribution to the Canadian economy through securing $52 million in government funding for business owners.

David's professional relationships are built on the cornerstone of trust, a value he holds dear. As a recipient of the 2 Comma Club award, he is a founding member of the OG Consortium and a member of the Canadian Association of M anagement Consultants.

In his free time, David enjoys golfing, fishing, reading, and indulging in whiskey He frequently donates to various causes and aims to increase his community involvement.


"My entrepreneurial journey began in 2012 when I started working as a freelance photographer, focusing primarily on sporting events.

"However, by the summer of 2015, I realized that mixing money with my passion limited my creativity to what clients wanted.

"At the beginning, I was afraid of going all in and reinvesting in the business I had this scarcity mindset that I would lose the money if I did not start putting all my profits aside. This fear held me back and kept my business growth stagnant.

"Once I broke that mindset and understood that money is energy and flows, I realized that reinvesting profits into the business was not just a risk but a necessary step for growth. This shift in perspective was transformative By reinvesting strategically, I could improve operations, expand my product line, and enhance marketing efforts.

"I vividly remember the early days when every small victory felt monumental The first time I managed to fulfill an order seamlessly, the first positive testimonial from a satisfied client, the first time my podcast hit the Top 100 list on Apple Podcasts? these moments were the sparks that ignited my belief that I was on the right track They were the proof I needed to see that my hard work and perseverance were paying off

"One particular morning stands out to me. I was in Vancouver, sitting in my home office, and as I looked out the window, I felt a profound sense of calm and certainty The sun was shining, and for the first time, I was not overwhelmed by doubt or anxiety Instead, I felt a deep sense of purpose and clarity. I realized that this journey, with all its ups and downs, was precisely what I was meant to do It was not a single event but a series of moments that led to this epiphany"

"Taking it back to 2012, I lived at home in Vancouver, navigating the early stages of my entrepreneurial journey and by 2015, I was bouncing back and forth between Toronto and Vancouver. This was a time of intense personal development and change. I even started hiding what I was doing from some friends and family, unsure how they would react to my unconventional path

"In 2015, I launched my first real registered business, Ratchet M onkey Shop, an e-commerce store selling home and garden goods.

"I started this business on the floor of my cousin's apartment in Toronto to sustain myself in the city. Despite an initial hiccup of having to refund my first sale of an electric fireplace, I persevered and built Ratchet Monkey Shop into a top- rated store on eBay, generating $1 million in revenue within 18 months However, as the market became more competitive, with every YouTube guru teaching people how to start their own e-commerce business, it became less lucrative. I sold it for some Bitcoin in 2017, riding the high of making my first seven figures.

"Parallel to my e-commerce venture, I began freelancing as a digital marketer in 2015. Despite knowing nothing about social media marketing, I secured my first client on UpWork. Determined to succeed, I submitted proposals, got the job, and learned on the go through Google and YouTube.

"This hustle led me to work with industry giants like Grant Cardone and Frank Kern and notable clients, including UBC, Shopify, Fairchild TV, and M odelo.

"I continued freelancing until 2019, juggling this work with studying, training with the Canadian Taekwondo national team, and working low-pay positions

"My days were a blur of waking up at 4 AM to check my e-commerce store, attending classes, training or working after class, and working on my business during exam study times.

"In 2016, I started my first 'agency,' GeoFilters Plus, partnering with event planners and photographers to help clients design and host Snapchat geo-filters for events. However, I received a cease and desist from Snapchat for using their yellow in my branding, so I shut down the business instead of rebranding.

"By 2017, I had moved back to Toronto, started working as a freelance videographer, and started dating Emily, an incredibly patient and supportive woman (who is now my fiancee). I focused on wineries in Niagara on the Lake and was a travel videographer for the North American Chinese Basketball Association.

"2018 was a pivotal year for me as I attended a podcast mastermind hosted by Jay Wong just one day after my grandmother passed away I vividly remember walking into the venue, knowing my life would change

"I met Justin Tsui, who became my first mentor and introduced me to the ' Law of Attraction ' Although I did not have the money to invest in his program, I maxed my credit card - the investment paid off as my work and growth with JT led us to hit our first five- figure month within the year."

"Inspired, I launched my podcast, ' The Self M astery Show,' documenting my journey toward becoming the best version of myself The podcast quickly gained traction, becoming a ' New and Noteworthy' podcast and reaching the Top 100 list on Apple Podcast within the first week "

"In 2019, tired of freelancing, I co-founded a B2B marketing company to build a team around me We grew to an international team of 15, servicing clients in Canada, the USA, Australia, Singapore, and Germany The pandemic lockdowns worked in our favour as business professionals sought to replace in-person networking with LinkedIn, where we were experts I gained valuable experience in operational management, people operations, and enterprise sales. We also ventured into government grants to help clients fund their investments with us I sold the company at the end of 2023.

"In 2023, I became a co-founder and partner of Oration Global In the past year alone, we have helped over 820 Canadian businesses access over $52 million in funding.

"At Oration Global, I focus on identifying and nurturing these high-impact partnerships to jumpstart our growth This involves investing time and resources into building strong relationships, understanding our partners' needs and goals, and finding ways to create win-win situations We collaborated on joint ventures, co-hosted events, and cross-promoted each other's services. By aligning our efforts, we achieved exponential growth that would not have been possible

"Additionally, I leveraged our successes to attract more high- quality partners. Sharing case studies, testimonials, and success stories helped demonstrate the value we could bring to potential partners. This credibility made it easier to form new alliances and expand our network.

"Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I have been fortunate to have incredible support from my family and various individuals who believed in me and helped me along the way including:

"Gary Vee helped me break past worrying about other people's thoughts His quote, "Ideas are shit, execution is the game," became a mantra for me

"Alvin Pilobello was the first person I met when I joined a coworking space in Toronto As a leadership coach focusing on meaningful conversations, Alvin has helped me think through business problems and navigate difficult conversations with my associates. His guidance has been invaluable in my personal and professional growth.

"Henry Zhu, my cousin, provided me with a place to stay when I moved to Toronto in 2015. I slept on the floor of his condo for a few months, and during this time, he showed me how to start my first e-commerce business. His support and mentorship were crucial in my early entrepreneurial efforts.

"I have started giving back by mentoring young entrepreneurs through organizations like Futurpreneurs and New Ventures BC This experience has been incredibly rewarding, allowing me to share my knowledge and insights with the next generation of business leaders

"At Oration Global, we have developed a unique business model to help business owners secure financing, grow their businesses, and reduce costs. Our approach follows a company's natural progression from start- up to maturity. "What sets us apart is our philosophy against the "all-in-one" solution, where one business tries to offer everything under one roof "

"From my experience as a freelancer, I know that being a ' jack of all trades' often means being a ' master of none ' Instead, we have brought together three distinct businesses, each a master in its domain, to deliver exceptional value to our clients"

"Our consortium includes OnticGrowth for marketing, Oh Granted for government funding and commercial financing, and Stone Owl Family Office for wealth growth and preservation.

"Another unique aspect of our model is that our financing and cost-reduction services are 100% performance- based. Unlike others in the industry who charge a fee regardless of the outcome, we only make money if our clients successfully secure funding or save money

"To drive Oration Global through the next two quarters, we are making a big push to focus our business generation efforts on established Canadian businesses generating at least $500,000 in revenue. We can provide the most substantial value to these clients, leveraging our expertise to drive significant growth and cost savings.

"Moreover, we are looking to expand our network of strategic partners Building a robust network is crucial to delivering comprehensive, high-quality services to our clients. We seek partnerships with businesses and individuals who align with our vision and can enhance our value This includes experts in various fields such as finance, marketing, legal, and operations who are as committed to excellence as we are.

"We are not holding back in our ambitions. Our task is straightforward and bold: We need connections with high-revenue businesses poised for growth and ready to benefit from our performance-based financing and cost-reduction services Additionally, we seek introductions to potential partners who can complement our services and help us build an even more formidable consortium of experts.

"Together, we can transform Canada's business growth landscape and support, ensuring our clients achieve unparalleled success

"By the end of 2025, our target at Oration Global is to help Canadian business owners access over $200 million in grants and financing. This substantial injection of funds into the economy will empower businesses to innovate, expand, and thrive We are committed to playing a pivotal role in the growth and success of Canadian enterprises, ensuring they have the resources they need to reach their full potential.

"Looking ahead five years, we envision Oration Global and the OG Consortium becoming a premier business hub. Our goal is to create a vibrant ecosystem where business owners come to grow and access a comprehensive range of services. This hub will be a one- stop destination for financing, marketing, cost reduction, and strategic planning, all delivered by experts who are masters in their respective fields"


Kris Krug is a boundary-pushing Creative Explorer, an intuitive Tech Whisperer, and a tenacious Culture Hacker In the fabric of the digital era, where technology often overshadows humanity, Kris has taken it upon himself to chart a different course.

He is on a relentless mission to humanize technology, to infuse it with empathy, ethics, and emotion.

Kris is not just tinkering with gadgets and algorithms; he is reprogramming the very core of our interactions with the digital world to resonate with the heartbeat of human experience.

Kris is also in the ring, gloves on, ready to battle the creeping villain of apathy that threatens to numb our society. He challenges indifference with passion, confronts disconnection with engagement, and replaces the passive consumption of media with active creation

Kris stands firm in the belief that art should not be a rarefied luxury but a common language for all By democratizing art, he aims to unlock universal creative potential

Art is a right, not a privilege, and Kris strives to make it accessible to everyone, everywhere? breaking down the walls that confine creativity to the few.

