“I approach everything with intention and engagement”
Ryan La Haye,
Group RLH – Planiprêt
Elizabeth Wood is chief compliance officer & executive vice president at CMI Financial Group.
Since joining in 2015, Wood has been instrumental to the firm becoming one of Canada’s largest private lenders. Her rise to the industry’s summit is particularly awe inspiring considering she’s done it all while managing a debilitating disability - something she initially feared would prevent her from ever working.
“I have spent my life struggling with my mental health and seeing amazing opportunities slip through my fingers as a result. I have since vowed not to take no for an answer, to knock down walls and to build bridges where they do not exist. I am very driven and determined to be more and do more.”
In her role in the private lending space, Wood relies on the key pillars of:
“Private mortgages are not only a viable investment opportunity and home financing solution, but a necessary one, that has unfortunately been tainted due to a few bad players in the space. My role allows me to continue to erode those negative misconceptions and focus on supporting CMI in bringing quality solutions to the forefront of alternative lending and investing. As a team, we work relentlessly to bring transparency to all corners of the private lending space.”
Wood has created and benefited from a workplace that is both inclusionary and accommodating, which has helped magnify CMI’s ethos.
She says, “For me, getting the best out of people is not just about playing to their strengths. I’m a firm believer that when you create a safe environment for people to be vulnerable, that’s truly where the magic happens.”
In addition, Wood has overseen the growth of CMI’s employee base from less than 10 to over 120. She is the architect of the company’s cross-functional talent strategy and has driven meaningful efforts to achieve gender parity. Indeed, 50% of CMI’s employees - and leaders - are female.
Wood also spearheaded the introduction of medical and health benefits, paid volunteer days, and a mentorship program to elevate more female talent.
This dedication and drive have seen Wood honoured with a series of awards including:
· Twice recognized among Canadian Mortgage Professional’s Women of Influence (2019/2022)
· Canadian Mortgage Awards Woman of Distinction (2021)
· Canadian Lending Association’s DE&I Leader of the Year finalist (2022)
· Globe and Mail’s Report on Business’ 50 Best Executives in Canada (2023)
Described as “setting an aspirational example as a trailblazer, dedicated mentor and powerful force for change” Wood is respected for her professional skills and commitment to socially improve Canada’s mortgage industry.
“I am committed to always reaching for the next goal and to achieve excellence in all I do. I want to leave an indelible and positive mark on every individual I collaborate with, and create positive change daily,” she says. “I hope to continue to carry a message of acceptance and accommodation –
no obstacle or barrier is to too large that it cannot be overcome with empathy, collaboration and creativity.”
2425 Matheson Blvd E, Mississauga, ON L4W5K4
1 888 465 1432 ext 748
Chief Compliance Officer and Executive Vice President
CMI Financial Group
“I am never stagnant and always try to innovate”
Ryan La Haye,
Group RLH – Planiprêt
Started in CMI’s accounting department
Promoted to CMI’s executive vice president
Started as an instructor and content developer with McMaster University’s CCE Business Administration and Marketing Programs
Named 2021 Canadian Mortgage Awards Women of Influence
Promoted to CMI’s chief compliance officer
Named one of Canada’s 2023 50 Best Executives by the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business
Assistant Vice President and Senior Broker at MJ Hall & Company since 2018
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An advantage that La Haye has leveraged is focusing his attention on clients who seek a broker with initiative. He rails against the typical broker approach in Canada.
“Each broker has a toolbox, and the industry’s modus operandi is marketing to get as many clients as possible and then using their toolbox to advise them. The bigger the toolbox, the better, but this approach is problematic in many ways,” he says.
Instead, La Haye devises solutions that attract clients who can take advantage of them.
He says, “It’s a simple philosophical change, but its impact on the business and the relationship with clients is fundamental.”
Another differentiator that marks La Haye out are his efforts to steer the focus away from a sole analysis of interest rates in relation to attracting and serving clients. It’s an insight he shares with Group RLH’s brokering team, as teaching and mentoring are critical elements of his leadership.
“When I started in the business, the conversation was all about rate and price. I have worked hard and done hundreds of presentations to the industry to change this dynamic,” says La Haye. “Mortgages and brokers should be all about strategies and analytics, and I am proud to say I have really pushed this mission forward, changing immeasurably how brokerage is seen in my space.”
This evolution of mindset is something La Haye is passionate about and believes will improve the mortgage sector as a whole.
“I want to encourage brokers in the belief that their work should not revolve around interest rates,” he says. “I want them to comprehend that value and price are two different things, and when a broker can clearly describe the value they deliver outside of a ‘low rate’ or ‘good service’, then the entire industry and the entire market are far better served.”