When Johnathon Quinn visited the Okanagan for the first time in 2018, he felt an instant connection to the region.
"Our friends took us to some of the local wineries, breweries, and we also went camping that weekend," Johnathon says. "I knew very quickly that I wanted to spend more time here."
At the time, the now 33-year-old was working on the corporate side at a construction company in the Greater Toronto Area and was looking for a change. Johnathon says there was something about the beauty and the relaxed vibe of Kelowna – and the whole region – that resonated for him and his partner, Brad.
"When we imagine what our life together as a couple looks like, discuss our hopes and aspirations, we want to be in a community that fits our laid back lifestyle, have access to the outdoors, to grow our family, and spend time with great friends," Johnathon says.
"Kelowna simply hit the mark."
The couple quickly set their relocation plans in motion. Less than a year later, they packed their belongings and with their Boston Terrier named Brady in tow, moved across the country to start a life in BC's Interior.
"Everything came together very well. We were looking for a new adventure, and it has been wonderful living here ever since," Johnathon says.
While they settled into their new home, Johnathon began his career search looking for work that matched his skills and education; however, he was also wanting to try something new. Johnathon had never worked in banking before, and so when he came across a job posting at TD, he decided to apply.
"I always heard great things about working for TD especially when it comes to its activities around inclusion and diversity," Johnathon says. "Being able to be myself at work was and still is very important to me. Still, there was a major learning curve, as I was changing industries completely; however, I had lots of support from colleagues and leaders along the way."
Today, he is an account manager in small business banking at TD, leveraging his education, credentials and previous business experience to help his clients across the Okanagan with their objectives.
Johnathon is also making an impact internally at TD. Soon after starting at the bank, he joined the local LGBTQ2+ Diversity Leadership Council in the Pacific Region to contribute to and further the work the bank was already doing to make further progress in the diversity and inclusion space.
"In addition to running (now virtual) socials, which is incredibly important to help maintain and build a sense of community within the bank, we also run internal educational webinars and presentations to help drive important conversations on the LGBTQ2+ experience and the importance of allyship," Johnathon says. The webinars are attended by TD colleagues across the province.
While lots of progress has been made, Johnathon says there is much more work to do to create a more equitable world where everyone no matter who they are can feel like they belong and are successful. His desire to support further marginalized groups within the LGBTQ2+ community has been driven in large part by the major societal events and conversations that have taken place over the past year worldwide, and in the province.
"I think it's incumbent upon me as a person of privilege to help improve the experiences of groups within our community who are wanting their lived experience to be better. For example, normalizing the introduction of my he/him/his pronouns when I meet someone new or placing them in my email signature may seem like a small gesture, but if that could make one person – whether a colleague, customer, or someone in my community – feel more comfortable and included, that can only be a good thing."
As for living in Kelowna, Johnathon and Brad are looking forward to enjoying more of what the city and the surrounding areas have to offer, especially once the pandemic is over.
"We can't wait to meet even more people in the community, and have a fuller Okanagan experience free from restrictions," Johnathon said. "We are excited about what the future holds for us here."