Finfluencers 2018

Laviva Mazhar, VC Analyst at Ferst Capital Partners

Laviva Mazhar is one of our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance!

Laviva Mazhar (@lavivamazhar) is a venture capital analyst at Ferst Capital Partners, an investment firm that supports the next generation of emerging fintech entrepreneurs and provides early stage venture capital for startups like Moka. She left a full-time job to intern at the firm because she fell in love with their mission to spearhead innovation in the Canadian fintech scene, and she’s since made the 2017 Women in FinTech Power List. Here, she shares her best financial advice, speaks about her impressive career, and honours the women who inspired her along the way.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in your career?

LM: I just started my career a few years ago and I have a very long way to go, but my biggest accomplishment so far is building relationships with so many interesting people in the startup community and financial services industry. As an international student from Bangladesh, I didn’t come to Montreal with a support system, but since graduating from McGill in 2015, I’ve had the opportunity to build a great professional network through my work for FCP.

Who were the women that served as role models in your life?

LM: My first role model is my mom. She joined the Bangladeshi police when there were only four other women in the entire police force. She successfully moved her way up in a male-dominated industry and earned the respect of her colleagues, and she was strong enough to always hold on to her principles. I hope that someday I can accomplish even ten percent of what she’s achieved. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, is another role model of mine. The founder of one of our portfolio companies (NorthOne), Eytan Bensoussan, took me aside when I first joined FCP and gave me Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. That book changed so many things for me.

What was the best financial advice that you’ve ever received?

LM: Pay your debt before saving, especially if you’re dealing with a high interest rate on your debt. When I graduated I had student debt and credit card debt. I started saving for an emergency fund instead of paying off the balance on my credit card, but the bank was charging me 20% interest! I realized this saving wasn’t the right financial decision for me at that point, and I’ve since paid down the credit card debt completely, so I have a much better handle on my finances now.

Thanks for sharing your story, Laviva! To learn about more finfluencers, check out our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance.