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Joseph Canavan had a successful career in finance before taking a break at age 47 to volunteer to transform the Children's Aid Foundation
Joe was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Assante Wealth Management and United Financial Corporation, an affiliated asset management firm until November 2009. Assante is a national wealth management company with $27 billion in assets under administration, for over 300,000 clients across Canada.
When Joe became chair of the Children’s Aid Foundation a couple of years ago, he started asking some tough questions. He didn’t like what he heard back. The Toronto-based foundation, which works with child-welfare agencies across Canada, had become disorganized and dispirited. Joe knew something radical had to be done, so he left his job on Bay Street, where he had been chief executive of Assante Wealth Management, and volunteered to become the foundation’s chief executive officer.
He didn’t waste any time. Joe recruited top managers from other charities. He met with sponsors, donors and agencies to ask what they wanted changed. Most importantly, he began regular meetings with the children the foundation helps and eventually turned that into an advisory council that provides crucial regular input. The work paid off. The foundation raised $6-million last year, $2-million above target, and it is on track to raise $8-million in this fiscal year.
A tribute video for Joe. Joe's transformational dedication, generosity and leadership to the Children's Aid Foundation led to the creation of the Joe Canavan Innovation Fund
Prior to joining Assante, Mr. Canavan was the President and CEO of Synergy Asset Management, a wealth management company he founded in December 1997 – an organization which quickly became known as one of Canada’s most innovative mutual fund companies. Synergy was acquired by CI Financial in October 2003.
In 1994, he launched GT Global (Canada), which became the fastest-growing mutual fund company in Canadian history. Under Mr. Canavan’s leadership, the company gained $2.4 billion in assets in less than 30 months. GT Global is now part of AIM Trimark. In 1989, he joined Fidelity Investments. As Vice President and Director of National Sales, he helped grow assets from $60 million to $6 billion in four years. He began his career as a financial advisor with Burns Fry Ltd.
Joe was awarded “Person of Influence of the Decade” at the Canadian Investment Awards in 2004. In 2006, he was honoured as Concordia University’s “Alumnus of the Year.”
Joe is also a director of the Fraser Institute - Canada’s top ranked policy think tank. He is also on the board of the National Arts Centre Foundation, Kids & Co - Canada’s fastest growing private daycare company, Kira Talent - Canada’s fastest growing cloud-based HR company, WealthSimple - a technology-based asset management startup, and The Next 36. Joe has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Concordia University and has completed Harvard University's three-year executive management program for owners and presidents of companies.
Bidders on this auction must be able to get themselves to Toronto in order to receive their reward.
Have a lunch with Joe
Thinking about transitioning from the corporate world to the charitable world? Curious about what it's like to turn around a major charity? Then Joe is the right person to talk to. In this group lunch session with Joe and up to two other bidders, feel free to ask him about his work and his passion for helping young people involved with the Canadian child welfare system.