Starting a life in a new country comes with many challenges. Finding employment and a home to rent are just some of the first obstacles newcomers have to overcome, all while navigating a new financial system, adjusting to a different culture, and perhaps learning a new language.
Join Canadian Club Toronto on November 13 as we address the unique and complex barriers newcomers face when establishing a financial foundation in Canada. Our panel will share insights and experiences, and discuss opportunities to support newcomers’ financial wellbeing. Moderated by Bruce Sellery, CBC Money Columnist and CEO of Credit Canada, this expert panel will feature:
Margaret Adekunle – CEO & Founder, City Lending Centers
Tonie Chaltas – CEO, ACHĒV
Misha Esipov – CEO & Founder, Nova Credit
Jason Mullins – President and CEO, goeasy Ltd.
Margaret Adekunle is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of City Lending Centers, a credit-building solution company. Margaret has worked in the banking industry for 20 years, and her passion for progress and dedication to her community has been universally praised by Friends and Colleagues alike. She has seen the struggles immigrants face and experienced them firsthand, driving her forward to take action and uplift her community, so that nobody will have to endure their struggles alone. She founded Immigrants Inclusive Credit to tackle the complex struggles with systemic racism and financial insecurities that immigrants are forced to adapt to as they integrate into the Alberta ecosystem.
Tonie Chaltas is the CEO of Achēv, a leading charity dedicated to creating faster paths to prosperity for their over 100,000 clients annually. Whether they need assistance to settle into their new community, learn French or English or find a job, Achēv has been there to help newcomers, immigrants and Canadians for over 30 years.
Tonie joined Achēv, after a distinguished career in the private sector. She spent twenty years with a global communications consultancy in leadership roles on both the consulting and operations sides of the business. Her consulting practice focused on public affairs and corporate communications. As the Chief Operating Officer for 12 years, Tonie was responsible for all national practices and services, human resources, information technology, legal, national office services, corporate development as well as strategic planning for Canada. She also launched the global firm’s first integrated business planning process which she oversaw for several years.
Tonie’s consulting career, coupled with her time as a political advisor to a Premier of Ontario, put her at the intersection of the public and private sector for most of her career. She understands how to build strong working relationships and partnerships with and between government, business and stakeholder communities. She is known as a collaborative and inclusive leader and mentor.
As an active volunteer in her community, Tonie sat on a number of Board of Directors including Women’s College Hospital Foundation, the Toronto Zoo, Excellence Canada and Wildlife Preservation Trust Canada. She has also raised funds for a number of charities and has been an active member of numerous committees. Most recently, Tonie was the lead of the Pledge Committee Engagement Working Group at the BlackNorth Initiative for its first several years of operation.
Misha Esipov is the co-founder and CEO of Nova Credit, a consumer-permissioned credit bureau with two products – Credit Passport and Cash Atlas – that help businesses make more fair and informed decisions on millions of ‘thin file’, no credit history, or new-to-country applicants. The company’s differentiated data sources and proprietary analytics are used by leading organizations like American Express, Verizon, HSBC, SoFi, and Yardi. Nova Credit is backed by investors including Kleiner Perkins, General Catalyst, Index Ventures, and Canapi as well as executives from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Citi. Before founding Nova Credit, Misha was a private equity investor at Apollo Global Management, a $232 billion global alternative asset manager. Misha started his career at Goldman Sachs, where he helped execute more than $10 billion in corporate financing, mergers, and acquisitions. Misha holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Finance from New York University and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Leveraging two decades of experience in financial services, operations and business strategy, Jason is leading goeasy through its next stage of growth. Under his leadership, he spearheaded the company’s pivot into consumer lending, and has since expanded into several new product verticals that have helped the company scale to over $3 billion in assets and more than 2,300 employees nationally.
Jason joined goeasy in 2010, and has held progressively senior roles, including President and Chief Operating Officer, prior to becoming President and CEO in 2019. He previously held prior operations management roles at CIBC and Allied International Credit, and holds an MBA from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
In addition to his corporate responsibilities at goeasy, Jason is Vice Chair of the Canadian Lenders Association and a Director for the BGC Canada Foundation. In 2020, Jason was privileged to be named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40.
Bruce Sellery is the CEO of Credit Canada, the longest-standing non-profit credit counselling agency in the country. He is also the Money Expert for the lifestyle TV show Cityline, has a weekly, national money column for CBC Radio, and hosts a weekly radio show on personal finance for SiriusXM.
Prior to his role at Credit Canada, Bruce was a commentator for CBC Television’s The Exchange, wrote a column for MoneySense Magazine, hosted Million Dollar Neighbourhood on the Oprah Winfrey Network and was a sought-after keynote speaker on personal finance. He also consulted to major financial institutions on innovation in financial literacy.
Bruce has written two Globe & Mail bestselling books including, “Moolala: Why smart people do dumb things with money (and what you can do about it)” and spent a decade as an anchor for BNN Bloomberg in Toronto and New York City.
He serves on the Board of Venture for Canada, and the Advisory Board of the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, his alma mater. He is an alumnus of the Governor General’s Leadership Conference, former Chair of Friends of Adoption Options, and former President of the Canadian Club of Toronto.
Bruce lives with his husband and child in Toronto.
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