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Name: Catherine Miao

Company: Investors Group Financial Services Inc.

Position: Division Director

Employed: Eight years

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Where did you go to school? What program did you attend?

I graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. I studied English, German, and culture exchange. The program is designed to prepare students with language competence and a global vision to serve in the foreign affairs department.

What drew you to your current field?

Control and flexibility of time, high income-earning potential, and a great corporate culture.

How did you find your current position?

I was looking for interior design and fashion-related employment when I was starting my career search. I watched The Wedding Planner and immediately found that career attractive. When I searched wedding planner on the internet, Investors Group financial planner popped up. The title of financial planner peaked my curiosity so I applied for the role online even though I didn't know much about it, and was invited for an interview.

I went through the interview process and, after three interviews, I was offered the role. Not one to shy away from a challenge and trusting that Investors Group would provide me with the training and support I would need, I accepted.

Tell us a bit about your responsibilities.

I run two advisory practices under the umbrella of Investors Group. As a Certified Financial Planner professional, I provide a variety of financial planning services to clients including investment planning, tax planning, estate planning and risk management assessments. I also run a division; I spend my time recruiting, training, and mentoring a group of advisors.

What is the most challenging aspect of your position?

Creating an efficient time management system and sticking to it so I can generate strong results in both areas, although each only receives 50 per cent of my time.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

When clients and consultants put their trust and faith in me, I know I'm making a positive impact in their lives.

What skills have you learned through your work experience?

Other than all the skills required to be a financial planner, my involvement with Investors Group has had a very positive impact on my personal development.

What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?

A strong desire and determination to succeed, disciplined self-management skills, a desire to help people, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Is there one accomplishment you're most proud of to date?

I started with very little background in financial services as a new immigrant. English is my third language. I am proud to say I'm now among the top financial planning professionals in the industry having achieved the coveted CFP designation, and am now able to train and mentor other advisors.

What are your future career aspirations?

I would like to continue to grow my financial planning practice and become a leader in the industry. In the meantime, I want to grow my division of advisors to become the largest and most productive under the umbrella of Investors Group.

What advice do you have for students looking to land their first job?

Positive attitude is essential. Find your passion, plan, and start early. Be proactive and make a conscious effort to network with the right people who might lead you to your dream career. Have an open mind and don't be afraid to follow your instincts.