In parallel, Kris is a champion of communities, believing in the colossal power of collective action. Empowering communities is not just about giving a voice to the voiceless; it is about amplifying that voice until it echoes across the globe. It is about lighting a fire in every individual to contribute, connect, and collaborate.

Additionally, there is sustainability ? the drumbeat to which Kris syncs his work and life. Championing sustainability for him means more than just advocating for green policies; it is about instilling a mindset of longevity and respect for the resources we share. From digital to carbon footprints, Kris is dedicated to a vision of the future where technology and ecology dance in harmony, not discord.

These core tenets drive Kris in every keystroke, lens snap, and conversation As Kris Krug, his identity is wrapped in the relentless pursuit of these ideals, forging a path for others to follow into a future where technology, creativity, and humanity converge in a symphony of progress.


"I have been up to entrepreneurial things since a very young age. I used to be really into the school fundraisers they would do, or they would give you a little catalogue, and you would go door- to- door selling things. I would always win the bestseller in the whole school, no matter my grade. Also, around that time, we were talking five, six, or seven, and I started a business of knocking down wasp nests in the eaves of houses in my neighbourhood.

"I would go around with a three-foot-long, one-inch piece of doweling and these long rubber bands my dad used for a Sunday newspaper delivery. I rigged up a little cannon and would shoot them down, even the two-story and three-story ones, no matter how big they were

"I would put them in my red wagon and had a little sign with all the different sizes of wasp nests and their prices I would knock them down, go up to the front door, show them all the nests and my price chart, and then tell them how much they owed me

"I also sold golf balls back to golfers over the fence of my backyard. They would always hit them in my yard, so I collected them. Later, I did not have enough golf balls to keep up with demand, so I wandered around the courses at night, swimming in the ponds to grab balls.

"My dad, who really is the reason I am good at entrepreneurship, instilled it in me in so many ways from an early age. Once the customer was there, he showed me I could be selling Cokes and candy bars, and why not sell used golf balls with a higher margin on new ones?

"I had a paper route too, with special bonuses when they had triple pay for new starts. I would go around, get everyone in the neighbourhood signed up, and make a killing.

"I bought my first car early with money saved up from paper routes and other ventures. I have always been passionate about new businesses, entrepreneurship, creativity, and technology.

"My father got me to have my own bank account when I was about five years old I think I had $62 saved up from birthday cards, odd jobs, and shooting down wasp nests. He always made me pay for half my summer, church, and sports camps. He would sign me up, but I had to pay for half It took a big part of the summer when I was younger, but he always encouraged me to do it.

"My dad skillfully navigated a bureaucratic career working for both the US government and the state of California. He always had interesting side hustles, from flipping companion tickets and free passes on the airlines to reselling used cars and beta-testing early technologies.

"I think he instilled in me what he really wanted to be doing. I am really good at math and creative when it comes to making business work. I am interested in understanding customers and maintaining relationships over time."

"In university, I co-founded Bright with Boris M ann and Roland Tenglau, which was acquired by Rain City Studios in 2007, and I became president for a few years. We were onboarding people into the web 2 0 and social media world with a community hosting platform based on Drupal

"I have many mentors and supporters In the Vancouver AI community, Dr. Patrick Pennefather from the Emerging M edia Lab, professors Steve DePaola and Felipe Pasque from the SFU AI program, Dr. Kate Armstrong from Emily Carr' s Living Labs, Northeastern University' s M arana Papa, and Dennis Chouinard have all been supportive and instrumental to my success.

"My collaborator, M att Astifan of Internet M asterminds, has been very generous. We have an international AI backer in the form of AugX Labs and their project, Augie.

"Over the years, I spent a lot of time on the road I worked for National Geographic, Rolling Stone M agazine, and other top publications and festivals.

"My camera was a golden ticket into every backstage door. The pandemic hit, and I hunkered down at my place on Galliano, pretending to be a farmer. AI grabbed my imagination and pulled me back into the world. I moved back to Vancouver and started Future Proof Creatives with training, workshops, and meetups.

"I got accepted into the Google M edia Accelerator and spent ten weeks developing a business plan for M otley Crue M edia and Future Proof Creatives. We also have an idea for the Fatal Festival, an avant-garde exploration of the future of art, technology, and alternative living

"Future Proof Creatives has grown leaps and bounds, holding sold- out workshops and our get-togethers at my studio in Olympic Village grew from 80 to almost 150 people.

"I have gone through a transformation from rockstar photographer to rockstar CEO. I feel more responsible, productive, creative, and powerful than ever, amplifying my strengths and shoring up weaknesses with cool tools and assistants. The creative technology community is bouncing back from the pandemic, with new projects and companies starting up

"I am watching a bloodbath as AI comes for creative industries. Writers, designers, photographers, filmmakers, creative coders, and marketing strategists are all feeling the pressure

"I am building a lifeboat with Future Proof Creatives, and sell training, workshops, keynote speaking, and guest appearances at festivals and events.

"We need continued support from our community and partners to expand our workshops, meetups, and projects. We are applying for grants to build out our organizational structure and taking a slow road to grow sustainably

"By the end of 2025, I see Future Proof Creatives as a leading community for integrating AI and emerging technologies in creative industries. Five years from now, we will have expanded our reach globally, hosting major events and festivals and fostering a network of creative leaders."


Luxx Nova Bridal Boutique, based in Vancouver, BC, is the creation of co-founders and sisters Tatiana Berdyugin and Natalia Khlystov, established in 2017.

With their extensive experience in the wedding industry, Tatiana and Natalia have elevated Luxx Nova to become one of Canada's most prestigious wedding boutiques.

Luxx Nova offers an exclusive selection of dresses typically found only in Europe The boutique embodies unique wedding styles and designs, infusing a touch of European elegance into Vancouver.

The Luxx Nova team is dedicated to delivering the perfect dress for each bride. Each gown in their collection tells its unique story, crafted from luxurious fabrics, adorned with exquisite décor, and brought to life by the finest ateliers

These gowns exemplify the highest standards of European production quality, earning admiration and reverence from professionals across the Canadian wedding industry.

Tatiana Berdyugin, Co- Founder and Creative Director at Luxx Nova Bridal is the visionary behind this thriving bridal boutique in the heart of Yaletown With a robust background in marketing and over a decade of experience in the wedding industry, Tatiana's passion for the bridal industry has driven her to create a unique and upscale shopping experience for brides


Originally from Eastern Europe, Tatiana moved to Vancouver, determined to elevate the bridal fashion scene in Canada. Beginning her career in wedding photography, she developed a keen eye for detail and beauty, which she now channels into business. The boutique serves brides across North America through a physical and online storefront.

Tatiana's creative direction at Luxx Nova ensures that the boutique stands out with its exclusive, upscale, and modern bridal options. This unique approach has made Luxx Nova the go- to destination for extraordinary brides, setting it apart from other bridal boutiques Her dedication and innovative vision continue to inspire and propel the business forward, solidifying her status as an expert and leader in the industry

Natalia Khlystov, Co- Founder and Chief of Operations and Business Development at Luxx Nova Bridal, drives the boutique's operational excellence and market growth With a background in economics, Natalia has worked diligently to build and maintain strong relationships with European designers, exclusive brand partners, and staff.

Natalia moved from Eastern Europe to join her sister Tatiana in their wedding photography venture, bringing a touch of European elegance to Canada Their shared passion and unique perspective naturally led to the opening of the bridal boutique.

In a world full of repetition, Natalia's eye for uniqueness that makes brides feel unforgettable and timeless. Her success and experience in the industry are a testament to her work ethic, passion, and dedication Natalia's strategic skills have been crucial to establishing Luxx Nova Bridal and its distinguished image, but it is her personal touch and dedication to serving each bride that truly sets Luxx Nova apart.

"We did not set out to be entrepreneurs; we simply followed our dreams We never imagined we would open a successful business in a foreign country, let alone as two sisters working together!

"We were not the type of kids who constantly brainstormed business ideas or tried to make money from a young age Our journey happened organically, step by step, dress by dress, appointment by appointment

"Now, here we are, running the most modern bridal boutique, a place where brides can find exclusive lines by Europe's most renowned designers, nestled in the heart of the most beautiful city in the world.

"Growing up, we were expected to follow traditional career paths (school, college, university, jobs), and entrepreneurship was not encouraged "

"Yet, we took a leap of faith and started our bridal boutique. It was a bold and daring move, one that was both exciting and a bit surreal. As our business grew, the support came naturally from the happiness of our brides, designers and our success. It showed us that following our dream was the right choice, even if it was not the traditional path.

"We were not new to the bridal industry when we opened our bridal boutique almost seven years ago. We had been wedding photographers for a few years before we opened Luxx Nova Bridal Boutique. Since the inception of our idea to sell wedding dresses in Canada, our journey has been quite eventful

"Initially, we started as wholesalers, aiming to work with bridal stores. We created a comprehensive website and a portal, gathered information, and launched an Instagram page However, within a few months, we realized wholesaling differed from the path we wanted to pursue.

"We made a bold decision to erase everything we had worked on and shifted our focus to working with brides rather than with stores

"We began hosting pop- up sales wherever possible until we secured our first showroom It was a tiny room in an office building in Downtown Vancouver, but we did an incredible job decorating it and making it look amazing.

