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Hatice E. Pakdil
TD Wealth

“Firms are seeing the quality of the relationships that women have brought to the table.”

- Hatice E. Pakdil,
Vice President, Investment Advisor, TD Wealth Private Investment Advice

Hatice E. Pakdil, Vice President, Investment Advisor at TD Wealth Private Investment Advice, believes this is a wonderful time for women to choose professions in finance, as organizational culture changes and firms recognize the value women can offer.

When did you decide to pursue a career in finance? What prompted your decision?

While I was at university, I spent my summers working at the Canadian Securities Institute, which is where I learned about what an investment advisor was and the role they play in helping Canadians and their families meet their financial goals. I realized I could combine my interest in finance with my passion for providing advice and helping others. I happened to be in the right place at the right time – TD was hiring for the “Developing Investment Advisor” (DIA) Program and I was lucky to get accepted right out of university. I was 23, had no experience and was the youngest person to be hired into the program.

Can you describe your journey to your current role? What were the key steps along the way?

Participating in the TD DIA Program was how I got my start. After the program, I knew it was up to me to build my business. Getting started is the hardest part and it takes a certain mindset to succeed in this business. I kept myself motivated by always thinking “if someone else can do it, so can I!” I was also fortunate to have a great support system. The first few years were tough, but with time it became easier as I gained more experience and built my brand. I was able to build my business, always one client at a time.

What helped you succeed and what stood in your way?

By far, the biggest contributor to my success has been having good people around me, especially when I began my career. I was sure to ask for feedback, even if just for five minutes to learn about what I could do differently or better. I valued the advice of my peers and took their guidance to heart, emulating my mentors as best I could.

Early on, my relative youth was a headwind. Age is a concern for some clients – I remember one instance where I was unsuccessful in signing a prospective client after many meetings and in-depth conversations, once they learned how young I was. From then on, I learned to steer the conversation away from topics like my age and focus instead on how I could help my clients.

What is your approach to leadership? How do you keep your team motivated?

I believe in teamwork and a collaborative approach, as each member adds tremendous value to our business. I’m clear on expectations, goals and how we measure success, which leads to individual accountability. My team and I have a very open and honest relationship – if they think I’m wrong, they feel comfortable speaking up and I listen. Above all, we show each other respect, even if we disagree on something. Lastly, we are friends as much as we are colleagues.

How do you keep your work and your life in balance?

When I was growing up, my parents instilled a strong work ethic in my brother and me. There was always a time to play and a time to work. When I work, I am focused and completely present in that moment. That being said, my clients appreciate that I’m not just an advisor and that I have a family and a life beyond work. I also enjoy rewarding myself when I meet my goals. When I received my first paycheque as a new investment advisor, I spent it all on a beautiful briefcase. I still use it to this day.

How has the pandemic affected the way you work? Has it in any way affected your career trajectory?

I’ve been fortunate to be able to say that COVID-19 has had limited impact on me or my practice. My clients are understanding and are happy to use video conference technology and other means of communication instead of in-person meetings. The pandemic has, however, affected the way I work – I am used to leaving my home before 8 a.m. and trying to be home around 5:30 p.m. Now, I’m in the house all day juggling childcare, my business and my team. The flip side is that now I run outside daily and we have more time together as a family.

What can the industry do to better support women in finance?

I think one of the most critical issues women advisors face is, “What happens when and if I want to have children? What support will I have?” We need to have the infrastructure in place to help women fulfill their responsibilities as both an advisor and as a parent. In my case, I am very happy to acknowledge the significant steps that TD Wealth senior management has taken to create and formalize policies that support women considering motherhood. I would note that I did make the personal choice to have children later in life, after I had established myself as an advisor and built a book of business. One advantage of waiting before having children was that my husband and I were able to focus on our work and travel extensively.

What advice do you have for women who are just starting out as an advisor?

I would tell them the importance of having role models and a mentor. You can’t do everything yourself; you need to have good people around you. Women getting started need to know that they will be investing the initial few years growing their business. Eventually, it should become easier to grow your assets, but that initial period often feels like “survival mode.” If you’re a new parent and simultaneously starting your business, you’ll need a strong support system to allow you to concentrate on building your business. I’d also recommend a team approach, so you aren’t doing it alone.

Can you talk about some of the initiatives you see or are part of in TD that are helping to move the dial with women advisors?

Over my 23+ years as an advisor, I’ve seen huge transformations. From a top-down perspective, the culture has really changed. I would say there couldn’t be a better time for women to start, or continue, in this business. There is so much awareness now about the value that women bring to the way an organization runs and the way we cultivate relationships with our clients and build trust. My role as an investment advisor is all about listening to my clients – the investment piece is just a small part of it. Firms are seeing the quality of the relationships that women have brought to the table.

To reach out and connect with Hatice: LinkedIn.

November 10, 2020