Winners 2015


TOP 20 under 40 WINNERS !

2015 Top 20 Winners

Dr. Abe Avender was born and raised in Nanaimo where he upon graduated from Woodlands Secondary School. He took his studies from Malaspina University/College to the University of Victoria, where he completed his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2002. Upon graduation from UVic he pursued his Doctor of Chiropractic at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, Ontario, where he graduated in 2007 with the distinction of Clinical Honours.

Dr. Avender moved back to Nanaimo in August of 2007, where he and his partner built Island Optimal Health & Performance and Moksha Yoga Nanaimo from the ground up. Abe’s passion for health, sport, and maximizing human performance in all aspects of life is reflected in devotion to helping everyone that seeks his care and expertise.

Adam Fraser is the Senior Business Relationship Manager at Coastal Community Credit Union in Nanaimo, B.C. He holds a BBA from Vancouver Island University, is a Fellow of the Credit Union Institute of Canada, is an Accredited Commercial Lender, and is currently enrolled in the MBA program through Royal Roads University with expected completion in July, 2016.

In May, 2014 Adam was selected as the recipient of the National Young Leader Award from Credit Union Central of Canada. This award is presented to a promising young leader from across the Canadian credit union system.

Adam sits on the Credit Union National Young Leaders committee, and is a member of the Executive team of the Coastal Young Leaders Network. Adam is active in his community, and has sat on a variety of community boards, associations, and supports many local non-profit organizations.

Aidan is the founder and creative director behind Brink Events – an award-winning event design agency based out of Victoria, Canada. This full-service event company specializes in unique signature events and private parties for corporations and private clients. His imaginative concepts and ideas have transformed empty venues into spectacular social events. Notable events include Diner En Blanc Victoria, Gold Medal Plates Victoria, and Hungry Hearts. Brink Events has been featured in Douglas Magazine, YAM Magazine, and the Times Colonist. In addition, Brink Events is the preferred event planner for the Robert Bateman Gallery.

Aidan holds a business degree from the University of Victoria and has many years of event experience in the entertainment and hospitality industry.

Awards: In 2012, Brink Events was named one of the “10 to Watch” by Douglas Magazine, and in 2013 was nominated for 2 Victoria Chamber of Commerce Awards (“New Business” and “Young Entrepreneur”).

His inspiration stems from memorable guest moments and experiences. He believes that creating these moments is a big responsibility, but also a great honour. That drives his passion to constantly innovate and push the creative boundaries. Beyond the everyday bustle of the event world, Aidan enjoys reading, camping, travelling, and playing soccer. He is also a foodie with a weak spot for poutine.

Andrea Paquette, AKA Bipolar Babe, created the Bipolar Babe project in 2009. She is now the Executive Director of the Bipolar Disorder Society  of  British  Columbia,  which  she founded in 2010 in collaboration with  seven  dedicated  Board  of  Directors.  Andrea currently oversees the operations and programs offered by the Society. The Charity’s interative and impactful website gives people a place to connect, find valuable information and support.

Andrea is passionate about educating today’s youth on the stigma surrounding mental health and additional societal stigmas that negatively affect people’s perceptions of themselves and others. She shares her personal story of struggle and triumph since her diagnosis in 2005. She is an award winning mental health activist, educator, facilitator, writer and speaker.

In 5 short years, Andrea has presented her story at over 150 schools, workplaces, community organizations and events, reaching over 12,000 people.

Andrea has also recently launched a new and exciting Classroom Presentations Program in January, 2016, named the ‘Stigma-Free Zone Superheroes’ in Greater Vancouver with the collaboration of co-founder Dave Richardson, President, Octaform Systems Inc.

Andrea is the named 2015 Courage To Come Back Award Winner in the category of Mental Health given by Coast Mental Health, the 2013 Mel Cooper Citizen of the Year in Victoria, BC, and is also the Winner of the 2013 Award for Mentorship  from the National Council for Behavioral Health, Washington, D.C.

Andy is the President of Proline Management Ltd., a property management
company operating exclusively on Vancouver Island that offers service to
approximately 9,500 units through its 43 employees. Andy joined the family
business after tiring of corporate lawyer life on Wall Street and Bay Street. He
welcomed the ability to have a positive impact on the business and in the
community. Andy is proud of Proline’s commitment to community and the
numerous charitable organizations that are supported on an annual basis. He is
also a bit crazy and loves to go for really long runs in the woods. Really long.

