Who I Am & What I Do
“The amazing part about giving is that it not only has the power to change others’ lives, it changes yours as well…”
“What do you do?” is a common enough question at parties, playgrounds, socials and church gatherings. Always busy, I could mention my volunteer and community work, my day job or various hobbies (I love to ski, rollerblade, read, cook, undertake home renovations, swim and run). Since 2011 I can now say what I have always wanted to say since I first inquired about adoption when I was 25 years old, “We are raising our two young sons!” and everything that goes with that. They are the joy of our lives and I want to make their lives better everyday, from our family home, to their school and sports programs and the very city in which they live. They continue to inform my everyday of what is important to me in my family, my neighborhood and city. The rest is important, and I will never take away from someone what defines them, but growing and nurturing my family is the most defining element of my life – and I never want to lose sight of that.
Paying the Bills
I am fortunate in that I have always enjoyed the job I do. Don’t get me wrong, I wish elements of the job would disappear. Some days are stressful, but all in all, I get to work and learn everyday with some amazing people, co-workers and clients alike. I’ve been with the same company for the last 22 years, and am currently a Managing Director for RBC Commercial Financial Services. My clients fall within two distinct concentrations: Professional Services, whose breadth of operations include accounting, legal, engineering and consulting services; as well as Public Sector, having included the likes of AHS, universities, colleges and school boards, primarily in Southern Alberta. In the past, I’ve managed many very diverse portfolios at RBC, from small business (mom & pop shops to professionals: Vets, Dentists, Doctors); manufacturers & transportation (from golf carts to buses to airplanes).
I work with my clients, not just to source solutions for their financing and cash management needs, but also to connect them to all the resources that I have at hand, both in and outside of my company, so that they might succeed. That could include bringing in a third party financing partner to bridge a gap in products that we offer, to connecting a client with a new CFO, and offering analysis on economic briefings that relates to the client’s particular industry. The best compliment one client once gave me is that “You aren’t like other bankers.” My job will always be about connecting people and organizations to the solutions they need, the business will follow.
After finishing my secondary schooling in Carstairs, Alberta, I earned my Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Alberta, Edmonton in 1988 and completed my Masters in Business Administration at the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, London in 1993.
In 2006, I completed the Urban Design (UD) Diploma from Simon Fraser University. UD is an interdisciplinary program that counts towards continuing education credits for various professional programs, including architects, urban planners, landscape architects and civil engineering. Not being from one of those fields, it gave me great freedom to question assumptions held by each co-ed. In the end, it often resulted in greater unity of purpose in group work decision making, allowing participants to join me outside of their comfort zones and collectively explore the benefits of allowing another’s strengths to contribute. (Lastly, it allows me to interpret planning geek to everyday language at community gatherings!).
Just this past fall, I completed my first Independent Corporate Directors (ICD) Not For Profit program. It was focused on one of my passions of providing better oversight, governance and board effectiveness so that organizations can succeed and by extension, civil society can prosper.
I am passionate about being involved in my community. My parents were always involved, from coaching sports, to running Girl Guides to being a councilor and mayor of our home towns. They were community builders at heart, and in my early travels and work adventures abroad, I realized that the wanderlust lifestyle would not be for me. While it is exciting to explore different cultures and travel to exotic locals, settling down and being able to build community is far more important to me.
Current community organizations that I am a member of, contribute time to or sit on the board of are:
- Families Matter Society Past President
- Queen Elizabeth Elementary School, Playground Committee
- Alberta Real Estate Foundation Board of Governors, Chair Elect
- Hillhurst United Church
- Rotary Club of Calgary Past – Major Donations Committee; Current – Stay in School Mentor
- Calgary Rotary Clubs Foundation Board Member
- Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, Captain & Founder of 2nd Place Fundraising Team
Previously, I have held various other positions, including the following:
- United Way Leadership Giving Cabinet (now a major donor)
- Calgary Parking Authority Board [Elector (public member) of the Board)
- Chair, Affordable Housing Committee (The Journey) at Hillhurst United Church
- Top fundraiser for Kids Help Phone Line Swim-a-thon from 1996-2000 (Vancouver)
- ALS Betty’s Run for ALS #1 Individual Fundraiser for several years
- cSpace Board
- North West Warriors Hockey Association Timbits Assistant Coach (sadly my kids out pace me now!)
- St James Community Service Society (now The Bloom Group), Acting President (Vancouver)
- Co-Executive Director of L.E.A.D.E.R. Project (Leading Education and Development in Emerging Regions),(London, Ontario)