By the time I was born in Calgary, both my parents were retired. This meant we didn't do a great deal of strenuous outdoor activity together but I did spend almost every weekend as a child on a cattle ranch in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains exploring and making outdoor forts by myself. Although there wasn't a lot of climbing, the experience taught me strength and independence and was part of the foundation that I've built on in my career.
After finishing 2 degrees at the University of Calgary my plan was to go onto law school but after working with the Department of Justice I realized there wouldn't be enough independence in a career in law. I moved from Calgary to Vancouver in 1994 and began building a financial planning practice with Investors Group. I knew very few people, and had very few skills at the time so faced many challenges. In retrospect, I recognize that each and every painful experience has given me the strength I have today. I'm now the youngest of only 6 female Regional Directors in Canada and am very proud to work with the #1 office in Western Canada. Investors Group was also the place where I met my amazing husband Bryan Girard. We've been together 9 years and got married last August. Climbing Kilimanjaro together and achieving a very challenging goal hand-in-hand will be memories we'll share with our grandchildren.
A few years ago I spent almost every Thursday morning volunteering for the BC Children's Hospital on the oncology ward. My mother was a nurse and my father died in my 20s from cancer so it seemed like a natural place for me to give back. Being inspired by a laughing 6 year old girl with one eye lost to a cancerous tumor and seeing the joy in a baby's face despite being attached to tubes and machines clarified for me what real strength is.
I've been reading about Africa and been amazed by stories of human perseverance since I was a teenager testing myself mentally and physically and raising money for the kids at BC Children's hospital is the next chapter of life lessons I'm looking forward to.
"Everybody has a mountain to climb!"
Mt. Kilimanjaro 2005