Winners 2013


2013 Top 20 Winners

Abel has contributed significantly to agri-tourism in the Comox Valley. His support of Flavours, the North Island’s Gourmet Picnic and Toast Comox Valley, as well as the establishment of his own Coastal Black Pumpkin Fest and Coastal Black Christmas, have resulted in significant external media attention on the Comox Valley. He is also the Owner of Coastal Black Estate Winery, which is producing International Award winning wine, and the 2012 winner of the Agricultural Business of the year award. Abe is able to successfully balance all accomplishments with his wife and four children.

Anna Jones, a true professional, provides “service above self” in her profession and community. Her achievement of becoming a Chartered Accountant came at an early age by being a quiet achiever who “just does what is needed to get it done with no expectations of reward.” Anna is the youngest member of the Rotary Daybreak Nanaimo, an appointed treasurer, where she attends meetings with “innovative ideas, practical common sense and seemingly boundless energy”. The main focus of the club is youth who are at risk. She is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 171and also participated in the Relay for Life in Nanaimo.

Chad Conrad began his career with Mr. Mikes as a line cook in 2002 and by 2006 was promoted to Operations Manager for the chain. In 2009, Chad opened a Mr. Mikes restaurant in Duncan, and with hard work and dedication a position on the Franchise Advisory Council. In 2011 and 2012, he won the brand award for Operations Excellence of the Year. Chad supports his community by hosting countless fundraisers for local sports teams and non-profi ts, raising an estimated $60,000. In 2012, Chad won the Business Achievement Award at the Duncan Chamber of Commerce Black Tie Awards and was named a fi nalist for the Vancouver Island Food & Beverage Business of the Year award.

Called to reach out to the homeless one cold night, Chantal Stefan rallied her friends to create care packages to hang on dumpsters and leave in alleyways, and Everybody Deserves A Smile (EDAS) was born. EDAS is now celebrating its 10th Year of Giving handing out over 2000 care packages, helping the homeless across the Island, on East Hastings and beyond. Chantal has continued to spread the program to schools, and gives workshops to educators, businesses and support groups. Apart from being a French & English teacher, Chantal is also a member of the Rotary Club of Cumberland Centennial and was made a Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of her services to humankind.

Cody Dreger

Cori McCaw is in her seventh year as a Mortgage Broker and has worked in the real estate industry for 10 years. Her knowledge, honesty, and warm personality enable her to connect with her clients. Cori is a member of the Young Professionals of Cowichan (YPC) and sits on the Executive Board as the Professional and Personal Development Director. She is an active member of the Cowichan Valley Social Media Club, which helps to connect, support and promote individuals and businesses within the Cowichan Valley. Cori also volunteers weekly at the Duncan Visitor Centre, which has only one paid employee and relies on volunteers to staff the Visitor Centre.

Daniel Martinez
Daniel is a hardworking individual, constantly in search of ways to better himself and his community. Daniel has been a board member, and currently the Vice President for the YPN where he has been involved in the development of the organization. He has recently joined the board for the Nanaimo Community Foundation, bringing renewed energy to the organization. Daniel is a VIU MBA graduate from Mexico, and works as a Certifi ed Financial Planner for Integral Wealth Advisors with Andre Sullivan, and teaches in the fi nancial curriculum at VIU. Daniel also volunteers his time to help current MBA students, and in high schools through the Junior Achievement program.

Born in Campbell River, Rebecca has always considered herself an Island girl. After a year of living in France, she received a Bachelor of Science from Yale before completing her Medical Degree at UBC. Dr. Morley then proceeded to Plastic Surgery Residency at UBC, additional fellowship training in Hand Surgery (University of Western Ontario) and Paediatric Plastic Surgery (UBC). Happy to be on the Island again she practices in Victoria and is a clinical instructor with UBC and the Clinical Education Leader for the Plastic Surgery Division for the South Island. Dr. Morley has travelled to Cambodia, China, Guatemala, India and the Philippines to volunteer with Operation Rainbow Canada and Health for Humanity.

Edwin (Eddy) Betinol (BScPT, RCAMT, CGIMS, CHT) has lived in Courtenay for over 11 years. He believes that he is blessed to live in an area that he calls, “The Valley of Giants”. The Comox Valley is a diverse and spirited community that has produced some of the world’s finest artists, academics and athletes. As a member of this community he is inspired to aim for excellence and, as a business owner, is driven to create a product that adds value to the community. His business philosophy is simple, “If you feed the community first, it will feed you.”

At age 36 Gord has worked for Quality Foods for half his life. He started as a stock boy during high school in Qualicum and has progressed to Store Manager in one of the busiest large format stores in Port Alberni. Gord was one of the youngest Store Managers at Quality Foods and since taking on the challenge of running the Port Alberni location in 2011 he has ingrained himself in the community becoming a board member with the Chamber of Commerce, joining the Young Professionals Club as well as volunteering and supporting numerous charities and organizations in Port Alberni.

Jameel Sayani
Jameel is a Senior Manager of Aboriginal Services at MNP. Working across Vancouver Island, he delivers assurance, taxation and business advisory services to First Nation clients and other Aboriginal businesses and organizations. Jameel helps clients set strategic directions and realize their visions. He takes pride in playing a role in his clients’ successes and aiding in the positive growth of various Aboriginal communities. Active in his community, Jameel is the President of Nanaimo Youth Services Association and the Treasurer of the Young Professionals of Nanaimo and Harbour City FC.

