Industry veteran stands by the value of continuous self-examination
Extensive experience in the financial services sector has taught Vanessa Thomas of HALO Advisory Inc. and TMG Black Capital the value of continuously evolving one’s approach to suit the ever-evolving mortgage space.
With more than a decade and a half working at the highest levels in institutions like Scotiabank, the Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank of Canada, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Thomas argued that nothing ensures reliability quite like the constant reevaluation of one’s strategy.
“Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to say no,” Thomas told Canadian Mortgage Professional. “It is more powerful to turn away an opportunity or to ask for help rather than to take something on that you have not yet worked on and don’t have support on.”
This has paid off enormous dividends in the form of a storied, multi-awarded career.
“The milestone that I am especially proud of was the fact that I had three children throughout my 17-year career in financial services – all while working at the highest levels in a primarily male dominated industry,” she said.
For Thomas, what it comes down to is understanding that working on the business and working in the business is the balance that all mortgage professionals should aspire towards.
“When I am working on my business, my specialty is relationship management; I was fortunate to receive the highest sales training available [when] working at the major financial institutions, which equipped me to manage difficult situations by prioritizing tasks and assembling a team to manage every unique financing request,” Thomas said.
“When I work in my business, my specialty is streamlining processes. I do this by taking the best practices from the companies I worked with, and applying them on a scale to analyze financing requests – giving my team the ability to review numerous financing opportunities efficiently.”
Her approach had solid foundations in her work back at the banking sector.
“At the bank, I began working as a generalist and thrived in the lending side of the bank where I held progressive roles of sales and risk management,” Thomas said. “As a child, I do not recall wanting to be a banker – what I did know as a new immigrant to Canada was that I wanted the North American dream. As I worked in financial services, I learned that one way to create generational wealth was through the investment of real estate. I became passionate about helping others achieve their dreams of obtaining real estate and business assets through credit – this is when it became a career for me.”
Still, the shift was not easy.
“The most challenging period of my career was the decision to leave the relatively safe confines of working for a bank to become self-employed [in 2022],” Thomas said. “My principal broker, CEO, mentor, and life partner paved the way for me to join the exemplary commercial brokerage that is TMG Black Capital.”
This was especially because of a deeply personal crisis that left a long shadow.
“Many people asked me why I left the financial services industry to become self-employed,” Thomas said. “In 2022 I lost my father after his decade-long battle with cancer. The lesson that I learned after this loss is that nothing is permanent, so I live life and operate my business with the purpose of helping others achieve their dreams.”
For Thomas, the personal has also become the professional.
“This has impacted my business in the way that I give advice to people,” she said. “I provide them with candid, honest advice. I set clear expectations and take the time to truly understand my clients’ needs and wants.”