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Finfluencers 2018

Michele Romanow, Dragon and founder of Clearbanc

Michele Romanow is one of our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance!

Michele (@MicheleRomanow) is the founder of Clearbanc, a financial service platform for freelancers. She’s also the youngest ever Dragon on CBC’s Dragon Den. 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?

MR: I’m most proud of building an incredible team with exceptional partners. Everyday, I get to work with people that are much brighter than me to build a better world. At Clearbanc we’re very focused on how to bring capital to small business without taking onerous terms or personal guarantees by using better data sources.

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

MR: There have been many. Ruma Bose was an enormous mentor throughout my life encouraging me to dream even bigger than I thought possible.

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

MR: Invest in yourself. It’s the only real investment you control. I built my first three companies with the little money that was in my bank account and learned how to be capital efficient very early on. It has served me well for years to come.

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

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Finfluencers 2018

Julie Hyunjoo Lee, Founder at MoneySherpa

Julie Hyunjoo Lee is one of our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance!

Julie (@MoneySherpa) is the founder of MoneySherpa, a website that provides financial education for millennials. She’s also the founder of MultiMension, an e-learning solution company. 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?

JHL: In previous years, I’ve mostly provided services for clients. On top of keeping my clients happy, I am proud of the fact that I’ve made my own projects happen, especially MoneySherpa. Growing a business is a long journey, but keeping it moving makes me feel proud.

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

JHL: I’ve met a lot of successful and strong Canadian women leaders. I admire all of them. I recall Heather Reisman telling Women of Influence that female entrepreneurs shouldn’t be afraid of becoming mothers. She said that kids will grow up faster than we think, and being a parent won’t stop us from building our career and business. I was pregnant and just starting MoneySherpa at the time. Her words helped me worry less.

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

JHL: Start early. Whether you invest in stocks, real estate, or something else, time is one of the key factors for building wealth. We can’t control all risks, however, we can control our time and decision making. I also believe that doing something new motivates you to learn more. If you invest $200 in index funds, you are more likely to be curious about market trends than those who simply save. If you spend time visiting open houses, you will learn more about the housing market. Start researching and investing early so you’re ready to make bigger decisions at the right time.

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

 

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Finfluencers 2018

Jessica Moorhouse, Millennial money expert and host of the Mo’Money Podcast

Jessica Moorhouse is one of our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance!

Jessica (@jessi_moorhouse) is an Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada professional and millennial money expert. She also hosts the Mo’Money Podcast, which promotes financial literacy and has been downloaded over 400,000 times. Here, she shares her best financial advice, opens up about her impressive career, and honours the women who inspired her along the way.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in your career?

JM: I don’t know if I can choose just one thing, because my career has been a very windy and unpredictable one, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I guess, I’m most proud of bouncing back after failure or pivoting when something isn’t working anymore. That might be why I went from being a filmmaker, to working in sales for in the newspaper industry, to working in digital marketing at a corporate law firm, to now working for myself as a full-time financial literacy content creator and financial counsellor. To sum up, I guess I’m most proud of my adaptability and taking risks!

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

JM: In my life, definitely my mom. As I’ve grown older, I can truly appreciate all the sacrifices she made to raise my and my sisters into strong, independent, intellectual women. In my career, my first mentor was my boss in my first full-time job. She demonstrated how to not take any s**t, how to get the job done, how to juggle a career and family, and also how to handle some really tough personal trauma without falling to pieces.

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

JM: Never spend more than you earn. If you don’t have the money, then save up until you’ve got it. I learned this in my grade 7 math class when our teacher just started talking to my class about the perils of being in debt. It had nothing to do with what we were studying at the time, but that’s probably why it’s stuck with me all these years. And since that day, I’ve stayed far away from debt. The only times I’ve been in debt were in my last year of university when I had to get a $5,000 student loan to pay for my student film, and right now with the mortgage on my townhouse. But other than that, I don’t ever plan to use a line of credit or take out a loan. If I want something, I’m patient and save up for it, that’s it.

Thanks for sharing your story, Jessica! To learn about more finfluencers, check out30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance.

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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.

