Dora the Explorer

Beedie School of Business alumna Dora Vanourek will climb Mount Denali in Alaska in June to raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Beedie School of Business alumna Dora Vanourek is setting her sights high in her latest fund raising adventure.

This summer the Management of Technology MBA graduate will ascend 6,194m to the top of Mount Denali in Alaska in June, in order to raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. She has currently raised over $4,000 for the charity, and is confident of reaching her goal of $6,194.

Vanourek is an experienced climber – she has already reached the summits of Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and Elbrus – but she expects this expedition to be the most difficult. The trek will see her carry 65lbs on her back, including a tent, snow shovels, gas, and enough food to last the three-week journey, where temperatures could reach as low as -40 C.

She has been training for the climb for almost a year, with her regime incorporating a combination of endurance, strength, and balance training. During the summer months, Vanourek often uses Vancouver as her training ground, hiking the infamous Grouse Grind several times a day, sometimes in the early morning before she has even eaten.

“The internal benefits climbing brings are great motivation,” says Vanourek. “The feeling of freedom and having nothing going through your mind aside from the physical next steps is similar to meditation.”

Currently employed as a Senior Project Manager at IBM, Vanourek credits her rise through the company’s ranks – which has included several promotions – to her education at Beedie.

“Being accepted into the Management of Technology MBA program was a milestone that I always wanted to achieve,” says Vanourek. “Previously, I did more of the technical specialist work, but now I am able to see outside that box and reach out and collaborate with more people at the company. The two-year journey was very rewarding. I studied with people that I am still in contact with to this day.”

Vanourek has just returned from India where she and 12 of her colleagues volunteered for a non-profit in Bangalore. The trip was part of an IBM program that sends leaders from their global corporate offices to developing countries to perform pro-bono consulting.

For Vanourek, the experience provided her with not only a sense of responsibility, but also offered her innovative ways to contribute to her own community – such as climbing a mountain for charity.

During her final year studying at Beedie, the MOT MBA cohort were connected with SFU Science postgraduate candidates via the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), where they collaborated on business plans and patents. Vanourek was paired with SFU PhD Candidate Todd Keeler, with the pair developing a proposal for his algorithm for real-time fluid animation and developed.

The project not only served as the basis for Vanourek’s final thesis, but was also rewarded with a grant from BCIC. “It was very rewarding to work on a project that could actually be put into practice and potentially help to create new jobs in BC,” she says.

To donate to Vanourek’s cause, visit: or visit her Facebook page for updates on her journey.