Siobhan McManus

Siobhan McManus, 29, senior development officer at Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, is the 38th nominee for the Kelowna Top Forty Under 40 program.

Siobhan McManus says she's in the friend-raising business, not the fundraising business.

“It’s all about relationships,” said McManus, 29, senior development officer with Kelowna General Hospital Foundation.

“Yes, I solicit donations, but it’s really about working with people, identifying with people who have a link to the hospital and helping them make a transformational gift to the foundation.”

For instance, McManus is working with John Kot of Kelowna Hyundai.

Kot’s daughter was saved by open-heart surgery when she was a baby and will likely need another operation.

Kot likes the idea of having the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre at KGH and has committed to helping raised $100,000 over five years.

This year, throughout the month of May, 200 vehicles were sold at Kot’s dealerships, including Buy Direct Truck Centre.

For every vehicle sold, Kot donated $50 to the foundation for a month-long total of $10,000.

Kot’s gift will be recognized at the Sept. 28 opening of the heart and surgical centre.

“This really is the best job in the world,” said McManus.

“We support a world-class hospital right here in Kelowna that serves a population of 750,000 through the entire Interior.”

McManus says her job is never about simply picking up a cheque.

“Every gift is transformational, for the donor, for the hospital and the foundation and for patients,” she said.

“We always work with the donor to see what is possible for the gift and really tailor it to a certain project if the donor or one of their family members has been helped by a certain department of the hospital.”

Recently, an anonymous donor gave $3 million to the foundation.

Sometimes, someone giving $20 wants recognition.

“We want to make sure the donor is delighted with what their gift will achieve,” said McManus. “Remaining anonymous is fine and being recognized is fine as well.”

McManus is not new to fundraising.

In 2009, while she was attending Okanagan College, she was a ride marshal when the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride came through Kelowna.

She was touched by a seven-year-old boy named Phillip who was undergoing treatments for cancer.

“I vowed to do more the next year,” said McManus.

So in 2010, while earning her bachelor of commerce degree at Royal Roads University in Victoria, McManus raised $25,000 for the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride and cycled from Vancouver to Halifax as part of the relay team that peddled 150 to 250 kilometres a day.

Good thing she’s in shape.

McManus does triathlons and will do the Penticton Challenge in August.

Upon graduation, she worked as an account manager at the downtown branch of Bank of Montreal.

But when the opportunity came to work with the hospital foundation she jumped at it.

McManus also belongs to Young Health Care Professionals, a club for those age 20 to 40 working in the industry.

It’s a sub-group of Okanagan Young Professionals.

“The purpose of the groups are to support young professionals,” she said.

“I love this city and I want to make a difference in making it the kind of place that attracts young people and keeps young people here for the lifestyle, business and community.”