Madone is a passionate traveler and lifelong learner. After 18 years in the hospitality industry, she brings a wealth of valuable relationships, hands-on experience and unquenched enthusiasm. A big picture strategic planner, she excel in creative and innovative ways to target new markets, forging strong relationships and total account management. In addition, she is a part owner of The Whole Beast Artisan Salumeria on Oak Bay Ave. with her husband and can be found assisting at festivals. events and even sometimes behind the retail counter. When not working she enjoys distance running, having completed her first full marathon last October.

Brandon has worked his way up form yard laborer to Store Manager at 21.  At 25, he recived the “Outstanding Young Retailer” Award, and national award given to one manager per year in the Building Supply Industry.   Currently 31,  he is always searching for a a way to improve the way we do business and to better the lives of people around me.  He enjoys the outdoors whether it be sports, hiking, or working around his property.

A Vancouver native, Chris Johnstone returned home in 2009 to Vancouver to start his financial services practice with Freedom 55 Financial, and to be closer to his great network of friends and family.  Born and raised in British Columbia, Chris graduated from Point Grey Secondary School before enrolling at Queen’s University School of Business, where he earned an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Finance and International Business, in 2005.  While at Queens, Chris also played for the Golden Gaels baseball team, the Gaels varsity badminton squad, and spent a year living and studying in Sydney, Australia.  Chris was also involved with Queen’s student radio station, and went undefeated representing his school at a national undergraduate mooting competition hosted by the Osgoode Hall School of Law.  Following graduation Chris re-located to Calgary to start his career with Canadian Pacific Railway as an account manager in Marketing and Sales.  During his time in Alberta, Chris left CP Rail to pursue finance opportunities in the oil and gas industry; he worked as a financial analyst for Interpipeline Fund, and then as a consultant for CSOX Solutions.  In 2007 Chris started a business in the music and entertainment industry, which he still owns and operates today where he produces, hosts, and creates music, movies, and web content.  Chris has been dedicated to his successful practice as a financial security advisor for the past 5 years by focusing on building long-term relationships founded on principles of trust, integrity and teamwork. In 2011, Chris was appointed to the role Director, Business Development with Freedom 55 Financial/London Life in the Victoria Financial Center.

In 2006 my vison became a reality and EK Hair Salon was born. EK today employs over 22 local jobs in our community and will continue to keep growing.  Through my passion and hard work I have created not only a successful salon but a stable goal oriented environment to mentor the younger generation and be the proof that you can achieve your visions.  I lead by example, and I am the change I wish to see in this world.  Through my tribulations I have always managed to persevere, and am determined to make a difference to the lives around me and those that need help.

In 2013 I was awarded a seat on the Cowichan District Hospital Board of Directors. Truly an honor to be selected to help better our medical care in our community. This is my way of bringing awareness to the importance of our local hospital. I was also voted in as Vice Chair for our local BCSPCA council. I am passionate about putting an end to animal cruelty. In fact, I make sure EK never participates on the testing of animals by keeping our products cruelty free.

My family has been in the forest industry for over a century, and it has been a part of my life since my first visit to a logging camp at six-weeks old. Determined and always up for adventure, I have a wide range of experiences and interests from traveling to undeveloped countries such as Somalia and Yemen and learning about cultures very different from my own to becoming the first female Vice-President of the BC Truck Loggers Association in its 72 year history and set to become its first female President in 2016.

Jeneece was diagnosed at the age of 3 with Neurofibromatosis type 1 which causes tumors to grow on nerve pathways anywhere in the body. In Jeneece’s case also cause a severe form of scoliosis and many tumors hanging off the major nerve roots from her spine. At the age of 3 Jeneece found herself in such excruciating pain that falling up to 15 times a day was normal.  Bouts of piercing screams of pain were part of her daily life.  Drs. put Jeneece in a body brace to better support her spine and alleviate her pain.

At the age 5 Jeneece underwent spinal surgery to correct her curvature and rods were inserted to stabilize her spine.  The first time Jeneece sat up the two of the screws pierced right though the spine into the nerves.  A second surgery and 4 months flat on her back had Jeneece walking when no one thought she would.

At the age of 7 and on her 3rd body brace Jeneece became aware that Variety, The Children’s Charity had been helping the family out with medical costs related to Jeneece’s condition.  Jeneece wanted to pay back some of the money that they assisted us with.  Jeneece did a penny drive at her elementary school (Northridge Elementary).  She raised $164.00.  She presented a cheque for that amount on the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon.

