Work: Entrepreneurial Mom Finds Ideal Career

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A routine desk job was never in the cards for go-getter Michelle Montojo. Directly after graduating from the University of the Philippines, she jumped feet first into the dynamic and demanding role of a stockbroker. Always seeking new challenges, she later went on to open a video gaming store, then returned to university to complete a Masters degree before deciding to put down roots in Canada.

Growing up in the Filipino culture, Michelle was instilled with a strong sense of community and family values. After the birth of her son, JM, she faced the common career-woman dilemma – how to dedicate time to her family while still having an outlet for her entrepreneurial energy.

Women really can “have it all”

Michelle first learned about opportunities as an advisor during a job fair, where she met Financial Centre Manager, Tom Buchanan, at a Sun Life Financial booth. After learning from Tom about the financial rewards, exceptional training and support and most importantly – the flexible schedule advisors enjoy – she knew she had found her ideal career.

“Being a Sun Life Financial advisor means more quality family time,” Michelle explains. “I can structure my day so that I am there for meals, playtime and study time. It also gives me the flexibility to do volunteer work as a family, which is very important to us.”

Both Michelle and her husband, Jo, are active fundraisers for several community associations and provide musical accompaniment during Sunday service at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Stouffville. They also spend time each month volunteering at their son’s school. “It’s our way of giving something in return for the many blessings coming our way,” says Michelle.

Rewards come from making a difference

While the financial rewards of being a successful advisor are significant, to Michelle one of the greatest rewards of her career is the positive impact she has on the lives of her clients. “The first time I delivered a life insurance benefit, it started out being a little uncomfortable because the family was experiencing such a deep sense of loss,” she recalls.

“But when I presented the cheque, I saw firsthand how relieved and truly thankful they were for the help the insurance protection gave them – it meant they were able to keep their home. I realized how meaningful it was to me to give hope to a family in a dire situation.”

Support systems are invaluable

In meeting the demands of both family and career, Michelle is grateful for the support she receives from other advisors and managers within her financial centre. “Along with practical tips on running a business, the coaching and mentoring helps me stay focused and keeps me motivated when I feel like I’m not doing as well as I should be,” she says. “I can really tell that they genuinely want me to succeed.”

Keeping it in the family

Like a typical entrepreneur, Michelle came up with a creative solution to the work-life balance dilemma. Jo recently joined her in the business and they are now serving clients as a husband and wife team.

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