About

Accelerate Okanagan Team

Raghwa Gopal

Chief Executive Officer raghwa@accelerateokanagan.com

Raghwa is CEO of Accelerate Okanagan. He is a serial entrepreneur who was instrumental in starting, growing and selling numerous businesses over the last 30 years, the latest being Vadim Software.

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Raghwa Gopal

Raghwa Gopal is CEO of Accelerate Okanagan. He is a serial entrepreneur who was instrumental in starting, growing and selling numerous businesses over the last 30 years, the latest being Vadim Software.

Raghwa has been directly involved with and has extensive experience in of mergers and acquisitions. He currently sits on the boards of numerous businesses and not-for-profit organizations. He is a certified Business and Executive Coach and has been recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year and as a Technology Innovator.

Raghwa volunteers for Kelowna Rotary and Chamber of Commerce, loves playing golf and soccer, loves traveling to different parts of the world, and tries and hibernate in Fiji during winter months.

Andrew Greer

Programs Strategist andrew@accelerateokanagan.com

Andrew is our Programs Strategist. An experienced business development manager and community builder, Andrew has a Bachelor of Commerce from Dalhousie University and an MBA from the Royal Military College.

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Andrew Greer

Andrew Greer is Accelerate Okanagan’s Programs Strategist. An experienced business development manager and community builder, Andrew has a Bachelor of Commerce from Dalhousie University and an MBA from the Royal Military College. He cut his business teeth at Xerox working in sales and management, then transitioned to an analyst and business development role at Launch Lab, a tech incubator in Eastern Ontario. Now Andrew looks for ways to make our awesome programs even better!

When he’s not building the AO community, he’s out volunteering and enjoying all things athletic including kite surfing, sailing and team sports. He admits to being an amateur photographer, quiet conservationist, and a poor guitar player.

Brea Retzlaff

Operations Manager brea@accelerateokanagan.com

Brea is our Operations Manager. She supports the growing tech industry in the Okanagan by nurturing relationships with community partners and building industry academic connections.

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Brea Retzlaff

Brea Retzlaff is our Operations Manager. She supports the growing tech industry in the Okanagan by nurturing relationships with community partners and building industry academic connections. She graduated from Okanagan College with her Business Degree. Brea managed a Summer Day Camp program for three years, where she learned a lot about the startup environment and how to play nice in the sandbox. Her first taste of tech was when she interned with Disney’s Club Penguin, and instantly fell in love with the tech community.

When Brea isn’t out at one of our local tech events, you may find her out on the lake, doing mosaic art, or at any concert she can find.

D’arcy Schaerer

Financial and Administration Manager darcy@accelerateokanagan.com

D’arcy is our Financial and Administration Manager. A highly motivated self-starter with strong analytical, communication and interpersonal skills, D’arcy has worked with diverse groups of people throughout her career.

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D’arcy Schaerer

D’arcy Schaerer is our Financial and Administration Manager. A highly motivated self-starter with strong analytical, communication and interpersonal skills, D’arcy has worked with diverse groups of people throughout her career. Her experience in project coordination, supervision, and office management with the likes of seismic jug hounds, archaeologists, palaeontologists, railcar buffs and condo consultants gives her all the skills she needs to work with this diverse group of techies.

When she’s not teching the halls, D’arcy like to do pottery and considers her life to be fun, funky, and functional.

Thuy Tran

Program Manager thuy@accelerateokanagan.com

Thuy is our Program Manager. Thuy encourages and accelerates the growth of tech companies in the Okanagan by leading AO’s programs and engaging with current, past, and potential program participants.

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Thuy Tran

Thuy is our Program Manager. Thuy grew up in Kelowna and graduated from Centre for Arts and Technology with a Rich Media Diploma. For the past 10 years she has worked in the marketing industry, in graphic design and managing client accounts. During her agency days, Thuy was exposed to working with clients in the technology industry; she gravitated towards this sector as she saw growth of the tech industry in the Okanagan. Thuy continued her career in the tech sector working for one of Canada's leading technology company, QHR Technologies.

Thuy’s role as Program Manager is to encourage and accelerate the growth of the technology companies in the Okanagan by leading AO’s growth program and engaging with current, past, and potential program participants. She works with AO’s EiRs as well as CEO to develop, plan, organize, and execute new program activities. Outside of the office, you'll find her training for triathlons, marathons or jiu-jitsu. She is also a photography and motorcycle enthusiast. 

