NAZANEEN DIZAI: CONNECTOR
Nazaneen Dizai brings ideas and people together. Whether in the corporate heart of Toronto or small-town British Columbia, she makes things happen with resourcefulness and determination. Her charisma and ambition are innate, but she matches them with an impressive work ethic. As the head of 50th Parallel Communications, this woman hustles.
She’s a gifted communicator, diplomat and leader, creating opportunities where they may not otherwise exist, for herself and those privileged to work alongside her.
Her husband’s career with the RCMP brought the couple to Terrace first, and then to the Comox Valley four years ago. “The lesson I learned from these moves,” she says, “is that to succeed and be successful, you have to be open and accommodating to the possibilities out there. If it weren’t for our post in Terrace, I would never have found meaningful work like what I do with First Nations communities. I am now able to work with a wonderful team based here, whose values align with mine and my company’s so that we can work with the clients of our dreams.”
If she’s not specializing in strategic communications or spearheading marketing campaigns, she is likely enjoying a fine cup of coffee or finding new ways of helping others. She’s been known to pack up her pup Hunter at the drop of a hat to find a rumoured lost dog to return to its owner.
MICHAEL VINCENT: MAVERICK
Whether through patience or stubborn will, the owner/operator of Forbidden Brewing—the scrappiest of Comox Valley’s microbreweries—cuts through BS like no other. A blue collar professional with pure fighting Irish spirit, this author of honesty gives it to you straight or not at all.
Not only a maverick but a jack of many trades, Vincent navigated the film industry for fifteen years doing practical special effects before moving to the Comox Valley. A father and advocate of high quality education, he added his creative expertise to Saltwater School, now Comox Valley Waldorf School, as voluntary project manager and labourer. Michael continues to expand both the brewery’s capacity and his mind. Redefining himself, he moves forward more conscious and present than ever before. When asked what’s next he says, “At age 56, and thanks in part to my children… I’m truly learning to open my heart and am hoping for a long and joyful journey.” If you’re looking for good conversation, a dose of humour, and a fine pint of ale, Michael is your man every time.
COLLEEN DUNN: EXPLORER
Colleen Dunn’s sincere joie de vivre is contagious. Her adventurous spirit has led her and her family from the plains of Alberta as a wrangler and backcountry wilderness guide through the Rockies and into British Columbia. Skiing, guiding, and instructing for twenty-five years finally landed her on the shores of Vancouver Island when her husband Thomas and two sons decided to move to the coast from Fernie. “We moved for the climate, tons of snow, lush forests, and endless beaches to explore. The one thing that surprised us the most was the farming and fresh local food that we love so much.”
Dunn, who is also a realtor in the valley, has amassed nuanced life experiences from worldwide travel and life within the ski industry. She’s also dug a deep well of knowledge for risk management and fun-havery. Creative and entrepreneurial sons Nik and Peter attended competitive mountain biking events across North America, which the Dunns moved between as a family. Of a life of exploring, she says that the trajectory of her family is the result of always being on the lookout for the next opportunity for adventure.