In the fall of 2017, a small group of volunteers got together and partnered with YWCA FOCUS@Work to put on free finance workshops for women in Vancouver, BC.

We are motivated by the fact that financial literacy is an area that many people would like to improve and a study by Statistics Canada carried out in 2014 showed that Canadian women have lower levels of financial literacy and less confidence in their ability to manage their finances than Canadian men.  Since we also believe that women would feel more comfortable talking about money in a group composed of other women, we decided to hold the workshops for women only.


The workshops being offered for the February 2019 session are all stand-alone seminars and do not have any prerequisites although the fourth presentation is aimed at people who have some knowledge about investing in stocks.  Details for each workshop are provided below so you can select the one(s) that meet your needs. Please sign up for the workshops that you are certain you will be able to attend since space is limited.  

February 6 (Wednesday) – Demystifying the Job Search Process / Planning Your Next Career Move

February 13 –Workshop 2 for Women: Working with a Financial Planner 

February 21 –Workshop 3 for Women: Introduction to Buying a Home

February 27 – Workshop 4 for Women: Investing in Stocks and ETFs

February 6 (Wednesday) –

Workshop 1 for Women: Demystifying the Job Search Process / Planning Your Next Career Move

A “good” job is key achieving your financial goals. In this workshop, two recruitment and HR professionals share insights on planning your next career move. Even if you you’re not actively looking, this workshop will help you to be more successful when you do want to make a change. We explore some of the considerations that come up when building your career and making choices – from joy to financial health. The following topics will be covered:

  • Determining your motivation
  • The work that goes into your job search
  • Landing that job (the application, the interview and selling yourself)
  • Salary conversations


Sandy Gunn is head of Human Resources at Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group.  Prior to joining CC&L, Sandy worked for several Vancouver high tech companies. She has an undergraduate degree from SFU and a diploma in human resources management from BCIT.

Tara Kemes is the General Manager at Cinesite Studios in Vancouver, a feature animation production studio. Since 2001, Tara has been working in the digital entertainment industry in recruitment, Human Resources, culture and talent.

Sandy and Tara are both co-creators and co-hosts (along with Sarah Markwick) of the podcast, “Don’t be a Jerk at Work” (www.dontbeajerkatwork.ca)

Register for this event at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/workshop-1-for-women-demystifying-the-job-search-process-tickets-54809178729

February 13 (wednesday) –

Workshop 2 for Women: Working with a Financial Planner

Financial planning helps you achieve your life goals through the proper management of your financial affairs.  This presentation for women explains what you can expect when you go see a financial planner and the basic concepts of financial planning to help you get started.  Our presenters provide answers to questions such as:

  • what does a financial planner do
  • how do financial planners charge for their services
  • where to find a financial planner
  • how much money do you need
  • what do you need to know in order to discuss your financial plan


Pauline Kwan and Rochelle Latimer are Certified Financial Planners at Coast Capital Savings in Richmond and Steveston respectively.  They will be joined by J’nelle Murphy, CFP, EPC, who is the Regional Manager, Investment &Insurance with Coast Capital Wealth Management.

Register for this event at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/workshop-2-for-women-working-with-a-financial-planner-tickets-54809379329

February 21 (Thursday) –

Workshop 3 for Women: Introduction to Buying a Home

This workshop for women provides information on buying a home starting with the decision to rent or own and then looking the cost of ownership.  Concepts covered in this workshop include:

  • top ten risks of buying a home
  • how to figure out if renting or buying is a smarter decision
  • how to calculate the mortgage amount you qualify for
  • how to figure out the upfront and ongoing costs of homeownership
  • different types of mortgages
  • how to pay the least amount of interest on your mortgage


Our presenters are part of a program called Each One, Teach One put on by Vancity which is dedicated to promoting financial literacy and independence.   Emi Yumura and Veronica Shen are Account Managers at Vancity.

Register for this event at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/workshop-3-for-women-introduction-to-buying-a-home-tickets-54809669196

February 27 (Wednesday) –

Workshop 4 for Women: Investing in Stocks and ETFs

This workshop is for women who would like to have a better understanding of investing in stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) that trade on pubic stock exchanges.  Participants should have some familiarity with stocks in order to get the most out of this workshop. We look at the basics of portfolio management and equity trading including:

  • creating an equity portfolio to maximize returns and manage risks
  • analyzing stocks and exploring other types of trading decisions
  • understanding where investment returns come from and measuring performance
  • setting up a trading account and looking at the fees involved
  • where to get more information


Kathy Leavens is a CFA Charter holder and completed a M.B.A. and B.Sc. at UBC. She has over 30 years of experience in the investment industry. In 2014, she retired and is now involved in a number of volunteer projects related to the betterment of women and children in our community.

Register for this event at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/workshop-4-for-women-investing-in-stocks-and-etfs-tickets-54809796577


We are constantly working to improve and expand our program and workshops.  Whether you have participated in a workshop already, or just interested in financial literacy for women, please feel free to complete our survey:


At the end of the survey, you have the option to also include contact details if you would like to find out about upcoming workshops.