Teens and early 20s are the years full of fun, frolic and friends. These are the years when most youngsters are just exploring their lives and start contemplating what they want to achieve. However, there are a few bright minds who by this time not only achieve their goals but become a role model for their community.
The Surrey Board of Trade, recently awarded such talent from Surrey in its sixth annual Surrey’s Top 25 under 25 event. These are the best and brightest who decided to get started early on the quest to be successful and address a unique need. Often time we come up with great ideas but most of the time we think “nah! that’s just me day dreaming” or “what am I thinking? Someone’s probably already doing that.” Well the truth is, sometimes it might be like that, but it’s people like the ones on this list who took their chances who prove us wrong if we go out thinking this way.
Desi Today is featuring a few of these individuals however we honour all the 25 achievers who made the city proud of their achievements. Read in their own words what inspired them to chose the field they are in and what made them successful. Are you ready to grab a handful of inspiration?!
Designation: Owner of Just Cakes
I am the owner of a custom cake company called Just Cakes. I completed my B.A. in Psychology (UBC Grad 2015); Certificate in Pastry Arts from Ecole Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil (Paris, France). I have the pleasure of creating edible works of arts for all sorts of occasions – weddings, birthday, anniversaries, you name it. As an active member in community-service driven organizations, I have started to use my business as a platform to give back to the community. Doing so has opened up so many new doors, for my business as well as personally, and the journey has been so rewarding.
Starting my own company has always been a dream of mine. My parents are business owners, I’ve seen the blood, sweat, and tears that goes in to running your own business. It’s something I can call my very own at the end of the day, something I literally started from the ground up. There is something so beautiful in creating something from nothing.
My dream is to own a bakery storefront; I want Just Cakes to be a local household name. I also want to compete on a televising baking/cake decorating show. The respect and support that my family has given me is remarkable. We have always been encouraged to do what we love, to find our passions, and to work hard. Perseverance and dedication is in my blood, and every time I feel like giving up, I look at all of the faith and support my family has given me and that is more than enough to keep me going. That’s what inspires me and fuels my passion every single day.
Designation: Board Member of Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA)
Coming from a family that is putting its heart and soul to promote Punjabi Language in B.C., I too decided to follow the same path. My biggest inspiration is my paternal grandfather Jarnail S. Sekha who is a Canadian-Punjabi novelist. He introduced me to Canadian-Punjabi literature and continues to guide me through my educational journey.
My unconditional love for languages and literature inspired me to participate in PLEA’s Punjabi Speech Competitions in grades 11 and 12 where I recited Punjabi poetry related to the Punjabi language. When I became one of the board members, I volunteered my time by organizing the function every year. PLEA’s aim is to promote the Punjabi language in BC. Because Punjabi is the second most spoken language in BC, I think it is the community`s responsibility to preserve it. Since 1994, PLEA has been putting in their most effort to implement Punjabi language classes and courses in BC public schools and universities.
While studying English literature at KPU, I also began to explore Canadian-Punjabi literature at home. Punjabi literature deeply connected me with the Punjabi language. Ten years down the line, I want teach at the post-secondary level as a language instructor. I also want to pursue a PhD in language, literature, or education in the future as well.
Owner: EasyWeb Solutions
I did doing my B.A. in Economics from Simon Fraser University. I help businesses grow their marketing base, increase their revenues with more sales, and building corporate relations. I deal with companies which have a weak or no business strategy, and help create and/or manage a strategic plan that will drive more sales. I’ve always enjoyed public speaking, sales, and finance, so I knew my path was here. My background in economics also helps me analyze and track my own revenues, costs, profits, etc.
I also wanted to work for myself, and build something on my own that I can look back on in the future. This motivated me to start my own company EasyWeb Solutions.
My dream is to run a Venture Capital firm which invests in all different kinds of start-up businesses. I enjoy seeing the creativity that some start-up founders have in their technology or products.
My biggest inspiration is my mom. She is hands down the hardest working, most passionate and caring person I know. I look up to her when I think about how important and how far passion and hard work can get you when it comes to determining success.
