Opinion

Meet the owner of GiftGator

Meet Ayn, she’s from Northern B.C. and has called the Okanagan home for the past 30 years. Ayn has created a website for all Okanagan residents and tourists to use as a resource for upcoming gift-giving events and adventure activities and experiences.

Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
Any of my three children because they’re all awesome in different ways.

What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
I don’t think I have a favourite store, but I certainly believe in supporting local, so I favour smaller stores over big box ones.

Describe yourself in one word.
Honest

If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
I would zoom to the White House in Washington to have a chat with someone.

What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
I have so many favourite activities in Kelowna, hiking, taking photos of the changing scenery and seasons, any adventure activity like kayaking, or any type of flying. There’s so much to do it’s really hard to choose sometimes.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
I’m pretty sure this is not the forum to share that info. Plus there is probably too many instances to choose from anyway.

What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
Some of the most inspiring things I’ve witnessed involve my children. My daughter when she stood up for herself with an employer and picketed the chain store that owed her money when she was just a teen and had to be told she could only demonstrate outside the mall and was escorted to the mall doors by the police.

My oldest son when he asked for donations to the B.C. & Alberta Guide Dogs Society instead of wedding presents, and my youngest when he went to Montreal to follow his dreams of having a music career.

Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
Going for long horseback rides when I was very small and riding in the saddle in front of my dad. We had picnics by a river.

Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
The SPCA and the B.C./Yukon Cancer Society.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
That different beliefs and customs could be accepted and embraced by all instead of instilling fear and hostility.

Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
On the top of any of the mountains as I find those are always the most tranquil places.

Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
I would like to see improvements in our transportation corridors, faster access to detox and mental health facilities to those who need it and more affordable housing for everyone.

What do you think makes Kelowna great?
The people, the scenery and land and the sheer number of awesome things to do here.

What are 3 things on your bucket list?
I’ve never had a bucket list per se, but some things I’d like to do off the top of my head are race car driving, skydiving and travelling up the Amazon River in a boat.

Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I was once run over as a child and suffered zero injuries.

How do people connect with you, personally, through social media? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
Website, FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn (I’m pretty accessible.)

What is the name of your business/organization?
GiftGator.ca

Why did you get into/start this business?
I was getting frustrated searching online for all the fun things to do in the Okanagan and thought that we really needed one site where everything was already gathered together, where you could book from directly and that didn’t cost you extra to do so.

What is the goal of your business?
To be the place to go if you have someone in your life who is impossible to buy a present for. You can go to GiftGator.ca, buy a gift card and let them decide on the experience, so everyone is happy! It also helps tourists and local businesses as well.

What has been your biggest struggle either at work or in life?
It has been finding my passion, and I have that now with GiftGator.

If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
I’d definitely do some things differently.

What do you always find yourself saying?
“It’s going to be awesome!”

Tell us your best piece of life advice.
Life does not owe you anything; you have to work for what want and your success is generally directly related to the effort you put in.

If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
I think I would pick someone who was funny so it would be a fun day and someone who was both kind and wise and so I could also learn. Any suggestions?

Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
To support your town, your friends and their families and they, in turn, support you. It creates a community in which everyone succeeds. It’s also one of the tenets of GiftGator.

What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Starting a charity that ran for 30 years helping people, creating my business GiftGator (formerly Okanagan Adventures) and my children.

Give someone you think that deserves it a shout out and explain why!
Luke Weller because he’s a straightforward honest reliable business owner and gives back to the community in a lot of different ways.

My choice for the KelownaNow In Focus spotlight is:
Joan Whiteley, Safari Ridge Adventure Park.

Some general comments I would like to share are:
Thanks for this opportunity, and I hope that people will check out my new site.

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