Jodi Cunningham, Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy owner and pharmacist, is one of 20 Top 20 Under 40 recipients. (Photo submitted)

Vernon Top 20 Under 40 first five named

The annual award highlights community supporters and business owners under the age of 40

The first five of Vernon’s Top 20 Under 40 have been named.

The annual Top 20 Under 40, brought to Vernon by KPMG, Community Futures and City of Vernon-Economic Development, recognizes the next generation of leaders in the North Okanagan – those under the age of 40 years of age who are making their mark through business success and community involvement.

The first recipients were selected among more than 60 nominations and include Iron Heart gym owner Genny Chippendale, Canadian Mental Health Association executive director Julia Payson, Numu Consulting founder and CEO Mitchal Derksen, Beauty Bar owner Linda Heng and Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Jodi Cunningham.

Related: Nominations sought

Related: Last year’s winners in the spotlight

Chippendale said, “It’s a gift to get to do what I do as a job,” as she helps individuals transform their health, their hearts and their minds. Along with growing Iron Heart’s member base since opening, Chippendale supports the community through local initiatives including promoting other Vernon businesses and entrepreneurs.

Payson is a “hopeless optimist,” who believes more can be done to support communities through more housing, improved programs and strong relationships. Beyond CMHA, Payson is involved with the District Parent Advisory Council, the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association and the B.C. SPCA.

Derksen has the ability to take complex information and translate it into meaningful results, and that has allowed him to assist businesses to modernize their finance and information systems. He currently serves on the board of the Food Action Society and has been involved with Eagle Bay Camp and Habitat for Humanities.

Heng’s passion and hard work have led to her receiving the Young Entrepreneur Award in 2018 from the Greater Vernon Chamber while she was a finalist for New Business of the Year at the Thompson Okanagan Business Excellence Awards. Along with her staff, Heng has supported the community through Vernon Women’s Transition house, NONA, teen junction, Star Fish Pack program and Hospice.

Cunningham has strived to increase communication and collaboration between patients and health care providers while embracing staff who share her vision of compassionate, relationship driven care. She is active in the community, including with HOPE Outreach, which assists marginalized women.

The next five recipients will be announced Monday, Feb. 11. All recipients will be featured on the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce website and will be honoured at a special recognition event on Tuesday, March 12, at Okanagan Spirits

“There’s no question that the entrepreneurial spirit is thriving in Greater Vernon as we received more than 60 nominees. The judges had their work cut out for them as they considered the nominees and selected the Top 20 Under 40,” said Dione Chambers, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce general manager.

“As in previous years, this is an outstanding opportunity to recognize individuals who have pursued their dreams and are contributing to the community.”

For more info on the recipients, visit

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Genny Chippendale, Iron Heart gym owner, is one of 20 Top 20 Under 40 recipients. (Photo submitted)

Julia Payson, Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon executive director, is one of 20 Top 20 Under 40 recipients. (Photo submitted)

Linda Heng, Beauty Bar owner, is one of 20 Top 20 Under 40 recipients. (Photo submitted)

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