May 062013

Last week I went to a free info event for bloggers about how to market and brand themselves. It was organized by Connecting Bloggers and Brands. For me there are always 3 big takeaways from these kinds of events.

1) Learning. They had bright people from successful bloggers to public relation experts at corporations like Telus and Microsoft there to educate people about marketing and developing a brand. I certainly learned a lot from their presentations and panel discussions. Thanks to Telus, Canada Beef Inc, and other sponsors for making this event free to the public blogging community 🙂

2) Networking. Thanks to the dividend ninja who tweeted about this conference last month. Otherwise I wouldn’t have known about it. Met some other cool local bloggers there as well like @mashedthoughts, @seapotato, and @Vancouvervogue.

3) Swag. This event had some awesome free goodies. I felt like a kid going trick or treating again. Almost couldn’t fit everything into one bag. Telus’ brand is using critters in their ads so they were giving away red panda and cheetah plushes 🙂 Other loot I acquired include a 3 month free subscription to the Globe and Mail, a “#loveCDNbeef” t-shirt, a notebook, a porcelain mug with silicone lid, a double wall iced tumbler with a straw, a BACONISTA t-shirt, an insulated cooler basket, and many more. There was also a free lunch 🙂 They even had macrons! And since there were plenty of left over food I decided to take some home for dinner.


The Bloggers Brands team is traveling across Canada and holding similar events in Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, and other cities this year. Maybe they’re coming to a location near you 🙂

Random Useless Fact: If you ever need to rush somewhere, carry a fire extinguisher with you. No one will try to stop someone running with a fire extinguisher.

Nov 262012

Yesterday I went to the mortgage forum at the Vancouver Convention Center, put on by Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP.) They had an educational seminar followed by a meet-and-greet session with mortgage related companies. The whole event was to promote the mortgage industry and get people interested about starting a career in the vast mortgage market.

What is the mortgage industry? It’s a part of the overall financial industry that deals with loans for real estate.  When someone wants to borrow money to buy a home they generally go through an originator (commonly known as a broker) who then talks with a lender (bank, credit union, private company, etc) to obtain a loan for the buyer. In a high ratio mortgage case (down payment <20%) the lender must go through an insurer 😀  That’s basically how everything works.

As usual, my favorite part about these kinds of events is all the swag companies were giving away. Colorful pamphlets, pens, notepads, Canadian maple syrup, mini first aid kits, eco-friendly shopping bags, food, shoe polish, lent remover. etc… Oh my goodness so much free swag(⌒▽⌒)

branded swag from companies in the mortgage industry

There are many different kinds of jobs in this sector. Even if you’re with a company that has nothing to do with the mortgage industry, you may still find yourself working indirectly in it. D+H (Davis and Henderson) for example, known for printing cheques, had a booth at the event. They told me they have expanded their expertise to provide targeted services to mortgage brokers and lenders.

Jobs directly related to the mortgage industry:

Broker channel: To become licensed within your province to help borrowers find lenders.
Property valuation: This includes appraising the value of homes and keeping up with market trends
Insurers: The 3 big ones here are CMHC (government insurer), Genworth (a spin-off from General Electric’s financing division), and Canada Guaranty (used to be a company under AIG)
Regulators: To license and authorize business, and to set standards in policy and enforce rules.
Lenders:  Must learn how to adjudicate, meaning they must determine if the borrower can pay back the mortgage or not. This is called the underwriting process.