"It was a proud moment for us, a testament to our hard work and determination. Still, it differed from what you would expect from a bridal boutique, but we were thrilled and proud to have our own space

"Then, the pandemic hit, and the following years were tough. But we did not let that stop us Towards the end, we noticed a rise in inquiries and sales, giving us the push to look for a new home for our boutique. Now situated in Yaletown, one of Vancouver's most prized neighbourhoods, our storefront is more prominent, brighter, more comfortable, welcoming, and memorable for our brides.

"Yaletown was our dream initially, but we did not limit our search for a new location to just there. We had a few main criteria: abundant natural light, air conditioning, and high ceilings. We learned that these elements were essential for our brides' experience. It seemed impossible to find a place that met all these requirements. We spent over three years searching, refusing to settle for anything less than perfect. We wanted to establish our Luxx Nova in a location where we could stay for a very long time After seeing hundreds of places and working with three different realtors, we still believe this was one of the biggest challenges we have faced in our business Although we operate by appointment only and do not focus on having a storefront, we could not be happier with our choice.

"Despite keeping an open mind, we focused solely on downtown It is a common belief that bridal boutiques in downtown areas are more modern, stylish, unique, and fashionable than those in other locations That was the image we wanted to portray. Yaletown adds its charm to our boutique, being a hub for modern and unique businesses. We could not be happier with our decision."

"Finding the perfect place was incredibly challenging, but we finally succeeded After months of renovations and creating our design? bringing custom-made mirrors from Turkey and custom-made iron racks and fitting rooms? the most stylish bridal boutique in Vancouver was ready to open.

"On December 3, 2022, we opened our doors to our new location and couldn't be happier. Our journey has been filled with challenges and triumphs, each step bringing us closer to our vision.

"We had many " first sales" before moving to our new location, as we went through several different stages. However, we feel that the real Luxx Nova began when we opened our doors at the Yaletown location We clearly remember our first sale there.

"It was our first appointment and the very first bride who came in She travelled from out of town with her whole family to shop at our boutique She said " YES" to one of our most unique dresses. There were a lot of tears and hugs, and we cried together It was an unforgettable and emotional moment, a moment that reminded us why we started this journey in the first place.

"Although we have been together since birth, we did not become business partners until we opened our first business ? a wedding photography company Initially, working together was challenging It was not always easy, and sometimes we fought. Even though we are sisters, we are so different We have different personalities and different characters It took us a few years to learn new sides of each other and to find ways to compromise, work together, and lead our business to success.

"One day, we had a heart- to- heart conversation and made a pact: we would continue doing business together, but if we ever felt that the business was ruining our sisterhood, we would close it down. Since then, we have been fine. We are very different and responsible for different parts of the business, which makes us a strong team We both mutually feel that there is no better partner for us than one another

"It is hard to have a personal life when you own a business, especially when it is a bridal business? when you must work all weekends. Thankfully, we both have the most amazing husbands who have supported us from the beginning, every step of the way

"We could not have done it without them. From carrying racks and dresses for our pop-up sales in the early days to working late nights to ensure the renovation of our new space was completed on time, they have been our rocks

"Having each other has also been an enormous blessing We can rely on one another 100%, which allows us to make travel plans, knowing the store and our customers are in good hands.

"However, it is still challenging for us to plan trips together, but we are working on it! Despite these challenges, our supportive partners, strong teamwork, and staff have made it possible to balance our personal lives with our business.

"The pivotal moment came when we saw our sales grew after opening our new location Reading our Google reviews, seeing the heartfelt messages from our happy brides, and seeing their wedding photos brought tears to our eyes"

"It was in those moments that we realized it was all working out and that we were truly making a difference in the lives of our brides.

"We have many exciting plans to take our business to the next level. We are bringing in new collections from well- known designers to offer our brides even more stunning options. Additionally, we have some exciting events planned to create memorable experiences for our clients and further establish our boutique as a premier destination for brides

"Our lives are pretty unpredictable, but everything is moving forward as planned This is the nature of our lives and business? you never know what will be different each season We constantly adapt to new trends, welcome new designers, onboard new employees, and meet new brides. Each generation of brides brings unique preferences and styles, keeping us on our toes and ensuring our boutique remains fresh and relevant. This continuous evolution is exciting and challenging, but it makes our journey so rewarding

"Our business model is centred on providing a private, personalized experience for each bride, ensuring that every bride leaves happy. The designers we carry are from Europe and are unavailable in other stores in Vancouver ? or even surrounding areas like Washington, Oregon, Alberta and the eastern part of Canada, and this results in getting many brides from Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and the USA. But, having been to many of our European designers' flagship stores over our years in business has inspired us to offer a parallel level of service, one that is unique and one we would say differentiates Luxx Nova from the rest of the Vancouver bridal market

"When most brides visit our boutique for the first time, they are in awe of our modern selection. Our boutique offers a unique atmosphere, exceptional service, and expert advice from our stylists We understand the importance and difficulty of choosing the perfect wedding dress, so we never pressure brides to make an immediate decision. Instead, we focus on creating a memorable, stress- free experience where each bride feels valued and supported This commitment to a tailored, thoughtful approach is what sets us apart

"Each season, we invest heavily in new inventory and cannot wait to receive the latest samples from our famous designers. We are constantly working on our website? our night-time job without vacations or sick days? and we are finally happy with the results

"Moving forward, now that Yaletown Luxx Nova is open and thriving, we are in the early stages of launching a big, creative, and unique fashion event featuring a catwalk showcasing our dresses for brides and wedding industry vendors

"Bridal stores in Canada often focus more on sales than the experience, but we want to offer something more? a show that creates excitement for future brides even before engagement Vancouver lacks fashion events, so why not start a trend? By the end of 2025, we hope to realize this vision and begin expansion plans across Canada."


Ritchie Po is a privacy and technology lawyer who can be independently hired for a contract, fixed-term, time-and-materials, or consultancy basis.

Ritchie holds both Canadian (CIPP/ C) and European / GDPR (CIPP/ E) privacy professional designations He provides global data privacy consulting advice to institutional clients and help small businesses manage data privacy breaches

Ritchie's practice focuses on enabling businesses to create efficiencies to enhance product development and service delivery in compliance with privacy legislation

He has acted as legal counsel to a major Telecom, a multinational corporate trust agency, two Fortune 500 companies, and the WorkSafeBC.

Ritchie's extensive experience in privacy consulting is a testament to his expertise

He has reviewed the privacy programs for major organizations, identifying opportunities for improvement to ensure legislative compliance in all aspects of the business.

He conducts privacy impact assessments, responds to privacy complaints and breaches, provides education and training, and represents clients before the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia.

His prompt and accurate responses to queries from stakeholders, and his collaborative approach with business groups, further highlight his professional capabilities.

Ritchie is a rare lawyer who ' speaks geek.' That is, he works heavily with IT clients to understand complex systems and is able to translate this knowledge so that executives can comprehend and make informed business decisions when assuming privacy risks

His professional volunteering experiences include serving as the Chair for the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) BC's FOI & Privacy Law subsection, the IAPP' s Canadian Advisory Board, Reboot Communications, and the Digital Governance Council of Canada. Ritchie Po, a published legal editor, is also a Contributing Editor to the commercial retail trade publication Retail Insider, assisting its founder Craig Patterson at its inception


"It was in 2011 that I realized I was an entrepreneur when I was already in my early 30s. I had been Called to the Bar for about five years at that point, and they say in the first five years you figure out what you are and your area of focus

"I recognized early on that I wanted to be the person who is called in to resolve issues as an impartial outsider outside the traditional law firm model. Businesses were only then starting to realize how critical data privacy would be for their operations There was a lot of untapped market for individual legal practitioners since not all entities championed privacy management as a priority and business driver. I saw the opportunity for a sole practitioner to position myself in the market

"There was general dissatisfaction with the type of work I did. In the first few years of my legal career, I focused on the more " traditional" areas of practice, such as insurance litigation, real estate conveyancing, securities, and other corporate/ commercial law areas I did not see myself doing anything innovative in these fields while competing with others who are partner-track in large multinational firms or trying to leave that track and go into in- house jobs.

"Another motivating factor was that law is not always the big globe-trotting career people think it is. I wanted to practice in a field where I could effect change not only for individual clients but also ? and this is where I get idealistic ? effect large-scale positive change. Once I started to work with data privacy and understood that the map of AI is global and touches every industry in the world, I began to picture myself as an SME in one corner of the world with the ability to reach a potential global and outward-facing audience.

"It was the lightbulb moment when I realized that organizations may not need that kind of advice full-time but need an external consultant to help them build their data privacy management program. Some needed it for long-term projects

"I transitioned from an in-house general counsel role to data privacy as that was the one area in which I had done some work I had enjoyed but only got to do part-time."

"It was the moment when I completed my first major fixed- term contract with Telus in 2012 It was intended to be a 90- day contract. But when they said they wanted to renew me, it was for another year, with the opportunity to make it a multi-year consultancy.

"I knew I was doing great work for them, but I needed that validation. They were not just saying they needed someone to do a job; they were saying that they were investing in me, which speaks to my skill set and my worth as a professional. So, that initial three-month trial contract turned into a full- time consultancy that lasted well over four years!

"It was then that I took a detour in 2016 when that long-term contract ended and became a public servant with WorkSafeBC for the next four years.

"While that is not necessarily entrepreneurial, it allowed me to see the business from a public sector point of view , and I came to understand the challenges from the other side of the fence. It was a great experience because I now know their specific challenges regarding data privacy compliance when I meet with public sector clients Now that I can speak to them directly about them and let them know how I can provide advice and support in a way that enables them to meet their legislative mandate, they appreciate my knowledge of their business. It's how I win long-term contracts

"There was this moment at the start of the pandemic when I was laid off from my government job, like millions of other people. Human resources put me in a cab and sent me home.

"In that short cab ride back, I remembered that my former Telus colleagues banded together and started an IT security consulting firm and asked me occasionally if I was interested in doing some privacy work on the side That is when I texted the CEO, " I have been sacked! You got anything for me?" he texted me within seconds, asking for a meeting It was the last in-person business meeting I took before the world shut down, but that is how I ended up as the Privacy Lead at Kobalt.io, where I built the privacy consultancy and am still working today as an external consultant So, if anyone asks me for the fastest time I got a job after losing one, I always say "about five minutes" And for this, I will always be grateful to them.

"When I think of the key people in my career, Garry Hawkings immediately comes to mind. He hired me for the role at Telus Security Solutions. I would also go on to work with him a decade later when I went back out on my own during the pandemic.

Gary had written a job description thinking no one would ever fill that role, and he hired me because I was the only " unicorn" applicant with every required skill When the pandemic hit and I was laid off, Michael Argast took me on at Kobalt io, and we collaborated on some genuinely great ventures "

"Michael was never one to let me rest on my laurels, so when he asked me to consult on new and emerging laws, I simultaneously expanded my skill set and evolved into a better professional "

"I recently joined OpenRep.AI as their new AI Ethics & Data Privacy Officer Their CEO, Anthony Green, initially approached me to speak as a data privacy subject matter expert at conferences, which helped me emerge from my shell. I had become complacent as a background player and not as a lead We will be collaborating on several worthwhile projects well into the future.

"I have always been fortunate to be mentored by Ray Everett, the world' s first privacy officer (look it up on his Wikipedia, it is true), who has always been a great sounding board and has always been the model of an accomplished privacy lawyer consultant who thrives in every aspect of his life.

"There's also D. Stuart Gray, my mentor from early in my legal career, who saw my potential early on and has always looked after me. Through him I learned integrity and how to always be impeccable with your word "And lastly, there is Craig Patterson, my longtime friend from law school who started Retail Insider (I may have nagged him into it) and appointed me as the first member of his editorial board I occasionally receive some great swag from RI events, so he helps me bring couture to legal and IT security events

"Now I am known as the go-to cybersecurity, data privacy, and AI lawyer who can " translate" legal and technical requirements into sound business advice.

"I am dedicated to helping my clients grow their businesses while becoming innovative, ethical leaders in the tech space. Only a few lawyers are dedicated to this area of practice, so my combined legal experience and long history of working within the technology industry is what you need to go from the pre-revenue stage into a ten-figure company.

"You can count on me as your de facto Asian Tiger Dad to keep you in line and hold you accountable, but it is for your own good!

"I am also the child of Chinese- Filipino immigrants, and my family did not uproot our lives overseas when we were young just so I could be average and not excel. Like all immigrant parents, they wanted their children to not only succeed but to improve upon what they accomplished. I am from a family of academics, business conglomerates, and professionals, which was the real motivation behind my desire to seek new practice avenues.

"I also realize that the tech space can heavily skew towards cishet white men, but there is a huge, diverse community in the industry that is innovating faster than we can fathom I would, therefore, like to collaborate with more businesses owned and operated by women and by those in the BIPOC and queer- friendly communities. "

"True innovation cannot happen unless everyone has a seat at a table in the room where it happens

"My advice for those considering a change: Always level up!

"When I first started in data privacy, I worked primarily with provincial and national legislation When I started working with more private sector clients with an international customer profile, I used my time during lockdown to get certified as an EU data privacy law expert (working mainly with the General Data Protection Regulation or "GDPR") "

"I had to take that test while social distancing in a test centre, and there wasn't even a vaccine available, so I took a gamble on both my skill set and my health!

"Eventually, I started working with American-based clients and became knowledgeable in California data privacy and health industry privacy (HIPAA) as well. I still work with all these legislative regimes today and advise my clients on them. So I went from a local focus to a thousand-yard stare on the privacy legislative and compliance landscape has gone global. I cannot wait to become more heavily involved in the EU AI legal requirements and working with Asia- Pacific privacy law requirements.

"You can only push to the next level once you raise the bar on yourself so that you have new goals to achieve That is how you become better in any profession.

"The words I live by are on that poster you may have seen on Pinterest: " Drink some coffee, put on some gangsta rap, and handle it."

"In terms of my personal life, I have always looked after myself, but I have added several new habits in the last few years to keep my mind, body, and soul together. Hopefully, I am not only older but also growing wiser.

"The significant change is that I no longer see myself as a younger lawyer I am solidly middle aged but have already planned for retirement That means I am no longer trying to prove myself but have psychologically positioned myself as a truly experienced SME, not merely an "aspiring" or "emerging" one.

"For my physical health, I do small group weight training three times a week and can deadlift over 200 pounds regularly! I still swim, run, and practice yoga. I have also calmed my " monkey brain" by incorporating meditation into my daily life Sometimes, I will not take a call or answer my phone because I need five minutes to re-center myself and re-enter the world

"I have also made more thoughtful and ethical decisions with my diet and have gone partially plant-based as a way of harm reduction. My doctor is thrilled with my bloodwork as a result (Although you can always tempt me with my weakness, bubble tea.) Also, do not underestimate the power of K- beauty masks!"

"Looking back, I do not see my business development as a five-year plan but as a four- year cycle or quadrennial

"It included university, law school, early practice, fixed contract engagements, and ongoing employment. I see myself setting up for the next four years with a specific goal like every Olympic athlete hoping to win gold or get on the podium. That is the only way to become a champion When the next summer Olympics come around in Los Angeles in 2028 (after Paris this year), check in again with me.

"As of now, I am an independent contractor working primarily with institutional clients While I have a solid book of business and some large-scale contracts on the go, I am always looking for my next challenge, which will be in the AI field.

"Having worked in health tech, fintech, retail, and other sectors, I know that the next challenge is in machine learning. I want to work with clients in that field but understand their obligations to society and the world at large by developing ethical AI.

"Therefore, I want to connect with innovative firms that prioritize data privacy so I can develop and implement it organically into their organization.

"I will only work with entities that understand this and share my philosophy. Data privacy is not going away anytime soon, and lip service is not a firm commitment

?I should also mention that I am also part of the technical panel for the Digital Governance Council of Canada, where we are collaborating on developing national standards governing IT security and data protection measures I am also occasionally still working on legislative submissions on developing legislation, which I have done before through the Canadian Bar Association

"While it is hard to predict what will happen, I will continue contributing to the development of AI and data privacy as a national legal expert and present on the topic globally

"I see myself continuing to be the go-to data privacy, subject matter expert Do you remember that show Better Call Saul? In this case, if you have an issue, you better call Po (Ritchie Po) It is no accident that the initials for " privacy officer" spell " PO

"No matter what happens, I intend to be dressed impeccably for it ?


Brittany M ichalchuk, the visionary and founder of the YVR Entrepreneurs Club, is a global force to be reckoned with.

As a seasoned investor, she boasts a significant portfolio in real estate, including 42 rental properties, and multiple other investments

Her influence extends far beyond her investments, as she has graced hundreds of stages worldwide, garnered numerous awards, and guided thousands of students through her academy. Her emceeing prowess is unmatched in Vancouver, where she hosts some of the most prestigious events.

Brittany's passion for numbers, which propelled her to complete a finance degree with honours, is only surpassed by her unwavering commitment to personal growth.

Her dedication to empowering and inspiring others is a testament to her belief in the potential of every individual to make a significant impact on the world. Her resilience and continuous pursuit of knowledge inspire many to embark on their own journey of self-improvement and goal achievement

Brittany's professional achievements have been recognized by numerous media outlets, including M etro, CBC, Good M orning LaLa Land, CTV, Global News, Sports Network, Flare, and Hello M agazine Her client list reads like a who's who of the business world, including Top 500 companies and successful world-renowned businesses like Dentyne Ice, Wrangler, ATB Financial, Ducati, Opa, and M onster Energy


"I have been an entrepreneur since I could speak; entrepreneurship runs in my veins and brings me immense fulfillment and joy. Growing up in the 1990s was a treat When all my friends played with Barbies, I sold painted rocks door-to-door and later Beanie Babies, handmade items, and Pokémon cards. When my friends would ask me to meet up, I was busy working and focused on my dreams

"Like any entrepreneur, I have faced my fair share of setbacks, even back then! One such instance was at a trade show , where I was selling and trading my Pokémon cards It was a successful day, until a thief stole my backpack, which contained my remaining cards and cash. The loss was devastating, but it taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of vigilance in life and business

"My family is the bedrock of my entrepreneurial spirit. They instilled in me the belief that being an independent entrepreneur who positively impacts the world is a noble venture My father and mother, who have been together for nearly 50 years, have worked tirelessly to build a stable real estate business.

