Top 40 Under Forty is presented by the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO.
These are 40 people in our community who are doing BIG things. They are thriving in business, entrepreneurship, arts, athletics or are striving to make our city and region a better place to live and work.
Have a look at our frequently asked questions!
2018-2019 Top 40 Under Forty
Brandie Andrews & Sonja Miller
Brandie Andrews & Sonja Miller are the founders of Key Connections Consulting, a one stop shop for services including: speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, psychology, behaviour services and counselling, all in one agency.
Sonja and Brandie have always had a keen passion to support children and youth with special needs. Early in their careers they noticed the insurmountable challenges that families of Lethbridge were often faced with in attempts to obtain specialized services for their children.
Many families reported their difficulty in obtaining and coordinating their own services. Brandie and Sonja decided to take a risk 10 years ago while in their late 20’s, creating Key Connections Consulting.
Since opening their doors in 2009, KCC has expanded the supports they provide based on service needs identified in the community. As a result, KCC also started Project ICE to support unemployed youth and young adults with disabilities.
Brandie graduated with BSW and MSW at the UofL. Brandie had the opportunity to work as a job coach, youth mentor, researcher, community liaison counsellour, special needs consultant, etc. placing herself in roles where she could be a voice for those who might not have one.
Sonja graduated with her BA in psychology from the UofL and then went to on receive her MA at Wichita State University in speech-language pathology. As a teen, she volunteered at the Chinook Regional Hospital and from this experience she knew a career working in the health care field would fit wonderfully with her desire to support others.
Brandie is known in southern Alberta for supporting the creation of the FSCD/Education “Pilot Project.” The intent of the pilot project was to allow children who accessed specialized services at home to also have access to the same team of professionals in their educational program and other community settings.
She has made a difference for those she works with by providing them with a “voice” through function communications systems even when they are not physically capable of physical speech.
Sonja’s focus on early language intervention has made a difference for young children and families in our community.
Brandie has a young family and has enjoyed devoting her time in educational programs, Lethbridge Recreation Hockey and Southwest Little League. She also believes in the importance of teaching and keeping abreast of new research and as such has enjoyed partnering with the University of Lethbridge supervising MSW leadership students.
Sonja is an active member of the Croatian-Canadian Club of Lethbridge where she has been a member for over 20 years and supported in a variety of roles. Sonja has volunteered as kit captain for the Canadian Diabetes Association. In addition, Sonja has had the pleasure of participating in a mentorship program to support and supervise many local new graduates from various speech-language pathology programs.
Both Brandie and Sonja volunteer their time offering community presentations, education sessions, and are representatives at community sector meetings.
For their dedication to improving the lives of families in need of specialized services, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Sonja Miller and Brandie Andrews as two of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.
Shawn Hammond is the Owner/Operator of Big Al's Auto Repair, an independent automotive repair shop in Lethridge.
In 2012, Shawn and his wife Becky purchased Big Al's Auto Repair from the original "Big Al". Since then the business has grown exponentially. Shawn is dedicated to trying to change the way people in Lethbridge perceive mechanics in the traditional sense. He prides himself on being highly skilled while maintaining transparency and honesty.
Shawn was born and raised in Lethbridge. He graduated from the Lethbridge College in 2003 with a diploma from the Automotive technician program. Right out of school, he had the opportunity to work at a dealership under one of the most sought after automotive diagnosticians in southern Alberta. He learned as much as he could coming in early and staying late to absorb as much as possible.
By the time he was 25, Shawn had become shop foreman. This thrust him into a leadership role where he had to sink or swim. It also allowed him to learn leadership skills to run an effective team that is good at what they do.
Under Shawn's leadership, Big Al's Auto repair has won Lethbridge Sun Times Best of the Best contest for the last three years. They have also been rated one of the top three local repair shops for the last four years by an independent rating firm.
Shawn also spearheaded Big Al's Christmas Vans program. For the past three years, they have given away a mini van (or two) to families in need in our community. With help from their friends and colleagues in the community they are able to fill the vans with groceries and gift cards to help a struggling family have an awesome Christmas, and give them a hand when they are down.
Shawn is proud to participate in and sponsor a number of community initiatives including Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, The Boys & Girl's Club, Street Machines Weekend, Expressions Dance and more!
For his dedication to helping the community, and and outstanding work in the automotive field, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Shawn Hammond as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty!
Elisabeth Hegerat is a passionate advocate for public libraries, for literacy and the literary arts, and for diversity and inclusion. She believes in making a personal commitment to making the change you want to see in your community, and loves connecting people with resources—and each other.
She is the festival director for Lethbridge Public Library’s The Word on the Street Festival, an outdoor one-day event in celebration of literacy and the written and spoken word, with six stages, twenty to thirty presenting authors from across Canada, and an estimated attendance of more than 5,000 people.
She has organized multiple programs for Lethbridge Pride Fest for the last three years, and was organized and helped out with more than twenty events in the month of June this past year.
Elisabeth completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary, and is a graduate of the University of Alberta's Master of Library and Information Studies program. She has worked in public, school, and corporate libraries.
She moved to Lethbridge with her wife in 2006 to take a position at the Lethbridge Public Library in 2006, where she has worked in a variety of different capacities ever since. In her current role with the Lethbridge Public Library as Manager: Community and Economic Advancement, she works with grants, fundraising, and community initiatives.
Elisabeth was thrilled to accept the Celebrate Downtown Event of the Year Award on behalf of the Library for the Word on the Street Festival. In her time as the festival director, the event has expanded to include a comics stage, and an indigenous cultural stage. She has organized a Pride Fest author event since 2016, and worked with the Lethbridge Public Library, and the English and Women and Studies departments at the University of Lethbridge to bring in three different presenters for Pride Fest’s tenth anniversary. She also facilitated a new event for Pride Fest this past year. She was honoured and humbled to accept the Pride Fest 2018 Community Development award.
Elisabeth has been an active member of the Rocky Mountain Book Award committee since 2006, an Alberta-wide reader's choice program for students in grades 4-8, and reads sixty to eighty books a year as part of the shortlist selection for the award. She has volunteered with Lethbridge Pride Fest since 2016, and is a member of the board of directors for Pride Fest 2019. She is also a regular participant in the Knitting a Revolution’s holiday charity knitting projects, including the 25,000 Toques Project, a citizen-driven spontaneous national knitting movement to welcome Syrian refugees to Canada.
For her advocacy for public libraries as well as the LGBTQ+ community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Elisabeth Hegerat as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty!
Chance Olsen is the owner of Chaparral Registry and Insurance which opened this past spring in West Lethbridge.
Chance has demonstrated a hard work ethic ever since he was a young boy. He is very motivated to accomplish the goals that he has set for himself.
Chance is loyal, family oriented, trustworthy, and very kind. His staff would describe him as open minded, always encouraging his staff to be the best they can be, supporting them in their career paths and choices.
He is a great teacher. No matter if he is simply playing a board game, building something, or working in the backyard, he is constantly taking the opportunity to teach his children how to do new things. Balancing his career and family can be challenging, but Chance is constantly trying to find time to spend with his young family. Their favorite family activity is spending time at the lake.
Being a young business owner is a huge learning curve, but Chance is excited to learn and improve his businesses.
Chance received his Accounting degree from the University of Lethbridge in 2015. He worked at a local accounting firm before starting a new adventure in opening Chaparral Registry and Insurance.
In 2007 Chance served a mission for his church in Hungary teaching and serving the Hungarian people in their native tongue. He continues to serve in his church as a young men leader; planning camps, activities, and spiritual lessons. He also helps the young men accomplish their scouting goals and certify in the Canadian scouting program.
Chance really enjoys working with the youth and volunteers his time in the community as well. Coaching spring league and kids soccer has been a highlight for him. Chance was able to coach his oldest son in soccer this past spring which made it really special. Chance looks forward to coaching more in the future.
For his entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to his young family as well as bettering the community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Chance Olsen as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty.
Peter Casurella is the Executive Director of SouthGrow Regional Iniative, an economic development alliance of twenty-four south central Alberta communities committed to working together to achieve prosperity for the region.
Peter is deeply passionate about making life better for everyone in our community and in the region. His occupations and career path have consequently led him towards work that impacts and improves the lives of an increasing number of people.
At Lethbridge Family Services, Peter was able to positively impact the quality of life of hundreds of new immigrants and vulnerable persons in the City. At the Chamber of Commerce, he was able to work towards the economic prosperity of thousands of employers and employees in the City. Now, at the SouthGrow Regional Initiative, his work has the potential to improve the quality of life of tens of thousands of southern Albertans.
