Chris Stephens: 40 under 40 in Kelowna

Chris Stephens: 40 under 40 in Kelowna

40 Under 40: Chris Stephens

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has launched its "40 Under Forty" for 2020

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has launched its “40 Under Forty” for 2020. The chamber is now calling for nominations.

This is the Kelowna chamber’s sixth year of searching for the city’s high achievers and bringing their stories to the public.

BDO Canada LLP will make up the independent panel of judges.

There will be a wrap-up celebration for recipients once the program has concluded.

Originally from Winnipeg and has been living in the Okanagan for the last 12 years. Chris worked in a variety of sales and management roles until five years ago, when he founded Twirling Umbrellas, a digital marketing agency based here in Kelowna.

In that time, they’ve become one of Kelowna’s fastest growing marketing agencies. Twirling Umbrellas now employs twelve people out of the Kelowna Innovation Centre and work with over a hundred clients ranging from entrepreneurs and small businesses up to large publicly-traded enterprises.

In 2018 they were chosen as a top 5 marketer and are up for 2020’s Best Company in the Small Business BC Awards. Chris also teaches at the Centre for Arts and Technology, participates in UBC’s Capstone program, has presented at OK College, and provides internships to local business, marketing, and design students.

Twirling Umbrellas is also involved in the community, having sponsored and run events for The United Way, Creative Okanagan, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Artsco, Cops for Kids, BrainTrust, and Elevation Outdoors.

Over the years, Chris has worked in a variety of management positions. Chris started his career in auto service and by 24, managed a busy 10-bay repair centre and was responsible for up to eight mechanics and two service advisors.

At 27, Chris chose to move to Kelowna just before his eldest son was born and got a job as a Sales Manager at a local flooring store managing a team of up to 10 people. He was responsible for managing their schedules, training, and mentoring. Chris has used a lot of this experience in helping to select amazingly talented creatives, he is extremely proud of the team he has helped build in his agency and the accomplishments they’ve made.

Chris loves Kelowna and its community and is happy to have had the opportunity to start his business here. As a busy entrepreneur and single father of two young boys, Chris has found the best way he can contribute is by teaching, sponsoring, and working with other organizations in the community.

For local students, his company has helped organize tours of the innovation centre and designed art and marketing projects for local elementary and middle schools, they have also provided internships for post-secondary students.

Twirling Umbrellas has developed events and marketing projects for and sponsored local non-profit organizations including the United Way, Creative Okanagan, Heart and Stroke Foundation, The Arts Council of the Central Okanagan, Cops for Kids, BrainTrust, and Elevation Outdoors

Chris graduated high school in Winnipeg, but dropped out of university to start his first business (an automotive website and media company) in the early 2000s.

In 2018, Twirling Umbrellas was chosen as a top 5 marketer and are up for 2020’s Best Company in the Small Business BC Awards.

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