Featured Vancouverite: Aran Seaman

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Hometown: Lasqueti Island, British Columbia

How long have been a Vancouverite? A little over four years

Your childhood was rooted in a connection with nature, creativity and living off of the land in a close family environment that deviated from the typical trappings of modern life. Can you tell us a bit about your upbringing and how it has helped to shape you as a person?
I grew up off-grid on Lasqueti Island, a 20km long island a few hours North of Vancouver in the Strait of Georgia. By choice, the island does not have hydro power from the mainland. Any electricity is generated on an individual basis from solar, wind or micro-hydro. We had no road to our house, and did not even have a phone for over 15 years.

Although this may seem like roughing it, it is a fulfilling and rewarding lifestyle. Most of our food was provided by our surroundings: our large garden and orchard produced organic fruits and vegetables, our chickens laid eggs daily, and the ocean at our doorstep provided us with fresh seafood. Although our household income denoted that we were living “under the poverty line”, we had everything we needed, and lived in a peaceful, natural paradise.

Growing up off-grid taught me that true happiness in life comes from family, community, and nature. I would choose a potluck feast of homegrown food with my neighbours over a dinner at any 5 star restaurant in the world.

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Featured Vancouverite: Aran Seaman

Featured Vancouverite: Elizabeth Steward

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Photography by Masoud Harati

Hometown:
A small market town called Brandon (in the UK). Most people have never heard of it, so I usually say Cambridge, which is the closest city.

How long have you been a Vancouverite? Four years

Occupation:
I’m Director of Marketing for the Dun & Bradstreet Cloud Innovation Center.

We’re a software division of a 174-year-old global business information company that is based right in the heart of downtown. As a team, we work on some really big strategic projects for the company, using the very latest in web and cloud computing technologies.

My role is to help tell the Dun & Bradstreet product story, as well as provide thought leadership and education for other businesses looking to adopt cloud-based technology. Right now, we’re building the next generation of Dun & Bradstreet’s flagship product, called DNBi, which helps credit managers to make decisions on which companies to do business with, how much credit to extend to those companies, and how much risk they are taking on as a result. We’re working with the world’s largest business database to make this project happen – some 300 million business records gathered from across 200 countries. It’s huge!

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Featured Vancouverite: Elizabeth Steward

How hard is it to become a YouTube Star?

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How hard is it to become a YouTube Star? And can anyone really do it? A UK study recently found that 40% of 16-24 year olds would rather be a YouTube star over becoming a doctor, lawyer or pop music star.

In this doc, the guys behind SHIFT interview Vancouver’s biggest YouTube celebrities (Austin Pamaj, Convos With My 2YR Old, and IFHT) and start a channel from scratch to find out how hard it is to go viral… and succeed with 2M channel views to date.

Featured Vancouverite: Cheryl Kwok

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Hometown: Hong Kong

How long have been a Vancouverite?
 I’ve been here since Grade 6.

Occupation:
I am currently enrolled in the Masters of Applied Legal Studies program at SFU and am studying to become a Notary Public in British Columbia. I also work part-time as a conveyancer at a Notary Public’s office in Vancouver.

Even with your busy work and grad school schedule, you are very active in the volunteer community in Vancouver. Can you tell us a bit about the organizations that you collaborate with and what you feel are the biggest benefits of volunteer work?
I am currently the President of the Vancouver Diamond Lions Club (VDLC), and was a committee member for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation 20th Anniversary for Children We Care Gala this year.

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Featured Vancouverite: Cheryl Kwok

Featured Vancouverite: Kate Manolis

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Hometown: Moscow, Russia

How long have been a Vancouverite? 13 years and counting

What is your occupation?
COO for PlentyOfFish. I oversee several functions of the business including HR, Finance, Legal, PR/Communications, and Administrative and Support.

The dating world has evolved with the modern times, with many people turning to the internet to broaden their social circles and increase their odds of meeting interesting people. Can you contrast and compare how PlentyOfFish operates in relation to many of the other dating websites?
PlentyOfFish is uniquely placed in the online dating landscape for three reasons: it’s a free service, it offers unlimited selection of potential matches, and it works.

PlentyOfFish started as a free site and 12 years later, users can still use the service, now also available on iPhone, iPad, Android and tablet, for free. As PlentyOfFish grew and matured, we realized that we aimed to offer our users an optional premium membership, for those who want an enhanced user experience. Our upgraded membership allows users to see if someone read or deleted their message, see a user’s extended profile, upload more images and several other value-adds.

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Featured Vancouverite: Kate Manolis

Featured Vancouverite: Jessica Slonski

Jessica Slonski

Hometown: Whitehorse, Yukon

How long have been a Vancouverites? 8 years

Occupation:
I’m the owner and founder of Form Body Lab, a boutique pilates studio focused on an integrated, client-focused approach to wellness. Not just yoga and pilates, our studio was the first to include in-house physiotherapists and registered massage therapists – a collaboration of instructors and practitioners to provide a center for high quality rehabilitation and physical maintenance.

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Featured Vancouverite: Jessica Slonski

Featured Vancouverite: Lareina Hui

Lareina Hui

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia

How long have you been a Vancouverite? My entire life! I was a born and bred in East Van, and don’t anticipate leaving the city anytime soon.

Occupation:
I’m a Senior Compliance Analyst at a hyperWALLET, a Vancouver-based company specializing in global money transfers, and financial technology solutions.

After being diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer in 2010, rather than allowing this diagnosis to guide your days, you took this opportunity to make changes to your lifestyle and to live by your mantra of ‘finding the beauty in the fragility of life’. Can you provide some insight into this experience and how it has developed over the last few years? 
I think it’s very easy to take very little things for granted. When I was undergoing treatment, every moment was laboured breathing; every moment was a 120 beat-per-minute heart rate. The rare moments I wasn’t in excruciating pain were moments I cherished immensely. Never will I take something simple, like having the energy to lift a mug, for granted. The ability to just sit and breathe, to me now, is a miraculous thing. Luckily, this mindset has stuck with me since that experience – I have been genuinely humbled, and I remember to show gratitude for even the smallest things in life.

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Featured Vancouverite: Lareina Hui