Peter was born and raised in the small farming town of Didsbury, Alberta where his father was a teacher and a hobby woodworker. He learned how to swing a hammer and worked on farms and framing crews through his teenage years. After graduation, Peter wanted to get out of the small town and see the wide world beyond, so he went to the booming metropolitan city of Lethbridge to pursue post-secondary studies.
He started his education in the International Management program, graduating 4 years later instead with a B.A. in English Literature. Peter paid for university by working construction jobs, and promptly went into management for a local residential construction company. After a couple of years of supervising framing crews, he quit his job, started a private renovation business, and went back to school at the same time to study Philosophy. Peter graduated again in 2010 with a B.A. in Philosophy (magna cum laude), and went on to earn his Masters in Philosophy at McMaster University, where he studied Probability and Epistemology.
Since grad school, Peter has followed a fast-paced career path that has led him through rolls that have exposed him to everything that our City, and region, has to offer, arming him with a wide range of connections and knowledge. He worked as a front line worker for Immigrant Services, helping new refugees to settle in Lethbridge, then as a Communications, Government Relations, and Fundraiser for Lethbridge Family Services. He has done a wide range of digital marketing work, and spent a year as the policy and communications strategist for the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce. The wide diversity of experiences, education, and connections that Peter has accumulated has served him very well in his current professional role as the Executive Director of the SouthGrow Regional Initiative, where he works to market south-central Alberta to the world and promote economic growth for all of the towns, counties, villages, and cities in the region.
Peter supports our community primarily by participating in community committees. including Vibrant Lethbridge anti-poverty committee, Intelligent Community Initiative, The Human Subject Research Committee at the U of L and more. Peter and his wife Mackenzie are also strong supporters of the Family Centre, giving monthly to their programs and serving as regular volunteers.
For his dedication to improving and promoting our city and our region, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Peter Casurella as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Chelsa Larson is the owner and senior floral designer at Funky Petals Floral Studio, a flower shop in Lethbridge.
Chelsa opened Funky Petals in 2015 with a dream to bring big city design to our home on the prairies; re-invigorating the local floral community. Her mission has grown along with the studio to reminding the general public why flowers are so important, and how they have ‘lost their way’ due to over-commercialization by big box stores and online order gatherers. Gifting flowers is a very personal experience, so it was important for her clients know that when they visit Funky Petals, that intimacy and significance is acknowledged.
With consistent community support, Chelsa has taken the opportunity to direct Funky Petals’ online reach towards raising awareness and education of local non-profit organizations. In addition, she does her best to support and donate florals and/or time to countless annual fundraisers.
Being a florist means that Chelsa has an eye geared towards beauty, but she knows that the gift of flowers goes beyond pure aesthetics. It is the gesture behind the gift that showcases the flowers beauty. For that reason, the belief in “Flower Power” is integral at Funky Petals – with every new direction she takes her studio, it is to ensure that the compassion BEHIND the flowers go beyond the walls of the studio, impacting our community in a positive, lasting way.
Chelsa graduated from the Lethbridge College as a Marketing Major with Honors back in 2010, but before that had pursued the Fine Arts in her hometown of Fort McMurray. College provided her with theory and personal growth and gave roots to her teenage dream of someday opening my own studio.
Her passion for flowers began at a young age and she has had a love affair with them ever since. Beginning her official floral career in 2005, Chelsa observed and learned as much as possible from prior jobs.
The experience of owning a business has been eye opening and impactful. Losses and gains have turned into powerful life lessons, and she has gained many valuable friendships with other local business owners who inspire her daily.
For her entrepreneurial spirit and hard work to reimagine the floral industry in Lethbridge, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Chelsa Larson as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Derek Loose is the CEO of Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Excellence, a mortgage and leasing company that takes pride in uncovering every mortgage option available to each family or individual that they work with.
Derek has been part owner of DLCME since 2010 and took over as CEO in 2016. Since completely taking over DLCME has increased production by 35%, expanded into Ontario and BC, and expanded one of the most efficient underwriting teams in the country.
Derek excels at bringing people together and keeping everyone focused on their quality of life which in turn increases their execution at work.
He is a high-performance coach, certified by the High Performance Academy in 2013. He was part of the John Maxwell Team coached by Darren Hardy in his CEO course and hired him to personally speak to the DLCME team.
Through his journey of personal development, Derek has learned about the importance of working on oneself. He has seen how contagious personal growth can be to those around you if you create that type of culture. It has helped him push through and surround himself with the very best. Derek credits the mentors and partnership that he has had with shaping him into one of Lethbridge’s Top 40.
Derek was nominated for Brokerage of the Year Canadian Mortgage Awards in 2014, 2016 and 2017. He earned a Diamond Award for top producer of mortgages in Canada and is a member of Dominion Lending Centers Elite Hall of Fame.
For his track record of excellence in the field of lending, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Derek Loose as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty!
Kristen Griffiths is the project developer/manager for Strength in Smiles, dental public health program focused on preventative services and oral health education in Tanzania which she designed, developed, fundraised for, and is overseeing this year.
While on a volunteer dental trip in 2016, she discovered there was a gap in preventative education and services offered in rural Tanzania and came up with a plan to address the growing issue. After spending a year developing a proposal, and creating a template for the program, Kristen took a year sabbatical from her community health position with Alberta Health Services to initiate the Strength in Smiles program.
Before starting the project, she was involved with the resettlement of the Syrian refugees to Lethbridge. She played an active role in the development of the multidisciplinary clinics that served the newcomer population by providing easy access to healthcare services within the first few months of their arrival. She organized a donation drive at the Lethbridge Train Station that provided new families with warm clothing, food and household items, to help them settle into their new lives in Lethbridge. She also volunteered with Lethbridge Family Services at several of the events they hosted.
Kristen moved to Lethbridge in 2001 and started high school at LCI. She took a few courses at Lethbridge Community College before moving to Medicine Hat to complete her prerequisites for the Dental Hygiene program through the U of A. She graduated with both a diploma in Dental Hygiene and BSc in 2009 and moved back to Lethbridge to work as a hygienist in private practice.
For the next four years Kristen worked between Lethbridge and Taber providing oral health education and services to the people of Southern Alberta. She grew to love how close knit the community was and knew that she wanted to focus more on community development and public health. After spending a year traveling abroad she was fortunate enough to be offered a position with Alberta Health Services doing just that.
Kristen is currently working towards a Master of Health Studies through Athabasca University
Her role with the population health promotion team at the Lethbridge Train station has given Kristen the opportunity to really get to know the city. The team visits elementary schools, continuing care facilities and healthcare centers in every corner of the city. They participate in a number of community events including Flu-lapalooza, Back to School Connect, Party in the Park, Senior’s Fair and Operation Connect and help strengthen the community connections and access to care.
Kristen has volunteered with Lethbridge Immigration and Family Services with their Newcomer events and Angel Tree Christmas Campaign. She supports local businesses and events every chance that she gets and loves seeing local entrepreneurs grow and thrive in our community.
For her incredible dedication to community development and public health, and taking the spirit of Lethbridge overseas to help those in need, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Kristen Griffiths as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Javier Moreira-Jovel, professionally known as L Rev, is a hip-hop artist based in Lethbridge. Since the first time he picked up a mic at the age of 14, L Rev has been a part of the Canadian hip hop scene bringing a diverse repertoire of battles, performances, promotions and recording.
Javier has been a hip-hop artist for more than 10 years. He has toured Canada and Europe, and performed countless shows spreading his message through his music. Javier’s songs have touched on issues such as suicide, bullying, addiction, recovery, and more. He is proud to have used his skills to spread positivity throughout the community.
After graduating from CCHS in 2006, Javier began making music. He is currently attending Lethbridge College to obtain a General Studies diploma majoring in sociology and child-care. When his daughter was born, Javier realized that his calling was to help the youth of the community to stay away from the things that held him back as a kid. His goal is to become a teacher while continuing to use music as a tool to reach the youth.
Javier has toured Canada twice, both times with big-name artists. He has toured Europe, performing in six different countries over the course of a month, all on his own. He has released three albums and many singles, and has managed to earn a small income from making music. He supplements that income by working with youth.
Javier has many followers who engage with his music and tell him that he is helping them get through hard times in their lives. He has helped younger artists find a platform to show off their talents in Lethbridge as well as in Standoff and other surrounding cities and towns. His work on the reservation is something that he holds very dear, as the youth there are at high risk compared to those in the city. Javier works to motivate young people to stay away from drugs, gangs, and other negative things that surround them. People look up to him, and he uses that opportunity to inspire love and respect in everyone around him.
When not performing, studying or spending time with his family, Javier volunteers for JessFM, a local internet radio station, where he discusses serious issues in our community. He also hopes to create a program that helps at-risk youth stay away from violence and drugs and gives them a creative outlet through music, dance, art, and other aspects of hip-hop.
To Javier, rap music is a tool that he can use to help people channel the bad things that happen to them into something creative and positive.
For his dedication in giving back to the community, and helping improve the lives of those at-risk through hip-hop, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Javier “L Rev” Moreira-Jovel as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Amber Jensen is the founder of Sweetgrass Youth Alliance and a Career Practitioner with Lethbridge School District # 51.
Amber has been a proud Southern Alberta resident for her entire life. She is a single mother of two teenage boys and for almost 10 years, has been a licensed foster parent for Southwest Alberta Child and Family Services.
In 2015 she lost a foster son who was only 19 due to a Fentanyl overdose. Following that, Amber founded the Sweetgrass Youth Alliance to help support vulnerable youth in the community. Amber has developed programs which tackle the opioid crisis. Her group has conducted four local events geared towards young people and their families to increase awareness, knowledge and share stories of people whose lives have been affected by the use of drugs.
Amber earned a General Studies Certificate from Lethbridge College. In 2007, she also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a psychology major from the University of Lethbridge. While attending the U of L, she had a paper published in the Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal entitled “Synesthesia”. Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which two or more bodily senses are merged so that the detection of each is mismatched.
Amber spent five years working for the Government of Alberta at Alberta Works. She was in charge of a complex caseload where she connected vulnerable Albertans to resources and helped them increase their quality of life.
In June, Amber collaborated with publisher/artist from Kainai, Jason Eagle Speaker, to release the book I Am the Opioid Crisis: Stories from Southern Alberta. In this publication she shares a collection of true stories from people who have been affected by the opioid crisis. Her hope is that people who read it will see drug users as fellow human beings, and that the stories appeal to young people and those with low literacy because of the graphic novel style illustrations.
Amber was invited to fly to Shoal Lake First Nation near Kenora, Ontario to do a presentation on the Opioid Crisis. She was very humbled to share knowledge and increase awareness so this community might be better equipped to implement prevention strategies.
Amber sits on the board of directors for Sik Ooh Kotoki Friendship Society and spends a lot of time there volunteering and helping to organize events. In addition to advocacy and general volunteer work for people experiencing homelessness, she is also part of a group that initiated a weekly Community Games Night at the Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Center where members of the community engage with shelter residents by playing cards, bingo and board games for meaningful, positive interactions.
Formerly, Amber sat as co-chairperson of the Youth Justice Committee where under the direction of the Alberta Solicitor General they used a restorative justice approach to divert young people away from the court system for less serious first offences. Amber is a member of “Moms Stop the Harm” which is a network of Canadian families whose loved ones have died due to substance use or who hope for recovery. She also currently works at the Lethbridge Youth Treatment Center helping young people receiving addictions treatment to complete school courses while away from their home schools.
For her tireless dedication to fighting Lethbridge’s opioid crisis and improving quality of life for vulnerable people in our community, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce & BDO are proud to recognize Amber Jensen as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Sim Bains is the Vice President of Manufacturing at Triple M Housing, a Lethbridge company specializing in manufactured and modular housing.
Sim is a progressive executive with a particular strength in driving performance, reducing inefficiencies and cutting costs. Although she leads through the facilitation and empowerment of others, she still takes personal responsibility for all challenges under her leadership.
She has always lead teams in traditionally male dominated industries, however believes that it is what you bring to the table in skill set, and not your gender that determines your success in your career. She has never let her gender intimidate her or limit her on what she can do and achieve.
Sim is first generation Indo-Canadian. Her parents instilled a very strong work ethic, and raised her to be strong and independent. Her first job was working at McDonalds after school, where she quickly was promoted to being a supervisor and got hands on training in scheduling, training, customer service, and general business skills.
Sim majored in Wood Products Processing, with a minor in Commerce and graduated with honors from UBC in 2002. She was recruited by Weyerhaeuser during her last semester of University, and began her career in Grande Prairie, in the Engineering Department as a Project Manager.
After five years with Weyerhaeuser, Sim moved on to the modular industry where she worked progressive roles in Material Management, Quality, and Manufacturing. She worked for a camp manufacturer, overseeing three plants, and 400 employees, located in BC and Alberta.
After the downturn in Oil and Gas, Sim moved to Lethbridge, to take on the role as VP of Manufacturing at Triple M Housing. She oversees Design and Engineering, Quality, Safety, Production and Warranty, and involves the hard work of over 300 employees.
For hard work and leadership, rising her to the top of a male-dominated industry, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Sim Bains as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Corlee Torok is a radio announcer for Clearsky Radio’s 98.1 The Bridge where she hosts The Bridge Breakfast.
Corlee considers herself a champion of all things Lethbridge. Having worked in the media for the past 15 years, she has had a lot of opportunities to immerse herself in basically everything “Lethbridge”, from a vast array of charities, sports and events, there isn't much she hasn’t had a hand in, in some way or another, over the years. Corlee loves this city, so whether it's seeing the latest new local band, showing her support at a fundraiser, playing ball in Softball Valley or taking in the latest event at Galt Gardens she loves to be there!
In 2003, Corlee graduated from Lethbridge College’s Broadcast Journalism Program in, where she had many experienced broadcasters to learn from. Her very first "announcing" job was recording the 'on-hold' system for Overhead Door Company.
She completed her practicum at Country 95.5FM in Lethbridge and was hired shortly afterward to work mid-days, the drive home show and eventually the Country 95 morning show with Marv Gunderson. Corlee credits a lot of her success to Marv.
After her time at Country 95.5, Corlee moved on to do mornings at B93.3FM, eventually becoming interim Program Director for a short period. She moved on to help launch 98.1 The Bridge, where she now currently hosts the Bridge Breakfast morning show.
Corlee also spent time as the Fund Development Coordinator at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, where she got a deeper look into Lethbridge's philanthropical world. It was an eye-opening experience to see how giving Lethbridge really is.
Corlee has strong connection to Lethbridge. She is appreciative that when a major event comes to town and an emcee is needed, her name is brought up -- sometimes by strangers who have seen her host another event or by recommendation from others she’s worked with. One of her biggest highlights was being honoured with a Blackfoot name at a naming ceremony during the International Peace Pow Wow in 2011. Normally reserved for citizens in high, political positions, she is still humbled to this day. Corlee’s Blackfoot name is Miani'stsii Piiksaki, meaning 'Many Different Birds' or 'Wakes Before the Birds'.
Volunteering is something that Corlee values. She volunteers as both a mentor and emcee for Junior Achievement Southern Alberta which serves to coach young ladies in high school about job opportunities and women in business. She is deeply involved with Softball Valley and Softball Alberta, event managing a ladies team in last year's provincials. She was involved with the International Peace Pow Wow for several years. She is also an avid supporter of the live music scene here in Lethbridge.
For being such an ardent champion for our community and striving to make it a better place however she can, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Corlee Torok as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Kristen Mrazek is a professional makeup artist, esthetician and the owner of Mrazek Makeup Artistry who strives to bring out the inner beauty of every person and to accentuate the parts of them that they love the most.
Kristen specializes in empowering women to feel like their most comfortable, confident and beautiful selves. She created her business because she loves the artistic expression that makeup artistry allows, while also making people feel good about themselves. She takes a personal interest in her clients and makes it her goal to not just do her job well, but also to truly make people feel special.
She is a vegetarian, activist, and animal lover – she makes sure to only use cruelty-free products in her work – who tries to live holistically and sustainably to preserve the world we live in.
Currently, Kristen is in the process of receiving her life coaching certification, and developing a program geared towards women to encourage self-esteem, promote self-respect, and to talk about the effects that social media has on their perception of themselves.
Kristen graduated from the Lethbridge College with a Diploma in Fashion Design and Marketing and has earned a Degree in Art from the University of Lethbridge. At the same time, she received her Esthetics training certification in Calgary.
Kristen spent a month volunteering at an orphanage in Africa, where she realized a need to help others and become more engaged in life. She has volunteered for many years for Lethbridge Fashion Week, doing makeup for the fashion shows and mentoring young women. That is where she came to realize how much empowering women meant to her.
She does many collaborations with models, photographers, and other artists within the community. By promoting other local artists, Kristen feels that everyone is able to not only gain recognition, but also build this artistic community we are in. She also works closely with #Perfectfit4u, where she is able to build relationships and play a small role in the self-development of so many incredible women through workshops and sponsoring different events.
