2022-2023 VWC Board of Directors
Laurell Cornell - Chair
I have been a long time “Vernonite” with many ties to the community.
My passion for Vernon Winter Carnival was fueled by Grandmother who loved to attend the Seniors event as well as my mother who worked for the Vernon Lodge Hotel. The “Lodge” was a hub of excitement during carnival and where I got my first job working in the banquet department at 14. As a family we also attended several events including the Coronation, Snowmobile Races, Mad Hatters Tea Party, Jopo House, Klondike Days, Medieval Night, Over the Hill Downhill, Sud N Cider, Snow and Ice Sculptures just to name a few. Most of my working career predominantly was the hotel and restaurant industry. Through that I gained several skills including, communication, management, budgeting, event planning and marketing. I also have an extensive sales background as well. I very much love volunteering as it makes me feel a closer connection to our community. Including being on the board of directors for the Vernon Winter Carnival I have volunteered with United Way, Brent Gilchrist Golf Tournament and the BC Winter Games.
My husband Rod and I look forward to Vernon Winter Carnival 2023 being one of the most successful carnivals in years.
Yours in Carnival Spirit Laurell
Leah Martel - Vice Chair
Leah Martel grew up in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, when she finished high school she moved to Calgary and attended Mount Royal College where she completed a Rehabilitation Therapy program. She worked with seniors recovering from hip and knee replacement surgery for 4 years and then changed her path and worked with kids with disabilities for 3 years. Wanting to be closer to her family she moved to Vernon and has proudly called it home for the past 15 years. Leah graduated from the UBC Sauders Real Estate division and became a Realtor for 4 years before moving into a sales role at SUN FM for 4 years. For the past 6 years, she has Managed the Castanet Media Vernon edition and worked with hundreds of local businesses and non-profit organizations. This is Leah's 3rd year on the Winter Carnival committee and is also a Downtown Vernon Association board member.
Brian Langner - Treasurer
Brian was born during a snowstorm in small town Saskatchewan. Doc. Alan was away because it was the same day as the Grey Cup. “Rider fans understand”. Brian was raised by wolves... not really. “A Sask. farm boy” Brian learnt the meaning of work early on.
He has been a Carnival director since 2016 and an Executive Director since 2018. His current role is treasurer; not always the most popular position, but it makes him feel important.
“In my mind community spirit is the most important component of carnival and I work to involve community and keep that spirit alive”. During Carnival, Brian's main role is “parade guy”. He’s been lead director of the parade since 2016 and is grateful to all the people who have participated. "It's because of you, the parade and the Carnival, is the success that it is today”.
In real life Brian is a mortgage broker with White House Mortgages.
For those of you who have read this Bio this far Brian has an ask. If you know of anyone or group who has something worthy of a parade entry please have them contact Brian or the carnival office: [email protected]
Amanda Wilms - Secretary
Amanda joined the Vernon Winter Carnival Board in 2020. Originally from Winnipeg, Amanda moved to the sunny Okanagan about 15 years ago and has not looked back. She has been a member of JCI Vernon, which has allowed her the opportunity to fundraise and volunteer in support of North Okanagan community causes.
Peter Kaz - Director
For over 25 years, Peter has been in involved the entertainment industry as a musician, event producer and talent manager. He has been hired as a marketing manager and publicist for companies and entertainers and has produced large events and corporate functions for Fortune 500 companies. When he moved to the Okanagan, a couple of his clients were on tour opening for The Weeknd and Ariana Grande.
Since moving to Vernon Peter wanted to create attractions for the area. Co-Producing and hosting a concert at Kal Tire Arena was his initial local stamp and taking cues from the audience who wanted more local attractions he created and produced the annual Vernon Comic Con and Okanagan's Got Talent. He is the co-host and co-creator of Hello Okanagan, a YouTube show featuring attractions throughout the Okanagan. He is on the Board as a director with Funtastic, Vernon Winter Carnival and works for the Downtown Vernon Association.
Rod Koenig - Director - Carnival Cop
Well hello there!
My parents gave me the handle of Rod Koenig, born and raised in Vernon and raised my family here too, I have seen this city grow and change, one thing has always been there is the Vernon Winter Carnival. Which I have been a part of for the last 6 years. I am a parts manager for a heavy equipment dealer here in town. I love my little town.
I have spent much of my time in bowling alleys, bowling myself and volunteered my time in coaching the young bowlers for over 25 years. Spent a couple years with big brothers, united way, and other nonprofit groups serving my city.
