Women + Wealth’s mission is to provide a platform for women across the country to share their journey of success and inspire and empower others with their story. Through our International Women’s Day Galas, we bring people together to celebrate the social, educational, economical, and political achievements of female leaders.
Having recognized the gender gap in financial services, Raintree Financial Solutions decided to bring women from the industry together for an event on International Women’s Day in 2016 with the net-proceeds being donated to a local charity. From our research, we found that women were far less confident about investing and less likely to participate in the financial industry than men. Our first event that year was a huge hit. We soon realized that there was little going on for International Women’s Day in Canada which provided for a bigger opportunity to engage everyone in a celebration with an event to promote and develop key initiatives to support women. What at the time was a corporate event held by Raintree Financial Solutions, has evolved into a not-for-profit called Women & Wealth Inc. with the same key agenda: to provide a platform for women across the country to share their journey of success and inspire and empower others with their story.
Why Women + Wealth
When we originally created the Gala to celebrate International Women’s Day, we needed a title. The very first one in 2016 was called “Women In Investing”. Investing was the focus of the event and related back to Raintree’s services (our founding sponsor). After the first year, we realized there was something much bigger here and we needed to expand our vision. Instead of investing, we decided that wealth in general was a better focus. In our opinion, wealth describes prosperity of all varieties. We’re wealthier when we: have more time to spend with friends and family, focus on fitness, expand our knowledge and awareness, feel spiritually balanced, are going after and achieving our goals, have money in the bank and when we surround ourselves with people/things that truly make us happy. The idea is that in order to advance our mission of achieving gender equality, we need to create and elevate wealth for women. We believe that our events are one step towards making women wealthier – ie Women + Wealth.
Peter is the CEO of Raintree Capital Inc, a financial services business headquartered in Edmonton. Raintree provides investors access to well thought out investment portfolios and investments through Raintree Wealth Management and Raintree Financial Solutions. Outside of work he spends his time with his wife Kristin and kids Sofia and Cohen. He’s an Edmonton native and is passionate about developing opportunities and leadership for others. What resonates most with him, and the reason he loves being a part of this event, is that he learns something new every year.
Sean is a Private Wealth Advisor with Raintree Financial Solutions and an owner of Quarry Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary. Working as a Private Wealth Advisor is incredibly fulfilling. The most important thing to Sean is educating clients so that they know what financial options are available. Sean has a wife and two daughters and feels it is important to show leadership around gender equality. Sean has supported the event in Edmonton and has been inspired by the amazing accomplishments of the women who have presented. He saw the need for a similar event in Calgary which is why he has become so involved with Women & Wealth Inc.
Suzanne Duncan has helped social justice organizations reach their philanthropic potential for 20 years. At social service organizations like YWCA Toronto and The WoodGreen Foundation, she connected visionary donors to innovative projects. She spent 9 years at the CAMH Foundation where she raised $39million+ for major mental health initiatives while curating and creating experiences for donors to feel the impact of their giving. Now as the Vice President of Philanthropy at the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Suzanne is advancing gender justice and ensuring women, girls and non-binary people don’t get left behind as we recover from the pandemic.
Aymie Rondeau is a CPA, CA with over 20 years of experience in progressive leadership roles that have taken her to interesting places from Albania to Australia. She is the Manager of Process and Technology Enablement for Shaw Communications’ Strategic Sourcing and Purchasing organization. Aymie tends to use her Chartered Accountant designation in unconventional ways and often jokes that she has not booked a journal entry for many years!
In 2019, Aymie entered the exciting world of entrepreneurship, founding The Curvy Shop after finding it was frustrating to find high-quality, modern fashion to meet her plus-sized style needs. The Curvy Shop is a virtual plus-size fashion boutique, offering curated collections of nothing but the best in plus women’s fashion. Aymie launched the business after entering the inaugural ATB Financial Build Her Business crowdfunding competition, where The Curvy Shop nearly doubled its crowdfunding goal and was crowned the winner of the competition. The company has been steadily growing ever since!
Outside of work, Aymie has many years of volunteer experience in the non-profit sector and was recognized with a Distinguished Service Award by CPA Alberta in 2018 for her contributions. She is the Board Chair of the Alberta CPA Community Ambassadors and the Founder of Females in Finance. When Aymie isn’t hunting down the latest fashion trends (or volunteering!), she can be found taking her Chocolate Lab Bentley on adventures, in her vegetable garden, or traveling and eating her way around the world.
With a decade of experience in the non-profit sector and a Master’s degree in policy, Shagana is passionate about social justice and has worked on projects across Canada and internationally, tackling a range of issues including poverty, homelessness, gender based violence and youth civic engagement. She is currently the Manager of Individual Giving and Community Fundraising at the Canadian Women’s Foundation, supporting their work to advance gender equality through empowering women, girls and gender-diverse people to move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership.
Alison has international experience at a senior management level in IT and business improvement. Her expertise includes business transformation, driving business process improvement and performance led organizations. She has depth and breadth of knowledge in strategic planning, acquisitions and divestments, and all aspects of IT including governance, management of information and cyber security.
Alison is passionate about the purpose of the Canadian Women’s Foundation and has supported the foundation for 7 years as part of the events committee. The Women and Wealth gala collaboration being one of the most glamorous and inspiring events of the year.
Alison is also on the board of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO Canada) celebrating and empowering female entrepreneurs and developing partnerships with sponsors and awarding scholarships to students demonstrating early stage entrepreneurship.
Alison has two daughters who are currently studying at university and are ambitious futurepreneurs.
International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is a worldwide celebration of the social, political and economic achievements of women past, present and future. In some countries including Bulgaria, Russia, Vietnam and China, it is a national holiday. International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s and continues to be celebrated today.
Why It’s Important to Celebrate International Women’s Day
Women make up just over half of the Canadian population yet continue to be underrepresented in political and professional leadership positions. Empowering and supporting more women to become leaders will influence high-level decision-making that will ultimately pave the way toward gender equality.
Just 8.5% of the highest-paid positions in Canada’s top 100 listed companies are held by women.
(Women now hold 8.5% of Canada’s top jobs, 2015. CBC News)
Women comprise just 19.5% of the board members for Canada’s top 500 companies.
(Annual Report Card, 2015. Canadian Board Diversity Council. Page 4.)
Women hold only 25% of vice-president positions, and 15% of CEO positions.
How much does gender inequality cost Canada? $150B, report finds, 2017. CBC News.
In Support of
The Canadian Women’s Foundation
The Women + Wealth Gala is a not-for-profit fundraiser event. A percentage of the net proceeds as well as all donations will be donated to the Canadian Women’s Foundation.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation is Canada’s public foundation for women and girls. They fund programs across Canada, prioritizing the communities where the need is greatest. These programs address four urgent issues: prevention of gender-based violence, women’s economic development, girls’ empowerment, and inclusive leadership.
The Foundation works toward systemic change by bringing together community organizations across Canada to share knowledge and solutions. Their expertise has made them a revered hub comprised of national community grassroots leaders, issue experts, advocates, and donors that are raising awareness and keeping up the momentum toward gender equality. Since 1991, the Canadian Women’s Foundation has raised more than $80 million, funded programs in more than 1,500 communities, and supported women’s shelters across Canada.
To learn more, please visit www.canadianwomen.org.