The 2023 Women of the Year Awards: Equity and Inclusion Champion – Runner-up

The winner for the Equity and Inclusion Champion category of The 2023 Women of the Year Awards is Selena Woo, vice president of Advisory Services—Associates and Operations, Nicola Wealth.

Selena Woo
Vice president of Advisory Services—Associates and Operations, Nicola Wealth

For a long time, Selena Woo pretended she wasn’t Chinese. Even though she was sent to Chinese school every Saturday, she wouldn’t practice it, she wouldn’t respond to her parents in the language, and when she left home to move to Vancouver with an economics degree from the University of Calgary, she made sure people knew she was Canadian. “I just needed to fit in,” she says.

Now, Woo wishes she took the opportunity to connect with her roots earlier. The more she met people from different backgrounds, the more she realized that a lot of immigrant families felt that way about their identities.

So she started using her achievements to be as visible as possible. With a CFP, CPA and CMA, she stayed in the financial services sector after university and spent years at investment companies like RBC Phillips, Hager and North and Connor, Clark and Lunn before joining Nicola Wealth as VP of advisory services, associates and operations six years ago. “We are the client-facing arm of the business and one of the largest departments of the firm as well,” she explains. 

In addition to hosting Nicola Wealth’s LEAD podcast (a platform that celebrates female role models in the community), Woo manages three groups: wealth planning associates, advisory services and insurance services. “I’m probably overseeing a team of 80 people,” she adds.

Woo is also passionate about teaching financial literacy to youth and volunteers at junior achievement events at nonprofits like YELL Canada and CPABC. 

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” she says. “In the financial services industry, there still aren’t very many Asian women in executive leadership roles, and you do have to bring more diversity to the top.”