7 Most Badass Bosses In Vancouver Under 30 - Narcity

7 Most Badass Bosses In Vancouver Under 30

Killing the game, and coming out on top!

If you're a millennial and you live in Vancouver, then you're most likely at that stage in your life where you're either going to university or working a typical 9 to 5 job. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's also not unlikely that you feel as if you're not hitting your true potential in life.

We live in the world and the world is run by money, very honestly speaking. It's what drives us to think that it's only logical to live as practically and realistically as possible, but sometimes following your passion is truly the only way to be happy. And there are some Vancouverites who are truly making their passions known and living them out.

These seven young individuals truly stand out because they don't let everyday monotony and practicality get in the way of living their life to the fullest and pursuing their dreams. From singers and songwriters to food bloggers and VR startup founders, these bosses are pushing their limits and shouting out their names loudly in a space that can easily feel like it's telling you to hush up. They've made the "unconventional career path" their only career path, and they're killing it.

We got ahold these boss Vancouverites and asked them about their journey; how they got started, what trials they've faced, and how they're successful today. We hope this encourages you to break out of whatever complacency you may have let yourself fall into and inspire you to live the best life you were meant to live.

Here are 7 bad ass bosses in Vancouver under 30:

Via @polinagrace

Polina Grace // Early 20's

Singer, Songwriter, Model

Vancouver-raised and Montreal-based Polina Grace is a powerhouse of strength, determination, and a burning passion for following her dreams. Not only is she a McGill University graduate, more importantly, she is a singer-songwriter fully invested in pursuing her career in music. She's worked with notable Vancouver-based producer, John Webster, as well as recently released her debut EP titled "Down".

A boss since day one:

I have always wanted to sing and perform. I did as much of it as I could growing up, but my family often pushed me towards an academic direction at the expense of pursuing what my actual dreams were. For the longest time I did not believe in myself to such an extent that I did not even attempt to pursue my dreams until I reached a certain age during university, at which point I realized it is now or never and I deserve to be happy — so I have just been grinding ever since...

Bosses aren't without struggles:

My struggles included but were not limited to — building a network of people I could rely on to help me along my journey; graduating from McGill University with a business degree before I could go on to pursue what I truly love; getting my family to not only believe in me but to become my biggest supports has been one of my biggest personal victories to date; getting influential people in the music and entertainment industry to notice me has been incredibly challenging but not impossible; being patient has been a huge challenge as it takes knocking on certain doors many, many times before these doors can open; and, lastly, finding part-time sources of income, such as modelling, to finance the production of music and visual content.

But bosses come on top and conquer:

I have had the courage and the determination to lay the foundation for myself to get to pursue what I love, despite all of the risk factors and unknowns... all I had was a raw talent, which I continued to cultivate over the years, and I went on to pursue my favourite craft professionally. I consider that to be a great personal success... I am also proud of the following achievements: building up a large following of tens of thousands of people on social media in under a year, filming an exceptionally unique first music video in which I performed my own stunts, which has reached over 20K views in under 3 weeks, and successfully beginning to perform live, which has actually been one of the most rewarding experiences.

What this boss is up to next:

I have just finally gotten started with my career after years of preparation and hard work. I am so excited now to develop my live show, to release more tracks, to grow artistically, and to hopefully inspire people with my songs as well as the message of 'do not be afraid to pursue your dreams' — a notion which many of my songs reflect because it is a subject that is extremely personal and applicable to me. And I hope to essentially be able to do a combination of the following two things as I grow: to be able to be a great entertainer, on and off the stage, but also to be a role-model and an advocate for not giving up on your passions and goals in life. After all, we only have one life, and we should strive to seize every day!

Find her on:

Instgram @polinagrace
YouTube @PolinaGraceVEVO
Twitter @realpolinagrace
https://www.polinagrace.com/


Via LinkedIn/Travis Wu

Travis Wu // 23

Storyteller, Co-founder of LumièreVR

Travis Wu is made from the perfect recipe of creativity, ingenuity, wit, and a bit of madness. Raised in Vancouver, Travis now resides in San Francisco where his company, LumièreVR, is based. LumiereVR is a cinematic VR company dedicated to building and creating the highest quality 360-degree VR experiences.

A boss since day one:

We began as two insane individuals in Draper University trying to revolutionize the way we engage in storytelling by casting the audience directly into films. Under Tim Draper's atypical encouragement, I leveraged his background in [compuer science] to expand on a research paper that was highlighting how to improve Skype's conference call field of view with multiple cameras, effectively building LumièreVR's first voyage into the world of 360 degree filmmaking. Of course, back then it wasn't called 360 yet, in fact it was Jenny's [co-founding partner] experience with immersive theatre at Columbia Film School that took the low-quality prototype and elevate it into a product of value. Soon we found ourselves selling our service to hotels and casinos, and later museums and tourism groups to keep ourselves afloat... In mid 2016 we were picked up by HTC Vive who brought us to Shenzhen, China, opening the doors to cheap manufacturing and government-backed content partnerships. 