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Finfluencers 2018

Eva Lau, Co-founder at Two Small Fish Ventures

Eva Lau is one of our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance!

Eva (@MrsEvaLau) is managing director at Two Small Fish Ventures, a firm she founded with her husband Allen. As an angel investor, she backs companies like reward app Drop and Paycase, which uses blockchain technology to send money overseas. Before Two Fish, Eva worked in product development for Wattpad, a virtual community for user generated stories. 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?

EL: In my product development career, the proudest moment definitely was scaling the Wattpad user base from tens of thousands to tens of millions. Wattpad is an entertainment company and there are over 65 million monthly storytellers on the platform. I was so privileged to have the opportunity to join Wattpad during its infancy and help them create one of the most engaging social platforms on the internet. Since leaving Wattpad and becoming an angel investor, I am equally proud to be giving back to the tech community by sharing my experience with other founders. So far, I have made just under 20 investments, and all of them are network-effect based companies. This is just the beginning of a new chapter for me and I certainly hope that my effort in angel investing will help nurture more tech giants in Canada.

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

EL: There are certainly many women in my life that have served as role models, especially in the early days of my career, when I was one of the very few women in the engineering team in a  the Toronto software startup called Delrina. The late Teddy Rosenberg was the GM of one of the divisions at Delrina. She was one of the few women leaders in the company. I was never in her team, but her role as GM in a tech startup certainly inspired me and showed me that women could lead in the tech world, too. The other woman I would like to mention is a good friend and mentor: Marg Vaillancourt at Jewlr. Marg and I met at Delrina. Her passion for developing great products inspired me to become a great product and process person in the tech world.

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

EL: Don’t set your eyes on the money in the short term, set your eyes on doing the right thing for the long term. Money will follow 🙂

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

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Finfluencers 2018

Ying Soong, Founder of La Tourelle Capital

Ying Soong is one of our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance!

Ying (@YingLTC) is the founder and managing partner of La Tourelle Capital, an investment firm that backs financial service companies. Here, she shares her best financial advice, opens up about her impressive career, and honours the women who inspired her along the way.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in your career?

YS: I am most proud of starting La Tourelle Capital to invest in Canadian startups.  

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

YS: The amazing women of my alma mater, Wellesley College, have been the greatest source of inspiration and support for me.  They have consistently shown me that women can and will succeed.

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

YS: “Save every penny.”  This resonates with me because it is important to best utilize and treasure every single resource you have.  Often, we focus on grand visionary goals but stop valuing and enjoying the daily toil and grind that takes us to our goal.

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

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Finfluencers 2018

Amelia Young, Founder of Upside Consulting

Amelia Young is one of our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance!

Amelia (@AYoungUpside) is the founder of Upside Consulting, which helps wealth management firms improve customer experience. Before founding the consulting group, Amelia worked on Bay Street for a decade as an equity analyst and trader. 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?

AY: I’d say that the accomplishment I’m most proud of is my work over the past few years linking behavioural economics to fintech. I’ve written and spoken extensively on this this topic because I believe it provides an important new way to help Canadians get control of their finances and improve their financial well-being. It also provides lots of opportunity for innovative business models, of which Moka is an exciting example.

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

AY: My greatest role model was my grandmother. She was incredibly creative about finding ways to combine frugality and living well. If she had lived in our time she would have made an awesome personal finance blogger. She also coached me from an early age to get a good education and earn my own money.

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

AY: The best financial advice I’ve ever received was actually life advice. It was to get really clear about what’s most important to you. Life, like money, is about trade-offs. If you put your time and your money into the things that truly matter to you, you’ll be much more likely to achieve your goals than if you spread yourself too thin or focus on what other people think is important.

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

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Finfluencers 2018

Melissa Leong, Personal finance writer and on-air personality

Melissa Leong is one of our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance!

Melissa (@lisleong) is a personal finance writer, keynote speaker, on-air personality and bestselling author. She briefly considered calling her upcoming money book “Well” so then everyone would say: “Well written by Melissa Leong.” She writes about personal finance for the Financial Post and appears on CTV’s The Social as its resident money expert. Through her channels, she reaches millions of Canadians in a quest to help them manage their money while maximizing happiness. She regularly shares her savings tips on radio and television programs such as BNN, CBC Radio, Canada AM and Newstalk 1010.

