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Rainbow Women in Business – Volume 5

Ivy Thomas has always felt a connection to God and was actively involved in her worshiping congregation. However, when she was in her early 40s, married with two children in their early teens, and considering what she might do with the rest of her life, she felt a strong call to ministry.

It took another three years of what she called “Holy 2 x 4s” before she dared take the leap of faith to go back to school and pursue her Master of Divinity.

The challenges Ivy faced were not so much within the profession, as in the journey to get there. Her decision to follow her call led to the ending of her marriage and a difficult time of adjustment for her family.  It also took her into a time of personal discernment, as she searched to understand who she was as an independent person, no longer attached to her husband.

Shortly after her marriage ended she fell in love with another woman, a fellow student in Seminary. Both of their long-term relationships were ending or had recently ended and they found with each other, a deeply spiritual connection that has continued to grow over the last 19 years.

However, the denomination Ivy grew up in was not accepting of LGBTQ2+ people and so she had to make a decision, and it was an easy one. She turned to the United Church of Canada, which has, since 1988, ordained LGBTQ2+ people.  It was a natural fit not only because of her orientation but because of the social justice perspective to the gospel that is lived out in the denomination.

As an out lesbian clergy, Ivy has been warmly and respectfully welcomed by every member of her congregation. They are a welcoming community on a continual learning curve. They are willing to ask questions, hear explanations, and explore ongoing and expanding ways to be inclusive.

Ivy says, “It’s difficult to choose one favourite thing about ministry. There’s the opportunity to help people develop an awareness of the movement of the Spirit in their lives, and encourage them to open up to and welcome the fullness of the experience, finding meaningful and creative ways to remind people how much they are loved and how important it is to share that love through our everyday living.

“But perhaps the most important thing for me is inviting people to understand God in a way that is meaningful to them.  This often means letting go of the traditional perception of an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful, vengeful, white-bearded guy in the sky, and learning to read the Bible in a way that makes sense for us, today.”

Some advice from Ivy about deciding to enter Ministry:

Discernment, both personal and communal, is essential. Pray, think it through, and talk with others, including those in the field, about your sense of call.  Listen carefully to what people are saying, or perhaps not saying to you.

Never forget that there are many forms of ministry, some are clergy roles, some are not.  It’s hard to say which are the most important! Ministry is about teamwork.

Know too that the church is an organization filled with real people who are as far from perfect as you are. There are challenges to deal with and much patience required, but underneath it all, as in the rest of our lives, is a group of amazing, beautiful people trying to do the best they can with what they have at the moment.

The church Ivy currently serves is St. Paul’s United, a congregation within the United Church of Canada. They are currently leasing space from the Kelowna Seventh Day Adventist Church at 1130 Springfield Road in Kelowna.

St. Paul’s is a joy-filled congregation that believes in the respect and honouring of all people. No matter who you are, where your life has taken you in the past or where it may lead you in the future.

Rainbow Women in Business – Volume 4

Doreen Lambert operates a Graphic Design/Art business, Mind Full Designs, in Kelowna where she creates business stationery, logos, banners, ads book covers, or anything else you might need for a business or event.

Possessing a wide range of abilities, Doreen combines problem-solving, innovative art, and design principles which she obtained through her Military Service, personal art, and her program in Graphic and Digital Design at The Centre for Arts and Technology.

Her knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite, vinyl installation techniques, and customer service allows her to play an integral role in the implementation of design initiatives.

Doreen went back to school after her Military service with the goal of starting her own business. She chose Graphic Design because she has always liked creating and was amazed to discover her passion could be expressed in the computer graphics field.

Plus, she likes helping people with their business projects, so it is the best of both worlds.

Doreen commented, “Each assignment is different and each client needs my help, so I try my best to make their ideas come to life.”

Some advice from Doreen about starting your own business:

Find your passion and do research.  In the end, just go for it and have faith that hard work will get you to your goal.  Also, talk to everyone!  Doreen has found clients standing in line at the grocery store!

Doreen and her Mind Full Designs can be found via Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Dmindfull/

A Passion for Pets


Tail Blazers, a health food store for pets, has two locations in Kelowna. One in the Mission and one in Glenmore, both owned by a local Kelowna couple, John and Barton. Their mission statement is, “Pets add years to our lives, now it is time we add some time to theirs!”

How did Tail Blazers get started? With an 18-year-old Shih Tzu Pekinese and a 17-year-old Shih Tzu in their family, they began looking for healthier options for them. This quest ignited their passion for enriching pets’ lives.

Then opportunity struck. They had been shopping at Tail Blazers for a few years when the chance to purchase the store presented itself.

They jumped at it.

John and Barton had worked for other people for most of their lives. They knew at some point they wanted to own their own business. They just didn’t know what direction to go in.

Now with Tail Blazers, they could fulfill their passion.

John says, “When you enjoy what you are doing, it makes coming to work so much easier. Being able to transform a pet’s health has to be the best thing. We have new customers that come to us as a last resort. Their pet is not doing well, and they have tried everything, but through changing to a proper diet and some supplements, they can bring their beloved pet back to thriving.”

