QHow did you end up in your current position?

answered October 19th, 2009 by Patti Croft

Well that is an interesting question! As a little girl, I always wanted to be a veterinarian – I love dogs and cats in particular. I studied sciences at the University of Western Ontario and got an interview in front of the board at the University of Guelph vet school after my first year. I was turned down as they said I didn’t have enough large animal experience. I was told to go work on a farm for the summer and try again next year. Well I am actually afraid of large animals like horses and cows so I was devastated at their response. I often joke that ultimately I went on to work on Bay Street where I did meet a lot of large animals, not all bulls and bears! After being turned down for vet school, I was offered a scholarship in actuarial science at Western – I accepted not knowing what I was in for and regretted that as I hated the course! I dropped out of school and went to work at a large Swiss multinational in the mail room while going back to school part time. I enrolled at the University of Toronto and took an economics course on a whim- I loved it and never looked back. After about two years I saw an ad for an economic assistant at Burns Fry – I applied and got the job. I worked on the trading floor, right beside the fixed income traders in a raucous environment. I worked at Burns for 13 years, attending school and having three babies while working full time. I left for a promotion at Wood Gundy as a senior economist. I worked there for 3 years and travelled the world, talking about Canada and provincial and government debt. After that I was offered a job as Chief Economist of Canada Trust with an entrée into asset allocation, which intrigued me. I travelled all across Canada and worked as a member of the private counsel asset allocation group. I loved the people and the culture there but the travel was onerous with three small children as a single parent. So I accepted a job at Sceptre Investment Counsel working as a private client portfolio manager while also being a part of the asset allocation team. It was a huge change from what I had been doing and I enjoyed the challenge but felt somewhat uncomfortable working with private clients so I transitioned to working with institutional clients where the arms length relationship better suited me. Throughout my career I have also done a lot of media work and this continued at Sceptre. After 7 years I decided I needed a break and took about a year off – I volunteered and enjoyed my dogs and kids and thought about the next step. I was fortunate to join Phillips Hager & North, working with institutional clients, doing media work and part of the 3 person asset allocation team. In the spring of 2008, PH&N struck a deal with RBC and I am now the Chief Economist of RBC Global Asset Management. It has been a long and winding road – I think career paths are never a straight line. Accept each challenge along the way – hopefully you will learn something about yourself and what suits you best making the next decision somewhat easier.

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