"Their dedication and hard work have been my guiding light. Together we buy land, build complexes, duplexes, and houses, and rent them out short and long-term. I grew up helping my family build the business, and my parents taught me the value of hard work

"They never wanted to hand me anything; they came from nothing and believed I should work hard to earn it. My dad had ten brothers and sisters and grew up on a farm, learning the value of hard work from humble immigrant parents

"He instilled a rock- solid work ethic in my sister and me. Being lazy was forbidden in our family I am so lucky and blessed to have had the best parents alive They taught me priceless lessons and helped me become resilient, passionate, focused, kind, resourceful, and independent. My mom is the best in the world; she is my biggest supporter and cares deeply about her family.

"While attending the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Alberta and earning my degree in Finance, I started my first real company, Success Tutoring Inc. It was a tutoring business specializing in math-related subjects

"I excelled in these subjects and tutored Finance, Accounting, Statistics, and Calculus. I also hired other tutors to cover these subjects M ath 30 Pure was a high-demand subject for university entrance, and parents were willing to pay well for tutoring in it."

"In 2016, I competed in my first pageant and became M iss Calgary My goal was to become a better public speaker. I was determined to stretch outside my comfort zone and become the best version of myself As Miss Calgary, I was able to compete in international pageants, which led me to win multiple public speaking awards and priceless opportunities

"From there, I owned and operated several lucrative and impactful businesses The largest one was BAM M arketing Solutions, which I founded at 19, followed by inFocus M arketing, which grew to become one of the most successful marketing and staffing agencies in Western Canada. I secured contracts with Ducati, ATB Financial, Wrangler, Dentyne Ice, and several other notable companies

"My journey may have begun in Alberta but has continued at an accelerated pace in BC It has been a majestic experience that has brought significant meaning to my life

"YVR Entrepreneurs Club has exploded in Vancouver and is quickly taking over. I have one of the fastest-growing clubs in the city and am privileged to be able to help so many people The countless testimonials from people saying their lives have been changed by joining our club have filled me with immense joy and fulfillment

"To me, entrepreneurship provides freedom, passion, connection, independence, flexibility, and the opportunity to strive to be your best self.

It constantly pushes you out of your comfort zone, forcing growth daily If you do not grow, your business will not grow, so you must work on yourself to benefit your clients and staff.

"I have had a few business ventures over the years, each serving as a stepping stone to where I am today, truly living my passion and purpose I learned something valuable from each business. In my jewelry business, a passion project for charity, I realized how important it is to do something that fulfills you and gives back. In my marketing businesses, I learned the importance of getting your message in front of people. If you have a product or solution that genuinely helps people, you must get it before them. In my club, I learned the importance of community. Each business holds a beautiful life lesson and gift within it "Along the way, I have invested a lot in myself. I chose a sober lifestyle to focus on my business and take a hard look at every person in my life, asking if they were someone I should be spending my time with. Everything in my life became intentional and aligned with my goals and dreams. I got clarity on my blind spots and weaknesses and worked tirelessly on them, investing in many coaches and programs to become the best version of myself.

"I studied the qualities of successful people and worked on embodying them daily. I put in the repetitions, worked extremely hard, and kept learning from my mistakes to master my craft."

"Success is challenging; you have to work harder than anyone you know and pay your dues

"As full as my life is, there are two amazing boys that need to be acknowledged for bringing so much love to my life. My two pups, Peanut and Chance (rescued from an abusive situation on the Seawall), make me incredibly happy Together these two enrich my life, bring meaning to each day, and make me believe every life, is worth something valuable.

"Entrepreneurs keep moving forward, they get knocked down, they get back up, experiment, and understand that there is so much untapped potential and power inside us. See every day as a new challenge, risk, opportunity, and blank canvas.

"There has not been a singular moment when I knew it would all work out Early in the development of the YVR Entrepreneurs Club, I produced a luxury dining experience for a select group of members When the tickets sold out and a waiting list started, I knew it was all coming together The innovators and visionaries in Vancouver were on board with what I was creating!

"Participating in the Grandview Heights TEDx in 2023 was a decisive moment for me because it is not every day that you get to share your journey with over 100 people in an intimate setting! The TEDx opportunity allowed me to share my story and insights globally.

"It was an incredible experience that reinforced my purpose and passion

"I have had the privilege of being the emcee for various groups, organizations, and charities, including The M odern Day Wife, Les Brown M astermind, PowerfulU, JVology Live, Dan Fleshman M astermind, Brad Leas Podcast, Andy Frisella podcast, and M illionaire M astermind These experiences have allowed me to connect with influential people and make a significant impact

"Additionally, on my podcast, The Vitamin B Show, I have interviewed world leaders and top performers to find out what makes them great. My podcast attracted incredible guests such as Greg O' Gallagher, Trent Shelton, Elena Cardone, and Dr Jen Fraboni, all stellar influencers in their fields.

"I am grateful for the trailblazers who proved it is possible to succeed They provided a tangible example of what can be achieved through hard work and becoming the best version of yourself. I admire Lewis Howes, Robin Sharma, Alex Hermozi, Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, Eckhart Tolle, Jamie Kern Lima, and many more, who have positively impacted and changed people's lives.

"In 2024, I will host more powerful and transformative personal growth events for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to level up with the support of a community of like-minded game changers. The YVR Entrepreneurs Club has had several significant events that have profoundly impacted people' s lives, the feedback has been incredible as people are receptive to what we do "

"The fast sell- out rates of YVREC events are a powerful reminder that I am on the right track. I am helping people and inspiring them to become better versions of themselves. Changing lives is the most noble pursuit, and it is my driving force I wake up every day for myself, the Peanut and Chance, and all the people who need me.

"Whenever someone tells me our event changed their life, I am filled with immense joy and happiness, knowing I am fulfilling my quest for authentic fulfillment.

"My current business model revolves around creating an inclusive and supportive community for entrepreneurs YVREC events provide resources and foster connections that help our members grow their businesses and themselves. Collaborating with notable figures like M ichael Graziano has put us on the radar in the city, and each day continues to build on that momentum.

"In our incubator of inspiration, self-discovery, and personal growth, people are learning to live better lives and become empowered - to become their catalysts of change.

"Each event pushes individuals beyond their comfort zones to grow and transform into their best selves and make a significant, unforgettable impact on the world. YVREC is all about unlocking maximum potential, not just for personal gain, but to leave a lasting legacy that will inspire future generations.

"By the end of 2025, I envision my business becoming a household name in the Vancouver entrepreneurial scene. In the next five years, it will be recognized across the USA, with chapters in each city Lives will be changed, people will be inspired to become their best selves, and we will be helping countless individuals.

"Looking back, I have known my life's purpose since I was 18 Still, it took over a decade to find the courage, expertise, knowledge, talent, confidence, capacity, and experience to step into my power fully.

"I think about how much time I could have saved if I had listened to my intuition sooner. Your heart always knows what you are meant to do. It takes courage, but it is better late than never."


Jordan Kallman, a lifelong culture builder, is a master of the delicate balance between economic expansion and creative expression His belief in the artistry of gatherings, even when they go unnoticed, is a testament to his passion He envisions a world where we recognize the profound role of friendships, relationships, and the joy of being together in our natural well- being For him, life is an art, and true fulfillment lies in the harmony we find with others

Jordan is a serial entrepreneur currently exploring artistic pursuits at the intersections of large-scale festivals, small-scale gatherings, virtual world-building and the psychology of living well.

In his early 20s, Jordan was disheartened when The Economist described Vancouver as " mind- numbingly boring."

For a fun-loving social gatherer who lives to create a joyous vibe, that statement cut deep He passed around the article to friends while asking: " This simply couldn' t be true, could it?"

The hurt continued when the label " No- Fun- Couver" stuck hard-and-fast, being bandied about by naysayers in the lead-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It was in that dire identity crisis that Jordan, along with a small group, stepped up to challenge the belief. They were not willing to let the city they loved so much settle for a simple and solitary "Thoreau-in-the-woods-walks-the-Seawall" brand.

Fortunately, they were not alone. After the gold medal hockey game of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, the city exploded, finally showing the social energy potential that exists there. They carried that spirit forward, and their events have since become an integral part of the city's cultural fabric, bringing people together, celebrating diversity, and showcasing the city's creative spirit

In the succeeding decade, The Social Concierge, Jordan's event design agency, would go on to launch and expand a range of cultural festivals that were truly one- of- a- kind, unique to his style. These have included an annual fashion-focused derby, the country's single largest one-night dinner party, a grand harvest festival designed in the spirit of the legendary Oktoberfest, an architectural design showcase raising funds for charity, a cocktail-hopping trolley tour series, and an operatic, duelling sword fighting tournament.

Additionally, there was the annual carbon negative celebrations for Earth Day, a floral exhibition that reimagined the art of dance, a stadium-sized idea conference, and a summit meant to explore cutting-edge tactics that lead to a longer life.

Jordan's and the team's work has not only been recognized with numerous awards and honours, but it has also left an indelible mark on the city's social fabric. The true measure of his success, however, lies in the personal connections forged at his festivals. Couples who met at his events and are now married with children often stop him on the street to express their gratitude. This profound impact on people's lives is the ultimate testament to the power of Jordan's work.


"It is now apparent that I have always been obsessed with solving problems, yet the epiphany itself came late. Only after a string of youthful life failures of the vanilla variety did I find myself on the other side of the world, standing in front of a massive music festival in the centre of one of the biggest cities in the Southern Hemisphere. I remember wondering, "Why doesn't the place I come from express itself like this?" Instant problem requiring a solution I was 20 years old.

