From tragedy to triumph: Donna MacDonald’s journey to monetary management


Mortgage dealer Donna MacDonald’s journey from tragedy to triumph is a narrative of resilience and reinvention.

Following the heart-wrenching lack of her sister and the top of her marriage in 2010, MacDonald launched into a transformative profession shift. After a 25-year tenure in conventional banking, she ventured into the world of mortgage brokering. Her tenacity and revolutionary methods, like embracing her new id and leveraging distinctive monetary options reminiscent of Manulife One, not solely redefined her skilled trajectory but in addition earned her the title of Dealer of the 12 months in 2021.

Two days after separating from her husband in 2010, MacDonald’s older sister, Lynda Lyster, tragically misplaced her life in a automobile accident. On prime of all of that, MacDonald’s profession in monetary companies, to which she had devoted a lot time and power, had begun to lose its lustre.

“Once you lose someone that you just’re near it has such a huge effect on you that you just begin to replicate on what your life means, and what’s necessary,” she stated. “It actually drives residence how valuable and delicate life is, so if you happen to’re going to make some modifications make them prior to later, as a result of later might by no means come.”

Searching for a brand new problem

MacDonald had spent 25 years working for main banks in Canada and Europe, finally launching and managing a department of a her personal in Carleton Place, Ontario, simply outdoors of Ottawa. The 12 months that it opened it was the financial institution’s prime performing new department within the nation.

“I actually had reached the head of what I had wished to do in banking, and banking had modified fairly a bit — administration wasn’t what it was once — so I made a decision to get my licence to dealer,” she stated, including {that a} pal had lengthy pushed her to make the profession change. “In October of 2012 I gave up my financial institution supervisor job; now I want I had carried out it 20 years earlier.”

New title, new enterprise; similar motivation

At first, the transition proved troublesome. For one factor, group members knew MacDonald beneath her married title, which she dropped within the wake of her divorce. That’s what impressed her to lease a billboard on the town and wrap her automobile in advertising supplies that included a picture of her face.

“I by no means wished my image on my advertising, however I had to attract a line connecting who I used to be to the brand new title and the brand new profession, and it labored,” she stated. “Individuals forgot the outdated title, and so they remembered who I used to be as a result of my image was there, so it was an excellent technique.”

In that first 12 months, MacDonald says she hardly earned a residing wage, however loved the chance to work for herself and to assist the sorts of shoppers that she would have needed to flip away beforehand. “On the financial institution, it’s a really small pigeonhole that shoppers have to suit — one of the best credit score, one of the best earnings, one of the best historical past — whereas as a dealer agent you’ll be able to assist all people,” she stated.

MacDonald says she counts each “sure” as a victory, and since turning into a dealer agent she’s celebrated much more wins. “What motivates me are these success tales,” she stated. “I measure success by how shortly I get away from bed within the morning, and after I can’t wait to get to my desk within the morning, I really feel so profitable.”

Racking up the wins with Manulife One

MacDonald says she loved having a wider array of options to help a wider array of shoppers, however finally realized that a type of options was distinctive from the others. She had put a number of shoppers right into a Manulife One mortgage over time, however solely people who requested it by title.

“Then one thing modified in 2020 after I had a shopper who got here to me and wished to enter it, and I processed it, and it began to make slightly extra sense with their file,” she stated. “I used to be intrigued as to why they had been so excited going into this Manulife One account.”

Across the similar time, MacDonald’s daughter and son-in-law had been on the lookout for an answer of their very own, whereas additionally attempting to maintain some cash apart for an adoption.

“I put my daughter and her husband into Manulife One, and so they raved about it, so I believed ‘okay, I want to know this a bit extra,” she stated. “I’ve now put my stepdaughter into the Manulife One account, and I current it to only about each certainly one of my shoppers that I really feel may benefit from it.”

Not like a standard mortgage, Manulife One calculates curiosity each day, versus semi- yearly, and operates as a checking account in addition to a mortgage product. When mixed, MacDonald says these two distinctive elements can save debtors tens of 1000’s in curiosity, particularly in a excessive rate of interest surroundings.

“Manulife One is in a class of its personal due to these two elements,” she stated. “I’d be doing a disservice to shoppers, I wouldn’t be one of the best dealer I may be, if I didn’t have this in my toolkit.”

Simply over 10 years after leaving banking behind, MacDonald is among the many prime 10% of Mortgage Alliance Professionals and was named dealer of the 12 months in 2021. After simply over a 12 months since finalizing their mortgage her daughter and son-in-law are additionally very near lastly beginning their household.

“I credit score Manulife with placing them in that place,” she stated. “That I used to be part of serving to it occur, that’s simply one other win.”