Not happy with that, she elicited the help of our local news anchor to announce on the news that she was doing a penny drive, to help BC’s Special kids.  The drive started 3 weeks to the date of the annual Variety, Show of Hearts Telethon.  The pennies came rolling in from every corner of the island.  By the truck loads they where wheeled out.  By the ton they; were taken away to be counted.  Her cheque for her 2nd year on the telethon was an amazing $27,000.00.  (That is more than 16 tons of pennies)

That amount was matched on the show of hearts telethon bringing Jeneece’s total to 52,000.00

Through the next year Jeneece also helped “The BC Neurofibromatosis Foundation” with many of their fundraisers.  She sold flowers at a plant sale, attended a Kick-a-thon for NF.  She has spoken at the annual Dinner and Auction and even sold 2 pieces of Art Work for over $300.00 each.  To date she has assisted in raising over $30,000.00 for The BC Neurofibromatosis Foundation.

When Jeneece was 9 she was unable to attend camp Shawnigan.  They serve kids with disabilities but not with those who are undergoing chemotherapy.  Jeneece’s medical condition requires her to be permanently on chemotherapy.  Although Jeneece’s tumors are not presently malignant, the doctor’s feel that she is at a very high risk for getting cancer.

Jeneece had to go to a camp for kids with cancer.  So Jeneece now goes to Camp Good times.  As you can guess, she started raising money for that as well, helping Thrifty Foods with their hot dog sales on weekends for “Cops for Cancer” fundraiser.

At the age of 10 she shaved her hair off and had raised $1000 dollars for the cause.  Her total after three years of head shaves is $10,000.  She is a spokes person for the Cancer Society making appearances with the Tour de Rock riders and sharing her story.

After the second year, Jeneece decided that she would set herself a goal of raising $1 Million for BC’s Special Kids, even if she has to do this one penny at a time.  Her total for Variety now towers over $1.5 million and is still increasing.  She has been given the title of “The Penny Girl” here on Vancouver Island by the Province of BC and was recognized as such during question period.

  • Jeneece gives motivational talks around her condition and how to overcome.
  • Jeneece gives talks at schools, optimists clubs and rotary clubs in Victoria to large corporations in BC and Canada wide.
  • Jeneece has done several commercials for Variety the Children’s Charity
  • Jeneece is also the poster child for Variety and appears in yearly “Faces of Variety” ads.
  • Jeneece is an honorary team member for the “Cops for Cancer” “Tour De Rock”
  • Gives talks at local functions for Tour de Rock.
  • Jeneece has opened a Golf Tournament for Help Fill A Dream Foundation.
  • Participates yearly in the BC Children’s radio-thon for the kids.  She talks about her surgeries and drug treatments she has received.
  • Participates yearly in the Tour de Rock Rider-thon promoting cancer research.
  • She does appearances on local radio stations talking about her condition and also about her fundraising.
  • She has done numerous TV appearances for various fundraising efforts.
  • She has appeared on the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon for the past 13 years.

Jeneece in 2009 purchased 4 “Sunshine Coach” vehicles for Vancouver Island in her name to be used to transport disabled kids around the island.

In August 2009 Jeneece began her new dream project, a home away from home for families who need to travel to Victoria for Medical Treatment or care in hospital.  She drew up the plans met with various individuals to make this happen.  In January 2012 on Jeneece’s 18th birthday, the doors of Jeneece Place opened for business.  One of the fastest builds in Victoria, 1.3 million under budget (mostly because contractors and the general public donated the construction costs) and we raised over 1 million more than our target goal.  “Jeneece Place”, lovingly named after Jeneece was build by the community, because Jeneece wanted it built.  Jeneece Place has assisted over 1000 families, more than 300 babies were born at Jeneece Place and 22 sets of twins.  The longest stay for one family has been more than a year.

To date Jeneece has raised more than 9 million dollars.

Jennifer Williamson, RN, is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Flight Nurse for LIFESUPPORT Patient Transport, a fully integrated medical transportation and worldwide emergency services organization that serves hospitals, health authorities, governments, the energy industry, major global financial institutions and top tier insurance firms. Based in Parksville, British Columbia, Jennifer leads and oversees the daily operations, clinical quality
assurance and human resource roles within a diverse corporation that combines transportation, aviation and medicine into a single, integrated suite of products. Jennifer’s firm works around the world, in every time zone, in complex, evolving and high risk circumstances. As a member of the Premiers Women’s Economic Council, Jennifer works with other top women in business, advising the Premier, Senior Cabinet Ministers and government leaders on issues related to women in business. Jennifer’s work on the Premier’s Council includes a specific focus on women in leadership, as well as a targeted focus on the BC Jobs Plan, by working to identify specific roles for women in non‐traditional jobs, as well as issues related to aboriginal women and immigrants.