"Mom thought I would be a great dentist When that failed, she pushed me to become a lawyer.

"These were projections of her protective instincts, trying to steer me into a life of financial comfort and job security, something she never had as an incredibly creative spirit. Unfortunately for Mom, I picked up Dad's sense of exploration and his fun-loving nature and ran in the other direction The good news? Their combination of gifts has led to a wild story so far, even if Mom still does not really understand what I do for a living.

"To be honest, I have a conflicted relationship with "business." I was never the kid buying something for ten cents and trying to sell it for twenty. The incredible force of profit has never motivated me, even if I inherently understood it to be the foundational change agent of our times.

"As a child, I was much more intrigued by the emotions I felt when invited to a fun-filled event at the neighbours, how it felt to break the rules with a friend, or the trauma of being excluded or forgotten. These emotional experiences as a young kid pushed me to seek a way to nurture the best of them in others Looking back, I am fortunate to have had these anchor moments; they transformed me

"Once I had acquired amateur control of my creative force, it quickly drove me to a hellish pace of pursuit I paved my social way through university by building big, 50-passenger party buses on the cheap and running nightly tours to licensed establishments At the time, I was taking a full load of college courses, scoring top grades, working a few nights a week in hospitality, and running this big crew of promoters, hosts, and bus drivers.

"Yet, the interesting anecdote during this time was not my frantic schedule "

"I still do not really know how I convinced the regulators and insurance agents that our 50- passenger rolling festivals on wheels were a good idea I remember those days and cringe slightly

"My love for the City of Vancouver knows no bounds. I remember playing hooky from work on a bright summer July day because I wanted to be near the stadium to decide who would host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games The euphoria of the realization, the glow of the crowd roaring from within the stadium, gave me such hope for the culture of my place My city would host one of the biggest celebrations on the planet, and it seemed like anything was possible.

"It is with this spirit that I invested heavy effort in projects and endeavours that would bring a greater sense of place to Vancouver I spent years with the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee, grew TEDxVancouver into a stadium-sized idea showcase for our region, and launched The Social Concierge with the intention of making the city's social environment more fun-loving and vibrant I am proud of the small impact I was able to create and the outcome of each of the projects I led and was a part of.

"Vancouver still has a long way to go.

"I yearn for the day that I meet someone from another part of the world who describes their visit to our city as something more than "a very beautiful place." One day, someone out there who knows nothing about my journey will say about their visit, "Vancouver is such a fun place, " and I will feel whole.

"For the past 15 years, I have co-led at The Social Concierge We think of ourselves as a " House of Gathering," which is essentially a creative studio that builds and launches experiential projects at the frontiers of culture Many of our ideas, started here in Vancouver, have gone on to other cities to great success. Our past is measured by the depth and variety of the social endeavours we imagined into reality, much like an artist's body of work We also take on select client projects that allow us to experiment in some novel way.

"For the past four years, since the virtualization trends of the pandemic really accelerated, we have been experimenting with how we gather digitally. We launched a metaverse music company and now sell thousands of avatar wearable boomboxes within the biggest video game on the planet Culture-building in virtual space is a unique challenge that we need to recognize will only grow in importance in the cycles to come.

"Generally speaking, I am always embedded in interesting social networks, clubs, and communities I am continuously seeking a vantage point from which to view the coming waves of how we like to spend our time together Right now, health and wellness have never been more culturally prominent, and so many promising new social experiences are coming online to support those desires. I am right there in the mix with so many groups inspired to champion this future.

"There has been no bigger change to my creative path than the pandemic For a painter, it would be the equivalent of colour being pulled out of the world."

"For a sculptor, gravity doubling For a fashion designer, as though the world became a nudist colony Almost overnight, I was legally not allowed to gather in public This immediately forced the loss of a true purpose outlet. While grieving, I needed to reinvent my craft on the fly, dealing with the constantly changing laws of nature Now four years removed, I only recently grasped how our collective desires have changed

"I like to say, 'Suffering peaks just before the break of awe.' This huge challenge forced me to transform myself personally and with our studio. I was pushed to the frontier of our virtual lives and have now established a presence It has also challenged me to memorialize our effort with Vancouver culture-building, officially ending many long-standing projects and handing them to others I am destined for new problems of togetherness, a fresh cycle of creative pursuit

"Dawn, my wife, has been a constant presence for nearly 20 years. Without her quiet encouragement and ongoing healing, this transformation or my meagre successes would not have been possible. I am deeply grateful for our soulful bond

"I have had many, many moments over the years that I consider pivotal to deepening my belief that I am here to bring others together. Just before the onset of the pandemic, Dawn and I hosted our wedding soul ceremony in the middle of the Black Rock Desert We built a giant wooden love letter cathedral and collected two thousand expressions of love from strangers before holding our ceremony in front of it. That experience brought fifty of the most adventurous friends from our life together to build and celebrate, and it became one of my life's most emotional moments.

"But the incredible part for me is that the emotional letting was a shared experience I will never forget one tearful admission as the sun set before us, "Jordan, that ceremony was more emotional than the birth of our twins."

"It is that culmination of collective feeling that I hope to create time and time again before time runs out. Each time that vibe strikes, I think to myself, "There is no better feeling in the world."

"What separates my pursuit of purpose from the mundane and pushes my business to the next level is the desire to operate as a creative studio rather than a business. Over the last 20 years of entrepreneurship, I have realized that I am not a ruthless, win- at- all- costs profiteer, which many business people are when you peel back enough of their layers. What drives my meaning is the approach to creating a body of work that has an impact on others that I can be proud of

"I remember when David Podmore, then President of Concert Properties and Chairman of B C Pavilion Corporation opened doors for me at the highest echelons of the Vancouver industry David is a real- estate icon and has been instrumental in shaping Vancouver's growth over the last thirty- five years. He believed in a very youthful me, with zero incentive or reason to do so, and for that, I am deeply grateful I will never forget his advice: "Jordan, there is no location in the world better positioned to take advantage of its opportunities over the next 50 years Stay, build, and be part of this place". It was very inspiring

"I am constantly inspired by the arts and those who can communicate their expression for the future in simple, almost reductive ways."

"Nouveau Realist Yves Klein, the incomparable light artist James Turrell, and poet David Whyte come to mind Recently, I have collected work by Jack Butcher and Jalil Wahdatehagh, a duo who are the ultimate constraints-based internet artists of our time. Jim Denevan, the land artist behind the hugely popular ' Outstanding in the Field' event series, inspires me, as does Walter Green and his ' Say it Now' movement, which advocates in telling those who affected you most in life what they mean to you right now

"I believe in positive long-term relationships, bringing those who mean the most to me closest and forever: Dawn, my wife; my mother and father; my long-time creative studio partner, Tyson Villeneuve; and my dedicated and vast group of friends who support the truest sense of who I am. These people deserve to be seen for their belief in me.

"I am in transition; I recently took the left fork in the road and am evolving from entrepreneur to artist. This transformation may take some time to find its destination, and for once in my life, I am at peace with a slower race

"As someone who had dedicated his life to bringing people together, the pandemic immediately caused me to lose entrepreneurial momentum, economic prosperity, and my personal identity. It meant reinvention at the most intimate level, an evolution that continues to unfold today.

"Every pandemic in history has brought about significant cultural change During the height of ours, I asked myself, "What is the one thing that will never again look the same?" To me, the answer was abundant Life will never again be analog, only exponentially virtual.

"During the pandemic, the last bastions of our defences against technology fell, and it invaded every nook of our existence.

"We became one with the machine, and aspects of our lives I never thought were digitizable are now being connected to the mainframe This worries and excites me; the tension between my desire to embrace analog humanity while attaining virtual modernity is only growing

"I am exploring gathering art that helps us navigate our ever- virtualizing modern- day social lives I estimate that a third of my casual friendships and get-togethers are now permanently ported into DM group threads. This fact does not make me unhappy or disturbed in the slightest, and I worry that I should be.

"Ultimately, we all need to better understand what a healthy virtual social life is without losing our IRL friendships, an area you can expect more from me on

"I also have a far-off dream to open a museum of gathering art. What might civilization look like if our creative canvases recorded the beauty of collective oneness? What if we idolized those who brought us together?

"I believe there is a future coming where we all have the extra time and the deep desire to live more socially, and that vision will need artists and creators to bring it to life "


Julie Vu is a well-known figure on YouTube, with her channel " Princess Joules" boasting 554K subscribers and a growing Instagram presence under her name with 226K+ followers She is a prominent model, makeup artist, spokesperson, and transgender activist

Julie, who hails from Surrey, BC, and has Vietnamese roots, has been sharing her journey through digital platforms for over two decades. She has extensively documented her transition from male to female, delved into beauty trends through captivating tutorials, shared lifestyle and travel experiences, and initiated meaningful conversations through her candid style of social media content creation

Julie's groundbreaking achievements have not only attracted widespread attention but also marked her as a trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ community.

Her historic role as the first transgender woman on Big Brother Canada 9 and her proud representation of Canada in the prestigious M iss International Queen Canada 2019 beauty pageant, have solidified her position as a source of pride and inspiration.

