A local business leader and educator with more than 30 years of experience and a keen focus on community development, volunteerism and governance has entered the race for Kelowna City Council.
Laura Thurnheer, Chair of Business Administration at Okanagan College’s School of Business, has announced her intention to seek a seat on Kelowna city council in the Nov. 15 election.
“I have spent the past three decades preparing myself for this position and the time is right for both me and my family,” said Thurnheer. “I couldn’t be more excited and energized about the opportunity to take my community contribution to the next level.”
Thurnheer grew up in Kelowna and is well known as a tireless advocate of both the business and not-for-profit sectors. She has developed strong leadership and governance skills through decades of volunteerism and is a past president of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, a current director/secretary of the British Columbia Wine Authority, a current director of the United Way of the Central & South Okanagan Similkameen, and a current director/treasurer of Kelowna Community Resources.
In addition, Thurnheer is currently the elected faculty representative on the Okanagan College Board of Governors.
Her past experience includes roles as the appointed director for both Tourism Kelowna and the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission boards. Thurnheer is also a senator of Junior Chamber International (JCI). She was awarded this honour in 2002 for her work in developing and teaching effective speaking programs for young professionals.
In 2012 Thurnheer was a finalist for the Woman of the Year award as part of the Kelowna Civic Awards.
Prior to joining Okanagan College Thurnheer worked in Human Resources at UBC Okanagan as an organizational development and learning consultant, helping the organization through change in the early years of 2005-07.
Thurnheer was the self-employment manager at Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) of the Central Okanagan from 1999 to 2005, supporting nearly 600 new business start-ups. She also ran her own business, Above and Beyond Training and Consulting, for five years and is well known for her marketing and teaching of Tourism BC’s SuperHost Program.
She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing and a Master’s of Business Administration in Strategic Management. Thurnheer is also a Certified Human Resources Management Professional (CHRP).
Prior to being Business Chair at Okanagan College Thurnheer taught strategic management, human resources management and tourism for five years. She is a well-known professor and a respected coach and mentor supporting many successful Okanagan College student competition teams.
She has been married to her husband Thomas for 26 years and supports him in his successful small business specializing in mobile equipment repairs. They have two grown children and enjoy a very active Okanagan lifestyle
Thurnheer unveiled her campaign platform on Oct. 3. She will offer a balanced approach to city council, combining her extensive business experience with her keen understanding of the social issues facing our community.