Alex Reid

Program Coordinator alex@accelerateokanagan.com

Alex is our Program Coordinator. She connects early stage entrepreneurs in the tech industry to our support network and facilitates mentorship programs at AO such as the Venture Acceleration Program.

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Alex Reid

Alex is our Program Coordinator. After growing up in Penticton, Alex spent a year on exchange in France and then attended UBC Vancouver for both her Arts and Education degrees. Alex returned to Kelowna a few years ago and has since worked at UBC Okanagan as a Manager of Student Housing and with Lighthouse Labs as their Community Manager. Since her return to the Okanagan in 2014, she has found the tech sector to be a vibrant, accepting, and supportive community and quickly gravitated towards it.

Alex's role as the Program Coordinator is to connect early stage entrepreneurs in the tech industry to our support network and to facilitate mentorship programs at AO such as the Venture Acceleration Program. Outside of the office, you'll find her playing volleyball, skiing, writing spoken word poetry and listening to country music.

Heidi Mann

Digital Communications heidi@accelerateokanagan.com

Heidi is responsible for Digital Communications. Heidi comes to AO with extensive experience in providing multi-faceted digital media communications to both public and private industry in Calgary.

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Heidi Mann

Heidi Mann is our Digital Communications guru. Heidi comes to AO with extensive experience in providing multi-faceted digital media communications to both public and private industry in Calgary. She has assumed the roles of audio visual expert, digital video editor virtuoso and project coordinator extraordinaire with great pride and enthusiasm. Heidi’s passion is in the details. Keeping on top of projects and making sure all parts get to the finish line is what she does best. 

When Heidi is finished crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s, you can find her on the lake perfecting her wakesurfing tricks and swimming with her dogs. During the winter months, Heidi is a novice snowboarder and cross fitter. Heidi is excited to be a part of the innovative and leading edge tech community within the Okanagan.

Sara Scott

Front Desk Administrator sara@accelerateokanagan.com

Sara is our Front Desk Administrator. As the “face of Accelerate Okanagan”, Sara’s friendly and efficient manner welcomes everyone to the Kelowna Innovation Centre.

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Sara Scott

Sara is our Front Desk Administrator. As the “face of Accelerate Okanagan”, Sara’s friendly and efficient manner welcomes everyone to the Kelowna Innovation Centre. Before joining the AO Team, Sara spent over five years working in Guest Experience with Disney Interactive while balancing her passion for event management in her spare time.

Sara is exceptional in what she does because of her positive attitude and enthusiasm. Her areas of expertise are in facilities management, customer support, coordinating events and nailing first impressions.

Born and raised in Kelowna, she is an excellent tour guide for the Okanagan. In addition to being an avid gardener, Sara enjoys jewelry making, camping and spending time at her family's apple orchard.

Jenna Stasuk

Marketing Coordinator jenna@accelerateokanagan.com

Jenna is our Marketing Coordinator. Jenna joined AO as our summer co-op student in 2015 and is now responsible for overseeing our social media and marketing initiatives.

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Jenna Stasuk

Jenna is our Marketing Coordinator. Jenna joined AO as our summer co-op student in 2015 and is now responsible for overseeing our social media and marketing initiatives. Jenna moved to Kelowna from Calgary in 2013 after receiving a Major Entrance Scholarship to attend the Faculty of Management at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus). Jenna also achieved honor roll status throughout high school, and was the recipient of the Premier’s Citizenship Award for community and school involvement from the Government of Alberta.

Clients and team members that work with Jenna appreciate her unending spirit and enthusiasm, and that she goes the extra mile when taking care of their projects. Always cheerful, always smiling; that’s Jenna!

In her spare time, Jenna likes spending time with her friends and family, especially her cat Picasso. She volunteers as a computer mentor at the Seniors Outreach & Resource Centre and enjoys exploring Kelowna’s backyard every chance she gets. Following graduation, Jenna would love to start her own business.

Sue Wilson

Finance Admin Assistant susan@accelerateokanagan.com

Sue is our Finance and Admin Assistant. She comes to AO with a background in office management and bookkeeping with various medical services.

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Sue Wilson

Sue is our Finance and Admin Assistant. She comes to AO with a background in office management and bookkeeping with various medical services. She relocated to Kelowna 18 months ago from Saskatoon where she managed a minor emergency walk in clinic for 7 years.

Sue loves being a part of the AO team working with such an enthusiastic staff. When she's not crunching numbers, Sue enjoys family time, the Okanagan fruit, and the beautiful weather.