Bosses aren't without struggles:

The struggles were numerous, the obvious elephant in the room is that we're operating in a market that doesn't exist yet. When we began, people were asking us what the difference between IMAX and VR was. Then there are the emotional struggles along the way, it's kind of funny how people outside the startup world are always cautious about sharing their ideas, afraid someone might steal it and build the next billion dollar company with it. Frankly speaking an idea is worth nothing... Doing a startup is hard - there is no glamour, it's an upwards grind non-stop. It's putting on a smile even though your vault is nearly empty, because the last thing you need is your team freaking out and bailing. It's carrying every bit of the company's burden on your shoulders because sharing it can lead to disaster... Regarding of trials, I think the whole company thing is a trial, it takes about 5-6 years to really know if you've failed or not... - every stage you think it'll get easier after this hurdle and that hurdle, but the truth is it, just keeps getting harder... Another really interesting thing is, you get jaded with people, regardless of success or failures, people turn on you randomly. One day they're your friend the next they just leave you to dry... I guess staying sane is the hardest part, but good thing I'm already half insane to begin with so... whatever right? LOL.

But bosses come on top and conquer:

I've learned to see the world differently I suppose. Having lived in all sorts of places from tier one cities to third world countries, you get to appreciate human lives from an observer's point of view. A young engineer in the bay area complaining about his low-income status making 150k a year because rent alone is 4k... VS a father in Dongguan begging for the plastics manufacturing factory he works for to allow his 14-year-old son to also work for 70 cents an hour. Both are human lives, both have happy moments worth savouring both have their hardships as well. If we gauge how fulfilled a life is based on the spectrums of emotions experienced, they're both equal, but could we really look at their lives the same way? ...There's a lot to take in from the increasing globalization of industries, I don't believe I am successful at all, but one day I wish to be. My work is heavily relying on using VR as the ultimate empathy machine, a portal into humanity. Everyone lives in their own universes, we may share slices with one another, but we all have our own storylines and our own quirky characters. VR allows us to peer into the stories of others and interact with their characters. Maybe when I can truly empathize with everyone I meet, I'll call myself successful. I suppose that also comes with maturity.

What this boss is up to next:

In our dedication to building the future of storytelling, we're always looking for ways to elevate content. The concrete answer is, we're trying to create more volumetric and interactive content, right now our films you can be in VR and look all around you, next year we want you to be able to walk around. Actually, remember the Storyeum that existed in Gastown when we were in elementary school or something? I want to build that but in VR, immersive storytelling. You know they spent 22 million on that? I can drive the cost down to just approx. 500k.

Find him on:

Facebook @LumiereVR
Twitter @LumiereVR
https://www.lumierevr.com/


@oh.jusembedded via  

Jen Ju // 27

Student Support Worker, Co-founder of Day One 

This badass boss lady hails from the Strathcona neighbourhood of the DTES. Working as a student support worker of the Vancouver School Board by day, and conquering the courts by night as the co-founder of Day One Basketball, an organization that focuses "extending opportunities to youth who do not have access to quality basketball training programs largely due to economic factors." Through community engagement and a shared love for basketball, Day One aims to help youth grow, learn life skills, and navigate through life.

A boss since day one:

I've always been inspired by others' altruism. After I finished playing professionally in Germany, I felt I should utilize my skills to be more impactful and create the change I wanted wherever I saw there was a deficit. It took some exploring but I started being more attentive to Day One in June.

Bosses aren't without struggles:

The struggle so far has been to get the community behind our purpose and for people to understand how fundamentally interconnected influencing youth, health and wellness are. Of course, it's not easy to achieve this, otherwise there would be a lot more youth engagement today. 

But bosses come on top and conquer:

I don't really have a rubric for success. If the day arrives where one of the kids I've worked with feels inspired to give back to the community I'd see that as a success

What this boss is up to next:

We have tons lined up! Stay tuned :)

@dayonebasketballembedded via  

Find her on:

Instagram @dayonebasketball and @oh.jus
http://dayonebasketball.com/


@kokahollaembedded via  

Mark Luongo a.k.a. Kokaholla // 27

Songwriter, Producer, Artist

A few may know Mark Luongo as the cool music teacher with the luscious brunette locks, but many more know him as the producing genius with hypnotizing, toe-tapping, can't-get-it-out-of-your-head type mastermind beats under the alias, Kokaholla. Having performed in many bands and even a Sony-signed pop project named PRTY H3RO, Kokaholla is now a solo music producer with a debut single, "High With Me", that has been played on radio stations across the country and over 127,000 views on YouTube.

