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Perspective Newsletter

What do you do at Northwood?

As a client service team member, my role involves working closely with families to navigate their financial affairs. As each family is unique, so is the work I do every day. It includes projecting cash flow needs, developing financial educational materials, and preparing quarterly net worth reports. So far, I have been able to contribute to a wide range of services so that families can get an accurate picture of their financial situation so they are able to make good decisions.

I have also been involved in our strategic initiative focused on implementing a new digital platform.

What did you do before joining Northwood?

I started my professional accounting career at PwC in Vancouver while completing a Master of Professional Accounting and the Chartered Professional Accounting program. My interest in specializing further in the financial services industry led me to join KPMG in Toronto, where I performed financial statement audits of a variety of clients including public and private companies. As an auditor, I developed an understanding of asset management companies, custodians, financial institutions, and pension plans.

What attracted you to join Northwood?

I see helping families achieve their financial goals as a very rewarding career path. I knew that I would enjoy advising families on their financial affairs and their planning and investment options. In addition, my role requires ongoing development of my knowledge in complex tax structures, estate planning, and philanthropy. By joining Northwood, I am able to advance my learning and development of these interesting and important topics.

What do you enjoy most about working at Northwood?

At Northwood, I like that we view ourselves as a team, with a focus on helping our clients and each other. Every day, we aim to deliver value while also encouraging fun, curiosity, and forward thinking behaviour. The culture is one that emphasizes investing in people and a strong dedication to deliver excellence. Despite working remotely over the past months, our team has been able to maintain an environment that allows collaboration and access to shared knowledge and experiences through our regular meetings. We certainly value open communication and continuous learning.

We hear you have done quite a bit of volunteering abroad. Can you elaborate on that?

My passion to help others started at a very young age. As a youth, I co-founded an organization called Aids In Context, made up of a group of highly enthusiastic students focused on the critical issue of HIV/AIDS. We facilitated weekly community meetings and participatory engagement workshops to uncover the challenges associated with this epidemic. Then, in university I interned with the Grameen Bank in Dhaka, Bangladesh. My internship was focused on the impacts of micro-financing to support economic sustainability within communities. After graduating from the Sauder School of Business at UBC, I spent a year in Cusco, Peru, working as a Micro-Enterprise Development Advisor with a Canadian international development NGO. My role focused on building the capacity of youth and women to address the issue of high unemployment rates in the region. By working strategically with the Cusco municipality and funding institutions, I successfully designed and implemented two business plan courses, resulting in the establishment of a women’s safe taxi cooperative and a youth entrepreneurship program.

Sophia kayaking the Humber River
Sophia kayaking the Humber River

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I have always been involved in a wide variety of activities. I grew up playing the piano and completed up to level 8 of the Royal Conservatory of Music. I also did gymnastics and played soccer for many years.

Something most people don’t know about me, is that I completed a yoga teaching course in 2015. Once I was certified, I taught classes during my spare time. Yoga has always been more of a personal interest, but teaching gave me a deeper appreciation as it promotes well-being.

More recently, as a member of the AGO, I took a watercolour painting course. It was fantastic as I learned the basic techniques, while being inspired by the artwork in the gallery.

These days, I like to stay active by running. I have completed 4 half-marathons in 3 different cities – Toronto, Vancouver and Saskatoon. Usually, you can find me running in the mornings along Toronto’s Lake Shore Boulevard.

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions this summer, what were your top three activities?

Since my plan to travel to New Zealand was put off, I made the most of Toronto this summer… My top three activities were:

  1. Kayaking the Humber River and Lake Ontario.
  2. Cycling to Port Credit and other trails around the city including, Taylor Creek and the Don Valley.
  3. Walking up to Eataly, an Italian shop on Bloor Street, to buy fresh handmade pasta, delicious cheese and wine. Plus, it helped me surpass my daily walking goal by reaching 15,000 steps!

Northwood Family Office

Sophia Kebede

Sophia is a member Northwood’s client service team, working with families in the areas of financial planning, investment management, and taxation.

Sophia is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and is a candidate for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Sophia has a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) from University of British Columbia, a Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc) from the University of Saskatchewan, and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario.

Sophia has received the Canadian Women’s Federation Award, Sauder School of Business Dean’s Scholarship, and MEC Outdoor Nation Grant for her academic achievements, leadership, and community contributions. In her spare time, Sophia enjoys traveling and volunteering.

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