Louise Fogharty is Vice President, Financing & Consulting for South Fraser Area at BDC. She is also the Executive Sponsor of the Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs’ initiative for the BC & North region. Louise leads a team of dedicated individuals who help Canadian entrepreneurs to grow by providing, financing, capital and advisory services. A passionate supporter of women entrepreneurs her entire career, Louise is an active member of the ecosystem that exists to support and promote women entrepreneurs, including being a volunteer mentor to young women entrepreneurs through the Futurepreneur mentorship programme. Prior to assuming her current role, Louise worked in BDC’s regional head office as Regional Director, Strategy Implementation, which was preceded by positions as Business Centre Manager in Vancouver & North Vancouver. Before joining BDC, Louise spent 2 years at NorthPoint Capital Corp., and 5 years with EY corporate finance, both in Vancouver. Louise holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Business Administration from Aston University, UK. In early 2019, she was recognized by BC Business as one of the province’s Most Influential Women in Finance.
My first job ever was… answering the telephones for a Saturday morning quiz segment on BBC radio in the UK.
I decided to go into finance because… I wanted to work shoulder to shoulder with entrepreneurs. I firmly believe they’re the lifeblood of our economy.
My proudest accomplishment is… being asked to lead BDC’s efforts to support women entrepreneurs in BC & the Territories.
My boldest move to date was… relocating to another country with no job or contacts and very little money. We could only afford a scruffy white sofa from the SPCA thrift store, so I dyed it dark blue with fabric dye and a paintbrush.
I surprise people when I tell them… I’m a half-decent squash player (I’m faster than I look…).
My best advice to people starting out in the finance sector is… network. Go to everything you can, put the legwork in to build your profile and make contacts.
My best advice from a mentor was… ask myself “what’s my legacy?”, then build it.
I would tell my 25-year old self… enjoy beautiful BC! I was new to Canada and have so many treasured memories of exploring this stunning part of the world with new acquaintances who have since become lifelong friends.
My biggest setback was… when I ran a small team and lost one of my key team members to another opportunity.
I overcame it by… breaking down into bite-sized pieces what we needed to do to re-group and fill the gap. It became far less overwhelming and gave us a roadmap to follow. (Plus a bit of retail therapy helped, too…).
The best thing about what I do is… seeing entrepreneurs be successful. I still get a kick out of seeing a van pull up beside me at traffic lights, and realizing it’s a client I helped 15 years ago. I hope that feeling never leaves me.
“5 years ago, I used to have to check off a stack of paperwork in order for an entrepreneur to get the funding they needed for their business to grow. Today, it can take less than 10 minutes on an iPad.”
If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… close the door and allow my brain to wander and be creative. It’s amazing how many issues I can work in this way.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I love cooking and indulge this passion by volunteering (although it doesn’t feel like work…) in a Salvation Army kitchen in Vancouver.
I stay inspired by… sportspeople. I recently heard an Olympic gold medalist skater talk about how their coach made them fall, often, so they learned how to get right back up and carry on.
The future excites me because… the pace of change facing businesses can be challenging, but exhilarating. 5 years ago, I used to have to check off a stack of paperwork in order for an entrepreneur to get the funding they needed for their business to grow. Today, it can take less than 10 minutes on an iPad. That’s an exciting change, but you have to be willing to get on the bus even though we might not know the exact route.
My next step is… who knows! I don’t plan in advance – I’d much rather go with the flow. It’s served me pretty well so far.