A boss since day one:

Having been in a series of bands and groups that culminated in a Sony-signed pop project called PRTY H3RO, I finally felt equipped to try flying solo by the winter of 2014. Living in Kelowna from the summer of 2013 through the summer of 2014 and interacting with a range of highly talented, genuinely artistic creative types while there also helped inspire me to take this step. Access to some particularly gifted Kelowna-based vocal collaborators definitely played a role in me pursuing this path.

Bosses aren't without struggles:

While it's nice to have a track record and name recognition, starting a new project can be difficult because it means going back to square one. I've also found being a songwriter/producer/artist but not the singer of my own material to be tricky as vocals are central to the kind of ear-catching pop I write. Seeking and ultimately engaging with singers has been challenging but so have my efforts to produce world-class visual content on a tight budget. That said, with the right personnel a fairly limited and relatively inexpensive set of tools can go along within this modern digital content creation climate.

But bosses come on top and conquer:

While commercial success has yet to greet me, I am very proud of the art I've created and feel especially successful as a craftsman responsible for generating high quality, high concept, artistically rich audio/visual content. My brand and catalogue have a great deal of growing to do but I'm genuinely pleased with what I've created and derive a great deal of intrinsic fulfilment and satisfaction from it.

What this boss is up to next:

My debut single, "High With Me" is still being promoted on Canadian radio stations and has at least until February to catch on before we move past it. The follow up is an 80's remake called Eyes of a Stranger that features as Grammy-nominated Jamaican dancehall artist who goes by Devin Di Dakta. Apart from this, I've got original songs called Lucky Ones, Bittersweet, End of Time,  She Loves Me and Neverland all slated for monthly releases from now through summer 2018.

Find him on:

Instgram @kokaholla
Soundcloud @kokaholla
Spotify @kokaholla


@vancouverfoodieembedded via  

Emma Choo (a.k.a. VancouverFoodie) // 22

Creative Director of VancouverFoodie

You've heard of her, you've seen her food photos on Insta, and you've definitely eaten at one of her recommendations, Emma Choo a.k.a. Vancouver Foodie is one of the OG foodies in the city, and she's only 22. Not only is she the full-time Creative Director of her own brand, she is also a social media consultant and traveller of many countries.

A boss since day one:

I started Vancouver Foodie back in 2013 of my senior year to mend my two loves for food and photography. Instagram became the platform through which I could share my food adventures casually and easily. I grew up around all things food – large family potlucks, yearly fishing trips, and living in Vancouver (#westcoastbestcoast). Four and a half years later, I have finished my undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia and am jumping into the deep of bringing Vancouver Foodie to the next level. Whether that be becoming the first Social Media Ambassador for #TasteHKG for the Chinese Restaurant Awards or even creating fun YouTube videos about local and international food finds. 

Bosses aren't without struggles:

As Vancouver Foodie is based out of Instagram and focused on providing organic growth and content, one of the main struggles of the process is the change in algorithm on Instagram. Before, it was based on organic growth and engagement. Nowadays, many accounts feel the need to buy robots or manipulate numbers. The algorithm is built on the premise that high initial engagement is key. Also, the transition from Vancouver Foodie being a part-time gig turning into a full time job has been challenging, yet rewarding. I find myself running into walls all the time, but am always encouraged and surprised by how God provides people and opportunities at the perfect time.

But bosses come on top and conquer:

There are moments when I have followers approaching me in restaurants or on the streets, telling me that they love consulting my page for food finds and new places to eat. Just the other day, a flight attendant approached me on the airplane, asking me if I was Vancouver Foodie and ended up upgrading me to first class! Knowing that I am making an impact on the everyday decisions that people encourage me to keep creating and growing. I also have moments where I stop and reflect on how God has brought me to this point. To see how He has put experiences and people in my life that have helped me get to this point is another amazing story to tell. Recently, I had a 3-page spread in the Sing Tao Magazine featuring my #TasteHKG social media ambassadorship trip to Hong Kong, on behalf of the Chinese Restaurant Awards. It was a week-long trip to Hong Kong, where I ate and met with Michelin-Starred chefs. Every day, I had several “pinch me” moments.

What this boss is up to next:

One exciting endeavour is the creation of more YouTube Videos. I see that videos are a medium through which I have the opportunity to invite the everyday viewer into the food adventures that I embark on, whether that be the everyday whereabouts or showcasing the latest food find.