Each year, Kristen sponsors a scholarship at Wilson Middle School in honour of her father, Dr. Richard Mrazek who passed away in 2013. She has done multiple volunteering stints over the years at Wilson, whether it was a program for encouraging young women or doing makeup for their annual end of the year plays.
This year, Kristen was nominated for Alberta’s Hair and Beauty Awards as Freelance Artist of the Year.
For her work to empower women, volunteer time and drive to improve the lives of those around her, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Kristen Mrazek as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Cameron Howey is the Community Development Coordinator at United Way Lethbridge & South Western Alberta.
Cameron believes that life truly begins once we leave our “comfort zone” and learn through the new and sometimes scary experiences. These experiences and opportunities are how we grow as individuals, and our personal growth in turn fosters growth in the community.
He has been responsible for the wellness of over 8,000 people and helped lead a multi-million dollar institution at the strategic level as a young adult in his twenties. Although this was a lot of pressure, he rose to the occasion and respected the responsibility that he had to those he represented. Cameron has never shied away from an opportunity or challenge and this mentality and philosophy is what sets him apart.
Cameron attended the University of Lethbridge and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Political Science and History and a minor in Philosophy. He was involved with the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union and in total served two years as an Arts & Science Representative and one year as President. This was his first step into public service and giving back to the community in consistently meaningful ways.
He was a representative in both the Council of Alberta University Students’ (CAUS) and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) through which he represented and advocated on behalf of 300,000 students. He also served on the Youth Delegates Committee for Universities Canada and represented the University of Lethbridge at Universities Canada Converge 2017 conference.
Cameron facilitated the creation of a student referendum to sponsor a refugee student, which passed. Collectively he has served on over 30 committees at the university, municipal, and national level, including the University Board of Governors, Senate, and City transit committee. He was the Business manager for the Pincher Creek food bank, a teaching assistant at the university, and currently works with United Way Lethbridge as the Community Development Coordinator.
One of Cameron’s proudest achievements was being elected by over 8,000 students to serve as President of the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union. This was a big dream of his. He knew that he wanted to help give students a voice and make their University experience richer, especially beyond the classroom.
Mental health funding at the post-secondary level was a major focus of Cameron’s and to have played a part in successfully lobbying the provincial government for three million dollars in funding for the University of Lethbridge was an extraordinary moment for him. He also enabled the Students’ Union food bank to give tax credits for donations, which was a major reason the food bank generated more donations that year then any year previously.
Joining the United Way Lethbridge’s team and focusing in community development is another great accomplishment. It is crucial we give back to our community and build stronger and more resilient communities. Lethbridge has given Cameron so many opportunities and it is important to him that he helps build opportunities for others in our community.
Cameron has the pleasure of engaging his community every day at work. He works with amazing community partners and organizations that truly make Lethbridge a stronger and more vibrant community.
He has volunteered with Volunteer Lethbridge for their Random Acts of Kindness and project Paintbrush initiatives. Cameron also had the honor of emceeing the International Students’ dinner at City Hall. This dinner welcomes all of our international students, from both the University and College, helping create the feeling of Lethbridge being their “home away from home”.
For his impact on the community and hard work to better the lives of UofL students, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Cameron Howey as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty.
Nigel Atwood is Flaman's Fitness and Healthcare Consultant for Lethbridge and surrounding communities, where he helps individuals and their families find the right fitness equipment that helps them live a healthy life style.
Nigel has worked with many schools, gyms and businesses to get the proper equipment for their students, employees and members. He takes pride in helping individuals to find the right healthcare products for their homes to live more independently.
With both fitness and healthcare, Nigel’s goal is always the same with each customer and that is more than just selling them a product but to help them live a happy, healthy and independent life.
Nigel graduated LCI in 2010, after which he attended to Minot State University in North Dakota on a football scholarship. He suffered a career ending back injury in 2012 while playing football.
After his injury it was tough to keep positive but Nigel found that helping others achieve their goals really brought joy to his life. Following his injury, he continued with his education at Minot State University. He was a Position Coach for the Football team and spent time as a Strength and Conditioning Coach until he graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Corporate Fitness in 2015.
When he was finished at Minot State, Nigel moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and became a Strength and Conditions Coach for the University of Minnesota. He worked with many different University, Professional and Olympic athletes while in Minnesota.
Once he finished his time in the United States he moved back to Lethbridge and wanted to continue helping others. Flaman Fitness and Healthcare has allowed Nigel to keep on doing what he loves to do – help others live more free and assist others in achieving their goals.
Nigel values knowing that every person that comes to Flaman Fitness is putting their trust in him to help them get what they need. He feels that working with his customers each and every day is helping them build a better future for themselves.
For his dedication to helping make Lethbridge a better and more healthy place, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Nigel Atwood as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Jessica Hicken is the Lethbridge Manager at Purely Inspired Academy of Beauty, a hair school based in Lethbridge.
Jessica makes a conscious effort to make someone’s day better even if just a little She thrives off of making the students laugh, telling stories, and being a confidante. Jessica values forming strong relationships with Purely Inspired students and being able to build up confidence and self-esteem of the many young woman and men who attend.
When Jessica graduated from high school she I didn't know what she wanted to do. She went straight to Mount Royal University and took a general studies diploma program. Along the way, she decided to major in Marketing and Management.
With Jessica’s wife being from Raymond Alberta her journey continued here in Lethbridge where she began with Purely Inspired.
Jessica credits much of what she has learned throughout the years with her parents. Her mother was lead of human resources with Scotiabank before she retired, and her father was GM of a large window and door company. Their compassion towards others and their drive to lead a team to success impacted the way that she manages staff.
Jessica was instrumental in introducing the Blended Hairstyling, Makeup and Aesthetics Diploma Program at the Purely Inspired. She also assisted in opening four other Academies throughout Alberta in Medicine Hat, Calgary, Grande Prairie and Edmonton.
Through the Beauty Industry, Jessica has the opportunity to help make people feel amazing about themselves. With something as “simple” as a new hair style or make up, Jessica feels that it is rewarding thing to see that you can bring a sense of purpose to someone’s face.
Jessica feels blessed to be in a role in which she can engage in the community. She has taken part in a number of events throughout Lethbridge, including Career Transitions Skills Competition, Ready, Set, Go Fair (Providing back to school haircuts to young kids who are less fortunate), Help Portrait (Providing Hair and Makeup to Families who then get to have Family Photos taken), Head/Beard Shaves at Lethbridge College for Movember, Cinderella Project which provides hair and makeup for grads and even more!
For her hard work to help grow Purely Inspired and her dedication to her students, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Jessica Hicken as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Travis Jestin is residential operations manager and partner at Neu-Lite Electric, a full service electrical contractor owned and operated in Lethbridge.
Travis prides himself on being available to contractors, clients, and employees all hours of the day and weekends. He pushes for going above and beyond on all tasks, and passes this way of thinking to his employees.
He strongly believes in providing fast and professional work for customers and makes sure to always deliver on promises and deadlines. Travis visits all job sites daily, and reviews homes room by room to ensure quality control.
Beginning his electrical apprenticeship in 2004 in Fort Macleod, Travis focused primarily on commercial, agricultural and industrial. In 2009, he earned his Journeyman and Red Seal certificate from Lethbridge College. He continues his education, remaining on top of code changes and providing educational and growth opportunities to his staff.
Travis has been with Neu-Lite since 2006, beginning as an apprentice. His leadership and organizational skills quickly made him a standout among co-workers and management. In 2014, Travis joined the Neu-Lite ownership group and became a partner.
When not working with Neu-Lite, Travis enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. His alter ego Travis “The Heat” Copeland can often be found in a wrestling ring for Pure Power Wrestling, where he is the longest reigning Cruiserweight Champion.
For his unparalleled work ethic and dedication to his customers and staff the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Travis Jestin as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Madeline Gormley is Manager, Information Services at Lethbridge Public Library
Madeline moved to Lethbridge in July 2017 to work at LPL. In her first management position, Madeline is grateful for the opportunities afforded her including being involved in the opening of the newly renovated Main Branch; leading the adult services team; and being able to contribute to the library service provided to Lethbridge.
Public libraries are Madeline’s career and passion. She looks to bring energy, positivity and enthusiasm to an already vital institution. She feels that to be able to contribute to the public library in any community is to create a warm and welcoming space for anyone who enters the building, and to have joined the team at LPL has been a pleasure for her.
Madeline earned her BA in History from the University of Victoria in 2008. However she found her passion later on.