Founder: Panorama Ridge Global Initiative
I am a Grade 12 student who was inspired to start this organization in lieu of the Syrian Crisis in 2013. I led a team of ten volunteers in a fundraising bottle drive, so they could make a small contribution to this large scale relief effort. This inaugural event was immensely successful and since then I have been motivated to mentor my peers to support developing communities across the globe.
Recently I led a team of six students who traveled to Guatemala to construct community housing. They were able to raise over $10,000 to purchase building supplies for this project and support a learning center in this developing community. I designed numerous projects to achieve this goal and was able to make meaningful strides by volunteering in this community. I have always been inspired by my grandfather to keep taking initiative in my community and be in active pursuit of selfless service. I plan on accomplishing this by combining my passion for science and volunteerism into a professional career, aspiring to be employed by Doctors without Borders one day.
Sukhjiven Kaur Gill
Age: 22 years
I am a Graduate of Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting with co-op option. I came from India as an international student after completion of high school in India. I graduated from Kwantlen BBA in Accounting/co-op program with Dean’s Honour Roll and Distinction status in April 2016. I won approximately $10,000 in various awards over the past 2 years. I also completed five co-op work terms to gain real life business experience.
I have also participated in three levels of training to become a Master Tutor and focused on helping hundreds of students increase their potential for success. In fact, I contributed 256 hours over three years of tutoring between 2012 and 2016.
I was inspired by multiple individuals who made a positive difference in my professional development and personal growth as an international student. My instructors, peers, mentors, and family members have contributed to my success.
It takes great dedication to study abroad while staying at the top of your graduating class.
Designation: Marketing Director at Prabu Foods
I am currently the Marketing Director at Prabu Foods; a family-owned venture that has expanded from a small retail sweet shop into a 9,000 square foot Canadian Food Inspection Agency and U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved facility in Surrey. My company is providing frozen ethnic products to Save On Foods, Buy-Low Foods and is currently in talk with Loblaws and Wal-Mart.
I played a critical role in this expansion, as it was my idea to sell the family’s products in a retail space and expand the market further to give consumers a taste of ethnic Indian food. I am also a Junior Director of “the Pacific Club” in Vancouver, an organization that gives young business professionals an opportunity to connect and learn from industry leaders. I have the honour of being the youngest individual on the board and have successfully hosted conferences that featured business leaders like Chip Wilson and Vikram Vij.
I am currently completing my Marketing Diploma at BCIT School of Business and preparing for Masters in Business Administration at the University of Liverpool. I am a die-hard soccer fan, I had the privilege of playing soccer in six different countries overseas.
Designation: Architectural technologist AIBC
Age: 25 years
I work as an Architectural Technologist designing residential and commercial projects ranging from houses and townhomes to medical clinics and restaurants. Having designed homes for clients, I wanted complete autonomy over the design and construction of a home where I could control everything from start to finish. This inspired me to start my own development business and in 2013 I founded Knightridge Development Ltd. Since then I have had the opportunity to work on projects ranging from homes to residential subdivisions. In the coming years I plan on working towards becoming a registered architect and growing my business. My biggest inspiration is my parents, from an early age they gave me the tools and encouragement to pursue my dreams and worked hard to give me the opportunity to be where I am today.
Designation: Founder Unified for Change
I am currently a grade 11 student at Tamanawis Secondary. I received the Top Academic Student of The Year Award and the Top All-Round Student of The Year Award at my school. Unified 4 Change, a non-profit organization, is an organization I founded at the age of 15. Unified 4 Change has clubs at SFU and UBC and supports local homeless shelters every week. I didn’t have to look very far for inspiration. There is so much work that needs to be done in our community and I thought it was my responsibility to take the initiative and do something about it. Ten years from now, I have no idea what my career will be, however, I see myself continuing to change people’s lives for the better. My parents are my biggest inspiration in my life. They are the testament of hard work and have always supported me in all my endeavours.