John’s advice for starting your own business.

“If you are looking to start your own business, follow your passion and what you love.  At first, it will be a lot of work and be a little stressful  but once all the dust settles it will be more rewarding than anything you have done before.”


Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Tail Blazers has gone NO CONTACT. All orders are done via an online order form or over the phone. They offer curbside pickup or free delivery with purchases of $30 or more from West Bank to Lake Country.

For more information on how to continue supporting this business go to https://tailblazerskelowna.com/

Rainbow Women in Business – Volume 3

Amanda Krushel is a financial advisor who cofounded Krushel Wealth Management of Raymond James Ltd. with her father Dale Krushel in June 2019. Her mission is to develop, implement and monitor bespoke investment portfolios and appropriate plans for clients based on their goals and risk tolerance.

She is dedicated to assisting clients in meeting their financial needs.

Amanda never imagined herself as a business owner, but it slowly materialized over time, and she loves the flexibility afforded and support she receives from Raymond James Ltd.

As a child, Amanda envisioned herself becoming a doctor because that was the most tangible understanding she had of helping people. As she grew up, Amanda realized that budgeting, saving for big purchases, or having the ability to retire was a huge component to one’s financial wellbeing and that these topics were not taught in school.

It was because of this that Amanda realized her purpose was to educate and advise individuals in the wealth management profession.

Amanda commented, “I enjoy getting to know clients on a personal level and working with them through some kind of transition. Whether that’s implementing savings goals, getting ready for retirement or looking at intergenerational wealth transfers, it’s so gratifying to successfully hit a milestone!”

Her education began with completing a Bachelor of Business Administration program specializing in finance at Okanagan College in 2012. She obtained the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation in 2015, the Responsible Investment Specialist (RIS) designation in 2017 and the Chartered Investment Management (CIM®) designation in 2019.

Some advice from Amanda about becoming a business owner.

Be kind, be fearless, and be confident.


Krushel Wealth Management is a premiere LGBT2Q+ wealth planning organization serving the B.C. Interior. They work with individuals, families, and corporations to provide advice in the following areas: investment, tax, estate and financial planning.

They are located at: Suite 500 – 1726 Dolphin Avenue, Kelowna, BC

Amanda Krushel is a financial advisor with Raymond James Ltd. Information provided is not a solicitation and although obtained from sources considered reliable, is not guaranteed. The view and opinions contained in the article are those of the author, not Raymond James Ltd. Raymond James Ltd. member of Canadian Investor Protection Fund.

At Work in the Okanagan – Volume 1

Chris Bingham, owner and operator of Cyan Bold Design, has two phrases or taglines that serve as guiding principles for his business and they are: “Be bolder by design.” and “Bolder expressions created with Pride.” His Kelowna based company, Cyan Bold Design, specializes in logo design and branding.

Chris loves to use every crayon in the box whenever he can and he’s been fortunate to work on several projects within the LGBT2Q+ community that have allowed him to be as colourful as he can be. It also means being open about who he is and being supportive and receptive to others. 

With that box of colours, Chris is capable of designing for signage, billboards, stage scrims, point of purchase, packaging, social media, direct mail, stationery, web. Designs that stand out in the crowd, his design aesthetics are eye-catching, bold, modern, and professional.

Chris always knew he wanted a career with a creative pursuit. When he was younger, he excelled at both art and science in school, however, it took him a while – two degrees and five years in the wrong career – to get to a point where he was comfortable enough in his artistic abilities to come out as a designer.

His actual ‘coming out’ came later but that’s a different story.

His break into graphic design started as a term position while someone was away on sabbatical. Chris believes that being thrust into the throws of a bustling creative department of an ad agency, learning the ropes, and being challenged in ways you’ve never been challenged before is the best way to find out if graphic design is right for you.

That opportunity was one of the most valuable jobs Chris had ever taken on and it confirmed he was on the right career path. A path for which he likes to give credit to his mom who would often draw with him when he was very little to help pass the time and keep him occupied.

Growing up, Chris often escaped into weird fantasy drawings or would experiment with paints instead of going out on a Friday. It was a lonely pursuit, but it was one that brought him a lot of comfort.

When asked by others if he ever considered making it a career, Chris thought he’d never be good enough to make art or any other creative endeavour into a career. He believes his self-doubt during those years was strongly linked to the internal struggles between living his truth and living as a version of himself based on who he thought others wanted him to be.

In the end, as cheesy as it sounds, Chris says being true to himself helped him get past any preconceived notions of who others expected him to be and embrace the person he needed to become – a graphic designer using all the crayons in the box who is not afraid to colour outside the lines.

Some advice from Chris about starting your own business:

“My advice for anyone thinking about opening their own business would be to be prepared to work harder than you ever thought possible for something that is yours. After all, if you’re working on something you feel passionate about, you will often feel like you’re not working at all.

“I also can’t stress enough the importance of maintaining good connections to great people. Surround yourself with people that help to lift you up, provide sound advice, inspire you, and see the benefits of partnerships over competition.”

Chris and Cyan Bold Design can be found at https://cyanbolddesign.com/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cyanbolddesign/