Speaking with Tina Tehranchian is like listening to your own personal Ted Talk. Tehranchian, a native of Tehran, moved to Canada permanently in 1990 after going to school in the USA, then moving back to Iran. She moved to Canada with her husband so that her son could experience opportunities in free society, but her own passion and determination carved out opportunities of her own. Tina is at the top of her game in a challenging field and is the recipient of numerous awards including:
- Finalist – Female Trailblazer of the Year Award – Wealth Professional Awards (2020)
- Finalist – Canadian Advisor of the Year Award – Wealth Professional Awards (2020)
- Winner – Financial Adviser of the Year Award – Women in Finance Canada 2019
- Winner – The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) World of Difference Award (2019)
- Winner – Assante Community Leadership Award (2019)
- Winner – Brilliant Minded Women Foundation’s Award for Supporting the Arts (2017)
- Winner – Iranian Canadian Council’s Inaugural Simorgh Award for outstanding contribution to the Iranian Canadian community (2016)
- Winner – Businesswomen Network of York Region’s Award in Community Engagement and Philanthropy and Literacy (2016)
- Winner – Senecans of Distinction Award (2013)
- Distinction – FP Canada™ Fellow (formerly Fellow of FPSC™) – Tina Tehranchian is among the first-ever group of Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) professionals in Canada to receive the Fellow of FPSC™ distinction from the Financial Planners Standards Council in 2011. This is a distinction that formally recognizes individuals who have helped advance FPSC’s vision of seeing Canadians improve their lives by engaging in financial planning.
Tina Tehranchian is also the first Canadian to be selected as Top Senior Wealth Advisor of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP).
The successful wealth advisor appreciates the honours, but outside of her family, she is most passionate about her charity work. Since 2000, she assisted in raising over $2,000,000 for various charitable organizations. Tehranchian currently holds the position of Planned Giving Consultant for The Donor Motivation Program and Director of Art Canada Institute. She is currently working on One Life, Luxury Gala Benefiting the Magic Castle at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre which has been postponed until May 15, 2021.
She is an award-winning-leader, a dedicated philanthropist and it is our honour to have her as our latest #WomenInspiringWomen.
You are the first Canadian to be selected as Top Senior Wealth Advisor of the Year by IAOTP. As a trailblazer in a male dominated industry, how did you get your seat at the table?
First of all, it’s been a great honour to be the first Canadian to receive this award. I think it’s really been about hard work and focusing on excellence. I’ve never thought of myself in terms of my gender, I look at myself as a person who has to compete in my field with other people. My parents really distilled the value of excellence into me as a child. For me, getting a good grade wasn’t enough – getting the highest grade was always the goal.
As a woman in a male dominated industry, you need to work twice as hard to establish yourself and you have to constantly strive to be the best at what you do. For me, it comes naturally because I’m a hard worker. It doesn’t matter what I do. I have to give 100% of myself whether it’s my career or volunteer work. I only get involved if I’m really passionate about a subject, a cause or my profession. As long as that passion is there, it drives me and motivates me to work hard and be the best that I can be.
People often forget success comes as a result of hard work and dedication…
Oh, absolutely. It’s all about grit. I read Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth and I could not agree more with what she had to say. The difference between a person that succeeds and a person who fails in the same line of business usually is that the person that succeeds is more persistent. They keep failing and trying and they don’t give up. The person who fails is the one who gives up. It’s all about grit and persistence, setting new goals, relentlessly pursuing them and not giving up.
With the pandemic, we are living in a time where you are seeing a lot of small businesses closing. There are some success stories though. What kind of counsel do you give to your clients that are entrepreneurs to help them succeed in a time like this?
A business owner always has to hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst, even in the best of times. I make sure that whenever I review my client’s financial planning that we have a good cushion for emergencies and that they have good lines of credit set up, even if they don’t need them. The time to set them up is when you don’t need them. When you really need them, the bank is not going to give you a line of credit. It’s all that preparation that has to go into surviving these uncertain times. That’s all part of good financial planning.
As a diverse woman, what challenges did you face when you got your start in the financial world 30 years ago? How much have things improved?
