Colleen Fitzpatrick

Top 40 Over 40 Presented by BDO: Colleen Fitzpatrick

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce hosts Top 40 Over 40 program

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is once again launching its ‘Top 40 Over 40 presented by BDO’, to celebrate individuals in the community over the age of 40.

These are people who showcase as mentors, champions and role models and who encourage and foster the future leaders of the community.

The Kelowna Chamber is highlighting new honourees between February and July 2021. Each year the program alternates between Over 40 and Under 40 Honourees. This is the sixth year of the program as 2021 marks an “Over 40” year.

Colleen Fitzpatrick is passionate about her role in bringing arts and cultural experiences and education to the Kelowna community as executive director for the Rotary Centre of the Arts – a role she has held since March 2020.

Colleen has nearly 30 years experience in public relations as a “doer” and is a strong community engager building teams, connecting communities, volunteering and organizing impactful community events.

She loves to travel and has visited 42 countries before recently choosing to make Kelowna her home. She hails from Waterloo, Ont., and is the proud mother of three young adults – Patrick, Meaghan, and Liam – who have now launched their own educational and professional careers.

In her previous leadership roles at the University of Waterloo as the director of convocation and the associate director of community relations, she oversaw all events for the president’s office and created a meaningful convocation day for 8,500 graduates and 25,000 proud family members annually in 12 back-to-back ceremonies over five days.

Colleen’s non-profit management role at an international relations think tank included 10 years of progressive performing and visual arts leadership experience.

She led 300 community events which attracted sold-out audiences including a documentary film series, a community partnership with KW Symphony, and an art lending partnership with the KW Art Gallery, a community arts award program, lectures paired with visual art, and student learning and experiential programs.

Colleen also curated an exhibition and a lecture by American artist Daisy Rockwell, the granddaughter of famous illustrator Norman Rockwell.

She has spearheaded a two-day Global Youth Forum on Climate Change and Sustainability for 350 high school students, created the first Waterloo Region High School Model UN, and led an inaugural provincewide essay challenge on climate change for Grade 12 students for Canada 150 with the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

One of her favourite projects was organizing a 400-delegate three-day conference on Climate Change in Uganda for policymakers, NGOs, and influential African government representatives.

As a community engager and life-long volunteer, Colleen has led and supported numerous initiatives on issues she is passionate about from youth engagement and homelessness to supporting the arts in the communities she serves. Although new to Kelowna in 2020, she is already an active member of 100 Women Who Care Kelowna, a volunteer and member of the Kelowna Newcomers Club, a regular blood donor for Red Cross Kelowna, and a strong advocate for Kelowna’s Arts and Cultural District.

In her role as Executive Director of the Rotary Centre of the Arts, she has stewarded new community collaborations with the Central Okanagan Food Bank, UBCO, Okanagan College, Downtown Kelowna, Kelowna Pride, OSIF, and Festivals Kelowna to name a few. Before her move to Kelowna, Colleen served on the Boards of IABC Waterloo and One Roof for Youth Homelessness; Chaired the Public Relations Advisory at Conestoga College; founded a STEM Scholarship for high school grads; and fundraised for the 2020 Provincial Spring Games for Special Olympics Ontario.

Colleen’s academic focus is Public Relations, Communications, and Business Management. As Chair of Conestoga College’s Public Relations Program Advisory Committee, she contributed her field experience as a public relations practitioner to help advise the College on program excellence and mentor students. Colleen holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Communications Certificate from the University of Guelph and a post-graduate diploma in Public Relations from the University of Victoria.

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