Wealth Planning Associate, Victoria Ko shares her path as a new university graduate working to discover her passion, and how she ultimately found a career where she can thrive.
From Fashion to Finance: How I Found My Career Calling
By Victoria Ko
My story starts in my third year at Queen’s University. I started applying for internships and decided by late February that I would stay in Kingston to take summer courses. May came around, and luckily, I found a job working at a fashion boutique, which ultimately grew my interest in fashion into a passion.
The following summer, I was adamant about finding a job that intersected with fashion and business, so I applied to internships in New York, then packed my bags and headed to the big apple for the first time in my life. After a two-day trip, I completed five interviews, received three offers on the spot and moved my life to New York City for the summer. In my internship, I learned so much about the business of fashion and believed this was the career for me.
Following my graduation, the industry was proving to be unstable and had high turnover rates. After many conversations with my parents, I second-guessed my career choice. So, I looked towards my other passions; economics, business and client service, which brought me to wealth management.
In my new career, I practiced client service, learned financial vocabulary, and began to understand financial planning. Every interaction I had with clients helped me create a bond and develop trust in the service I was delivering. In nine months, I was fast-tracked into an advisor role servicing clients in Canada. However, I knew I wanted more in my career. I wanted to service clients with more complex needs and moved to an independent wealth management firm.
After six months, I moved to a bank where I audited and completed financial plans for advisors all over Canada. I learned how important it was to plan for retirement, put strategies in place to meet your short-term/long-term goals, and, most importantly, to save your money strategically. After understanding how complex financial plans can be, I challenged myself to deal with even more complex planning for ultra-high net worth clients, primarily focusing on tax and estate planning.
However, I always had my “dream job” in fashion on my mind. Regardless of how well I performed in my role, I knew I had to take the risk and left the wealth management world to start a new role helping a friend with her fashion company. Then, at the start of 2020, COVID arrived, and I hit a crossroads in my career. Upon reflecting on my career trajectory, life goals and true passions in life, I decided fashion was no longer my path.
When I left the fashion company, I started VKO Financial Inc. as a passion project where I taught millennials financial literacy during the pandemic. While doing this, I was also thinking long and hard about the next step in my career when I came across Nicola Wealth. I knew my values aligned with their philanthropic mindset, innovative ways to improve constantly, and knack for building long-lasting relationships with clients and staff. So finally, after hard work, determination, and pivots in my career, I was able to find a workplace that aligns with who I am. I found my dream job in a place I can thrive.