Boris Ivanoff - Director
Boris was raised in Vernon BC. Vernon Winter Carnival is important to him as it was a family tradition to attend the festivities annually since he was a child. His family would watch the parade from the same spot every year and would take part in as many activities as possible. Boris brings to the board several years of governance, holding director positions on multiple boards and owning a successful electrical company for 17 years. He believes that his role as a board member is to create new and innovative ideas to make Vernon Winter Carnival a success. He is committed to ensuring the existing traditions continue, and building a strong foundation for the organization’s future.
Hilary Miller - Director
Hilary grew up in the Lower Mainland, and moved to Vernon in late 2020. She loves the Okanagan landscape, and the delightful community spirit of Vernon. Hilary has held many jobs in her professional life - from fundraising and volunteer engagement in the non-profit sector, to health and safety and environmental consulting in the private sector and public service. She hopes to bring her past experience into this new role as a director for the Vernon Winter Carnival. Hilary is looking forward to getting out and about in her new community and jumping into the fun and hard work that the role promises to bring. When not working or volunteering, Hilary can be found tending to her flock of sheep on her small farm, hiking in Kal Lake Park, Olympic weightlifting in her garage or petting the neighbourhood cats with her husband, Bill.
Trish Balcaen - Director
Trish Balcaen was appointed as CEO for Balcaen Consolidated and Coldstream Ranch July 2021.
Trish has enjoyed a career in both the BC public service and industry. She joined the BC Public Service in 2004 and served at the Executive Director level in the Ministry of Forests and Range, Integrated Land Management Bureau, Environmental Assessment Office, and the Ministry of Energy and Mines. She was appointed as the Assistant Deputy Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation in 2018 and served in that role until 2021.
Prior to joining the Public Service, Trish was the general manager of Balcaen Consolidated - a medium-sized log harvesting company in Vernon, BC where she was also active in ranching and land development businesses.
Camille McCluskey - Director
Born and raised Vernonite here! I hold community close to my heart as a paramedic serving the Vernon and surrounding area for the last 9 years. Growing up, I spent countless years attending the Vernon winter carnival parade and local events. I have fond memories of the energy and excitement that carnival brought to town, and I look forward to being involved in keeping that legacy going. My intention is to bring a positive attitude, while utilizing community connections to help maintain the reputation that carnival has built. As I now raise my own family, I am passionate about Vernon being a fun and engaging community for all ages!
Jessica Dowswell - Director
Jessica was born and raised in Vancouver. After graduating from BCIT in Marketing Communications, she started her career at the Four Seasons Vancouver and soon was transferred to Whistler spending almost a decade on the Sea to Sky Corridor, specializing in sales and marketing in hospitality. During her time in Whistler Jessica met her husband, got married, welcomed a son into the family. They recently made the move to Vernon.
Her career path has also taken her into the real estate sector, graduating from the UBC School of Sauder Real Estate Division and is a licensed REALTOR.
She currently works full time for Prestige Hotels & Resorts as a Sales Manager and enjoys the best of the Okanagan in her spare time, hiking, skiing and cooking. She is excited to continue to connect with the North Okanagan community and be a part of the Vernon Winter Carnival Board.
Todd Prentice - Director
Born in 100 mile house, B.C. my family and I moved to Vernon when I was still one and I have lived here for 45 of my 50 years. I love Vernon and area and all it has to offer.
The winter carnival has always been an integral part of the community.
I remember how the carnival cop used to actually make me worried about getting put in the jail. I also have fond memories of seeing the ice sculptures and the parade of course.
When I was 12 I had the privilege of being a page to Queen Silver Star, that is another fabulous memory for me.
I look forward to helping our board of directors and all volunteers in making sure the Carnival is fantastic, in hopes that many more people can experience the joy that Winter Carnival brings and the memories created through that.
Josh Welter - Director
Josh, his partner Ashley and their two kids Luke and Lane made Vernon their home two years ago. Growing up in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Josh has always been a sports enthusiast, playing hockey, football, road and trail running, and mountain biking. Josh is the current Executive Director for the Sport and Culture Society of the North Okanagan and is excited to join the Vernon Winter Carnival board with new and exciting ideas for the festival and the community!
Are you interested in becoming a board member?!
We want dedicated individuals from all sectors of our community to help Vernon Winter Carnival Society continue to grow and advance our mission.
VWC is a working, hands on board with lots of opportunities for learning and community involvement. If you're interested in becoming a board member contact us for more information before our Annual General Meeting.
or Email [email protected] for more information.
Vicki Proulx - Executive Director
Raised in Armstrong, Vicki Proulx is proud to have called the North Okanagan home for almost her entire life. Vicki graduated from Mount Royal College with a Diploma in Broadcasting and quickly moved into Radio Promotions as her specialty. Several years working in Radio allowed her to become involved in the Vernon Community and Non-Profit sector. She has worked with many non-profit organizations in the area and has been the Executive Director of Vernon Winter Carnival Society since 2017.