SIDIT boss Douglas named Kelowna's business leader of the year

Big honour for Douglas

Laurel Douglas has been named Kelowna’s business leader of the year.

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce names the award winner each year in advance of its Business Excellence Awards, which will be held virtually next week. The winner is determined by an independent judging panel.

Douglas is a longtime non-profit and community leader who has supported many businesses and community organizations, and has served as a mentor and resource for many individuals over the years. She is currently the CEO of the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust after serving in the same role for the Women’s Enterprise Centre.

She has lived in the Okanagan since 1997 and was the founding executive director of what is now known as Accelerate Okanagan.

“Laurel, through her long-standing support of the community, has enriched our city and our region,” Kelowna chamber president Jeffrey Robinson said in a press release. “She has championed entrepreneurs and provided valuable community leadership in the economic development and post-secondary sectors.

“She continues to leave a legacy of strategic thinking, impact and collaboration in the positions she has held. In her new role at SIDIT, we are confident that her steady hand and clear-headed planning will create great outcomes for this important regional economic development organization.”

Douglas will receive the honour at the 33rd annual Business Excellence Awards, which will be held online from 5 to 6:30 p.m. next Thursday night.

“I’m honoured to be named business leader of the year, in recognition of the work I’ve done in this region over the last 23 years, helping develop the Okanagan tech sector, supporting women entrepreneurs throughout BC, and now helping the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust enter its next chapter,” Douglas said.

“When I arrived in Kelowna, I wanted to use my background in business to help entrepreneurs access capital, knowledge and markets, and to help create the conditions to encourage economic development in our region.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with wonderful team members and volunteer board members over the years, who are all committed to making a difference, and are working very hard during this difficult time to support business and community resilience and recovery.”

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