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Salima Remtulla

Forty under 40 winner 2018; Vice-president, operations and corporate strategy, Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd., Age 36
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Salima Remtulla drives organizational change and advocates diversity as vice-president of operations and corporate strategy at Vancouver-based Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd.

With international experience directing strategy and building high--performance teams, the finance executive has encouraged different perspectives and developed talent across the organization. Since joining the firm in 2015, Remtulla has built strategies to overhaul internal processes and communications, leading to improved productivity and morale. She conducted Leith Wheeler’s first self-administered culture survey and sponsored development of mentorship, cross-training and career development programs.

“Diversity leads to improved decision-making, better business outcomes, heightened productivity, a larger talent pool from which to draw exceptional candidates [and] different perspectives that fuel innovation,” she said.

In 2017, she was selected to attend the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, which she credits with heightening her appreciation for diversity and raising the bar for her vision of inclusive workplaces. 

Remtulla holds a bachelor of arts in economics from Yale University and earned her MBA in 2015 from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she placed in the top 5% of her class and won the peer-voted Benjamin Franklin Award. A CFA charter holder, she is certified in financial risk management and governance for not-for-profit directors.

Before Leith Wheeler, she spent 11 years working her way up from treasury associate to vice-president of firm-wide risk management, to COO of global private investing at New York-based multi-strategy hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co. LP.

A board member of the Vancouver Hospice Society, Remtulla volunteered on an in-patient unit with MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care in New York City for three years. She is a member of the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation’s capital campaign cabinet and contributes to a think tank in the Ismaili community.

Birthplace: Vancouver

Where you live now: Vancouver

Highest level of education: Master of business administration, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Currently reading: Letters from a Stoic by Seneca

Currently listening to: 99% Invisible podcast with Roman Mars

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: A wrestler in the World Wrestlng Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment), with a strong, smart, sassy character that defied the mould of the sex-charged female wrestlers of the time

Profession you would most like to try: Backup dancer for Beyoncé

Toughest business or professional decision: Starting a family. I’ve found life expands to accommodate new commitments – but only to a point. In this period of transition, I’m feeling some grief for the reduced time and energy I expect to have for the professional and volunteer pursuits I’ve found so rewarding until now, and having to trust in the universe and the wisdom of those that have gone before us that this new dimension will add richness to our lives in a way we can’t yet appreciate

Advice you would give the younger you: Look in the mirror: that’s your competition. Don’t defeat yourself before you have the chance to show what you’re made of. Odds are you’ll surprise yourself. Worst case, you’ll develop some grit

What’s left to do: Normalize the conversation about dying and end-of-life care. Overcome the notion that pursuing diversity initiatives is like having to eat your vegetables. Bring more joy to the world