Meet Jennifer Reynolds, President & CEO at Toronto Financial Services Alliance

Jennifer’s 20 year career in the financial services industry has included senior roles in investment banking, venture capital, and global risk management. In 2017, she was named the new CEO of Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA). Prior to joining TFSA, Jennifer was the President & CEO of Women in Capital Markets (WCM), Canada’s largest industry association and advocacy group for women in the financial sector. She is a Director on the Board of the Canada Development Investment Corporation (“CDEV”) and the Board of Women’s College Hospital Foundation. She was also named a Women’s Executive Network (WXN) Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in 2015.

 

 


 

 

My first job ever was… Lifeguard on Lac Tremblant in Quebec. Once the black flies were gone, it was a great summer job!

 

I chose my career path because… I chose to go into investment banking because I wanted something that was incredibly fast-paced and dynamic. I like a challenge and my career in the capital markets definitely delivered that. My decision to move to the not-for-profit sector later in my career was motivated by a desire to drive positive change and progress in Canada, first on gender diversity in our economy in my role with Women in Capital Markets, and now on making the Toronto financial centre a top destination for global investment and talent in my role with the Toronto Financial Services Alliance.

 

My proudest accomplishment is… Raising six amazing children.

 

My boldest move to date was… Leaving the capital markets to join a non-for-profit organization. At the time, some of my friends and colleagues probably would have called it crazy not bold, but it has turned out to be the most rewarding career move I have made.

 

I surprise people when I tell them… My husband and I have six children. 9 times out of 10 the answer back is “Six!?” with the identical tone of shock.

 

My best advice to people starting their career is… The relationships you build in your career are just as important as the skills and competencies you acquire and develop. We spend so much time in our academic careers focused on skills and content and not enough time on developing great communication and people skills.

 

“The relationships you build in your career are just as important as the skills and competencies you acquire and develop. We spend so much time in our academic careers focused on skills and content and not enough time on developing great communication and people skills.”

 

My best advice from a mentor was… The most important decisions in your career are made when you are not in the room.

 

I would tell my 20-year old self… To travel more before I started my career!

 

My biggest setback was… Feeling my career was stalling out when I had kids. I knew I could be a successful mother and a successful professional, but there wasn’t a lot of role models in investment banking for that kind of success. Thankfully, there are some trailblazers out there today who are showing it is indeed possible.

 

I overcame it by… Tenacity. It’s the key to success.

 

Work/life balance is… An overused and outdated expression. I don’t cease to be a mother when I am at work and I don’t cease to be a CEO when I am at home. Both those roles bring value to my career and my family. The reality today is that we all shift between family and work throughout the day. Some days it may be more weighted to one area depending on what has to be the highest priority. I don’t think there is some “perfect” equation everyday. Life isn’t that simple.

 

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… How deeply passionate and committed I am to seeing women equally represented in in the leadership of Canada’s economy. Whether that is in the political sphere, in our boardrooms or executive suites, we must close the gender gap in our economy. We will have a more innovative, competitive and successful economy if we use the talent of both genders in Canada’s economic leadership. Not 20 years from now, today!

 

I stay inspired by… My grandmother. 93 years old and still the sharpest, most well-read person in any room she enters! Not to mention, she is my biggest cheerleader and supporter.

 

The future excites me because… I think we have a great opportunity in Canada to take a more significant global role and to accelerate the competitiveness of our economy. We have the most highly educated workforce of any OECD country, a stable economic and political climate, and a diversity and openness that is lacking in so many places today. We should be capitalizing on those assets!

 

My next step is… Forward.

Meet Sue MacKay, Vice President of Marketing at Empire Communities

Sue has been a key partner in the development and execution of the real estate sales and marketing strategies across North America for over 17 years. Since joining Empire Communities in 2015, her team’s work has been recognized both locally and internationally through numerous marketing awards of excellence. As a passionate marketer, Sue has held leadership roles on both the agency and client sides, having had the opportunity to work on a diverse portfolio of real estate offerings. Sue is also an active member of the Toronto chapter of the Urban Land Institute having served a term as Co-Chair of Communications on the Advisory Board.

 

 


 

 

My first job ever was… A camp counsellor.

 

I chose my career path because… It evolved as I went, I chose my life and my career followed.

 

My proudest accomplishment is… My work/life balance, being a mom to two teen girls and being an exec at a fast-paced development company.

 

My boldest move to date was… Moving to Toronto from various less-urban locations.

 

I surprise people when I tell them… I guided a canoe trip in the Yukon and I climbed mountains in Ecuador.

 

My best advice to people starting their career is… Surround yourself with good people, start your day with a run and get dressed like you always have an important meeting, even on casual Fridays.

 

“Surround yourself with good people, start your day with a run and get dressed like you always have an important meeting, even on casual Fridays.”

 

My best advice from a mentor was… Proof-read, never ask the same question twice, do things that make you uncomfortable — like public speaking, don’t be late for meetings, be kind to everyone.

 

I would tell my 20-year old self… Maternity leaves don’t matter, it’s just the same when you get back. If you are good, you’re still good after a year off. Also, running is the cheapest form of therapy.

 

My biggest setback was… Setbacks are a state of mind.

 

I overcame it by… Changing my perspective and seeing things through a different lens.

 

Work/life balance is… Solid, but it takes effort and conscious choice. As life evolves, it’s harder to prioritize yourself. I make sure that I make time for people I like, I take my vacation time, and workout at the crack of dawn to fit it in – and then, I put in 100% at the office.

 

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I’m just as comfortable in the wild as I am at a boardroom table and day-to-day it’s hard to decide which I prefer.

 

I stay inspired by… Reading and watching as much as I can about marketing, innovation, technology and leadership, as well as meeting new people, putting myself out there and travelling as much as I can.

 

The future excites me because… I’m part of a progressive organization that allows me to push the limits, test new ideas, hire the best in our field and truly strive to always be better, innovative and best-in-class.

 

My next step is… To motivate and provide inspiration to my team so that they can continue to grow both professionally and personally and we can do amazing things that we are proud of and love to do.

Meet Carrie Kim, Chief Creative Officer at UPTIME

Carrie Kim has always had an eye for design paired with an intuitive knack for marketing, and in 2012, she and her husband acquired UPTIME, a company that had been close to their family for decades. Carrie saw this as an opportunity to reinvent an energy brand that would actually be inclusive of a female audience in an industry that is notably “extreme” and male-centric. Carrie stepped in as Chief Creative Officer at UPTIME and she has already made incredible progress with the brand — it is now one of the fastest growing food and beverage brands, a testament to the untapped market potential of the female consumer.

 

 


 

 

My first job ever was… I placed supplement bottles into a machine to be labeled when I was eight. I learned early on about the process.

 

I chose my career path because… I desperately needed energy. I’m a mother of two teenagers, need I say more? I became obsessed with finding good energy. It’s funny how life gives you what you need.

 

My proudest accomplishment is… Showing my children what happens when you apply your vision and hard work what you can achieve.

 

My boldest move to date was… Not listening to what market data said, “Energy is for male millennials!” Women need energy too, if not more. So, I designed the bottles with women in mind.

 

I surprise people when l tell them… That a woman is behind the design of the brand.

 

Best advice to people starting their career… Let your passion drive you, be committed to the commitment. Not knowing everything can work to your advantage.

 

“Let your passion drive you, be committed to the commitment. Not knowing everything can work to your advantage.”

 

My best advice from a mentor was… It was never something that was told, rather than something that was shown to me. My mentors were both people of action; they were relentless.

 

I would tell my 20-year old self… Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.

 

My biggest setback was… Losing my father, he was my inspiration.

 

I overcame it by… Becoming an entrepreneur like him and moving through my life with the same dedication.

 

Work/life balance is… A constant juggle, I feel as though if I win at work, I lose at home, and if I win at home, I lose at work. It’s about being a little gentler with myself, and allowing myself to know that it’s okay, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… My obsession with skincare.

 

I stay inspired by… Traveling and meeting all types of people, discovering how multifaceted people are, we are not defined by a title.

 

The future excites me because… I have the opportunity to continue to innovate and expand the category by providing good energy.

 

My next step is… I will continue to build a brand that provides good energy, energy that complements our own, so we can achieve at our highest level. It’s exciting to see what happens when you put your best energy to use.