Jenny Deters owns Rattan Plus Home & Patio with her husband Todd in Downtown Courtenay.  She also serves as Vice President of the Downtown Business Improvement Association and works hard towards keeping Downtown Courtenay vibrant. Her love for customer service combined with her passion for volunteering in her community has taken her on an amazing journey which she hopes will inspire others to do the same. “Be the Change” has been her life motto and she would like to encourage everyone to work hard for what they believe in.

Since moving to Vancouver Island in 2009, I’ve worked hard to make my presence   known in the community through my professional work and community service.  During a recession and with no prior experience in natural lawn care or running a business, my wife and I launched Lush Eco Lawns with multiple locations in mind. The choice to remain pesticide free and develop our own Lush Alive Lawn Care program was definitely the road less traveled, requiring much risk early on. A strong belief in our plan and a refusal to give in or give up resulted in a Black Tie award in our first year of business, and solid growth in our second. Our third year was our strongest yet as we hired three more employees, increased our services beyond lawn care, including garden and tree maintenance, a unique Christmas light program and, for the third year in a row, we doubled our revenues.  We were awarded Best Green Business at the Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards and were a finalist for Best Business.

Love and his Father believe in giving back to the community that made them what they are today, a staff of over 50 employees.  Love overlooks the accounting, warehouse, sales, buying merchandise. and marketing.  Dodd’s furniture hosts two annual dinners during Christmas and Thanksgiving in both Victoria and Nanaimo for the less fortunate.  They also organize numerous clothing and food drives to help people in need.

Matt started his career with Coastal Community in 2004 and is now a Private Wealth Advisor where his expertise lies in financial planning with personal and business clients.

Matt holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Royal Roads University, earned a Fellowship of the Credit Union Institute of Canada from Dalhousie University, and is a Certified Financial Planner. He is often quoted in local and national news regarding his mastery in financial planning.  He grew up on Vancouver Island, enjoys travelling and loves to spend time with his wife, Chelsea and their two young daughters, Mya and Makenna.

Richard Van Leeuwen has been an active member of the Victoria BC business community in since 2005. Since graduating from Royal Roads University he has worked with a well-recognized accounting firm in the city, has been involved with more than one business start-up and sale as well as acquired and grew a network of Private Career colleges over the past 8 years. Finally, he is committed to his local community and has a young family.

Self-professed lover of all things wild, Samantha gave up the city life in hometown Victoria and found her way to Tofino. “As a lover of whales and wildlife I knew it was the place for me”. Samantha is passionate about giving back, “my mum & dad instilled the value of giving to others and your community in me at a young age and I have continued to do this throughout my life”. The other passion not demonstrated on her resume is politics attending Encounters with Canada in Ottawa, leading a group of students to promote the youth vote, and then a strong run for Tofino Municipal Council.

Trina Brubaker is a lawyer with Johnston Franklin Bishop, practicing in the areas of real estate, wills and estates, and civil litigation. Originally from Lake Cowichan, Trina obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Malaspina-University College and a Juris Doctor from the University of Victoria. Trina is active in both Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley. She is currently the President of the Rotary Club of Nanaimo Oceanside and the Membership Director for the Young Professionals of Nanaimo. She is also a member of various professional and volunteer organizations, including the Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Vancouver Island.

Zack Jones is a store manager with Save On Foods with over ten years experience in retail leadership, and spirted team work. He is a dynamic and passionate leader with a proven ability to deliver strong financial results in complex, competitive, and challenging environments. Zack is currently one of the youngest store managers employed with Save On Foods, and since joining the community of Port Alberni has embraced one of his true passions of building enduring community connections, and giving back to the local charities. He is an active member with the Young Professionals of Port Alberni, a group focusing on enhancing Port Alberni’s community, economy, and environment. Zack also sits on the Civic Affairs committee, which helps advise the City of Port Alberni on business development. He also volunteers and supports numerous charities and organizations in Port Alberni, including the Salvation Army, Bread of Life, KUU US Crisis Line, Literacy Alberni, ADSS Breakfast Club, and the Alberni Bulldogs. He has also increased partnerships with local companies to foster win/win business relationships to help support local economic growth, including Hertels Meats, Rages Farms, and several Vancouver Island produce producers.

In his downtime, he enjoys overnight kayaking trips, all day hiking adventures, traveling, reading, and spending quality time with friends and family.


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