“Building a positive life on strong relationships.”
You describe yourself as someone who grew up in Toronto’s financial district because your father was an advisor. How did that guide your career?
It certainly played a role. After graduating from Queen’s University, I took a job working in “the cage” where all cheques and payments in the branch were processed. I then became an assistant to learn the intricacies of the industry. But I also had a passion for the arts and after a few years, I took a hiatus from finance to pursue a career at a Toronto talent agency. It wasn’t a good fit, but it helped me appreciate the investment business. When my father began looking for a successor and approached me to join his team, I knew it was the right direction for me. These days, I’m on the board of Toronto’s Musical Stage Company, so I have theatre back in my life.
We love legacy stories. How has the transition been for you since you took over running the business in 2013?
I haven’t looked back. We have continued to grow significantly while improving on the level of service my dad had provided over his 40 years in the business. I’m so proud of what our team and our clients have accomplished. It really motivates me to keep innovating and improving our approach to investing.
You must have had some challenges along the way.
Absolutely! But I learned some valuable lessons from them. For instance, I was keenly aware that there weren’t many people that looked like me sitting at the board room table. I was young and female and the mentors in the room were “mature” and male. At first, I saw this as a disadvantage, but then I came to understand that it was my greatest strength. It made me unique and different which added a level of approachability and trust that other advisors couldn’t offer clients.
What has been your takeaway from working at a major firm like CIBC Wood Gundy?
I think a lot of new advisors feel that that there might be more of a “path,” but while there is a tremendous amount of support, no one is here to tell you what to do. You must find your own way and reasons for creating and structuring your business your way. So as a young advisor starting out, realizing that it really was on me to make my success was one of the biggest moments of my career.
You’ve said that trust is the most important component in your business. In what way?
We need to earn the trust of our clients to be successful and garner word of mouth and referrals, but trust goes the other way, too. You need to trust the team around you to be able to do their job. When times are tough, you need to be able to trust that your staff and your clients will stick with you. As a business owner, it can be humbling to really realize how much is out of your hands, so earning and giving trust is essential to creating an organization that can accomplish more than you ever could on your own.
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