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Career Spotlight: Finance with Burgundy Asset Management

During the last coffee chat on February 19, myself and twenty-two GEM girls got to spend their time at Burgundy Asset Management. Burgundy is a global investment company that provides discrete investment management for private clients. GEM mentor Anne Maggissano organized an afternoon where GEMgirls were shown the red carpet. Roz McLean, a private client associate, gave us an amazing presentation with group discussions. Not to mention the fantastic food and free taxis for everyone there and home!

Roz started out the by telling us about her journey, and how she was hired to start working for the company. Roz didn’t have a business degree, she wasn’t even finished taking her exams in University when she got the job. Roz told us how important and effective networking is. It proved to be very effective for Roz; as she expanded her circle, her resume soon got passed on to her boss at Burgundy Asset Management, and she got hired before she even finished university.

Roz gave the GEM girls honest advice that a lot of us could relate to. Many members of Roz’s family had careers in the business field, which led to her having an interest in business too. In high school Roz was still interested in economics, but believed she would get a job at the Central Bank of Canada. Roz didn’t let her gender pose an obstacle for her, although she did admit it was difficult for her at times. In an Economics class Roz was the only girl, and felt intimidated to ask questions. It’s important to be engaged in the class, and not hold back for any reason.

We also had an interactive session, where we got into groups of 5 to talk about how to differentiate a good investment, from a fad. Certain items that can be considered fads are; Beanie Boos, Crocs, or Silly bands. Those are items that have their fifteen minutes of fame, before they disappear and are only spotted on those few odd occasions. A good investment would be a company with a wide age range of loyal customers, a product/service that provides something the customers will want or need for a long time, an affordable product that still brings in profits, and a company who can always one-up their competitors. Our GEMgirls had great insights and questions which really impressed Roz. Roz had many compliments and comments that were really valuable to the girls in the audience.

We all left with a better understanding of what a job in asset management is like, and the confidence that a woman can have a great career in finance too. Roz left us with some advice: that overall it is important to be curious and open-minded in all situations, and to never be hesitant because you’re a girl.

Tabassum Lakhi is a Creative Writing Intern at GEM and also a GEMgirl.

Career Chat: Inside Medicine

GEMgirls and myself were invited for a coffee chat at the Thrive Medical Clinic. During the coffee chat, GEMgirls had an opportunity to visit a workplace where we could ask questions to the employees about their career and educational paths and get an inside look at what a medical career is like. GEMgirls saw that a medical career may seem prescribed, but it’s really anything but. As a medical professional, while helping others, you can still express your own individuality and unique character.

Your office, your look
Compared to the usual bland and boring look of many clinics in Toronto, Thrive is a very beautiful office. The walls were a sky blue colour and had magnificent paintings on the walls. This proved to us that a business, such as a medical clinic, can be aesthetically pleasing if you choose for it to be.

Women-run business
Thrive Medical Clinic was co-founded by Dr. Kristin Heins, Naturopath and Dr. Jennifer Wise, Chiropractor. The co-founders were joined by Dr. Chelsea Sherrington, Psychologist for the career chat. These women demonstrated to us that women can run their own clinical office successfully. We were definitely inspired by their drive and their focus to satisfy their clients.

You decide what to do for your undergraduate degree
For the girls who are interested in the medical field, the one question they all had was, “What should I study during my under grad?” The answer is that you actually do not need to study science or medicine during post-secondary. What counts is studying what you like and a subject that will help you to receive high marks. That’s because medical schools will be looking at your overall GPA, not just what courses you took.

Pursue your passion
Throughout high school and university, Dr. Kristin Heins Naturopath, was preparing to become a lawyer. It was when she was preparing for her LSAT that she realized how much she didn’t want to become a lawyer. She expressed to the GEMgirls that she was curious about naturopathy, as it was one of her greatest passions. That was a great message to us, “it is better to follow your passions than give in to what people around you think you should do”

The GEMgirls and myself enjoyed our time at Thrive as we listened to each woman speak, while drinking hot coffee and eating soft brownies. Thrive coffee chat was a great experience because of the new things we learned and the stories we will be able to share with other girls too.


Selina McCallum is a GEMgirl in the 2014/15 cohort,  student at Marc Garneau C.I. and a Digital Journalism Intern for GEM.