I, personally, have been very fortunate in the sense that in my entire career, I have never experienced any bias because of my diverse cultural background or because I am a woman. I have always been proud of my Iranian heritage and have always felt that being a woman actually gives me an edge. I never paid attention to people who may have thought differently. Maybe there was bias out there, but I didn’t feel it. To me, cultural background, race and gender do not matter. We are all people and I always expected to be treated as a person. I think this positive self-image has always worked in my favour. There are two ways of thinking about yourself as a woman, somebody who is a minority or who came from a diverse cultural background. You can think of yourself as disadvantaged or you can think of yourself as somebody with an edge. All of these things make you different. To me, being different is an edge. You aren’t like everybody else.
I’m an immigrant, so I’ve been through that painful experience of immigrating to a new country and having to establish myself. More than 50% of the population of Toronto are also immigrants and it gives me insight. For me, it has been a positive. I’ve also thought of being a woman in a male dominated industry as an edge – we need more female advisors. Half of the population are women and women outlive men. They are the ones who will inherit all of the wealth. People who understand them, are patient with them, who can relate to them and help them navigate the financial market have an advantage.
You have won numerous awards and were recognized in America’s Leading Ladies: Stories of Courage, Challenge and Triumph. With success comes many different types of pressure. When did you feel like you made it and how do you handle the pressure that comes along with success?
I’ve been fortunate to receive these awards and accolades, but I’ve never felt like I’ve made it. For me, it’s a journey and it’s that journey that’s important to me, so I’m always looking for the next challenge and for that bigger goal. If I ever feel like I’ve achieved all that I can, then life would no longer be interesting for me. It’s not about feeling like you’ve made it, it’s about feeling motivated and challenged.
We are living in unusual times with the pandemic. How do you stay motivated through uncertainty and what lessons will you take away from 2020?
The pandemic has been a great learning opportunity for me and my team. We’ve pivoted to working remotely and doing webinars instead of seminars almost overnight. I do income tax reduction and elimination seminars for seven major charities in Toronto on a regular basis and suddenly we couldn’t do seminars anymore, so we had to pivot to webinars. In the process, our teamwork has improved incredibly. We have found that we can work very effectively as a team without having to work in the same office and it has been a truly eye-opening experience for me. I’ve given my employees the option to continue to work from home indefinitely if they wish to.
I feel very motivated and energized as a result of the break that I had during the pandemic to improve various aspects of my business. Another great lesson for me has also been the importance of constant communication with my team and with my clients to help them navigate these uncertain times. Of course, spending some quality time with my family at home has been very refreshing too. It really has reminded me that the best things in life are free.
Mentoring others is an important part of what you do. What is your mentorship style?
Mentoring is all about coaching and letting your mentee discover their own strength, find their best career path and excel in what they do. Of course, as a mentor, I want to help them along their journey and contribute as much as possible to their success.
Everyone who has made been successful in business has had to deal with some disappointments and failures along the way. What have you learned from your own?
For me, every failure is a learning experience and it’s a step toward your next success. In life, no success is possible without one or more failures preceding it. Persistence and being focused on your goals is much more important than being a genius. If you are a genius and give up too soon, you will never get anywhere.
You once stated: “My whole life has been built around my passion about giving back to my community.” Why is giving back so important to you?
I truly believe that if you give that you will receive. If more people in our community would think that way, many of our social problems would be solved. For me, it’s always been a fundamental value to give back to my community. It’s given me extreme pleasure to do that. It has enriched my life and it’s a win-win all around.
What does success look like now versus when you started your career?
When I first started out in my career, obviously, I was not very selective in terms of the clients that I would work with because I had to make ends meet. Success at that point meant having a few new clients to my book of business each year, no matter what the fit was. I’m now very selective about the new clients that I work with and as a result, I’m now working with an amazing group of clients who share my values. I truly enjoy working with each and every one of them. Success for me now is measured not only by how much my business grows, but by the impact that I can make in my community and in the lives of my clients.
Women who break the glass ceiling and get those senior leadership roles are inspiring. Who inspires you?
Angela Merkel is definitely a very inspiring lady and an inspiring leader. CEOs like Mary Berra of General Motors and Ginni Rometty of IBM are inspirations. I was thrilled when my segment in the book America’s Leading Ladies: Stories of Courage, Challenge and Triumph was placed in between the segments for Melinda Gates and Mary Berra. It was very flattering to me. I think that they are both great people. One is a great business leader, and the other is a great philanthropist.