Julie's influential presence extends beyond her digital platforms She is a recognized spokesmodel for a multitude of prestigious brands, including Sephora, Aritzia, RW&CO, Ikea, Excel, Clearly, Dove, and more Her successful collaborations with these brands not only highlight her professional achievements but also serve as a testament, inspiring many with her authenticity and insightful commentary


"I realized that I was an entrepreneur at a very young age. I knew I always wanted to be my own boss and create something for myself and despite the lack of support for entrepreneurism in my environment, I persevered

"As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I faced additional societal barriers that made me feel like I could nott accomplish anything on my own. But I refused to let these challenges define me, and instead, I used them as fuel to drive my entrepreneurial journey

"My journey began when I started my YouTube channel at the age of 19. I was driven by a deep passion for cosmetics and a desire to share my unique perspective with the world I did not see many people like me in traditional mainstream media, and I wanted to change that. This led me to share not just my passion for cosmetics, but also the personal journey of my transition

"After high school, I started working at M A C Cosmetics I enjoyed sharing my beauty tips on YouTube as a hobby, but then I realized I was making more money online

"This realization, coupled with my passion for content creation, led me to take a leap of faith. I quit my job and started being a content creator full- time, a decision that was both exciting and nerve-wracking

"My personal journey, particularly my transition from male to female, played a significant role in my success on YouTube. By being open, honest, and vulnerable, I was able to connect with my audience on a deeper level I shared my experiences in the hope of inspiring others who might be going through the same thing, and this authenticity resonated with my viewers

"In 2019, I fulfilled my dream of winning M iss International Queen in Pattaya, Thailand! I learned about the pageant when I started my transition. I was doing some research about transgender women, and the pageant popped up. I instantly fell in love with the organization and wished that one day I could be just as beautiful as all the other contestants. M y supporters motivated me to join this competition. They believed in me and suggested that I follow my dreams, so I did apply and through hardwork and perseverance came out on top as the winner!

"Many will recognize me from Big Brother Canada Season 9 (2021) I was a member of Team Defender. Although I was the ' first boot' of the season, my fans rallied, making the early exit less painful

"In 2022, I was honoured to participate in fashion brand RW&Co' s International Women' s Day campaign It was important to spotlight all the achievements that women from the past and present have accomplished and continue to strive for I want to inspire future generations to be bold, independent, and the best versions of themselves every day."

"In 2024, I am partnering with Pride Toronto to celebrate this year's festival season The ' Be ' is ' Be Fearless' for me and I invite everyone to 'Be Fearless' with me in their journeys

"Throughout my journey, I gained a lot of attention and became a household name in Canada and around the world for being one of the first transgender people sharing their journey online

"My passion for makeup led me to start a beauty line called ' Deja Vu Beauty' in 2021 I began with lip glosses and then ventured to blushes, lashes, brushes, and eyeshadows It was a one- woman show , and that was something I valued

"I solely managed everything from product development to shipping, packaging, etc. However, my travels got in the way, and I became less available to maintain my business This, coupled with a waning passion, led to the difficult decision to let go of Deja Vu Beauty. However, this is not the end of the story The return of my brand will be in the near future with a facelift.

"My life was changing for the better. I was getting so many campaigns (RW&CO, Sephora, Suki' s, Four Seasons Resorts, and more), and was on billboards across Canada. I was travelling for work and truly living my best life.

"A pivotal moment was getting my first beauty campaign with a major makeup company, Sephora. That is when I knew I made it It was my highest- paying campaign, but it was less about the money and more about seeing someone like me up there.

"Growing up, I did not see someone who looked like me? an Asian transgender woman in beauty campaigns It was a surreal moment, and my friends and family could not be more proud

"Expanding my brand to different platforms really helped get my face on more screens Initially, it was YouTube, but then Instagram really blew up. Collaborations with different creators were also a big part of expanding the brand

"My friend M ay Nguyen has always been by my side. She is a single mother and a business owner She owns a hair salon in Vancouver called Zen Den Hair. She inspired me to be an entrepreneur and a strong, independent woman. I give props to her for being such a Wonder Woman.

"The early stages of my journey were more focused on getting to the 'finish line.' That finish line was my transition. But now that I have completed that era of my life, I am shifting my focus to my health Beauty has taken a step back, and this new era of fitness has entered. Travel and fitness have become a priority for me, and I am exploring the possibility of finding a career in this field.

"My current business model is centred around finding something I am passionate about and really sticking with it I know it is cliché, but they say if you find something you love doing, you will never work a day in your life My unique selling point is my authenticity and my ability to connect with my audience on a personal level, which I believe sets me apart from others in the industry"

"Being consistent is critical for digital success. For me, this means being very consistent with creating and pushing high- quality content that includes photos and short-form video content on the tried and true social media platforms and being mindful of the new opportunities as technology creates new ways for us to communicate

"Strategic partnerships with beauty brands, retailers, travel and adventure companies are at the top of my list on a daily basis. I welcome referrals and introductions to brands that align with my values and what I am building.

"I hope to see my business and brand grow bigger than ever. I want to be a household name and change people's lives through my words and actions.

"Whether that is supporting the 2SLGBQIA+ community or inspiring others to travel and learn about the world and its diversity, and encourage people to strive to be in the best shape of their lives I want to move the world to new levels of understanding, compassion, and activism " J U


From the vibrant landscapes of Chile and Peru to the urban charm of Vancouver, Ahblo knitwear is a testament to Raquel Grebler Quesne's family's unique journey.

Spanning from the South to the North of America, the West Coast along the Pacific Ocean has been the Quesne's home for more than a decade, and it is this rich cultural tapestry that inspires every stitch of Ahblo's creations

Ahblo values ethical production, safe working conditions, and traditional techniques. All of its fair- trade alpaca clothing is designed here in Vancouver, and manufactured in Peru by local artisans who preserve the pre- Inca traditions linked to alpaca fibres day to day.

Working closely with 14 workshops and joining more than 120 families, including approximately 40% women in Arequipa, Cusco, and Lima, Ahblo's primary partner, Peruvian Traditions, implements sustainable and circular fashion procedures recognized by the Global Reporting Initiative.

As part of the Fashion Revolution international movement, Peruvian Traditions values creativity, the environment, and the people equally They assist Ahblo in sourcing certified high-quality alpaca yarns of known origin that are treated according to international ecological standards and tested for harmful substances.

Peruvian Traditions is a Fair Trade- certified company, pays workers fair wages, promotes sustainable production methods, and fosters positive community development

Yarn supplier, M ichell, has 87+ years of experience processing alpaca fibres, it is a member of the International Alpaca Association.

As a leader in implementing respectful shearing practices and ensuring the care of the alpacas, Michell has been awarded the Responsible Alpaca Standard certification

Michell complies with international ecological standards and has been awarded the OEKO- TEX 100, Organic Content Standard and Global Organic Textile Standard

Ahblo's baby alpaca wool pieces are dyed with natural colourants derived from plants or minerals.

Ahblo uses treat flowers and other vegetables, including the Tarwi flower, beetroots, purple corns, achiotes, molles, chilcas, and eucalyptus

By choosing to colour its alpaca fibres the natural way, it eliminates the need for harsh synthetic dyes and reduces pollution and minimizes the use of water and energy in the dyeing process


"I realized I was an entrepreneur in my late twenties to early thirties. My entrepreneurial journey became prominent when I co-owned and co-directed Grebler Quesne Compañía Limitada, which involved owning various restaurants and a gourmet import and shop in Santiago de Chile from 2011 to 2017.

"This realization was both exciting and challenging. My environment was supportive of entrepreneurial endeavours, as evidenced by my family-run business in Chile. I transitioned from academia to entrepreneurship, blending my philosophical and economic insights with practical business acumen.

"My most memorable experiences in business was managing my restaurants' daily operations and marketing strategies I have many humorous and heart-warming anecdotes involving navigating the culinary preferences of diverse customers and then becoming friends with some of them. This also taught me the importance of adaptability and customer- centric strategies.

"My journey progressed through a blend of education and practical business ventures. After leaving Chile, I moved to Vancouver in 2018 and pursued a M arketing M anagement Diploma. "

"My experiences across different continents enriched my understanding of global markets and sustainable practices

"Moving to Vancouver in 2018 marked a significant life change for me I travelled extensively, including a four-month trip to Patagonia, Bolivia, and Peru with my husband, daughter, and son This period was marked by personal growth and new professional opportunities.

"The pivotal moment came when founded Ahblo Luxury Knitwear. The realization of the potential and beauty of Alpaca wool, coupled with my passion for sustainability, confirmed that I was on the right path.

"I pushed Ahblo to the next level by focusing on the ethical sourcing of Alpaca fibres and developing the Alpaca Allure collection. I utilized my marketing expertise to build the brand's presence and highlight Alpaca wool's natural beauty and practicality.

"Family, mentors, and business partners supported my journey. The co-director in Chile, educators, and peers from my academic and professional experiences played crucial roles in believing in my vision and providing support

"My life is growing with the successful launch of Ahblo's Alpaca Allure collection My business is moving forward as planned, focusing more on sustainability and luxury. New responsibilities include expanding the brand's market presence and ensuring ethical sourcing.

"Ahblo Luxury Knitwear focuses on creating high- quality, ethically sourced knitwear from Alpaca wool.

"The brand offers elegant, comfortable, and sustainable clothing. Readers should be interested because Ahblo provides timeless pieces that reflect a commitment to the environment and traditional craftsmanship.

"To get through the next two quarters, Ahblo will accomplish increased brand awareness through focused and specialized campaigns highlighting our unique product and aligning with collaborators and influencers who have strong, loyal followings and a passion for the planet.

