Featured Vancouverite: Colin Mansell

Colin Mansell

Hometown: I was born in Holland to Dutch parents and still consider Amsterdam my hometown. We moved around a lot growing up, including Norway and Borneo, before settling in London, UK, where I went to school and spent the formative years of my career.

How long have been a Vancouverite?
Six years. I originally moved here to get out of the rat race of London, taking six months off to travel across Canada and sail up the coast from Vancouver to Alaska and back in a small sailboat. I gained a deep appreciation of the amazing BC coast, and as a result, I decided to stay. I’ve never looked back.

Occupation:
In 2012, I co-founded a digital agency called Drive Digital with Chris Breikks and John Blown at 6S Marketing. Drive has grown to a team of 28 designers and developers. Together with the team of 35 people at 6S, we are collectively now one of the largest agencies in the province.

As Drive matured and brought on a solid management team, I decided to branch out and address the growing talent gap in the Vancouver tech sector by starting a new company called RED Academy. At RED, we teach both full and part-time programs in UX design, web development and digital marketing. We work closely with a partner network of 60 companies in British Columbia to produce tech talent with the right skills and knowledge, so that they can hit the ground running and play a meaningful part in the continued growth in this booming sector in the city.

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Featured Vancouverite: Colin Mansell

Featured Vancouverite: Kimberly Rohachuk

Kimberly RohachukHometown: Calgary, Alberta

How long have been a Vancouverite? I have been a Vancouverite for over 30 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else.

Occupation:
I am the Co-founder and President of Eventsage, a ground breaking start-up company that is the first event planning website and online tool that is solely focused on delivering planning solutions for companies and individuals. The website is for people in roles such as admin professionals, office managers, executive assistants, and many more, who do not have the time and experience to plan an event, or the budget to hire a professional event planner. It provides a DIY approach to support these hard working individuals and save them time and stress by providing a one-stop resource to find trusted event suppliers, creative ideas and plan awesome events like pro.

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Featured Vancouverite: Kimberly Rohachuk

Featured Vancouverite: Tracey Bell

Tracy BellHometown: Edmonton, Alberta

How long have been a Vancouverite? 
25 years

Occupation:
I am an Entertainment Entrepreneur in the special event industry. Using quick-change celebrity impersonations, I inspire audiences to play along with high-energy musical numbers and a unique style of improvised comedy. I host events and perform as Madonna, Cher, Celine Dion, Tina Turner, Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton, Marilyn Monroe and more as part of my own show, 8 Divas in 44 Minutes. In 2005, I won the Canadian Special Events Industry Award for Entertainer of the Year and was nominated for the same award this year, which is also my 30th year as a performer.

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Featured Vancouverite: Tracey Bell

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

Elizabeth

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

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