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Rona Rafal: Client Support With A Human Touch

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Below is our recent interview with Rona Rafal, a Client Support Specialist with IA Private Wealth:

A Client Support Specialist with IA Private Wealth in Vancouver, British Columbia, Rona Rafal spends her days working with that firm’s extensive roster of clients, establishing trust and fostering fruitful two-way relationships. Some of her many duties include assembling client profiles, compiling portfolio reports, helping to create a variety of marketing materials, as well as some administrative tasks. Prior to her position at AI Private Wealth, Rona has had a diverse career. She has previously worked in the export and freight industry, the nonprofit sector, as well as the beauty and wellness field. A graduate of Simon Fraser University where she studied arts and sciences, Rona Rafal is noted for both her organization and interpersonal skills.

Q: Can you describe the path you took that resulted in a career as a Client Support Specialist in the financial industry?

Rona Rafal: Mine has been a bit of a long and winding path, to be quite honest. After graduating from Simon Fraser University, I spent a good portion of my adult life trying out different careers. I started out in the food services sector, where I supervised a Tim Hortons franchise. That was interesting work and I enjoyed engaging with customers, but ultimately I knew it wasn’t for me. After that, I tried my hand in the nonprofit realm. I worked in a client-facing role in the family services division of The Salvation Army. That was a really rewarding experience, and once again, I really liked the interactions, but I could tell it wasn’t a perfect fit, either. Next, I accepted a position at an export and freight company. Again, that was a solid job, but I didn’t feel like I was meeting my full potential. And I missed the human element that was present in my previous jobs. So, I tried my hand at working at a beauty salon for a while, but I could tell that, short of opening up my own shop, there wasn’t much room for advancement. That’s when I settled on a career in the financial services industry, and within that framework, it seemed like the ideal position for me was that of client support specialist, considering my work history and my knack for fostering interpersonal relationships.

Q: What part of your position do you find most challenging?

Rona Rafal: When I first started at the firm, there was a bit of a learning curve when it came to procedure and industry-specific terminology. Luckily, I’m a pretty quick study, so with a little extra preparation and effort, I learned most of that stuff within a few months, more or less. I still have to ask a question every so often, but those times are much fewer and farther between.

Q: What part of your position do you find most rewarding?

Rona Rafal: Considering my earlier answers, it probably won’t come as a shock when I say that I enjoy interacting with our clients the most. I’ve always been good at talking to people and establishing a personal bond—and at IA Private Wealth, that takes place over a period of years and decades. I get a chance to genuinely get to know our clients as three-dimensional human beings. I learn about their parents, their kids, what sort of work they do, what kind of vacations they take, and all manner of other things. On top of that, there’s just something so rewarding about helping these people prepare for large life events and reach their financial goals.

Q: Working in such a busy and stressful field, how do you unwind during your spare time and maintain that crucial work/life balance?

Rona Rafal: I have a lot of hobbies which help me in that respect. I swim, I run, I dance, and I workout at my gym every chance I can get. I find that physical exercise does a lot to aid in achieving work/life balance. I also play the piano, and that sort of appeases my artistic side. But above all else, spending quality time with my daughter is what I look forward to the most after a long day at work.

Q: Do you have any advice for anyone in our readership interested in becoming a Client Support Specialist in the financial sector?

Rona Rafal: Sure. No matter your age, credentials, or work experience, it’s never too late to switch vocations to something that suits you better. Just keep trying out new fields of work until you find something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

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