In 2012, Madeline began her second undergraduate degree in Secondary Education at the University of Alberta and took on her first role in a public library. She was blown away by the incredible ability of the public library to be a positive force in individual patron’s lives and their impact on the community overall, and was inspired to complete her Master of Library and Information Science from the U of A, which she earned in 2016.
She has since worked in both academic and public libraries in Alberta and Ontario, and when searching for her first library management role was excited to accept the position of Manager, Information Services at Lethbridge Public Library. She believes in the Library’s role in transforming lives because she sees it every day.
Madeline has been lucky to have lived all over Canada. She has moved for school, for fun, and, more recently, to Lethbridge for opportunity! She is happy to become a part of the community, and appreciates that her job allows her a close working relationship with community organizations and members of the public.
For her dedication to the Lethbridge Public Library and improving our community through Library programs, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Madeline Gormley as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Deepy Sharma is a financial advisor and partner at Laurie, Kenna and Associates Financial Services.
He is excited to help his clients and their next generation’s financial security. He values meeting a new client and get to watch them and their families grow over the years.
Deepy attended Mount Royal College in their Business Administration program; however he gained much of his business skill before college. His uncle owned Fas Gas in Frank, Alberta. From him, Deepy learned how to deal with employees, customer service skills, networking , and most importantly how to run a successful business – many things that textbooks cannot teach you.
From the age of 13-17 Deepy managed the night shift. He worked full time as well as attending high school full time. From this experience, and a firsthand education from his uncle on all the “how to’s” of running a business, he got an early start to his business career.
Deepy has spent many years travelling the world. He has been to 35 countries and 5 different continents. While travelling, he was trading stocks himself – a self-taught skill – and because of the flexibility this gave him, he was able to work from anywhere in the world.
He has been to all but one of the Wonders of the World. Deepy has visited Petra in Jordan, the Taj Mahal in India, The Pyramids in Egypt, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Machu Picchu in Peru, Chichen Itza in Mexico, and The Colosseum in Rome. Only the Great Wall of China is remaining.
In his career, Deepy achieved Million Dollar Round Table status in his first year as a financial advisor. This is a global achievement for the top 1% of all financial advisors. He has built a very successful practice and has reached all personal and professional goals that he has set for himself so far.
Deepy spent five years on the board of the Ricky Ryp Foundation. During his time, The Foundation helped many people who don’t get help from larger charities. He was honoured to have been a part of an organization that benefited Southern Alberta so much.
Last April, Deepy organized a fundraiser for a young father with MS. They were able to raise $55,000 to send him for stem cell treatment in Panama that could potentially help him walk again.
Deepy tries to participate in as many events and fundraisers as he can in the community. He knows that he has the ability to help others and give back and feels as though it is his responsibility to do so.
For his dedication to his clients and desire to help make our community a better place, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Deepy Sharma as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Broc Higginson is the Principal of École Agnes Davidson School, an elementary school in Lethbridge.
Broc genuinely loves to make a difference. He loves knowing that he is making a difference in the lives of others and ultimately making our community a better place. He exemplifies strong leadership and communication skills.
Originally from Fort Macloed, Broc attended the University of Lethbridge where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History, Geography, and Sociology. He then went on to attend Queen's University where he received a Bachelor of Education.
After earning his BEd, Broc returned home and worked in Grassy Lake at Chamberlain School. Three years later, as age 27, he was appointed Principal of Enchant School and soon after completed his Masters of Leadership and Administration through the University of Gonzaga.
Since then, he has been Vice-Principal at R.I. Baker Middle School in Coaldale, Principal at Noble Central School in Nobleford, Vice- \Principal of Wilson Middle School, Principal of Fleetwood Bawden Elementary and now Principal of École Agnes Davidson School. For the past two years he has also worked as a realtor with Atkinson & Associates and also continues to organize charity and for profit concerts, festivals and events.
Broc co-founded the Canadian Country Weekend music festival and Lethbridge Music Fest. He also organized and built Concert for a Cause in support of local charities.
Broc has volunteered his time to coach baseball, basketball, volleyball and soccer. He helped organize Feeding Future Minds raising over 18,000 pounds of food for the Interfaith food bank. Within his school communities over the years he has participated in dozens of community events and fundraisers. One of his favorites was organizing the 35th Annual Terry Fox Run for kids where they hosted Roland Fox, Terry Fox's father, to come and greet over 3000 students that attended at Henderson Lake.
For his dedication to bettering our community through education, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Broc Higginson as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Ceejay Garner is co-owner of Anytime Fitness Lethbridge, Renegade Nutrition Services and The Chopped Leaf Lethbridge.
Ceejay is a proud multiple business owner and loves the community of Lethbridge. She has been very self-driven since she was young.
She graduated from Stirling High School in a small class of fewer than 30 students. At that time, she hated school, was absent most of the school year, but made sure she earned her diploma. After taking several years off from school, she attended Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge to earn her Bachelor of Nursing. Nursing was something that she had always wanted to do since being in and out of hospitals visiting her father.
Ceejay worked in the nursing field in a variety of scopes including Correctional Nursing, Emergency Nursing and Public Health.
Ceejay was at the gym when she met her husband. Over time, they noticed that West Lethbridge was lacking in the fitness department, and they decided to open Anytime Fitness. This both helped them realize that Lethbridge was a great community to be an entrepreneur and helped make way for their other ventures.
While Ceejay is owner of these businesses, she doesn’t take all the credit as her husband is also part owner and has used his entrepreneurial experience to help make the businesses what they are today.
In 2017, Ceejay opened The Chopped Leaf franchise in West Lethbridge with hopes to expand to other franchises in the near future.
Ceejay holds status as an International Federation of Body Building professional. She earned her pro card in 2016 after only four years of competing. She also holds three Canadian women’s power lifting records in the 70kg weight class.
Through Renegade Nutrition Services, Ceejay is happy to have worked with many women to help them feel more comfortable and confident in their bodies and minds.
Ceejay is also passionate about charitable endeavors. She has organized a number of charity events, including a softball tournament for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, an Interfaith Fall Food Drive which collected over 1000-lbs of food and a competition for fundraising for Prairie Pitbull Rescue. She also serves as team leader annually for CIBC Run for the Cure and Interfaith Food Bank Red Dress Run.
For her entrepreneurial success and desire to help others, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Ceejay Garner as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Kaella Carr is Senior Reporter at CTV News Lethbridge where she has covered countless major news stories throughout Southern Alberta.
Kaella always knew that she needed to find a career that allowed her to give back to others. Being a reporter is just that. Every day she gets to tell the stories that matter. Whether it's helping someone find the answers they're looking for, shedding light on a disease, or letting people know about an upcoming fundraiser, she is able to use her platform to inform the community. She is passionate about making Lethbridge a better city every way she can.
In 2003, Kaella earned her diploma in Broadcast news from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. She spent two years working in radio and television in Northern Sasktachewan before moving to Lethbridge.
Originally Kaella came for six months but has been here for 14 years. Although she has been offered a number of other jobs in bigger markets, Lethbridge is where she wants to continue to grow her career and raise family. She feels the value in putting down roots and making connections. The more people that she knows, the more that she believes she can help people and inspire others to do the same.
She feels that the best part about her job is being able to tell the community what organizations, services, or people are in need of help and how others can get involved. She sees that as the best way to use her platform.
Kaella is honoured to have the chance to emcee events, sit on boards and give back to the community through volunteering. From 2005 through 2012, she served as local media chair for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation in Lethbridge and helped raise thousands of dollars every year to support awareness and research. She was also named Vice President to the national board of directors for the CCFC.
She has served on the organizing committee for the Lethbridge Police Service Run For Special Olympics and started #RunYQL a free weekly run club for people interested in starting to run or to improve their skills. Kaella also volunteers at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen once a month preparing and serving breakfast to those in need.
For her dedication to using her platform to make our community a better place, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce & BDO are proud to recognize Kaella Carr as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Paul Kingsmith is Senior Communications Specialist at Lethbridge College where he helps to guide messaging that relates to their strategic goals, works on brand and reputation management, and tells stories that highlight the amazing work of others in their institution.
Paul has achieved high levels of success in two different, but related, career paths. For 13 years, 10 in Lethbridge, he was an award-winning television journalist. He then decided to tackle a new challenge as he switched to a communications career at Lethbridge College.
During his time at Global Lethbridge, Paul earned both national and regional awards for his reporting. He also rose through the ranks to new levels of leadership and responsibility, eventually over-seeing both the website and social media strategies for the station, while earning editorial control of the 11 p.m. newscast.
