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Photography by Joel Ross


Co-Founded the Manitoba Financial Literacy Forum


Appointed by the federal finance minister to the 2010 Task Force on Financial Literacy

Recently completed her 51st book on personal taxation and tax-efficient wealth


Terri Williams, Toronto-based Vice-President, Marketing and Brand Management, Global Wealth Management and Insurance and Commercial Banking, Scotiabank

From Terri Williams

As told to Astrid Van Den Broek

I was a business writer at the Toronto Sun in the late 1980s when I met Evelyn Jacks—she was Evelyn Jacks of “Jacks on Tax” and doing lots of educational inter­views and appearances to help Canadians understand how to make the most of their tax returns. She was very easy to understand for a young journalist starting out—she’d put tips for readers into plain language so they were relevant and understandable, which is key to financial literacy. And that’s what she’s all about: promoting financial literacy.

I think earlier in her career she was actual­ly preparing taxes and probably saw how proper tax guidance can impact our lives, but that people were not getting the best advice. She’s a very caring and passionate person and she’s taken that into the financial services industry.She saw that people weren’t as informed and educated about their personal finances as they could be and wanted to do something about it.

Her success also comes from being an engaging personality: she connects with everyone. She consistently and constantly reaches out to the Canadian public through media and she uses multimedia to get the educational messages out there. It helps that she’s also so knowledgeable and ar­ticulate, which is how she’s become so well respected in her field.

You can see at her annual Distinguished Advisor Conference [a continuing educa­tion conference for financial advisors] when she’s up there and talking to advisors who have paid their own good money to hear from these speakers, you can hear the passion in her voice around doing the right thing.

It’s easy to see how hard she works. She went through a period about three years ago where she had numerous deaths in her family. I was very much in touch with her at that time and she stayed focused on her business and her family and it was astounding to see how strong she remained through all of that.

All of this has helped her become one of a number of women in this country in the financial services industry who have broken out from the rest of the personal finance professionals. And with Evelyn, it’s really about relationships and a personal passion for her end goal.

In the end, she is still a business­woman—she has a bottom line to reach. But getting there is always within the context of “is this the right thing to do?” So her integrity and ethics are incredible. She cares that people get the best advice and do the best things for their individual circumstances.