Over the last 15 years, she has covered a variety of subjects including crime, politics, terrorism, arts and business for the National Post, the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. She has profiled survivors of the Rwandan genocide, investigated nanny abuse in Hong Kong and interviewed thousands of subjects, including heads of state, royalty and celebrities such as Hugh Jackman and Carrie Fisher. In her spare time, she teaches salsa dancing, mentors youth and volunteers for organizations that promote the advancement and empowerment of young women. She’s also fully prepared for a zombie invasion and if that doesn’t occur, she’s happily saving for retirement and for her kid’s education. 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?

ML: Making lemonade. I’ve had a varied career. And many, many times, I’ve been handed lemons. When every publisher said “no” to my novels, I self-published them and sold 70,000 copies. When my boss moved me from covering arts and life (my dream job) to covering business (my second-worst nightmare — I’ve also begrudgingly covered crime), I became my newspaper’s personal finance reporter and a sought-after speaker and TV personality.

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

ML: While their husbands were working overseas to send money home, the Leong women raised their children and grandchildren alone in China through war and through adversity. When my grandmother arrived in Canada, she took two buses in -30 C Winnipeg weather to and from a sewing factory where she toiled for decades for her family. They were tenacious, resourceful and hard-working. I couldn’t be more inspired or more grateful for their sacrifices.

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

ML: Nothing of value comes without being earned. Invest in your future, your career, your family. Invest in yourself.

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

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Finfluencers 2018

Desirae Odjick, Personal finance blogger at Half Banked

Desirae Odjick is one of our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance!

Desirae (@half_banked) writes about millennials and money at Half Banked, the blog she started when she realized she would have to save half of her income to meet her financial goals. Now she has over 6,000 followers across social media. 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?

DO: I’m most proud of the skills I’ve taught myself, and the opportunities they’ve unlocked. I loved my formal education, don’t get me wrong, but building my own projects and learning the required skills on my own has been the key to creating a career that I love, and it’s something that I think is all too easy to skip over in favour of more formal, structured learning. Both of them have their place, but building something of your own and figuring out how to make it a success? Absolutely irreplaceable.

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

DO: It’s a total cliche to say this, but my mom! When her traditional career wasn’t fitting into the life she wanted, she took a leap and built her own very successful business, at a time when “freelancing” and “consulting” weren’t as mainstream as they are today. She really taught me that you can do a lot if you believe in yourself and take some (calculated) risks. (Oh, and she’s a total personal finance boss too!)

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

DO: If you can’t buy it in cash, you can’t afford it. Now, there are definitely some things that I’ve bent that rule on, like my house and my car, but overall it has served me really well in terms of avoiding debt! It’s way too easy to think that you can just “put it on your card” but doing the harder thing—saving up and waiting until you can afford it—has been one of the most key things I’ve ever done for my finances.

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

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Finfluencers 2018

Janet Bannister, Partner at Real Ventures

Janet Bannister is one of our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance!

Janet (@jebannister) is a partner at Real Ventures, where she has led investment in fintech companies like Dream Payments, a mobile payments platform. She is also the founder of Kijiji, the number one classifieds website in Canada. Here, she shares her best financial advice, opens up about her impressive career, and honours the women who inspired her along the way.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in your career?

JB: I have been very fortunate in my life and career.  I have had the privilege of working with many amazing people while helping create new businesses and reinvent existing businesses.  The thing that I am most proud of is the impact I have had on other people; I have had the opportunity to coach, mentor and advise many people who are overcoming obstacles, reaching their potential, and fulfilling their ambitions.  That is the most rewarding aspect of my career.

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

JB: All women who follow their passions and hearts inspire me!  Whether it be teaching, medicine, banking, or raising a family, I am inspired by women who do what they love to the best of their abilities. I especially relate and feel inspired by women entrepreneurs.  Building a business is hugely rewarding, but it is also filled with many “bumps in the road” and it tests entrepreneurs’ resilience and determination every day. How we react to these challenges is what makes us stronger as women.

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

JB: Live within your means and never take a job just for a big paycheque.

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