In his first year at Lethbridge College, Paul earned a major international scholarship and wrote a magazine feature story that won an international award. After less than two years on the job he was promoted to the college’s most senior communications position.
Paul grew up in Cochrane before earning a Diploma in Broadcast News at SAIT. That gave him the basis to jump into his career, but he feels that his greatest learning came in the field.
He was offered a job before he even finished his diploma and worked very briefly in Swift Current, Sask. before a three-year TV and radio stint in Dawson Creek, B.C. where he reported and anchored news and sports. Paul’s first large-scale innovation was bringing hockey games to air for the first time in the TV station’s history.
He moved to Lethbridge in 2006 where he began at Global as the junior sports reporter and anchor. Over 10 years, he graduated to sports director, news and sports video journalist, news anchor, and web and social media coordinator, proving his adaptability in a shifting news landscape.
When Global changed its news delivery format, Paul had a leading role in creating the new show and format that is still in use. At The College, he has learned a new career on-the-fly, and has launched a variety of new initiatives. Paul feels that he is a product of his on-the-job experiences, where his adaptability and creativity have allowed him to thrive.
Paul has won a number of awards for his work, including Council for Advancement and Support of Education District VIII Bronze Award for Magazine Feature Writing in February 2018. He was awarded SimpsonScarborough Scholar award for promising newcomers to the field of post-secondary Advancement in July 2017. He earned the RTDNA Prairie Regional award for top small market television sports reporting in April 2015 and the Edward R. Murrow international region award for top small market television reporting in April 2014. In February 2019, Paul was recognized with the CASE District VIII Rising Star Award.
Paul values giving back to the community with his volunteer efforts. He has volunteered as a head coach in Southwest Little League's coach pitch division. He is a sitting board member for the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame and a former board member for the Canadian Cancer Society's Face Off Against Cancer event. He was on the organizing committee for the 2016 Southern Alberta Summer Games. Paul has also lent his time as an emcee to a variety of causes, including the Rotary Club of Lethbridge's Black Tie Gala and the Lethbridge Bulls' Legends of Sports Gala.
For his outstanding success in both journalism and communications, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Paul Kingsmith as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Derrick Antson is a Professional Officer at the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association.
Derrick is committed to the principles of social justice and inclusion, and those principals underpin all his professional work.
As a young queer youth, Derrick spent much of his time trying to be camouflaged among his straight peers and silence his internalized fears. Though, with age, he has made a commitment to not let anything tarnish his sparkle and to uplift those around him.
Derrick strives to serve and to strengthen our community, while supporting those around him. Whether creating initiatives for under-represented groups within the queer community, assisting in preparedness exercises for disaster response, or weighing in on library programs and maintenance, Derrick’s focus has always improving the lives of those around him.
He is willing to put in hours of work for the people and projects that he loves, finding that when he contributes and builds something up, he truly shines. He has set himself apart from those that he once aimed to blend into by recognizing that the only thing that limits his potential is his fears.
Derrick obtained his BA from the University of Lethbridge, majoring in Philosophy, and MAS in Peace and Conflict Transformation from the University of Basel, Switzerland.
Through the Canadian Red Cross he has gained firsthand experience on how to implement the Seven Fundamental Principles into compassion-related work and gained the ability to remain calm in stressful situations. His professional career has equipped him with an understanding of bureaucratic processes and labour rules.
He is able to weave these threads together to quickly generate ideas, deconstruct and analyze complex situations, while considering the possible implications on relevant interest groups, and plotting a route forward. This helps him as he embodies the lesson of Martin Niemöller’s poem ‘First they came…’, asking questions as to why actions are taken and speaking when objections are present.
On June 18, 2018 Derrick was honoured to speak at Lethbridge Pride Fest’s flag raising at Lethbridge City Hall. After the events had concluded he was confronted by four youth that had attended the event, all of whom were either in tears or on the verge of crying. Despite their tears, these kids had the largest smiles on their faces.
His speech focused on what it means to be a responsible ally as members of the LGBTQ+ community, specifically why it is important for gay and lesbian individuals to recognize and give space for Trans, Non-binary, and Gender-nonconforming individuals. He cherished this interaction because despite being in a crowd of about 300 people, he was able to connect with each of these individuals so authentically that they felt validated for the first time as members of the broader Lethbridge community.
Volunteering is Derrick’s primary way to engage with the community. Ranging from volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross as a supervisor on the Personal Disaster Assistance Team and as a responder on the Emergency Response Team, with the Lethbridge Public Library Board as a Trustee, serving as a member of the Governance Committee and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, with the Lethbridge Pride Fest Society in various capacities such as Secretary and Treasurer, and with the YQueerL Society for Change as Co-President. He also supports the endeavors of the community through maintaining memberships to OUTreach Southern Alberta and Theatre Outré.
For his tireless work to improve the lives of under-represented people and our community as a whole, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Derrick Antson as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Megan Skelly is a consultant at IG Wealth Management where she has built a practice on the foundation of “why?” It has been Megan’s experience that clients often don’t understand what she does or how she does it until they understand why.
She has always had a genuine desire to help improve the lives of the individuals in her circle. It was five years ago when Megan realized that one of the largest impacts she can have is through the power of helping clients achieve freedom to do more of what they want, when they want.
Megan earned a Division I Athletic Scholarship from Syracuse University to play hockey. She was named to the College Hockey America All-Academic Team in 2012. That same year, Megan was nominated for the Doris Soladay Award, which is given annually to the top female and male athletes that encompass excellence in areas of academics, community integration and athletics.
Megan graduated from Syracuse in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science and Minor in Women and Gender Studies. Balancing full-time studies with 30 hours per week of training, practices and games developed her work ethic and the drive that is instilled within her today.
Another major influence in shaping her character has been travelling abroad. Getting out of her comfort zone and travelling alone is both an enlightening and challenging experience, one that allowed Megan to distill her life down to what is most important and what she wants her impact to be.
Megan is a former assistant coach for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women's hockey team and now serves as an assistant coach in Lethbridge Minor Hockey. She has been involved with a number of charity organizations through Investors Group such as the Alzheimer's Society, United Way and the YMCA strong kids program.
For her strong work ethic and desire to improve her client’s financial futures, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Megan Skelly as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Blake Corey is the president of Laurie, Kenna & Associates, a financial services company with offices in Lethbridge, Taber, and Blairmore. He is the principal partner of the firm and has been so since 2015.
Blake is lucky enough to be part of a team that has always encouraged him to push the limits of his personal growth.
While attending university full time, Blake purchased and flipped a property while completing a trade. He was able to not only earn his journeyman ticket but also his red and blue seal. Blake’s employer at the time saw the drive and encouraged him immensely.
Blake graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a Bachelor Management and a major in finance. He is a certified financial planner. While attending university, Blake also completed a trade through SAIT and became a Journeyman Baker with both a Red and Blue Seal.
After university, a joined LKA in 2009 and was immediately pushed and challenged. In 2015, Blake took over as principal partner and CEO.
Blake lives his life by two rules: don't offer a deal you wouldn't' take and don't set people up to fail. He believes that doing the right thing is always the right thing to do and that when you deal honestly with people, those people will always root for you to win. As such, Blake made the commitment early in his career to invest in the skills and the people around him.
Since Blake became president of LKA, the company has been voted Best of the Best - Financial Planner every year. They recently partnered with several other local businesses to form the Kenna Professional Campus building in Lethbridge.
Blake regularly meets with other industry leaders in Canadian fin-tech to discuss how to better serve clients all over the country. In addition to supporting the Gord Laurie Foundation, both Blake and the firm routinely give back to the community including The Lethbridge Public Library, Lethbridge Family Services, Lethbridge Pregnancy Care Centre and more!
For excellence in the financial services industry, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Blake Corey as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Jill Manning is the Managing Director of ARCHES, a not-for-profit organization that provides leadership in building individual and community capacity to respond and reduce the harm associated with HIV and Hepatitis C in South-Western Alberta.
Jill is a passionate human rights advocate, with a focus on raising community awareness around issues of addictions and mental health. In her role at ARCHES, Jill is a fierce defender of marginalized populations within our community. Jill works to build and maintain relationships with the community through outreach and by working alongside community groups.
Jill has had the opportunity to speak at a number of community events and professional development conferences throughout Southern Alberta, including for the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs, the Southern Alberta Library Conference, and the Treaty 7 Frontline Healthcare Workers Conference.
She attended both Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2007. Jill feels fortunate to have worked under a number of strong mentors in the human services field through her work with the Canadian Cancer Society, the Camrose Women's Shelter, Quest Support Services, and now ARCHES.
Jill enjoys all forms of physical activity, with a particular interest in running and hiking. She is also passionate about travelling and has so far experienced 17 countries. She looks forward to further growth through the exploration of other cultures. Recently, Jill had the pleasure of climbing the tallest mountain in the UK, and plans to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro next.
For more than 10 years, Jill has been a Rotarian. In 2017-18, she served as President of the Rotary Club of Lethbridge Urban Spirits, during which the club received a District Award for the club that experienced the greatest growth in membership. Jill has chartered two Interact Clubs (Rotary Clubs at the high school level), including the Interact Club of Chinook High School and the Interact Club of Camrose. In her seven years of overseeing Interact Clubs, she has taken students on two international trips and has mentored hundreds of youth in their volunteerism.
For her tireless dedication to fight for at-risk groups in our community, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Jill Manning as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Sydney Wakaruk is Alumni Relations Coordinator at Lethbridge College where she engages with alumni, donors and stakeholders and shares narratives, creates impact and advances education daily.
Sydney is result-oriented, philanthropy driven and passionate about the non-profits and public sectors that she contributes to. She sets goals and doesn’t quit until she makes them a reality.
Being highly involved in the non-profit sector, Sydney brings dedication and focus, knowing that her achievements will highly impact the lives of others. She continually educates herself, volunteers, gives back and perseveres in order to transform, grow and succeed.
Sydney moved to Lethbridge in high school, and quickly saw the network and educational opportunities the community provides.
Her career and investment in non-profits began the day that she started at the YMCA of Lethbridge where she worked part-time while furthering her education. Her position evolved from member services to fund development and marketing for the expanding non-profit. Her role was essential in impacting others by providing the funding they needed to receive the same opportunities that she had as a child.
Throughout her time at the Y, she earned a Business Administration Diploma from Lethbridge College and a Bachelor of Management from the University of Lethbridge. Her desire to impact lives led Sydney to the Ronald McDonald House where she directed fundraisers, assisted in signature events and created awareness for a cause that allows families the ability to stay close to their sick children.
In her current role at Lethbridge College, Sydney leads events and initiatives that connect alumni, donors and stakeholders back to campus. She speaks to her own experience and education at Lethbridge College by leading an Alumni Advisory Committee of 12 and a signature event committee of 25. These efforts engage the community significantly as they look for individuals who can support the need for education and find benefit in networking with previous, current and future students and graduates.
Sydney is happy that she is able to continue to be the awareness spreader, the silent auction prize seeker, the network-er, the community event attender and the volunteer.
For her dedication to making our community a better place through volunteerism, fundraising and advancing education, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Sydney Wakaruk as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Aaron Bauer is an Investment Advisor at CIBC Wood Gundy where he manages over $120,000,000 in assets and helps clients navigate the complex financial world.
Born and raised in Calgary, Aaron moved to Lethbridge in 2016. From the first time in Lethbridge, he has felt like it is where he truly belongs and can make a difference.
He loves to help clients work towards and live the best retirement lifestyle they can and help the next generation become financially responsible. As a younger advisor, most of Aaron’s clients will retire before he does, which means he get to work and grow with them as they prepare for and transition into and throughout retirement.
Aaron earned a dual Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance and Risk Management & Insurance from the Haskayne School of Business in Calgary. Since then, he committed himself to his profession through education. He has completed any designation, course, certificate etc. that he feels applies to his job and strengthens his ability to provide clients with premier wealth management advice. He currently holds the Chartered Investment Manager, Personal Financial Planner and Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute designations.
Aaron began working at CIBC Wood Gundy in 2005 and has worked in many roles including working in the operations cage, administrative support, time in management working in compliance and now currently as an Investment Advisor.
Aaron serves as Vice-President of the Board of Directors for SAIPA which assists adults with disabilities to drive change in their communities as engaged and empowered citizens. He also sits on their Policy, Finance and Fund Diversification committees.
He helped develop the Pie It Forward fundraising event with SAIPA which has been a huge success, both in raising funds for a great organization, but also further raising awareness for SAIPA! Seeing videos and pictures on social media getting pied is a great feeling knowing that it's a fun event that benefits a lot of people and it's something that he helped create.
Aaron also volunteers as an in-class presenter with Junior Achievement, an organization that provides programs for youth to develop financial literacy, work preparedness and entrepreneurial skills. He doesn't believe financial skills are sufficiently taught in schools so believes that JA is a great way to get kids thinking about their financial futures.
For helping to improve financial literacy in our community and helping his clients to live their best lives, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Aaron Bauer as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Tanya Plonka is the owner of Tanya Plonka Photography where she photographs weddings, relationships and outrageous photo ideas!
Tanya believes that what sets her aside is her client experience. While her clients rave about their photos, she believes it's the experience that she offers them that makes them happy to leave great reviews and refer their friends and family. She is always available and does detailed planning with her clients to give them an amazing experience. She has clients who have been following her since her first year in business.
Tanya believes that all people are beautiful and she wants to show that. She has had many plus size individuals, senior couples and others comment on how happy they were to see people like them represented in her samples.
Very few photography businesses make it past their fifth year, and Tanya is proud to have celebrated her tenth. She built her company up from scratch to a full time business within a few years, and has been able to expand her business enough to hire her husband and allow him to leave his day job.
Tanya really started photography in high school for yearbook and while working as the entertainment editor at the UofL student paper, The Meliorist, in her second year of university. She graduated in 2006 with a BFA (Multidisciplinary) with Great Distinction from the University of Lethbridge and was soon photographing weddings at a local studio. In 2008, Tanya officially started her business and continued to grow her skills through hands on learning and experience, as well as keeping up with online and in-person photography workshops.
Each year that Tanya has been in business, she has placed in the top three for the Sun Times Best of the Best, winning first place in 2014 and 2017. She has been accepted for two separate year plus long contracts for the City of Lethbridge to build their stock photo library, resulting in having the opportunity to see her work on the City's website, public transit ads, and more. Her work has been published in multiple magazines and wedding blogs.
Tanya is happy to donate her photography skills to a number of animal rescues. She is the Lethbridge photographer for AARCS for their rescue photos, and has photographed the PAW Society calendar annually since 2013. She regularly does mini-session fundraisers for a variety of other local rescues. Each year, Tanya photographs the Lethbridge MS Walk.
For her continued excellence in the field of photography, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Tanya Plonka as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Cordell Young is a veterinarian at Innovative Veterinary Services where he works as a swine veterinarian.
Cordell grew up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan near Yorkton. His entrepreneurial spirit was established early when his parents allowed him to buy his own sheep at the age of nine.
The responsibility of raising, learning about the sheep and the finances involved shaped his childhood as his flock grew to 150 breeding ewes and ultimately lead to where he is today.
Because of raising his own sheep, Cordell learned how to shear sheep and grew a client base of over 3000 sheep per year. Between shearing and the revenues from his own flock, he was able to pay for half of his six years of schooling.
Most of Cordell’s life experience comes from the farm, where he learned about responsibility and how to work. His father always taught him that if he is willing to work, he will always have a good and rewarding job, even if there are slow times.
After graduating from high school, Cordell pursued a degree in Animal Science at the University of Saskatchewan. Within two years, he had completed all the pre-requisites to allow application into the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and was accepted to start the DVM program the following September. In 2017, Cordell then graduated as a veterinarian.
Becoming a veterinarian was a goal that Cordell had set as early as elementary school, so it was surreal to be able to accomplish that childhood dream. Now, his goal is to be the best veterinarian that he can be.
On a personal level, music has meant a lot to Cordell. He earned his Associate Degree in Piano (CNCM) which entailed over an hour of memorized performance in a concert setting. He also learned the cello while in veterinary school.
Cordell is very involved in his church where he helps by leading the singing, playing the piano, and being available for any other tasks. As well, Cordell teaches piano and is overjoyed with how much fun it is to teach and see people learn.
For his entrepreneurial spirit and excellence in the veterinary field, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Cordell Young as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Tyler Barrett is Western Canada Logistics, Distribution, & Transportation Manager for PepsiCo Foods Canada, one of Lethbridge’s largest employers.
Tyler leads a team of 120+ employees, predominately based out of Lethbridge. He feels that he has been fortunate in his career at PepsiCo, from being the lead project engineer on the warehouse expansion at their Lethbridge Frito Lay facility where they added 80+ new jobs for our region.
Growing up, Tyler moved every two to three years from. He lived in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta, Washington D.C., and Texas.
Through these frequent relocations he has learned how to be adaptable and comfortable in new situations, as well as make connections with individuals of a variety of backgrounds. These skills have enabled his curiosity to being involved in a variety of different fields which allow him to make a difference in his career and community.