"Ahblo has been featured in Vogue Ukraine and aligns with the Holt Renfrew H Project, Net Sustain from Net- A- Porter, and GOOP and would benefit from strategic partnerships with retailers and investment in sustainable production Financial support for marketing campaigns and expanding the product line would help elevate Ahblo to new heights. From an investor, I expect not only capital but a corporate background in building companies with fashion at the heart, sustainable fashion knowledge, and a strong track record in international fashion.

"By the end of 2025, I envision Ahblo as a leading name in sustainable luxury knitwear with a strong international presence. Five years from now, Ahblo aims to set industry standards for ethical fashion, with a loyal customer base valuing quality and sustainability."


Reece Sims is an entrepreneur, educator, and writer who focuses on drink trends, flavour pairings, and beverage market insights As a former award- winning bartender and top Sales M anager for over 80 liquor brands, she saw an opportunity in the beverage alcohol market and founded SIP Spirits Consulting in 2022.

As a 'sensory marketing' focused firm, SIP Spirits specializes in delivering data-driven insights and crafting immersive, educational brand experiences. From aroma analysis to taste strategies and tactile engagement, the company harnesses multi-sensory stimuli to evoke emotions, elicit feedback for beverage brands, and drive consumer engagement

Over a short two-and-a-half-year period, the company has worked with over 100 different products and facilitated more than 80 focus- group type tastings with a program called Flavor Camp? in BC and Alberta


"I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur Growing up, my dad was a consultant who worked from home, managed his own time, and was able to charge what he believed his time was worth It all sounded very glamorous "

"In reality, with unlimited income potential and ownership over your time, there is also an immense amount of instability, which I have always been mindful of. When I was younger, I did not think of myself as entrepreneurial

"Still, I was always creative, competitive, an opportunist, and diversified (always balancing involvement in multiple clubs, projects, and jobs simultaneously). And looking back, those four characteristics, in my opinion, are essential to entrepreneurship.

"The idea of entrepreneurship came to light in my first year at the University of Victoria when I met Kyle Vucko, President of the UVic Commerce Students Society.

"At the time, Kyle and his business partner were starting up a business idea they had, and he sold me on the idea of pursuing a business degree, which I ended up doing. At this time, his idea was the beginning stages of Indochino, which has grown to become North America's largest made- to- measure suit retailer

"Flash forward a few years to my fourth year of BCOM , where we had to choose our specialization, and Entrepreneurship was one of the four options.

"At that time, I felt too insecure to choose it, as that is what the 'cool kids' were doing, and I did not feel like I was part of that crowd, so I decided on International Business instead.

"Looking back now, my reasoning was ridiculous, but clearly, it was an inevitable calling that happened with or without that specialization "

"From a very young age, I was very eager to earn income to buy the things I wanted.

"When I was 9 or 10, I helped a friend with their paper route I worked extra hard to deliver the majority of the papers enthusiastically, thinking that I would get most of the money. After only a few dollars, I quickly realized that as long as you work for someone else, they control your income potential While I did not start a small business as a child or teen, I worked multiple jobs during the summers to maximize my income potential

"During my teen years, I worked my way up to becoming a Swing M anager position at M cDonald' s I also balanced being a weekend receptionist at a car dealership and a part- time administrative assistant at a law firm during the summer between high school and university.

"While all three positions sounded professional on paper, one of my friends told me that if I became a busser or hostess at a restaurant, I could earn tips The idea of making additional compensation dictated by how hard you worked appealed to me, so I quit my job at McDonalds to take a busser position at a local M exican restaurant. That is definitely when an entrepreneurial mindset was sparked.

"A blurry line exists between adopting a ' fail fast' business approach and having ' shiny object' syndrome. Over the last ten years, I have had many ideas for digital and physical products that I thought were good However, after countless hours of scheming and developing the concept from prototype to launch, I quickly lost interest."

"From jewelry to resume templates to printed posters, in retrospect, what drove the pursuit was the thought that I could make money off of them. However, I have learned that making money, for me at least, cannot be the sole purpose on which to base your business; it needs to be solving a problem you are passionate about Over time, you will test, revise, and evolve until you get into flow, and the money will follow With that, however, I have learned that you cannot just follow your passion and expect to make money; you need to have a vision, forecast, be strategic, advocate for yourself and what you are doing, and, most importantly, get comfortable with rejection and making mistakes, both will happen a lot

"When I first incorporated SIP Spirits in 2022, I was still working full-time as the M arketing & Sales M anager at Lavish Liquid and The Bar Cart.

"My boss, who also happens to be one of my best friends in the industry, Chris Chuy, was always supportive of the side hustles that I was doing.

"Once the stringent pandemic requirements had lifted (sort of), I was eager to start facilitating educational tastings for two purposes: first, to cultivate community again, and second, to fill a gap in the market for beverage brands I felt was lacking.

"I own two businesses currently. My first business, Reece Sims Branding & Strategy, was registered in 2014 as a way to do consulting in addition to my full-time employment. Whereas the majority of revenue was derived from BTS social media management for many years, I pivoted from managing others' presences to monetizing my own as an Industry Expert "

"So services such as public speaking engagements, panels, judging, freelance writing, or social media content creation are invoiced through this company as it is a Sole Proprietorship

"My second business, SIP Spirits, was incorporated in February 2022 and is focused, as formerly mentioned, on sensory marketing for beverage brands and everything and anything Flavor Camp? -related; these are entities of their own that I intend to scale to where I am not essential to business operations because there are systems and a team that can handle the day- to- day while I focus on the vision

"I identify as a calculated risk taker, so I had a plan before diving off the deep end, so to speak I had saved up enough short- term savings to cover my living expenses for six months (and also had emergency savings). In addition, I will be honest: I had very few responsibilities outside of myself. As a renter I did not have a mortgage, do not have children, and I had a supportive partner who encouraged me to take the leap

"The most significant mindset shift when switching from working for someone to working for yourself is your perception of time.

"In starting your own business, you are no longer thinking about weeks or months; you are thinking about revenue over the year or perhaps even a decade or longer.

"Now, entering my third year of full-time entrepreneurship, I am reinvesting as much profit as possible to grow the business and paying myself very little Bootstrapping can be uncomfortable and unglamorous behind the scenes, but I would not have it any other way.

"I have not had that pivotal moment yet where I am sure that it will all work outwhich is all part of the fun (or perhaps anguish) of entrepreneurship. But I think that the moment when I realized I was all- in on the business was when I invested thousands of dollars in hiring a Law firm to apply for the trademarks for Flavor Camp? in multiple countries as well as the copyrights, which is so important, especially when working in a creative profession. Protect your intellectual property, people!

"This year, there are three things that I am focused on to scale the Flavor Camp? side of the business. First, what can I outsource to free up more time to focus on revenue- generating activities? Research, data processing, bookkeeping, and accounting are now being outsourced to some fantastic contractors (who currently all happen to be women) Second, I am working on testing some strategic partnerships to expand the in-person part of Flavor Camp? further across Canada and also into the USA Third, I am testing multiple revenue streams for the business to see what works and what does not, from creating physical products to launching an online paid membership option to additional in- person services.

"Countless people worldwide have helped me immensely along this entrepreneurial journey; however, these four, based in Vancouver, have been essential in the beginning stages of the business

"M aggi M ei (@magmei) has been my number one supporter since day one of launching the in-person event arm with SIP Spirits and has been such a cheerleader, selflessly using her vivacious presence in the industry to promote and advocate for me "

"Chris Chuy (@thecocktailtailor) is one of my best friends in the industry with an incredible charisma that is infectious in the industry. He genuinely cared about my building legacy in the industry, whether that was with his company or on my own

"Eva Pang (@oneweedram) is a brilliant and analytical person who has been an unofficial business advisor throughout the years. Typically, when I have a "wild idea," I will pitch it to her before surveying my audience, just to act as an initial filter

"In phase one of the Flavor Camp? program (before it was even called Flavor Camp? ), James Bornn (@jamesebornn) was one of the first believers on the client side to understand the company's vision and enthusiastically committed a number of brands in his company's portfolio to the programs.

"Finally this year, imbibers are really starting to notice Flavor Camp? as a brand and recognize that we are doing something different to disrupt the industry. Similarly, I am beginning to see a transition from push marketing to pull marketing, with brands wanting to participate in our programs, which is exciting.

"The most significant difference this year compared to the last two years, operations- wise, is having a plan for the entire year to follow with programs that already have proof of concept and cutting the deficit resulting programs

"Many of my business decisions are based on data this year, but with that, I still let my intuition guide my decision-making - for those of you who know about Human Design, I am a Splenic Authority and lean into it.

"Our business model is multi- faceted, but on a consumer level, Flavor Camp? develops your sensory skills by providing a universal language for tasting spirits Through this, we teach guests how to identify, describe and compare spirits and apply this knowledge to other ingredients like cocktails and food pairings. With this focus in mind, our touching points to build the community are online with our interactive monthly challenges, in-person events, and customized corporate gatherings Bottom line: good taste is a skill; we are here to teach it

"By the end of 2025, we will be running Flavor Camp? classes across Canada and in a few major markets in the USA This will also allow for more robust, national market feedback for taste-based insights and competitor analysis

"Five years from now, I project that there will be over one million members in our community, and the tasting systems will be used multi- nationally as an organizational system and educational tool in on-premise and retail. We want to be the universal language of tasting and trend forecasting for spirits and all other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages."



Helen Siwak, EIC & Publisher

EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc







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