Find her on:

Instagram @vancouverfoodie
YouTube @vancouverfoodie


@aboutarielembedded via  

Ariel Liu // 23

Marketing Manager of ClickDishes

Marketing Manager of ClickDishes by day and Instagram traveller by night, Ariel Liu is 23 years young and killing the startup game in Vancouver. ClickDishes is a social foodie app and mobile platform that allows users to browse restaurant menus, pre-order and pay, then pick the food up at the restaurant without having to wait in line. They currently have over 100 restaurant affiliates in the downtown Vancouver area, as well as UBC.

A boss since day one:

I was the first full-time hire for ClickDishes in Vancouver and helped the company build its presence here from the ground up. I’ve been a part of it all, from our pre-launch phase until now 6 months post-launch! I've also helped build our team to double its original size within the past year and it's been extremely rewarding to have had such a profound impact on the company. 

Bosses aren't without struggles:

The biggest struggle that I faced was learning to trust my own judgment and being more confident in my own abilities. I joined ClickDishes right after graduating from UBC and had no previous experience working at a startup. Working at a startup means constantly hustling and taking initiative where you see fit. There won't be someone micromanaging you or looking over your shoulder, so you have to be extremely proactive and a total self-starter.

But bosses come on top and conquer:

I’m extremely proud of what I’ve been able to achieve with ClickDishes so far. Seeing the growth of an early stage startup from day one has been the most rewarding experience. When I think of how I define my own success, it's the amount that I've learned and grown within the past year. My pursuit of greater knowledge is something that continues to drive me every single day. One of the highlights of my career so far has to be flying to San Francisco to participate in Google’s StartUp Grind Conference in Silicon Valley when our company was chosen as one of the top 100 startups in 2017! 

What is this boss up to next:

Keep your eye out for ClickDishes as we're expanding to other areas of Greater Vancouver very soon, including Richmond and Burnaby!

Find her on:

Instagram @aboutariel


Via @marvin

Marvin Ng // 29

Co-founder and CEO of iMeal Canada

Marvin Ng is the co-founder and CEO of his own Vancouver-based meal planning company, iMeals. It is iMeal's vision to bring fun back to the kitchen by providing their customers with a weekly selection of exciting recipes designed carefully by our panel of chefs. The ingredients are sourced from local farmers and suppliers, and portioned for a zero food waste solution. All these hand packed and curated into a box delivered to their customers' doorstep providing the ultimate fun cooking experience making iMeal.

A boss since day one:

I was working a lot and eating takeaways all the time. I soon made a decision to cook to save money and eat healthier. However I found myself battling traffic to the grocery store; getting lost in the confusing aisles of ingredients; buying food that came in quantity more than I needed and waiting in the long checkout lanes. The resounding voice in my head to give up and order pizza has never been stronger. I realized I wasn't the only one with this problem. So I created iMeal service to solve this problem!

Bosses aren't without struggles:

I've bare witnessed of friends and individuals that gave up their dream because of various reason like - it's too hard, too much work, too risky, no support, no money and the list goes on... I failed 3 business prior to iMeal and hit a very low point in life where I was battling with depression and suicidal thoughts. My girlfriend back then cheated on me for the 2nd time on the eve of the launch of iMeal. A month later I was arrested and handcuffed by the police in front of my house with neighbours watching for a wrongly accused crime and all my computers were seized for a couple of months. I didn't have the money to buy a new computer to work during this time so I used my credit card and bought a computer so I could continue working and returning it a day before the return policy date expires. I would repeat this process for a couple of times just to save money until one day I received a call from the police that they are dropping the investigation and returning all my work computers. It was an extremely hard and dark time of my life and the beginning of iMeal juggling between an ongoing investigation, knowing someone was ready to hurt your reputation and jeopardize your freedom for something you never did. Those are definitely the biggest struggle and trials of starting iMeal. Even till today, as a company I face various challenges and the success of the business depends on how well I solve these problems and not making it my excuse. 

But bosses come on top and conquer:

During my short stay on earth, my dream is - to create a biz that would positively impact the society so when I leave it, it would be a slightly better place then I came. My determination to pursue my dream and ability to embrace adversity making it my best friend is my biggest success. One of my favorite speaker Les Brown once said: "The richest place on earth is the graveyard, because it is here you will find hopes and dreams that are never fulfilled, inventions that were never shared, books that were never written, songs that were never sung, cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take the first step, keep with the problem and determined to carry that dream." I do not intend to let my dreams come with me to my grave, and I pray you wouldn't too.

What is this boss up to next:

I am currently working on creating a separate division for iMeal catering to a more cost savvy audience. We came up with a solution that would bring our customers an even more affordable meal kit at around $6-$7 p/meal. That is 50% of what majority other meal kits are offering right now. Stay tuned ;)

Find him on:

Instagram @imealcanada


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