In 2014, Tyler earned his Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from Dalhousie University. In 2015, he graduated from Harvard Business School’s HBX CORe certificate program, where he passed with honours.
In both 2016 and 2018, Tyler received the PepsiCo Foods Canada UxL Excellence Award from the PepsiCo senior executive team for his leadership and results during the automated warehouse expansion (2016) and during a major project with Costco (2018). The UxL Award is given to the top 0.1% of employees nationally each year.
During his free time, Tyler serves as the Lethbridge Hurricanes team photographer, covering game day activities and on ice photos. He has worked alongside the Hurricanes as photographer for five seasons. Tyler also serves on the board of directors for the United Way Lethbridge and South West Alberta, as a way to give back to the community and make a difference in the city.
For working to bring new jobs to Lethbridge and a proven history of excellence, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Tyler Barrett as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Kelti Baird is one of the founding co-owners of Theoretically Brewing, a Lethbridge craft brewery that operates with a simple premise— 100% Canadian ingredients, a local focus, and pride in the Lethbridge community.
Kelti and her partner started and built Lethbridge's first craft brewery from the ground up starting in 2012 and opening in 2015. Kelti is the youngest female brewery owner in Canada, and the first woman to own an operational commercial brewery in Lethbridge.
In 2012, Kelti earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Lethbridge. She has also completed courses in entrepreneurship from Athabasca University.
Kelti is proud to own a community-focused brewing company. She has a passion for education and spends a lot of time educating consumers about the locality of craft beer in general, the brewing process, and where top-quality ingredients come from. She, and Theoretically Brewing, has a dedication to sustainability that has made her brewery an example for other businesses in Lethbridge.
She works hard to raise awareness about small business in Lethbridge and actively campaigns to support local businesses.
Kelti is a vocal proponent of social programs in Lethbridge and believes it is her business' responsibility to support the community. As a close neighbor, she actively supports the Supervised Consumption Site and ARCHES.
As a supporter of Elections Canada, Kelti offers her time to campaign to register voters. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Lethbridge Medieval Club, the Lethbridge Historical Society, and The Galt Museum & Archives.
For her drive to promote and improve our community, and outstanding achievement in a typically male dominated field, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Kelti Baird as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Rianna Wilson is co-owner and business manager at Adaptive Technologies Inc., a prosthetic and orthotic care facility in Lethbridge with a patient-centred perspective.
Rianna is proud to be part of a team that is helping people improve their quality of life on a daily basis.
In 2011, Rianna completed the “two plus two” program through Lethbridge College, which earned her a diploma in Business Management. After completing her diploma program, Rianna then attended Lethbridge College’s sister school Griffith University in Australia where she earned her Bachelors of Business Management.
After completing her education, Rianna worked in a prosthetic-orthotic clinic for four years, before branching out with three partners to form their own 7200 square foot clinic – Adaptive Technologies.
For more than five years, Rianna has volunteered as a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Being born and raised in Lethbridge, Rianna values giving back to the community that provided her with so much, in any way that she can.
Rianna also volunteered as a basketball coach 13 years, which not only gave her the opportunity to mentor young ladies but also taught her about the kind of leadership that is needed to run a business.
For her dedication to helping improve the quality of life for those in our community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Rianna Wilson as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Imogen Pohl is a student at the University of Lethbridge where she is working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience.
At age 19, Imogen was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, and is an advocate for mental health and stigma reduction here in Lethbridge. She talks about her illness openly. She goes to businesses and schools, talking about her experiences with Schizophrenia to reduce the stigma around it. She is the youngest presenter for the Schizophrenia Society in Alberta if not Canada.
Imogen grew up in Grande Prairie where she earned her high school diploma. Following that, she attended an additional year of schooling at Winston Churchill High School to complete her International Baccalaureate.
Currently, Imogen is enrolled in a BSc. Neuroscience program at the University of Lethbridge with Minors in Health Leadership and Liberal Education. Her end goal is to be a Clinical Psychologist and to work with people who have major mental illnesses and to remain an advocate for social change.
Imogen has been a member of Girl Guides of Canada since she was four years old. She earned all of the badges and awards possible as a Girl Member and even received the Girl Greatness Award in Resourcefulness, an award that has only been given out a total of seven times.
Her work with the Girl Guides of Canada has allowed Imogen to work directly with about 100 young girls. She recognizes that hundreds, if not thousands, of hours were put into her as a child to provide her with Girl Guide Programming, and feels that she should pay forward as many of those hours as possible.
Imogen is proud of her community service work. She takes two fewer classes than a full course load at university so she can volunteer in the capacity that she does. This means that she will take an extra year to graduate.
Last year she completed over 500 volunteer hours to services such as Girl Guides, Special Olympics Canada, and the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta, where she serves as a director. This dedication to volunteerism and contributing to the community lead Imogen to receive the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from the Governor General of Canada. In 2017, she was one of six people to receive the Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award. She has also earned the Young Woman of Promise award from the YWCA Lethbridge.
For her dedication to volunteerism and mental health advocacy, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Imogen Pohl as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Shane Garner is co-owner of The Chopped Leaf and Anytime Fitness Lethbridge.
Shane grew up in the business world – his family has owned and operated a trucking company in Taber Alberta for nearly 40 years – which instilled a strong work ethic in him. He worked with his family business from ages 13-21, before starting his own trucking business at 21.
A very “hands on” business education saw Shane exposed to everything involved in operating a small business including management, operations, finances, leadership, marketing and more.
Shane was interested in pursuing post-secondary education, but was too involved in the family business. Instead he made the commitment to continue to study on his own what he would need to become a successful small business owner. To this day, Shane reads three books a month, attends some type of informative seminar quarterly, and takes online courses to further his studies.
Between the ages of 21 and 33 Shane started six businesses, several he built and sold. He was very interested in real estate at a young age and eventually built up to a total of 22 properties. In doing so, Shane received the Real Estate Investment Network rookie of the year award.
Shane is also a competitive bodybuilder, a passion that synchronizes perfectly with owning The Chopped Leaf and Anytime Fitness.
Having businesses in Lethbridge has lead Shane, his wife – also a Top 40 Under forty recipient – and their our team of staff members to engage in various groups and causes. Some of the events that they have participated in include the Interfaith fall food drive of collecting over 1000 lbs of food, CIBC Run for the Cure, Interfaith food bank Red Dress run and more. Shane and his wife Ceejay also worked to organize the Pirates of the Platform powerlifting event.
For proven success in small business, and constant support for the community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Shane Garner as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
Adam Thom is the founder of Tomcat Visuals Inc., a full-service production company in Lethbridge.
Adam is an extremely ambitious and creative business owner. He first started running his own businesses when he was 13 years old. He feels that his ambition and dedication are what sets him apart from many people his age who spend most of their time talking about their dreams instead of acting on them.
After graduating from Catholic Central High School, Adam started at the University of Lethbridge, but dropped out in his first semester to go directly after his goals. He hopes to show other young people that don't need permission from anyone to follow their own dreams.
Creating gives Adam a rush like nothing else and for him that passion drives everything. He has had the opportunity to work with Trevor Panczak on the music video for his song “Cheap Shades”. He also worked on creating the 2019 intro video for the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Adam is actively involved in each years ALS walk. He is also constantly collaborating with local creatives and fellow artists to try and bring the creative community in Lethbridge closer together.
For proven entrepreneurial success at a young age, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Adam Thom as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!
April Hamilton is a financial adviser at 1st Choice Savings & Credit Union where she has been helping people meet their financial goals for over 18 years.
She has been working for members of 1st Choice Savings for 15 years, has been involved with people through all of their life stages and even now helping the next generations as well. She has taken documents to her clients’ homes and hospitals, and has even been invited to weddings, birthdays and funerals.
April has had the opportunity to work in every community throughout Southern Alberta served by 1st Choice. She treats her job as if she is the owner of the company and that is what has contributed to her success. She has taken the Dale Carnegie Course and the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for managers and was a part of the Credit Union two year Alberta Young Leaders program.
April and her family travel to promote a family hobby business Phoenix Scroll Saw Art. They have had many opportunities to meet actors and actresses and were even invited out to California to celebrate Stan Lee's 95th birthday and give him a special piece of art.
She has a passion for helping animals, and is a certified Tellington Touch practitioner which can help animals who have injuries, stress and tension. Alongside of that, she owns and operates Digger's Delights and makes homemade healthy treats and cakes for Pets.
For her dedication to her clients and helping them to achieve financial security, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize April Hamilton as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!