Forty under 40 winners reflect on past year

Award recipients shared insights from the pandemic in a virtual event

Above from left: Sarah Gulbrandsen, Ring Partner; Amir Sharif, CASAcraft; Troy Abromaitis, Bucci Developments; Dylan Rekert, Very Polite Agency; Joshua Davis, JL Davis Enterprises; Rogayeh Tabrizi, Theory + Practice; Christian Thomson, Marwick Marketing; Chris van Dyck, Crafty Apes VFX and Joe Deobald, Full Frame Marketing

Winners of the 2020 Forty under 40 Awards shared revelations and reflections in a rapid-fire event presented by BIV.

Award recipients were given one minute on March 16 to share their most important takeaway from a year of unprecedented disruption and challenge. The virtual event was sponsored by Fasken, BCIT and EO Vancouver, and co-hosted by BIV executive editor Hayley Woodin and reporter Tyler Orton.

Some highlights of the event follow and have in some cases been edited and condensed for clarity. The full event can be viewed at


“Resilience is often portrayed as a singular act of heroism, whereas perseverance actually requires a supportive community. The world has changed, but people haven’t.”
Solon Bucholtz
LBC Studios


“I’ve learned how lowering my expectations can lead to a far more pleasant life.”
Ramin Estifaie
CSN Pharma


“My greatest learning this year has been digging into the words and stereotypes we use to define leadership to find what resonates with me, and to discard what doesn’t.”|
Corinne Caldwell

BC Real Estate Association


“Why does it take a crisis to break the accessibility ground? Every one of us has a role to make communication more accessible, and also more inclusive.”
Braam Jordaan
Convo Communications


“We are more vulnerable to psychological injuries, such as stress, anxiety, burnouts, you name it. The solution: self-care. Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is non-negotiable. Self-care is a lifestyle.”
Cecilia Yeung
PTSD Support for Nurses


“People are watching, and how we show up, what we say, how we respond as leaders in the community becomes a barometer for those around us.”
Joshua Meyers
BC Centre for Ability


“It’s really through experimentation that we’re going to learn how we can adapt into this new environment and test our new hypotheses.”
Dustin Johnson


“The more you help other people, the more you’ll receive in return.”
Jon Conlin


Forty under 40 virutal meet Above from left: Jennifer Hollinshead, Peak Resilience; Russell Zishiri, Anaconda Systems; Braam Jordaan, Convo Communications; Christian Hamm, SiteMax Systems; Carling Dick, Earnscliffe Strategy; Corinne Caldwell, British Columbia Real Estate Association; Jason Robertson, Nimbus Synergies; Mitchell Demeter, Netcoins; and Aliya Mohamed, Translink


“We all have to aim high. We need to be open-minded.”
Vahid Shababi Shad
Victory Square Technologies


“It was in a webinar that I heard the concept of being a PIP leader: prioritize, facilitate improvisation and be present.”
Matthew May
Coast 2000 Terminals


“The broad embrace of flexible work policies has, in many cases, driven unexpected levels of productivity. But to me, nothing can replace that human in-person interaction.”
Zac Cohen


“I think COVID provided that opportunity, that little bit of space, for me really to come in and look at my values and choose a path forward.”
Anna Sainsbury


“You can still do great things in the midst of a crisis if you have the right team committed to your mission, vision and values.”
Joshua Davis
JL Davis Enterprises


“The power of collaboration was something that shouldn’t take a crisis to bring to the fore. The issues we had in common are so much greater than the issues that we have separately.”
Emilie de Rosenroll
South Island Prosperity Partnership


“Something I’ve been looking at is setting goals by getting clear about how you want to feel, and then designing your to-do list and setting goals based on how you want to feel in the future.”
Carling Dick
Earnscliffe Strategy Group


“It’d be crazy to do what everyone else does and expect different results. If you want different results, you need to do things differently.”
Mitchell Demeter


“Regardless of how good you think things are going in your business, it can change – just like that – with very little warning.”
Kosi Stobbs
Property Owl Group of Companies


“The pandemic has obviously been challenging for all of us, but it has allowed us to take the time to learn. People come up with ideas, online businesses and started their passion projects. It’s allowed us to be able to achieve those.”
Joe Deobald
Full Frame Marketing


“Take a moment to consider the successes that your teams have had over the last year and recognize the all-stars on your teams that have done such a great job.”
Troy Abromaitis
Bucci Developments


“My takeaway from this last intense year is gratitude, and looking at how the inequities in our society impact people, and I think COVID-19 has really had a magnifying effect on all of those things.”
Jennifer Hollinshead
Peak Resilience


“This last year was a complete stress test of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Needless to say, it’s been a real humdinger.”
Chris van Dyck
Crafty Apes VFX