Bethany McNeill, 29

Founder + CEO, MB Pension and Benefits Group

Life Story: Bethany McNeill credits her athletic career for fostering the teamwork and leadership skills she’s used to start and run her insurance brokerage firm, MB Pension and Benefits Group, which does business as Momentum Benefits. The North Vancouver native played basketball for Thompson Rivers University before transferring to St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, where she helped the women’s rugby team to two national championships. She didn’t know where her psychology degree would take her after graduating in 2013, but her competitive fire and fearlessness primed her for starting a business.

McNeill entered the insurance industry by happenstance–London Life Insurance Co. (now known as Canada Life Assurance Co.) was the first employer to contact her after she sent out job applications. She discovered a niche providing specialized benefit plans for construction companies in B.C. and Alberta, so in 2016 she started her own brokerage company and worked through a cold-call list of potential clients. 

Bottom Line: Momentum, which has grown to six team members and more than 100 clients, has an office in North Vancouver and one in Calgary. The brokerage is undergoing verification to become one of two in Canada to earn B Corporation certification for its social and environmental performance. “If we get it, we’ll be the first owned and operated by an all-female team,” McNeill says.