Gabriel Flores, Investment Advisor in Montreal was influenced by a mother who was a pioneer in her field of medicine at a time when it was not popular for women to pursue her particular specialty. He also credits his female clients for helping to shape the way he conducts family meetings and wealth management discussions.

While International Women’s Day is a time to recognize and celebrate the incredible achievements and progress of women around the world, and to challenge us to always do more, Gabriel shares how fostering respect and inclusion needs to be a normal part of everyday life.

Being an example to others is important to you. Why?

I suffered the loss of my first child to congenital heart disease, and it inspires me to appreciate life through gratitude, and especially to value the time we spend with those we care about. Now I have two boys who ask inquisitive questions about the world around them, and it challenges my own curiosity and reinforces the need for me to set the example.

You are raising your sons to be supportive of the role that women play in society, and to understand that men and women have the right to the same expectations, including dreaming big. Tell us more about that.

As a father raising two young boys, Denver (8) and Evan (4), I feel it is incumbent upon me to instill in them the values of respect and empathy towards others. You can’t start early enough to model positive behaviours, so I talk with them about the good fortune and privilege that they enjoy, and how to use that as a springboard for leadership in the future. I highlight the ability of girls to do the same things as boys, whether it be as astronauts or World Cup skiers, and this only serves to drive home the point that we are more alike than we are different. I think about my own mother, who was among the few female physicians in her field of psychiatry, as someone who persevered in spite of the generally accepted conventions that women did not have careers of their own, and certainly not in the male dominated area of medicine that was part of her practice at the time.

You challenge stereotypes, specifically the image of a typical household, and you credit female clients in your role as investment advisor as influencing your worldview. How do you promote equity in your profession?

The historically accepted convention is that the main bread winner in the household is male, or that you conduct wealth management conversations primarily with the ‘man of the house.’ This way of thinking has been (rightfully) upended. I strive to include everyone in the conversation and process. I seek to live by the RBC Leadership Model in simplifying things that are complicated for all my clients, and ensure the leading members of the household all understand why we are embarking on any given strategy. Given the fact that statistically women outlive men, it is admittedly also smart business to involve everyone in building a long-term and sustainable advisory practice.

You see yourself as an advocate for the advancement of women. How do you strive towards a gender-balanced world?

I use my area of specialization to explain why I think the way I do. The framework of Responsible Investing is in the three pillars of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) and how empirical evidence shows that women are better managers of risk. Also, when women are in management or C-suite roles, the firms they represent are generally better run institutions with higher levels of employee engagement. In differentiating myself as an advisor through this specialization, I stand up for something that I believe in and see future opportunities to help affect the positive change we want to see in the world we live in.

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