Jennifer Millbank
Jennifer Millbank is a partner at the law fi rm Ramsay Lampman Rhodes. She is a courtroom litigator and has successfully argued cases before the British Columbia Supreme Court, British Columbia Court of Appeal, Federal Court of Appeal, and many administrative tribunals. She primarily represents businesses in the areas of foreclosures, leasing and real estate disputes and employment matters. She is also an elected municipal councillor for the District of Lantzville. Jennifer completed her BA (honours) and law degree at the University of Victoria. Jennifer moved to her husband’s hometown of Nanaimo from Vancouver in 2005.

At age 21, Jessica Cruise founded Vibes Fitness in Victoria BC. Vibes specializes in 15 minute, customized workouts that are guided by a certified trainer. Since 2009, Jessica has grown the business to 5 locations on Vancouver Island and the Mainland. Her strategy has always been to provide an exceptional level of service to her clients while supporting them in achieving their fitness goals. Jessica is actively involved in the Victoria business community and has been recognized for her success at a young age with several community awards. Her goal is to revolutionize the fitness industry and expand her concept across Canada.

Julie Profile
Julie Broad is a real estate investor, entrepreneur & the #1 Amazon Bestselling author of More Than Cashfl ow. She has invested in six cities in Canada, acquiring $9,000,000 in real estate in Nanaimo alone, providing work to dozens of trades and service professionals on major renovation projects. Her website, was twice voted best website by readers of Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine. She’s a sought after expert, speaking to thousands of investors across Canada and appearing on CTV News & Global regularly. She recently raised over $5,000 for Just Like My Child foundation, supports Nanaimo branches of the SPCA & Variety and is a member of the YPN.

Mark deFrias was named General Manager of the Victoria Highlanders on October 22, 2012. Mark entered the Sports Industry in 2006 through his work as event marketer with the FIFA U20 World Cup. After working as the Highlanders Sales & Marketing Manager during their inaugural season in 2009 season, deFrias joined the UVic Vikes as the Athletic Marketing Offi cer until 2012. He then returned to the Highlanders as General Manager and steered the club to its most successful season in franchise history, earning United Soccer Leagues 2013 Progress Award and Executive of the Year honours in the process. DeFrias sits on various boards that include the Ryan O’Byrne Youth Sports Society as well as the Victoria International Running Society (VIRS).

Dr. Jeremy Wulff grew up in the Comox Valley, and counts Airport and Royston Elementary Schools, Cumberland and Lake Trail Junior High Schools, and G. P. Vanier Secondary among his almae matres. Following this outstanding academic preparation, he went on to complete a BSc from the University of Victoria, a PhD from the University of Calgary, and 2 years at Harvard University doing postdoctoral research. He was recruited back to UVic in 2007 as a faculty member, and received tenure in 2013. His research team focuses on the chemical synthesis and biological evaluation of complex molecules that can impact medicine. Dr. Wulff continues to be active in the national scientific community and has also served three years on the Canadian Cancer Society Grants Panel.

Kashi started his career in the BC Public Service in 2005 and he has been the Director, Corporate Planning at the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation since 2010. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in political science from UBC where he also worked in student residence trying to persuade undergraduates to avoid making the same mistakes he did when he started university. Before his post-secondary adventure Kashi spent four years travelling around the world touching down on five continents. In his spare time he’s runs, coaches youth basketball and tries to keep up with the Booker nominees.

Raphael is the founder and creative director of Hinterland Studio Inc., Creative Director at HELM Studio, a Creative Consultant & Advisor at Blacklight Transmedia, an advisor and mentor at Execution Labs and a member of the Advisory Board for the playback Summit. Over 13 years in the game industry, he has contributed to several critically acclaimed games, including Company of Heroes (as Producer) and Far Cry 3 at Ubisoft Montreal (as Narrative Director). Raphael also has extensive experience in transmedia IP development, and has been a creative advisor to over a dozen major entertainment companies including Activision, Blacklight, BigPoint, GameForge, Radar, City Interactive, and WorldTribe Media.

In 2001, Rasool co-founded Metalogix Software, which won North America’s largest new venture competition (2002), experienced triple digit organic and profitable growth and took on private equity financing (2008). Metalogix is the leading provider of enterprise collaboration and infrastructure solutions to the fortune 5000 (Incl 500 – 2011). In 2009, Rasool began investing in early stage technology firms including Backstage Software, Mediacore, Allocadia, Tapstream, Versly, Unbounce and Solegear. Rasool currently serve on the board for three not-for-profits in Victoria – The Victoria Foundation where he is Board Chair, the Victoria ALS Society and Victoria Advanced Technology Council. For the past two years, Rasool, along with Adele Fraser, have been co-chairs for the Victoria Walk for ALS. Since 2010, Rasool has been an owner and president for an established retail pharmacy chain in Victoria, BC founded by Naz and Yasmine Rayani. Rayani Drugs operates 5 pharmacies in Victoria that serve over 30,000 Victorians every month. Rasool is very proud to work with his wife Laurel, sister Zahra, sister-in-law Adele Fraser and brother-in-law Farhan Kanji in a truly family business.Rasool and Laurel are proud parents to two beautiful daughters.

Shawn has 14 years experience managing a mid-sized business with over 20 full-time and seasonal staff. He excels in leadership and uses his communication and organizational skills to established community and business connections throughout his career and volunteer positions. Shawn is very enthusiastic about community involvement and community fundraising efforts as he coordinates and operates many charitable golf events, corporate golf events, and community initiatives. He has sat on the Board of Leadership Victoria, recently received a Rotary District Governors Award, Founded the Prodigy Group and was a director of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce. Charities that Shawn has helped include Kid sport, Victoria Eldercare, & St. John Ambulance.


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