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June 3rd, 2023
Why the VSW Team is BRAVE

Every year, at the start of Vancouver Startup Week, we host a VIP Reception where we invite our sponsors and key partners to say “thank you!” It’s also a chance for our community to get to know the VSW team. Did you know that every single member of our team is a dedicated volunteer?

As I started preparing for the reception and was looking for a local beverage company to showcase, I came across Brave; Chris Peacock is the CEO of Brave and you can read about his experience launching Brave here.

“You face life head on, confident of your power within. And you understand that in life you only get what you give.”

The more I read about the brewery, the more it resonated with me and how I feel about our team and their dedication. So using the beer that will be showcased at our VIP reception, and a bit from each of its descriptions, I’m going to introduce you to the VSW2023 Executive Team:

Hold The Line - Kolsch: “In a world full of loose cannons, you shoot straight. You don’t have time for funny business — but kill with your quiver of kindness. “Reliable” is your middle name.”

Hold the Line - Kolsch
Let’s start with my amazing VSW co-chair, Katty Wang! If you look up the words “organized”, “cat-herder,” “leader,” and “spreadsheet aficionado” you will find Katty there. While she may sometimes shy away from the spotlight, she truly deserves to be under it and get so much credit for all that she does. Katty doesn’t waste time, she gets things done, and makes sure our team members feel like they’re a part of the family. No matter what, you can always count on Katty!

Bold and Beautiful - Hefeweizen - “Confidence is attractive. You’re quirky AF but have the swagger to back it up.”

Bold and Beautiful - Hefeweizen
Mark Ponce has been on the team since 2017 and currently serves as our Art Director. He’s responsible for coming up with fun design elements, creating professional assets, and making sure all our projects ARE. ON. BRAND. Mark is the overseer of all things beautiful. He’s proud of the VSW brand and its evolution over the years, and we are just as proud to showcase it through our signage, our all-access passes and even around our VSW HQ this year!

Grace Under Pressure - Lager: “When it’s down to the wire, you take the wheel, grab the last straw, and stick it between your teeth”

Grace Under Pressure - Lager
Jani Tsui has been with Vancouver Startup Week for over 5 years and currently serves as the Marketing Director. From brainstorming marketing campaigns to writing copy, Jani takes it all in stride and makes sure her team gets the VSW word out to our community. Newsletters sent, check! Website copy updated, check! Blogs posted, check!

Bare Knuckles - Dark Lager - “Whether you are the strong, silent type or prefer to unleash beast mode, the key to raising the bar is knowing your own strength and when to use it.”

Bare Knuckles - Dark Lager
Paulina Pietrykiewicz is our Technology Director and leads our team of developers. GA4, Analytics, Wireframes. We may not always know what they’re talking about, but we know that they'll always get the job done. Under Paulina’s behind the scenes guidance and leadership, a lot of developers join the VSW tech team to get more experience and add to their personal portfolio, while helping us get important information up online and out to the masses.

Break a Leg - Pilsner: “A spotlight splices the darkness. You shed your inhibitions and step centerstage. Bravo to your bravado.”

Break a Leg - Pilsner
Kristina Lee stepped into the role of this year’s Recruitment Fair Director, which is no simple feat. The VSW Recruitment Fair is one of our most popular events and takes place each year at Science World, our biggest venue in town for VSW. Kristina has been a force of nature, leading her team in outreach, communicating with the companies that are showcasing and coordinating all the logistics for this featured event. Bravo indeed!

On the Chin - West Coast IPA - “You became unstoppable once you understood there is no such thing as win-or-lose: there’s only win-or-learn.”

On the Chin - West Coast IPA
A new role was created for the VSW team this year for Eric Chow. Passionate about equity, diversity, and inclusion, Eric serves as our VSW EDI Director, and brings an important, and much needed, perspective to the team. He puts a magnifying glass on all our communications to ensure we’re using inclusive language, and reminds us to work with our event partners to consider venue accessibility and diversity on speaker panels. Under Eric’s leadership, everyone on the team has been learning to put on an EDI lens in everything that we do.

First Date - Hazy IPA: “Feeling like you’ve known someone forever even though you just met. A hazy halo surrounds them as they walk in the room”

First Date - Hazy IPA
As our Events Specialist, Leann Yutuc brings her many years of event coordination expertise and is the account manager for many of our featured events such as Investment Showcase and the VSW Opening and Closing receptions. Leann is also a Senior Consultant at Switchboard Public Relations and makes sure that VSW’s PR and media needs are met. If you think you’ve seen Leann working the room in her bright pink blazer and greeting what seems to be everyone in attendance or have seen her name mentioned in countless emails, you’re not wrong. It’s the Leann.

Stiff Upper Lip - Pomegranite/Grapefruit Sour: “Bold and brazen is the determined soul, for it knows no obstacle it can’t overcome. Like this untamed brew, you burst through barriers to live life to the fullest — then add a side of fruit.”

Stiff Upper Lip - Pomegranite/Grapefruit Sour
As for myself, I think I’m the sour beer in this lineup. I’m determined to do everything I can to bring our community together no matter what! And just like the sour, I’m often the one that adds a splash of “zing!” to things like copy, events and even furniture choices (like our VSW coloured seating at HQ and art on the walls.) What can I say? I like to bring a bit of flavour to life and make it fun for everyone. Fun Facts: my name happens to mean “full of life.” And the VSW colour that we’ve named “Vivian Coral” happens to be on this can. Coincidence? I think not!

Last but not least, I have to give Kudos to the rest of the VSW 2023 team. They spent countless hours, scheduling social media posts, answering event partners’ questions, creating videos, writing content, coding our website, manning the headquarters, scheduling volunteers…the list goes on and on. Each person on our team plays a significant role in making sure Vancouver Startup Week is a success and they truly deserve a standing ovation.

So I raise a pint of BRAVE to the team and thank them from the bottom of my heart. Cheers!

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