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.