Meet the Team

2021-2022 VWC Board of Directors

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Photo credit Wayne Emde

Erik Olesen - Chair

I am excited to be part of the Vernon Winter Carnival team. I grew up in Ottawa where I had the opportunity to volunteer and participate in Ottawa's Winterlude celebration every February which grew my love for Winter. I moved to Vernon in 2015 and starting becoming active in the community. In 2019, I joined the Carnival Board of Directors doing the Ice Sculpture event & Best Decorated. In 2020, I moved into the Chair of the Board role and was acclaimed Chair for another 2 years in 2021.
I always have found ways to be involved in Community and what Carnival brings to the Vernon Community is hope, fun and community spirit during the Winter months. Carnival is a great example of how to bring people from all walks of life together for celebration and I am happy to be part of the team.

I work currently as a Residential Coordinator for DESC Services, providing supports to individuals with Developmental Disabilities, Autism and Mental Health Challenges.

I look forward to Carnival 2022 being the biggest yet and delivering what we know how to do best, #SnowMuchFun!

Laurell Cornell - Vice 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 2022 being one of the most successful carnivals in years.

Yours in Carnival Spirit Laurell

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]

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Leah Martel - Director

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 2nd year on the Winter Carnival committee and is also on the Funtastic Board of Directors and a Downtown Vernon Association board member.

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Caroline Radics - Director

Caroline Radics is an experienced Insurance and investment advisor with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry. Skilled in all aspects of life and health Insurance, and wealth building strategies. Her focus is to work with clients to build and protect the financial plans and she prides herself on taking the time to get to know them so when she makes decisions as to their financial plans they are well suited to their needs. She is married to the love of her life, Michael and is a mother of 4 grown ups and grandmother of 7 wonderful children. She has been involved with Winer Carnival for many years. Previously she has volunteered on the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce Board and Vernon Women in Business. Her volunteer work also includes many years of work with Advocis the Financial planning association of Canada acting as President for 3 years among many other positions. Her longest standing position is on the Best Practices Committee working to see that clients and advisors needs are met across Canada

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 almost 4 years ago, 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 then created and produced the annual Vernon Comic Con and the largest talent show Okanagan's Got Talent. Last year he launched Hello Okanagan, a YouTube show (which Castanet and Shaw TV distributes) throughout the Okanagan. He is on the Board as a director with Funtastic, The Vernon Winter Carnival and on the marketing team for the BC Winter Games.

Josh Winquist - Director

For Josh, there is no better place to call home than Vernon.
The writer, journalist and community advocate moved to Vernon four years ago with his wife Lindsay. Together, the couple has built a life in Vernon that revolves around community.
Whether it is through local sports, charitable work or volunteering with non-profit and social-profit organizations, it is simple, Josh and Lindsay believe, if you want a place to feel like home, you give back to the community in which you live. A second-year director, Josh is looking forward to working with his fellow board directors to help Carnival move in a new and exciting direction--one that truly reflects Vernon and the North Okanagan as a whole community.

Natasha Kositsin - Director

Hi my name is Natasha Kositsin, I was born in Australia but have grown up in Vernon, BC and come from a Russian background. I work at City Hall and have been a single mom of boy and girl twins since birth. I have been involved in the community for over 10 years, from organizing the MS and Kidney Walk, Division Director for Hockey, BollyWood Bang, Heart and Stroke Big Bike, Funtastic Sports Society and many other fundraising events around the community through the years. I have grown up going to the Winter Carnvial as a child and also to bring my children so I feel very proud to be a part of this great Society and know this year is going to be SNOW MUCH FUN!!

Amanda Wilms - Director

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.

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 over25 years. Spent a couple years with big brothers, united way, and other nonprofit groups serving my city.

Paul Cousins - Director

Winter Carnival 2022 is the fifth for Paul Cousins as a Director, and this year he is in charge of the Jam Can Curling and Frisbee Golf events. Paul has called Vernon home since Winter of 1985, so 1986 was his first Carnival and he still remembers taking his teddy bear hamster into town to race in the Hamster Ball Races (Teddy placed third). The following two years he was an ambassador for Carnival as an escort for visiting royalty attending the Snowflake Ball. In the 90’s, Paul joined the Vernon Winter Carnival Board for a two-year term, and became the technical producer of the Queen Silver Star Excellence Program events for three years. His mobile production company, now called Okanagan Dance Party, produced two Snowflake Balls in that time as well. At the time, Paul was working on the local radio stations as a radio personality, moving from CKAL to Country105, Mix 105, and then CJIB - so community involvement has been part of his life for decades. A graduate of both OUC and Selkirk College, Paul and his wife Jewel now own Okanagan Dance Party and Okanagan Casino Parties so they can entertain people in the Okanagan year round.

He is looking forward to having a full Vernon Winter Carnival in 2022 with all the events we’ve come to expect, and the new ones our Board are bringing to the area.

Boris Ivanoff - Director

Boris was raised in Vernon BC. The 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 they 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 the Vernon Winter Carnival a success. He is committed to ensuring the existing traditions continue, and building a strong foundation for the organization’s future.

Shelley Ward - Director

After many years in office and human resources management, Shelley decided to follow her passion and start a new career in photography. Mainly focusing on families and weddings, she also works with website developers photographing products, events and head shots for both business and personal portfolios. She is a seasoned traveler, having visited over 26 countries around the world and loves being immersed in different cultures. Shelley has a long history of volunteer work in our community including, Historic O'Keefe Ranch Society, Kindale, BCHRMA, CIBC Run for the Cure, and Sweet Smiles Society. She joined the winter carnival board in 2019 and looks forward to seeing the carnival move forward with a long term plan to bring continued joy and entertainment to our community.

Justine McPherson - Director

Justine McPherson was born in Revelstoke BC. In 2006 she was an ambassador for the city as Revelstoke Princess and Miss Congeniality, she travelled the province promoting her community. She has always been involved in the community, promoting and volunteering so when she moved to Vernon in 2018 she jumped right back into it. Justine has been with the Queen Silver Star Program for the last 3 years. The Greater Vernon Minor Hockey Association has been home to her family, playing and coaching since they moved here. Winter Carnival was a natural step to continue supporting her community and keep up the winter magic during carnival.

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.

Learn more about Vernon Winter Carnival Society here

or Email [email protected] for more information.

VWC Staff

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 get heavily involved in the Vernon Community. She has worked with many non-profit organizations in the area and has been the Executive Director of Vernon Winter Carnival Society since 2017.

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