LAUREL DOUGLAS, SIDIT CEO

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

Business Leader of the Year

Kelowna: The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce announced today that Laurel Douglas has been named Business Leader of the Year for 2020. This prestigious award recognizes and celebrates Douglas, a longtime Kelowna non-profit and community leader, who has supported many businesses, community organizations and has served as a mentor and resource for many individuals over the years.

Appointed the CEO of SIDIT—the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust—earlier this year, Douglas comes to her current position from the Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC), which supports women entrepreneurs throughout BC with financing, training, mentoring and resources. Under her leadership, the profile and impact of WEC grew in BC, nationally and internationally. Her outstanding contributions are well-recognized in the local community and beyond.

Prior to heading up WEC, Douglas spent many years in the tech sector. After she arrived in the Okanagan in 1997, she was the founding Executive Director of the tech support organization now known as Accelerate Okanagan. She also worked with an affiliate of the National Research Council’s IRAP program for several years, helping tech entrepreneurs access capital and markets.

“We’re thrilled that our Business Excellence Awards independent judging panel has chosen Laurel as the 2020 recipient of our coveted Business Leader of the Year Award,” said Jeffrey Robinson, President of the Kelowna Chamber.

“Laurel, through her long-standing support of the community, has enriched our city and our region. She has championed entrepreneurs and provided valuable community leadership in the economic development and post-secondary sectors. She continues to leave a legacy of strategic thinking, impact and collaboration in the positions she has held. In her new role at SIDIT, we are confident that her steady hand and clear-headed planning will create great outcomes for this important regional economic development organization.”

Douglas will receive her award at this year’s 33rd annual Business Excellence Awards online celebration on Thursday November 26th, held from 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Registration and tickets are available online at the Chamber’s website at www.kelownachamber.org until the event begins.

“I’m honoured to be named Business Leader of the Year, in recognition of the work I’ve done in this region over the last 23 years, helping develop the Okanagan tech sector, supporting women entrepreneurs throughout BC, and now helping the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust enter its next chapter,” says Douglas. “When I arrived in Kelowna, I wanted to use my background in business to help entrepreneurs access capital, knowledge and markets, and to help create the conditions to encourage economic development in our region. I’ve had the privilege of working with wonderful team members and volunteer board members over the years, who are all committed to making a difference, and are working very hard during this difficult time to support business and community resilience and recovery.” “Thanks again to the Kelowna Chamber for this award. I’d also like to acknowledge the great work the Chamber has done this year on behalf of its members, and in collaboration with the other partners in the region.”

MNP LLP is the long-time sponsor of the Business Leader of the Year Award and will be presenting the award to Douglas during the online Awards Gala on November 26th.

For more information, or media interviews, please contact:

Caroline Miller or Dan Rogers

250-718-7302 or 250 469-7351

cmiller@kelownachamber.org or dan@kelownachamber.org


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